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The Island of Margarita
The island is the biggest of the islands of the insular state of Nueva Esparta.
It is located in the Caribbean Sea, to the northeast of the Venezuelan coast. The major city is Porlamar.
Tourism is the main activity of the Island, favored by a mild and dry weather all year long and by the presence of many beautiful beaches, some perfect for the practice of windsurf and kitesurf, as well as diving.
Discovering Margarita Island
The island is divided in two areas: to the west, the Peninsula of Macanao, a dry land and a low populated zone with a desert landscape; to the east, rich in exuberant vegetation and where most of the population lives.
In the beaches of Margarita Island the typical products based on fresh fish or meat can be tasted. There is also the possibility of refreshing yourself with a good cold coconut, opened in front of your eyes with machetes.
There are several Spanish fortifications and they are considered as national heritage.
Located in Caribbean Sea, between latitudes 10 ° 52 ‘N and 11 ° 11’ N, and longitudes 63 ° 48 ‘W y 64 ° 23’ W, Margarita Island belongs to the state of Nueva Esparta, which also includes the islands of Coche and Cubagua.
Margarita Island, with its 78 km long and its maximum width of approximately 20 km, consists of two peninsulas joined together by a narrow isthmus and covers an area of 1020 square kilometers, divided by parts connected by a sand strip of 18 k, offers a sunny and dry weather, with temperatures from 24 to 37 °C.
Most of the 420000 residents of Margarita Island live in the east, more developed, especially in the city of Porlamar and the close of Pampatar. Other urban centers are the small towns of La Asunción, the capital of the region and Juan Griego town. There are several flights to get to the city from Caracas and other Venezuelan cities, and by sea with the Ferries from Puerto La Cruz, Cumaná and La Guaira.
The peninsula of Macanao has a central mountain. The maximum height is 760 meters (Macanao Peak). Many other smaller peaks follow a north-south orientation, with deep valleys between them. San Francisco is the main valley, in the north of the peninsula. Peninsula of Paraguachoa, in the east, is form by a mountain chain that goes from Porlamar to Cabo Negro. The tallest peaks are San Juan or Cerro Grande (920 m) and El Copey (890 m). Both are connected by the La Restinga National Park, a low-height isthmus with a lagoon called La Restinga.
History of Margarita Island
In 1498, Cristóbal Colón discovered the island of Margarita. The local natives, called Guaiqueries, received the conquerors with open arms, without knowing the fact that they would turn into slaves of their own wealth. Pearls represented a third of all tributes to the Spanish Crown in the New World.
The island of Margarita had to be fortified against the increasing attacks of pirates, and many of these fortifications still remain. In 1561, the island was looted by Lope de Aguirre, a famous violent and rebel conqueror, which had the islanders terrorized until he came back to the continent in a try to take Panamá from the Spanish Crown.
In 1814, the islanders fought successfully for the independence from Spain, and Margarita became the first free territory of Venezuela. It was on the same island in which Simón Bolívar, later named El Libertador (The Liberator), was confirmed as commander in chief of the new republic, La Gran Colombia (the great Colombia). From there, he started to liberate Venezuela, Colombia, Perú, Ecuador and Bolivia from the Spanish domination.
The biggest city of Margarita Island is Porlamar, known by its commercial centers. There are a lot of stores and restaurants. There live around 85,000 habitants during low season and 125,000 during high season.
There are two beaches in the city and a very important port for cruisers. The majority of malls and outlets are under its jurisdiction: Sambil Margarita, Rattan Depot, Centro Comercial AB (Avenida Bolivar, as Bolivar Avenue), and La Redoma.
Pampatar is the second main city of the island. It has around 50,000 habitants. It has a beautiful boulevard with many restaurants. It is home of the San Carlos Borromeo Castle (Castillo de San Carlos Borromeo) built approximately between 1664 and 1684.
Until recently, Pampatar was a picturesque town of fishermen, but thanks to the tourism, in recent times it has become one of the main nightlife centers of the island.
The capital of Margarita Island
La Asunción is the capital of the federate state of Nueva Esparta with approximately 25,000 habitants. It is home of the regional government. There are a couple of restaurants and two natural parks rich in flora In La Asunción.
In Juan Griego are located some of the best restaurants of the island. La Galera is a fortress, which is close to the downtown and where during the first years of the 1820 decade a war for independence was fought.
Margarita Island can be reached by ferry of by plane. The international airport Santiago Mariño is located 25 km from the city of Porlamar.
The duty free state and its proximity to the continent, makes the island one of the best destinations for vacation among Venezuelans. The tourists fill the island, mostly during Christmas time, Holy Week and from July to mid-September.
The island of Margarita has a lot of bitches, some lonely, others with lots of people. There is also an amusement park with an exciting roller coaster. Playa El Agua, to the north of the island, is one of the most popular beaches with kilometers and kilometers of fine sand. Playa El Yaque (El Yaque beach) is internationally known as an excellent place to do windsurf.
Parguito beach (Playa Parguito) and Playa Caribe (preferred among suffers) and also Punta de Arena are very popular beaches as well.
Puerto Cruz beach is one of the most visited by foreign tourists. Playa Manzanillo has also to be mentioned, a beach characterized by its calm .waters almost all the time and Parque el Agua, a water park where everyone can have fun!
Playa El Yaque (El Yaque beach), located 5 minutes away by car from the airport, is wanted not only by surfers or people who wants to practice kitesurf in the Caribbean, but also by families with children: a gentle wind, low-deep waters and sun all year long.
Playa Parguito (Parguito beach) is also wanted almost exclusively for the same characteristics, optimum restaurants, bars and beach umbrellas and deck chairs available for renting. At the end of the island there is a small hill where one can appreciate the beautiful view of the beach and towards Tirano.
Margarita Island is truly a special place where to spend an unforgettable vacation.