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Porlamar, O, Venezuela
Temp: 27C
Feels like: 31C
Humidity: 74%
Windspeed: 24 km/h
Direction: 20
Barometer: 1008.13 mb
NNE
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General information

If you consider moving to Isla Margarita, or if you are planning to spend more time on Margarita than just as an ordinary tourist, the following section will probably give you a lot of helpful information.

Tropical garden in a private house in El Paraiso, Pampatar
Image

A place with identity
Children playing at Playa Manzanillo
Children playing
Many people immediately fall in love with Isla Margarita and return later to live on the cheap and friendly island with the perfect climate. The nature is very beautiful and virgin, and one of the best things about this island is that the everyday life is more or less unaffected by the tourism. The fishermen leave every morning with their fishing nets, and collects them as they have always done. At the same time the modern people drive around in their brand new SUVs, live in modern houses and are frequently on nice restaurants and malls in the Pampatar/Porlamar area. This is one of the things that makes the island very complex and authentic as a part of South American, and at the same time a Caribbean place with a soul.

Tourism and economy
As early as the 1980's foreigners started to move to Margarita, and people saw the investment potential on the island. Venezuela has spent lot's of money on tourism, and there is a very positiv spirit at the island now. In 2007 the numner of visitors increased with 16% from 2006. Hotels and resorts are being constructed. Venezuela is a rather unstable country, politically and economically, but Margarita is very little affected by this. The island gets a lot of money from tourism, and that might be the reason that Margarita has been allowed to live its life on its own, both regarding politics and economy.

Getting to know the island
If you are curious of Margarita, as someting more than just a place for tourists, you should definitely go and visit the island for a few days, look around and figure out which places you like. If you, after this, would like to move to Margarita, you should maybe rent a place for a few weeks in this area to confirm that this is the place you're looking for. If you're planning on staying only for a few weeks or months a year, there is a good chance that you will love it anyhow, and maybe overlook or ignore some of the negative things that most new and unknown areas have. Margarita isn't anythig special regarding this matter. There are negative and positive impressions here too, and you should find out what you think about this before you make a decision to move.

Buying property
There are no legal obstacles to buy property in Venezuela and on Margarita. This is rather rare for being the Caribbean. However, it is very important that the property is purchased according to the laws, and of course it is as important that you don't get fooled. So, make sure that you have impartial legal assistence, and/or a person that you trust that speaks and writes spanish fluently.

More about buying property HERE.

Property prices
The prices on property vary a lot, mostly according to location. In the popular beach areas like Playa El Agua, the prices will be higher than in a village far from the coastline, like Santa Ana and La Asuncion. You should be aware of that the cheaper the property is, the less likely it is that this is a suitable place for you as a foreigner. The standard of living is in general lower than what any typical european/american is used to.

Compared to Southern Europe and the rest of the Caribbean, Margarita is still a very inexpensive place to stay, both regarding property prices and also cost of living. In addition, Margarita offers you a life among local people, and not as a tourist among thousands of other foreigners behind high walls.
Look HERE for property prospects on Margarita.

Bank
It is not recommende to keep a lot of money in Venezuelan banks. The banking system is still quite old fashioned and may cause you some frustration. It might also be difficult to open an account if you don't have a Cedula (a national ID card which might be a bit tricky to get), or a person that can recommend you to the bank. In addition, the inflation is these days more than 16%. Still, it is often useful to have an account, so if you need it, contact us and we will guide you in the right direction.

A tip: To handle large transactions, for example to buy a car, your bank in Europe/US should offer internet based transactions so that you might be here and transfer money from your own country.


Language
It is always nice to know a little of the local language. On Margarita, this means Spanish. Only a few people outside the tourism business speak other languages than Spanish. However, if you are interested, there are many Spanish teachers on the island that might teach you the language without having to pay to much.

Maid, gardener, guards
It’s easy to find personell to help in and around your house, and it is very cheap. The minimum salary is today regulated by law, at 519 BsF per month, i.e around 200 USD/month. The challenge however is to find people you can trust. A good solution is to hire people that either you or your friends know over time.

University
The (one and only) university on Margarita is rather small, and offers a limited range of studies.

Private schools
There are several private schools on Margarita. The prices vary from around USD 500 a year, to several thousands dollars. Many schools require that you buy a share in the school. Spanish is the primary language, English is second. There are also public schools on the island, but most foreigners choose a private school since the general level in public schools is lower than the one in private schools. One recommended school is Colegio Guayamuri.

Kindergartens
There are several good kindergartens on the island. Multilingual (Spanish and English) kindergartens are common, and they start early with an educational approach.

Doctors
Private doctors are common, and prices are low. A typical consultation could cost around USD 20. Some doctors have special ”tourist rates” that are a bit higher than the rates for venezuelans.

Opticians
Opticians have modern equipment and offers good service. Glasses are cheap and available, as well as contact lenses.

LASER OPERATIONS
If you’re concidering operating your eyes, Venezuela would actually be a very good choice. The capital Caracas offers some of the best opticians and the best equipment. People from the US often come to Venezuela in order to get a safe operation, save money and have a vacation on top. I (Stein) did a laser operation in 1999, and I am still very satisfied with the operation. The price today is around USD 1000. Please contact us at if you want more information.

Health insurance
Local health insurance is not recommendable since there are a lot of exceptions and gaps in the contracts. As a foreigner you should either pay per consultation, or buy an international health insurance. If you’re her for a shorter period, a normal travel insurance will do, but if you’re planning to stay for a longer period you should definately buy an all-year-insurance abroad. E.g William Russel offers good and cheap insurances. Bupa is another option.
There is no need for special vaccines to go to Margarita. There is no malaria on the island. Please note that AIDS and other sexually transferable diseases are present, as in the rest of the world.


Political situation
Since 1999 Venezuela has had a president elected by the people. In general the people either love him or hate him. The poor people tend to love him, while the rich people tend to be more sceptical for the development of Venezuela. There was an election in December 2006, where Hugo Chavez was reelected for president for the next 6 years. But there was also a vote in December 2007 where he got no from the people to do serious reforms in the constitutions.

Margarita has, as one of very few places, a governor not supporting the president’s politics. And Margarita is also trying to increase the distance to Caracas in many other was. In general, Margarita doesn’t experience all the disturbances that Caracas have.

The good news for foreigners with foreign currency is that there has been a devaluation, making cost of living cheaper. However, remember that the rich people is visible among so many poor people, and there is criminality here, as in the rest of the world. Therefore, new buildings often have high walls and fences for protection.

Sist oppdatert ( Saturday 17. May 2008 )

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