The Caribbean coast of Venezuela is a fantastic destination for sailing enthusiasts and is an aquatic paradise. Sailing here does however require you to be aware of the risks associated with the country. Venezuela has one of the highest rates of crime in the world. As a result, it is essential to be aware and prepare for it appropriately. Once aware, you can embark on your voyage and enjoy the exceptional beauty of and natural heritage of Venezuela's natural archipelagos.
Sail around the island of Margarita
Venezuela's only island state, Margarita and its little sisters Cubagua and Coche are also the country's main tourist destination. The main island of Margarita measures around 80 km long and 20 km wide. It is made up of two islands joined only by a strip of sand over 20km long. This beach is a natural barrier and led to the creation of a lagoon between the two islands, known as La Restinga. La Restinga is a natural park covered in mangrove trees and is home to numerous species of aquatic creatures and birds. The lagoon can be visited by boat, travelling through the labyrinth of mangroves.
The Margarita islands are scattered with mountains covered in tropical forest which can reach an altitude of up to 1000 m. They are of course bordered by numerous beaches, whether popular or wild, fashionable or just a little village beach. There are beaches both with fantastic waves or with calm, clear waters. For example, the Yaque beach has a worldwide reputation as being an excellent windsurfing spot.
Similarly, whether you like little picturesque villages sheltered from tourism or towns with large shopping centres and theme parks, there will be something for you to enjoy. You will always find something to fill your day with activities such as scuba diving or snorkelling, fishing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, surfing, sailing, horse riding, shopping, night life, bars and restaurants of all types.
Rent a boat at Los Roques
A top destination for sailing enthusiasts in Venezuela, Los Roques is an archipelago of around 50 islands, islets and cays less than 200 km north of Caracas. These islands, formed on the surface of a coral reef and their sandy banks form an oval around a central lagoon. This calm body of water is perfect for kitesurfing, windsurfing and sailing. It is also one of Venezuela's most densely populated archipelagos with more than a thousand people living on the Gran Roque island which is also home to the airport.
For around forty years, the archipelago has been classed as a National Park. It is dedicated to protecting many species of bird including many migrating birds, as well as the exceptional aquatic fauna. The water in the lagoon is a warm, transparent turquoise and an ideal destination for diving and snorkelling. Here you can find 200 species of crustaceans, 61 coral species, 140 different types of mollusc and almost 300 species of fish in every size and colour. This makes Los Roques an ideal location for recreational fishing, either troll fishing from a boat of fly fishing from the beach.
There is a convenience store of Gran Roque to stock up on supplies. A few restaurants and certain Pousadas also have a night bar for a night of partying.
Sail to the archipelago of Los Testigos
The Los Testigos Islands is a group of 8 islands and islets which seemingly appear out of nowhere. They are a refuge for many types of bird and are inhabited by a few dozen fishermen. 80 minutes west of Grenada and 45 minutes east of the island of Margarita, these paradises on Earth have remained unaffected by human activities. The coral sandy beaches are a pristine white and the waters are rich in multicoloured fish. Drop anchor here for a few days, enough time to explore the seabed of this exceptional reserve at the crossroads between the cold currents of the Atlantic and the warm, calm waters of the Amazon. Enjoy a warm welcome from the locals who don't see many tourists stop by.
Sail to La Tortuga
Around 60 miles west of Margarita, Tortuga is a semi-arid desert island measuring 25 km long and 12 km wide. It takes its name from its shape, which mirrors a tortoise seen from the sky. A coral reef extends all the way along the south coast, protected from winds and currents and featuring bays, lagoons and mangroves just waiting to be explored. For a spot of secret sunbathing, what could be better than miles of white sand, waiting just for you?
Sail through other waters
There are many other islands and archipelagos among Venezuela's Caribbean islands which deserve a visit. If you enjoy peace and quiet, untouched beaches and solitude, Blanquilla to the north of Margarita is a little-known haven of peace.
The Las Aves archipelago is a natural reserve covering 2000 m² of ocean, coral reefs and mangroves inhabited only by seabirds and protecting rich marine areas.
A single cruise will not be enough to discover everything this magnificent country has to offer - and that's without mentioning the gastronomy, meeting the locals and local life.