This past February 22/23, I got the chance to go to one of the most beautiful archipelagos in the world, Los Roques (translation: The Rocks).
Los Roques is located in the north coast of Venezuela. It is about a 30 min flight from La Guaira Int. airport. You have the option to jump in a puddle jumper (tiny 6 passenger set plane) or a small commercial plane (20 passengers), we took Aerotuy. Ticket price ranges from 1000 BsF to 1500 BsF, depends on the season.
These 350 islands are protected by an NGO that protects all the islands to ensure everything stays in its natural format and maintain the beaches clean. Hence the reason why there is a fee to enter the islands. Nationals (Venezuelan residents) pay 65 BsF (exchange rate can either be $16 or $8...depends if you exchange with the national rate or the black market rate) and tourist pay 135 BsF ($34 or $16).
We flew in at 630am and arrived at 7am to the island of Gran Roque, the largest of all the keys. In this island you can find many posadas (kind of like a hostel but with a home feel to it!) to stay at. Thanks to my father's neighbors, they recommended us to stay at Dona Magalis Posada . For 300 BsF ($75 or $35) a night, per person you get a clean bed with AC in the room, private shower and lunch/dinner is provided. The meals are homemade and organic since everything you eat in these islands are either homemade/grown or caught from the ocean. Don't be surprised if you catch a little critter in your room or in the posada...it's a very humble island experience, you won't find much 'fancy' in Los Roques. But there are nicer posadas if you are looking to up it up a bit more...the most expensive posada is about 800 BsF a night, per person.
I was offered the chance to do a tour of three islands in one day for 130 BsF ($32 or $15). Unfortunately, there wasn't enough fuel in the island so they could only take us only to one island, Crasqui for 100 BsF ($25 or $12). Crasqui is about a 30 mins boat ride from Gran Roque. Once you arrive to the island, all you see is white sand with clear water with windsurfers enjoying the waves as random labs are barking at them from the shore line. It is a walkable island where you get to discover mountains of sea coral, baby hermit crabs, and many more.
During the months of November until April you can find Lobster chilling at the shore line...so we got the chance to pick our own fresh lobster and enjoy 1.5 kilos worth of delicious fresh lobster meat with brown rice and coled slaw. And of course you have to enjoy that with a nice cold Venezuelan Solera Verde beer. All of that is worth 314 BsF which is about $36.94 total...a bargain! I know!!
Since all the islands are sandy white beaches, I highly recommend wearing SPF 30 or higher. I wore SPF 4 in the morning and then later switched to 50 and by that time it was too late, I was EXTREMELY sunburned! Osea bien tostadita! Also I recommend to take a cooler filled with beer, water, and snacks since most boats don't come back to pick you up until later in the afternoon (4/430pm). For snacks, a must is lobster empanadas! Absolutely amazing! it was mouth watering delicious...best empanada of my life!
On our second and final day, we went to Madrisqui which is one of the closest islands to Gran Roque for a cost of 65 BsF pp ($16 or $7). We got a chance to see 6 large orange/red starfishes by the shore. It was awesome to get to hold one since it was licking my hand and its legs would bend when it was out of the water. This island is a bit more occupied with tourist compared to Crasqui, but it had all the beauty that Crasqui has.
This was the most breathtaking beach trip yet. I loved it so much that I will go back when I got back to Venezuela (which I hope it is sooner than later!). If you would like to get more information on how to get to Los Roques and where to stay at...you know where to reach me!