Just returned last night from a short yet wonderful trip. My boyfriend and I had been looking at deals for two weeks when we finally decided on a bit of an adventure in Isla Margarita, Venzuela.
We landed in Porlamar, about 45 minutes from the Hotel Flamboyant.
Service/Staff: We were driven in a small air conditioned bus with 5 others. We were checked in within 10 minutes into a room on the second floor by the pool. There are more quiet rooms farther from the pool but the show ends at 11pm so it's never noisy after that. Staff is mostly Spanish speaking but as soon as you smile and show a little bit of effort when trying to speak the language they are helpful, patient and available. Bingo was fun if you win you get a bottle of rhum. Darts is same. Played soccer with some Italians. No gym, not much entertainment.
Rooms: Air conditioning, two double beds, balcony, shower no bath not a lot of hot water but at 34 degrees Celsius everyday didn't need it!! Clean, smelled liked cinnamon.
Food: Real food. Simple and tasty. Salad and fresh raw veggies, rice, pasta, potatoes, cooked veggies, fish, beef and chicken or pork. Grill breakfast omelets or dinner meat. Red or white wine with dinner. Local beers and alcohol available onsite or at the beach. Coffee is delicious.
Beach: 3km long, big" waves and sometimes strong current but no problem swimming. Beautiful sand, some stray dogs but none aggressive, some run down shacks but very lively. Chairs and umbrellas easy to find. Massage on the beach with Martha well worth 250 BsF($12.50USD), Loved her! Lots of people trying to sell you stuff, pearls, bracelets... If you are not interested, just say no and they leave you alone. Trick: don't touch the stuff unless you are interested if you touch whatever they are selling they will get comfortable... Once you say no they shake your hand and go! Good price for sunglasses $10USD or 150-250 BsF. Pearls go to a shop if you want certified, very good deals if you get the pearls mounted back home. Bruno is awesome and friendly, wont hassle and give you a good price. He also makes his own stuff. Jerseys baseball or soccer ask for Jose Antonio, kind man. Tours are way cheaper from the guys on the beach than through your booking company but should it be cancelled for any reason might be easier to get your $ back.
Money: Our Canadian dollar is worth about half of US... Very frustrating. Not worth exchanging at a bank, rate is ridiculous. Bring USD, change it on the beach or even better in the street in Porlamar. It sounds dodgy but it's very common and quite safe. Exchange for USD should be 20BsF : 1 USD up to 25 BsF : 1USD. Canadian is 15 to 20BsF to 1. Euro is 27-29BsF :1
Tours: We did the Colonial History Tour. Good except for the stop at Sigo which is basically a massive North American type mall, some good deals on shoes (Nike). Visited Porlamar, took public transit to center of town. Hot, busy and lots of fun. Empanadas for the corner vendors were delicious!! If you like animals the Labyrith Garden was super. They take injured animals and care for them only to release most back into the wild. We did this with the Colonial tour.
I think that's it. We had a lovely time. Sunny and hot everyday. Can't complain. Other than the return ... Our flight was an hour late and they searched our bags twice. That being said. Chavez passed away the day we landed.