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Old January 3rd, 2002, 06:05 PM
Kay Kay is offline
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Default Anyone been to Margarita Island, Venezuela??

Help! Just discovered that we will be going to Margarita Island and know nothing about it. Does anyone have any info to share?
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Old January 4th, 2002, 10:05 PM
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Default Re: Anyone been to Margarita Island, Venezuela??

I was at Margarita Island on Celebrity Galaxy 12/18/01. We booked a shore excursion through Celebrity (title was something like gardens/lagoon). I think it was about $38.

Of our ports on Galaxy (St Thomas, St Kitts, Barbados, Margarita Island, Aruba) this was the only ship shore excursion we booked (did everything else at the other ports on our own). This is due to what we had read prior to the cruise on various internet cruising boards (like supposed crime, 45 minutes to town, scary taxi rides, middle of nowhere, etc). We were definitely satisfied with booking the shore excursion through the cruiseline.

Here is how the shore excursion went:
Boarded air-conditioned tour bus that held close to 50 passengers (not a school bus, but a nice bus). Tour guide was professional - spoke both English and Spanish. He pointed out sights along the way and shared some history.

Went to some gardens that had a tropical labyrinth, many native plants and fruits, wild monkey we could play with (Poncho), fruits to sample off the trees, and a Boa we could have our picture with. Nobody was there asking for extra money for any of these. This was about a 45 minute drive from the ship. The tour guide served as our tour guide here as well (his name was Mario). He was extremely knowledgeable of the gardens. We have great pictures of Poncho opening my pockets (they were velcro) - he must be a professional. (Remove sunglasses and hats before playing with him - one lady even noticed her cigarette lighter missing and Poncho had it!!)

Then we took the bus back towards the ship to go a little farther to La Restinga (lagoon).
On the way, stopped at some sort of place on the road with shops (sold pearls, souvenirs, etc). My definition was tourist trap, but the ice cold Coca Cola sure tasted great! (bottled in Venezuela, of course). Bought some Venezuelan coffee for my grandmother and restocked a roll of film (what was I thinking that morning???)

Then on to La Restinga lagoon. It is a national park. We boarded 6 passenger boats to go through the canals, held starfish, etc. The guides on these boats mostly did not speak any English. Luckily Mario had told us about the lagoons and their history on the drive there. Apparently, when you married in Venezuela, the groom is to take the bride to Margarita Island to ride in these boats along the canals.

The tour was supposed to last 4 to 4.5 hours. Our's lasted over 5 hours, which we did not mind at all.

Vendors were outside the area of the cruise ship dock. Also there was a small beach people could go to that you could see from the ship.
Like always, if someone doesn't want to get off the ship at a port, nobody is forcing them down the gangplank! Can always enjoy time on board without the crowds.

Hope this helps some! I, too, had known nothing of Margarita Island when it was added to our itenerary back in October.

-Mandy in Dallas
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Old January 7th, 2002, 08:18 PM
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Default Re: Anyone been to Margarita Island, Venezuela??

We have been to Margarita Island twice. The first time (Jan 2000) we tendered in and the second (Jan 2001)we docked at the new cruise ship dock. We were with another couple the first visit and hired a guide to take us to beaches around the island since that is mainly what we wanted to do. He also took us to a souvenier shop where I could buy some pearls. You can get them strung or unstrung in probably the same place Mandy was talking about.
The second time we took an excursion (Holland America) that took us to Playa Agua. This is a beautiful beach on the North East (?)part of the island that has great waves and is fairly shallow for quite a way out. The beach has vendors that are licensed to sell. Real pearls will not melt like plastic ones do so they will light them to prove they are genuine pearls. There are restaurants and hotels in the area. There are beach chairs and umbrellas for rent for a small fee. We enjoyed the water but its not for snorkeling
. .The new cruise ship dock had many taxi's etc wanting to give guided tours but we decided not to go off just the two of us on our own.
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Old January 11th, 2002, 04:36 PM
jp garnier
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Default Re: Anyone been to Margarita Island, Venezuela??

Margarita must be be a great money maker for the lines but offers very little to the passengers. Took the excursion to Coche island and it was so -so at best. In fact there is a small beach just a few yards from the dock that appears to offer beach chairs etc. and my next time I would walk over there to get a close up look. JP
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Old January 27th, 2002, 09:30 PM
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Default Re: Anyone been to Margarita Island, Venezuela??

We took an unairconditioned 50 min. with a non speaking driver, taxi cab ride to Agua beach. The beach was nice, heavy surf. But not worth.
The beach near the ship had chairs to rent, very shallow water.
The people selling their wears between the ship and the beach were nice, that would be worth a stroll over there for.
Otherwise If I had to do it over I would have stayed on board the ship.
This is a destination Galaxy added to their itinerary, another day at see would have been better.
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