We were on the empress of the seas last june,when we got to margareta island we hired a cab off the dock to go swimming.That was the good part the starter told us not to pay the driver till we got back to the ship.
Well the drive to the closet beach was about 45 min.away.The driver sat there and waited for us to finish.I did not like the beach.Oh BTW the drive to the beach was mostly on the highway.When we left the beach we told our driver to go back a different way so we can see the Island ,there was not much to see.The drive back was about the same time.We couldnt wait to get back.
What we did was hook up with another couple and split the fare.I think the whole trip was $40.And we did not pay the driver till we got back.
My opinion of the island is I was disappointed,I expected more,but that is just me.
What you should do is go to the library and get the Frommers or Fodors book of the island and read up on it.
We were on Isla Margarita last April on our Golden Princess cruise. It was a short stop, only 7am to noon, so we took a shore tour from Princess called the Fiesta Party Bus. We really enjoyed this, the guide was a lady named Estella, and she and the driver did a great job to make it fun. They took us to a beautiful beach, clean with surf, you could rent chairs and buy food and drinks. There were some vendors selling things, got some pretty necklaces. It was quite a drive, but Estella made it interesting by telling us about the island. On the way back, she kept pouring the rum punch, gave everyone noisemakers, and got people dancing in the aisles. So much fun! They also stopped at a gift shop. She had explained all about the pearls, Isla Margarita is "The Isle of Pearls", there are so many beautiful colors, different qualities and prices. When you get back to the pier, there is a whole line of vendors with so many pretty things to sell. I was disappointed that we didn't have more time to browse, really could have used a few more hours there. I heard that there is a small beach area near where the ships dock that was free and pretty good, but didn't have time for that either. Also a Milano glass outlet inside one of the warehouses. Where the ships dock doesn't look inviting, but you need to get out there and see this island and not judge it by the piers. I have heard they are going to make improvements in time, and I hope someday to stop there again and have more time.