Isla de Margarita

A Venezuelan-style touristic attraction
The Castillo de San Carlos Borromeo
The desertic Macanao Peninsula

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Isla de Margarita

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Once you’ve disembarked from your MSC cruise ship on Isla de Margarita, you’re unlikely to see more than one or two low-budget tourists, as the 940-square-kilometre island is primarily visited by well-to-do Venezuelans.

While cultural authenticity has been supplanted by rampant commercialism, Isla de Margarita can still provide an entertaining taste of mainstream Venezuelan-style tourism. Isla de Margarita has innumerable beach communities and just a few developed urban centres.

is the undisputed commercial centre of the island and rocks a distinctly more Caribbean vibe than the mainland. Ten kilometres north of Porlamar lies the more peaceful town of Pampatar. Founded in 1530, it was one of the first settlements in Venezuela, and even today it retains some of its former charm, with the remains of a Spanish fortress, Castillo de San Carlos Borromeo, completed in 1684.

A shore excursion on your MSC Grand Voyages cruise can be the opportunity to discover Macanao Peninsula, Margarita’s arid and desert-like western part, and a good chance to enjoy a sunny day on Margarita’s most famous beach, Playa El Agua, a 3km beach of white sand and palm trees, with plenty of tourists. Less rammed beaches around the island include playas Manzanillo, El Yaque, Caribe, Guayacán, Puerto Abajo and Cardón.

Families and nature-lovers may like to visit El Parque Nacional Laguna de La Restinga, Isla de Margerita’s narrowest point. This large natural lagoon is viewed by boat and filled with mangroves, sea horses, fish and many birds.

Must see places in Isla de Margarita

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    On the banks of the Orinoco
    On the banks of the Orinoco

    An outdoor-lover’s paradise, Venezuela boasts nearly every natural environment: towering mountains, mini-deserts, endless plains, Caribbean beaches, lush green jungle and wildlife-rich wetlands. You’ll also find a passionate and welcoming people during your cruise to Venezuela, proud of their nation and keen to showcase it to foreign visitors.

    With 43 national parks and many private nature reserves, Venezuela’s prime attractions lie outside its major urban areas. Its capital Caracas is a lively and cosmopolitan city but most visitors explore at least part of Venezuela’s stunning 2600km-long Caribbean coast.

    Several hours east of the capital, Parque Nacional Mochima boasts red-sand beaches, fishing villages, fantastic seafood and playful dolphins, while Parque Nacional Henri Pittier, about three hours west, offers wildlife-spotting opportunities, crystal-clear lagoons and a lively social life. Further west is Parque Nacional Morrocoy, which features picturesque white-sand cays.

    More exclusive, the Los Roques Archipelago in the Caribbean is actually an extension of the Andes range, and contains the country’s most pristine beaches with fewer crowds, given the off-mainland transport issues.

    The enormous region of Guayana encompasses most of the south and east portions of the country and boasts a number of adventure-based attractions. Here you’ll find the Orinoco Delta, a labyrinth of jungle waterways formed as the enormous river reaches the Atlantic Ocean.