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Margarita 2017 ?

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billybob
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Margarita 2017 ?

Postby billybob » Thu Feb 16, 2017 12:59 pm

I have a female friend heading there soon solo. I know wind conditions should be great, but am somewhat concerned for her safety. I have read that it is turning into more of a party spot with less kiters and windsurfers. Any updates on the conditions there crime wise? Thanks

Beardytello
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Re: Margarita 2017 ?

Postby Beardytello » Tue Feb 21, 2017 12:00 pm

I don't have any first hand knowledge but a quick google search brings up this:

Armed robbery is common throughout Venezuela, including robberies in popular tourist destinations such as Margarita Isle, with most tourist robberies focusing on theft of money, jewelry or electronics, notes the U.S. State Department. Avoid wearing flashy or expensive jewelry, displaying large amounts of cash or traveling with expensive electronics. In addition to armed robbery and pickpocketing, items are often stolen from hotel safes, rental cars and from unattended areas of the beach. At time of publication, kidnappings are becoming more of a problem as well. The U.S. Embassy in Venezuela reports of kidnappings where tourists are followed into a hotel, garage or other area and taken at gunpoint and held in exchange for cash. Remaining alert and aware of surroundings reduces the likelihood of both robbery and kidnapping.

It was the unattended areas of the beach bit that would put me off.

billybob
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Re: Margarita 2017 ?

Postby billybob » Tue Feb 21, 2017 1:23 pm

Thanks for info, I had read similar reports but have heard no first hand reports of Margarita. I know Venezuela is going through tough times now, but have also read similar reports about Brasil. I have lived here in Ceara 4 for four years now and have yet to have a bad experience, although I have certainly heard of a few. I was somewhat surprised not to be able to find any updated travel info on Margarita, it used to be super popular for windsurfing in the 90's and later kiting. Www.Wakeupstoked.com had a blog post from last year with a lot of good info. She mentioned kiting and staying at Coche. Sometimes only 2 other kiters, at most 12 on weekend, 9 meter wind every day. Basic pousada for 5-6 euros a night, all inclusive for around 30. Sounds interesting

vannibombonato
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Re: Margarita 2017 ?

Postby vannibombonato » Wed Feb 22, 2017 4:10 am

I have been to margarita with some friends a few years ago.
I frequently travel around the world. I regularly go to Ceara by the way.

Margarita Is ugly, it's dirty, it's dangerous beyond belief, the police is corrupted beyond belief, armed robberies are a daily thing, the economic system is so f-up it's hard to even find a decent place where you can get a beer...I mean, Just don't go there, in our endless weeks there we witnessed robbery on the beach (girlfriend with camera taking pictures to the kiter robbed with a machete on the beach), a homicide, police putting cocaine in our suitcases at the airport, etc etc etc. we are talking about a group of big guys in their 30s...on the plane back to Europe half of the people had similar stories to share.

I had sweared to myself to never-ever go back to Venezuela, and I would gladly go visit Baghdad.

If your benchmark is Ceara, forget about it. The world is a big and beautiful place, visit every other country in the world first, then do it a second time, and then maybe plan a visit over there.

By the way, the kite spot was absolutely ugly, but that was not really the problem.

hookedcook
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Re: Margarita 2017 ?

Postby hookedcook » Wed Feb 22, 2017 5:45 am

My Brothers wife is from there. I have been there. Around 6 years ago for 2 weeks. It was shady then and I could not imagine it now. My brothers mother in law is living with them in Spain right now because the shortage of medicine, food, and the crime. The crime has always been there but not the desperation like their is now. Even back when I visited I carried a fake wallet with some cash in case I got robbed I could hand over something. We stayed at her family's house. At night we would not unlock the gate to go outside until the cab was pulled right up front. You open the door and get into the cab right away. Same thing coming home.

As for the US embassy warnings, they usually don't mean much. I'm a yacht chef living in the Caribbean and take 4 months off a year traveling. I've spent about 10 years living on islands and 3rd world places. Most countries that are fun, the US embassy has a warning on it!! It's a load of crap if you have some street smarts. BUT, not really sure why anyone in the world would go to Venezuela right now???? Kiting there is good but nothing special. I just got back from 4 months in Mexico and South America. Kited Brazil and Peru. Why chance things when Brazil, D.R., Cuba, ( Paracas) Peru, Mexico, Aruba, Bonaire, Colombia, ect. You get my point. Either she isn't really thinking or she is going somewhere just to say "I've been there"?????

hookedcook
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Re: Margarita 2017 ?

Postby hookedcook » Wed Feb 22, 2017 6:13 am

billybob wrote:Thanks for info, I had read similar reports but have heard no first hand reports of Margarita. I know Venezuela is going through tough times now, but have also read similar reports about Brasil. I have lived here in Ceara 4 for four years now and have yet to have a bad experience, although I have certainly heard of a few. I was somewhat surprised not to be able to find any updated travel info on Margarita, it used to be super popular for windsurfing in the 90's and later kiting. http://Www.Wakeupstoked.com had a blog post from last year with a lot of good info. She mentioned kiting and staying at Coche. Sometimes only 2 other kiters, at most 12 on weekend, 9 meter wind every day. Basic pousada for 5-6 euros a night, all inclusive for around 30. Sounds interesting
When I was there, it was 15-40+ kites out a day. It was busy, similar to any other busy kite beach around the world. Maybe, the fact there are only a handful of kiters there now is some kind of clue???? Considering 15 years ago people traveled from all over the world to kite and wind surf there. I was looking to go bone fishing in Los Roques 2 years ago. The flights were already starting to get inconstant there and that was 2 years ago. It's only gotten worse.

It was dirt cheap. Not sure whats going to happen now with inflation is projected to go up 1000+% this year after the government just printed a bunch of money with nothing to back it up. They raised minimum wage 5 times last year. Maybe Central Africa or Syria has some good kite spots there. I hear there's like only like one kite out at each spot. But as for Margarita, I haven't been there in years. I'm not one to bash places that I haven't traveled to recently. Wish her the best of luck, just tell her to watch her back and be smart.

nickfox
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Re: Margarita 2017 ?

Postby nickfox » Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:48 pm

TL;DR not worth the effort or risk.

I was in Venezuela at the start of 2016. we did Los roques for the first week and Margarita for the second. We knew it was going to be a bit dodgy from various forum posts about the areas. What we weren't prepared for was the cash situation.
YOU CANNOT GET MONEY ANYWHERE! there are NO ATM machines. You cannot pay by card because the official exchange rate is not used anywhere, only black market prices. You cannot get money from banks for the same reason, you cannot get dollars.

I was warned of the dangers for tourists by 2 Venezuelan ladies I was sat next to on the plane, they had left the country several years ago for europe because of the increasing danger in the country. Their hand luggage was stuffed full of grocery items, instant coffee, dried milk etc.. as the country is in such a poor state there are limited supplies of basic items.

Then we were warned again by another guy while we were waiting to go through passport control. He said don't take a taxi from the airport, they're not to be trusted. call ahead to our hotel and get them to send a taxi. He was an ex-tourist manager but has now moved outside Venezuela too. He said don't leave the hotel for anything, don't walk down the beach and don't go anywhere after 5pm. That was Simon Bolivar international, Maiquetia. We stayed at the nearest Marriot and flew out the next morning to los roques. no problems at the hotel, we changed some dollars for Bolivar with the taxi guys out front of the airport, but they were very nervous about the deal.

You have to take US dollars in cash and change it on the black market. We found a few places in los roques we could change money, in our posada and with the island ferry kiosk. That was kind of exciting as we had a backpack full of cash.
Los roques is paradise, no mistake, the water glows a fluorescent turquoise, a large ray swam past us in the shallows at one kiting spot, just amazing.

We then flew back to Somon Bolivar int and got a connection over to Margarita, we needed a bit of cash and did a dodgy deal with a porter round the back of the airport in a service lift that stank of piss, that was an experiance. He had wedges of cash shoved down his socks!. We stayed at El Yaque all week, in 2 beach front hotels, we changed half way through due to a cockup with our booking. The first hotel RAN OUT OF WATER EVERY DAY! There is no fresh water on the island and there used to be a pipeline, but it was shut off, so fresh water is now brought in by tanker. many hotels suffer the same problem. our second place seemed much nicer and had water every day.

We changed dollars regularly for wads of cash, either in the restaurants along the beach front or in the local booze shop. Again people were very nervous about the exchanges and were constantly on the lookout for police.
One night on the beach my friend got mugged by the cops. They came along and threatened to arrest him, he didnt have his phone or wallet but did have his E-cig so they confiscated that and walked off. After speaking with a british couple out there they said the cops regularly take the cash out of peoples wallets and are not to be trusted. she worked out there for 8 years apparently but not any more.

we then ran out of dollars 3 days before we were leaving. luckily we found a really nice british guy who was able to chip us some dollars and we paypal'd him back. We took just under $1000 US, our budget was complicated by the fact our hotel had no record of us booking and we had to pay cash, no card, no paypal.

El Yaque is absolute garbage for kitesurfing. its was cross shore in the afternoon and was super gusty every day. It seems like a great place for windsurfing though.

We got a ferry boat over to Coche a few times and that was a great flat water off-shore wind spot with clean wind. But there's not much there, just the kite school. They sell beer so there's that. no food over there though, not near that end of the beach anyway. Also the ferrys were extremely unreliable, we sat on the jetty one day for 2 hours and eventually went back to the hotel.

I'm not usually too concerned with health and safety stuff but half way across to coche on one trip the driver, while smoking a cigarette, pulled the fuel line out of one barrel dripping petrol all over it and shoved it onto another. no screw cap or seal, just a fuel line into a plastic fuel drum.

overall, los roques was fairly safe and El Yaque didn't seem too bad, but getting there through Meiqetia, the cops, finding money and the stories we heard it was just too un-nerving.

never again.


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