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“Great weather but POOR RESORT”

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Dunes Hotel & Beach Resort
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Pedro Gonzales
Halifax, Canada
Level Contributor
115 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
“Great weather but POOR RESORT”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 15, 2013

Best weather we have had in 18 yrs of trips south! Hotel not great &
food was ROTTEN....so much worse than Cuba. Stayed in the premium part but that is very basic, not a place for your suitcase or even a chair, also poor lighting. Our maid Dolly was wonderful and pleasant which many of the staff were not. In the main buffet Jose was GREAT & Louisa always had a smile.
Management need to get control of the problems or this place will be
closed soon, Juan Carlos, GM/owner spoke to us & asked how we
were enjoying our vacation...my husband said he wished he could have
left after 1st week & just lost the money for the 2nd. He told us he had
been traveling to promote hotel & had returned to find the problems.
Just more blah, blah blah as far as I'm concerned. Saw some new staff
the last few days we were there & to be honest a bit better service but
no improvement in the food. My husband was sick with gastric issues
the last 4 days & still has them 2 days later.
Took 6hr day trip with Cruisin_N_Style which we really enjoyed, an
island tour of all the highlights so later we took taxis from hotel to go
where we wanted.(Marcella & Steve)
Would return to Margarita but not the Dunes.

Room Tip: Try another hotel!!!
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
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2 Thank lynnsurette
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Toronto, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 11, 2013

To Whom it may Concern,

This is the first time in over 30 years that we have been moved enough by our recent vacation to contact the travel organizers. We have waited 3 weeks in order to make sure we are being objective and reasonable, rather than venting as soon as we returned to Canada from our recent vacation. It is in many ways difficult to classify the week away as a vacation as it had all the earmarks of a time period to be endured rather than enjoyed. It is difficult to know where to start but the most obvious place is that the hotel and resort was sub standard and on most rating scales would never even achieve a single star. The accommodations which were premium and for which we paid extra were anything but premium. The room consisted of a bed, a dresser, one night table, one lamp and a very tiny 11“ TV. There was no chair in the room and the one small light was inadequate and impossible to use as a reading light. There was a small patio outside our door but again, no furniture and no chairs. The drawers in the dresser were broken and did not close. There was yellow danger tape blocking off many staircases, washrooms and walkways throughout the complex. The rooms, particularly the common eating areas and restaurants were not clean and there seemed to be no efforts made to sweep the floors, pick up the garbage or clean the tables before new guests sat down. The tablecloths were all food stained and rarely changed. The meals were also sub standard and almost inedible. It seems that Venezuela is facing food shortages and there were many days without bread for breakfast, rarely any fresh fruit and if there was fruit available it was limited to mushy cantaloupe or melon. We saw watermelon twice the week we were there but by the time we got our plates, it was all gone and not replaced. The snacks by the pool were limited to hamburgers (pre cooked and most days without buns) and hot dogs - sometimes on a piece of bread because there were no buns. The buffets had trays of inedible fish and meat that defies description and again could not be eaten. The only saving grace was that each day there was a pasta station and our meals consisted of pasta and a sauce. Deserts would disappear as soon as they made it to the cooler and there was always a line up for the scarce sweets. We could go on but it wouldn't be worth it and only brings back memories of anger and frustration. We will not take another Nolitours trip nor will we recommend the agency to any of our friends or acquaintances. As well, I did become quite ill the latter part of our week away and upon return visited the emergency department or our local hospital. After tests, it turned out that I had picked up a food borne parasite that had to have come from the hotel as we did not venture beyond the hotel during our week away.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
8 Thank Brian O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Pedro Gonzales hotels

Toronto, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 11, 2013

My husband and I just came back from this resort (Jan. 30 - Feb. 6, 2013). I wish I had not read all the negative reviews re this resort prior to our trip. I don't know why travellers would give this beautiful resort such negative reviews. The grounds were well-kept with beautiful gardens. The staff were more than friendly. If a staff member could not speak English there was always a staff member close by who did. We stayed in the premium (newer) section. Our room was clean, bed was comfortable, plenty of hot water and pressure and great air conditioning. Yes the surf is rough most of time but the beach is beautiful. If you do not want to swim in the rough surf, the resort has a huge, l-shaped pool, a large circular pool, a kiddies pool and another pool in the premium section. They have shuttles that run approximately every 5-10 mins that will take you anywhere in the resort if you don't want to walk. If you want to walk there are plenty of shortcuts to get to where you are going quickly. There was plenty of variety in the food at their 5 different restaurants. As none of their food is processed and they do not use spices, their food may seem bland to some. Drinks were plentiful, lots of variety and no shortage of liquor in each one. My husband and I both thought that this resort gets an "A" for effort. The Jeep Tour is a must....so much fun and you get to see a lot of the beautiful island....value for your buck! Yes outside the resort you see a lot of people living in poverty which is not unlike a lot of other Caribbean destinations. The airport security is over-the-top when you are leaving Margarita Island as the National Guard are searching for smugglers of cocaine.....nothing else. They are just doing their job and it is a very slow process as they check every bag of every traveller. Patience is a virture. Our plane left on time. Would we return to this resort? You bet!!

Room Tip: Book a Premium room as the standard rooms are apparently not very nice.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank CheckedInandOut
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 10, 2013

Just a note, I am a seasoned traveller and have had my fair share of resorts that did not match their star rating. However, this trip was the only one that prompted me to actually write a review advising people to stay away. I spent one week on the island of Margarita at this hotel, January 2 to January 9 2013. Despite the hotel being only half an hour away from the airport, we recieved the keys to our room roughly 4 hours after landing. The room was disgusting. The floors were dirty and flooded with water, the plumbing didn't work and the the sheets seemed as if they haven't been changed since the last user. I can't say much about the food being that there was nothing I could actually eat. The selection was small and what they did have was perhaps the worst food I've ever eaten at a resort. I travel quite often, and up until this trip I believed that Cuba had the record for the worst food. However, this resort made Cuba seem delicious. The resort was reflective of the island it was on. We took a trip around Margarita. Along the road, there were endless piles of trash everywhere. However, right beside these heaps of trash were brilliantly colored propaganda posters of the various officials. Perhaps, if they had spent this money on garbage control instead of advertising, the island would be in a much better state. I didn't have the best of luck with the weather, being that I could not step into the ocean without injuring myself. The waves were beyond that of the red flag category. At the time, I did not complain because the hotel could not control the ocean. But then I met a local who told me that this was the situation throughout the entire winter season. Guess the website left that bit out...that the oceanside resort was situated on a useless ocean spot. The road back was even worse than the way there. We left at 2:45 for a 7 pm flight...It became clear why when our bags were taken apart and stripped down at the airport by officials. Apparently it is custom to personally search every, single, passenger on the flight. Stay away.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
7 Thank Alexander L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
kingston
Level Contributor
21 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 10, 2013

We were there Jan.30-Feb6 2013. We found this resort very clean and well maintained. My husband and I have been to Cuba and the Dominican, we found the beds very comfortable and the room very clean. As for the food I could never eat salads in Cuba or anywhere but here I ate them every day. I feel I eat with my eyes if it looks good eat it, if not don't touch. My husband thinks I missed out on alot of good food, but I never starved either I ate what I wouldn't to, it just happened to be alot of pasta and chicken and salads but that didn't bother me at all. At the beach bar you can order of the menu and they have burgers and chicken and porkchops they were my fav there.My husband ate everything and never complained, he liked it all.I agree with not much of a choice but its good. As for breakfast bring on the bacon were canadains!!! served only once in a week ,the sausage looked like mini hotdogs the ham was good have omlets they're excellent or make grill cheese and ham. People are right no english but they try to understand. All in all excellent vacation. But the airport turned me off from going back. They search your baggage about 5 times, then call random people for another check, and in the airport no air so its 110 degrees well they're searching you then before you board another search plus a pat down. I can say been there and got the T-shirt and pics. Resort I give it a desent 3star.

Room Tip: Go premium much better rooms
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank wendy g
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hampton, New Brunswick, Canada
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 8, 2013

Well been here for 3 days now. Dont know what everyone is complaining about. I have a Premium room that is better than average. Food is better than average, not a great selection but lots to eat.
Duuuuuuuuuh your on an island in South America in a Spanish speaking Country where most of the guests are Spanish. What language do you expect them to speak here. I have communicated with everyone fine with my very limited Spanish, you try, they try and then you figure it out, Paitence and a smile goes a long way with these people.
Drinks watered down, Really! water is more expensive than booze here so that dosent make sence, If anything the drinks are too strong unless you tell them to take it easy.
Room has been spotless, asked for extra water and got it every day. Had a problem with my safe, called the front desk and someone was there to fix it in 10 min.
Not sure what some others paid but my trip was around $800 total for an all inclusive trip to South America, you definately get more than you pay for.
I will write a more indept review when I get home just wanted to ease some minds of anyone that will be coming this week.

Room Tip: Pay the extra for the upgrade but I am told the standard rooms arnt bad. Change your money at the be...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
17 Thank Bear M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ontario
Level Contributor
11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 7, 2013

On January 23rd I had the pleasure of staying at the Dunes for a weeks vacation in paradise. I had researched this resort extensively and was aware of all the issues and all the benefits and knew what I was in store for. Most of the reviews on here are very opinionated and I am happy I didn’t listen to what most people say as they are very extreme and over the top. Some people on this site are spoiled and think that every resort is going to be the same in every situation and this is obviously not the case with a resort located in South America, as compared to one in cuba for example.

If you have weighed all the options and had gotten a great deal on the price and you know what you are in for, the week will be good. If you are expecting a 5 star glamorous resort that caters to English speaking people with ice sculptures and meals made for kings and queens, you will not be happy here. This resort is in Venezuela and as such has many difficulties due to it’s location and the state of Venezuela right now. If you are adaptable and can overcome these things, you will enjoy your stay. If not, you will have a bad time and will not enjoy yourself, so for those of you that are set in your ways and expect more, it’s probably best you go elsewhere, research where you are going and do not go and then complain about things you were warned about before you went. You get what you pay for and this is a cheap way to see some of South American, but not in high style, obviously, if you’re not a princess, go for it!!

The staff at the Dunes is mostly friendly but due to the hardships in the country, some of them are not always happy and smiling. This can be changed if you are nice to them and try to communicate with them, in their language. Most of the staff at the Dunes do not speak English. This is not an English speaking country. I would not go to China and expect the Chinese to cater to me in English and did not expect that at the Dunes. I was prepared with my Spanish books and cd’s and was happy to be able to communicate in their language which was an asset. I noticed many drunken tourists yelling in English at the staff because they didn’t understand them, if I worked there, this would upset me also, wouldn’t it upset you too? Smile, be friendly and kind and it will come back to you.

I generally do not go to the tour group meeting on the first day, but did this time and did not regret the hour spent. Go to the tour meeting and learn what you need to know to have a good time here. You will not regret it. The things you learn will keep you from loosing money and keep you from being disappointed or worse, from being sick.

The water at the Dunes is not consumable. The hotel provides you with as much bottled water as you can consume. USE IT. Do not brush your teeth with the tap water or rinse your mouth in the shower. If you do, you will get sick. Be cautious and you will be rewarded with a healthy stay here. Many people on our trip did not do this and were sorry so I want everyone to know this first and foremost. If you follow the rules, you will not regret it. Everyone I spoke to that ended up sick, had the water enter their bodies somehow, used it to brush their teeth, etc, and this is what makes most people sick, not the food. I have been sick in almost every country I’ve travelled to and did not get sick here so if you are smart, you will be fine.

The food at the Dunes is mostly good. Some days it is great but on all days it is not containing a huge selection. When you are creative and can make up your own combinations it is even better. I did not get sick and did not starve but I also did not gain weight. As I understand it, in comparison to the issues the country is facing, the hotel is doing an amazing job with what they have and although I was used to more variety, the food at the Dunes was sufficient and there was always enough to eat, even for me, a picky eater. At breakfast there is an egg station and you can have eggs made any way you like them. Over the week, there was bacon once and sausage 3 times. This is the state of the country, things are just not available, like flour, making bread scarce as well, but there is always something to eat. At dinner every night there is a variety of things, if you run out of options, they have a pasta bar every night. That being said, I had pasta only one night due to not finding adequate food otherwise, the rest of the days, there was always enough of something to eat. The chicken is always good and there is almost always some type of fish. Like most southern destinations, the beef isn’t the best, but still edible and there are always potatoes, steamed rice and some type of salad. The food is not the same as in Canada, you are not going to Canada and therefore should expect different things, this doesn’t mean it isn’t good, just different from what we’re used to. If you can make the food work, your stay at the Dunes will work for you also. Always remember, this is not home and do not expect it to be and it will help immensely!


The A’la Carte is incredible and it is a must to go and try all the wonderful food offered there. I am unsure why the food is so much more tasty at the a la carte than the buffet, but I did find the food improved at the buffet as the week went on. That being said, if you ever need anything the restaurant manager Alberto is always eager to help. When we needed something and we asked, people fell over themselves to help us, so if you do need something, ask and you definitely will receive. One review said there were barely desserts available. One night they ran out and I asked for some and my guests and I received 3 pieces of chocolate rum cake. Delicious. Ask and you shall receive if it is possible. As they say, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar!

The resort in a whole is lovely. It is fairly clean and well kept up. Based on the reviews I was a bit scared but once I arrived and saw things for myself, I really didn’t understand why so many people were so upset about the state of things? I did stay in the premium section but visited others in regular rooms and the ones in the 3… section were of no real difference to mine in the premium 5…. Section. Many people wrote about uncleanliness but I found the hotel to be fairly clean. I wouldn’t eat off the floor but I didn’t expect to so no problem there. I did not get any weird bites, or come home with any fungus on my feet or have any issues with anything. Maybe I have low standards but the place was cheap, the rooms were clean and the resort was adequate for what I paid. I came for hot weather and sun and I got that and much more so I am not disappointed in any way.

The hotel is a bit difficult to get around at first because there really aren’t any maps and with people not speaking English, this was a great challenge to me at first. After a day or two though, I found my way and even some shortcuts. The premium section is farthest from everything but it also has all it’s own ammenties, their own buffet restaurant with food identical to the large buffet, a small pool and it’s own pool bar and another bar open at night that is quite popular near the parking lot. The premium section consists of about 5 or 6 buildings that all start with the #5. My room # for example 53109. There are also 2 buildings that start with 3 that are standard buildings in the same area. I would recommend staying here if you do not want to pay to upgrade to premium as the rooms are very similar and in the same area. If you are picky, stay in the premium section but only expect a normal room elsewhere.

Being in the premium section away from things is not a hinderance as I originally thought it may be. There is a shuttle that goes non stop all day until 2am and the walk to the other side is not far if you don’t care to wait. The best way to walk is to look up for the smaller sized lighthouse in the premium section. Once I figured this out, I could not get lost and was a happy girl. Walking from the premium section to the lobby you can cut through a parking lot (this is not busy or like it sounds, there are just a few vehicles parked here). To the right of the parking lot there is a childrens playground and a path to the beach. This is the fastest way to get there from premium and took us 5 days to figure out so there is a time saver just for you! But as I said, the shuttle is non stop and easy and picks you up and takes you back and forth without issue.

The beach is wonderful, white sand, and hot as you want it. Most days we had clouds and this did not keep out the heat or make the day any worse. It actually helped keep people from getting burned as when the sun is out fully, it is hotter than anywhere I’ve been yet and is amazing. If you are a person who loves waves, you can play in them here for hours. The waves are unbelievable and a lot of fun but extremely powerful. You can not just swim here most of the time. If you are looking for calm turquoise waters, this is not the beach for you. That being said, there are beaches you can go to nearby that have this. The sand at the Dunes is soft and white and you can walk quite a ways before the security guards stop you. The security at the hotel is BEYOND safe for you. They will chase you down the beach to stop you from getting robbed by a bandito and will almost go too far to protect you. I found this both amusing and frustrating.

When at the Dunes, you are constantly reminded of the crime here and to be safe, almost again, overwhelmingly so. I understand why, they want the guests happy and safe but sometimes I almost felt a bit too coddled. One day 2 girlfriends and I embarked on a stroll down the beach. We past the point of security and the guard did his best to stop us 3 lovely ladies. One of my friends is from Argentina and assured the guard in Spanish we had nothing of value on us, no money, not even cameras and would be okay. He let us go and after walking along farther we noticed there were men hiding where the brush started, lurking in the trees. We got a bit frightened and decided to turn back, no walk along any beach is worth loosing your life or being assaulted and although we most likely would’ve been safe, it isn’t worth taking the risk. The warnings are clear and everyone needs to listen to them. Do not wear expensive jewellery, leave it at home, do not bring fancy cameras or things that people will want to steal. Be smart, be simple and enjoy yourself there without worry and you will have a wonderful time. In the main beach area you can leave your belongings and your bags with no fear. The vendors that work the beach seem to be invited here and are regulars and would loose more by stealing from you than by helping keep you safe. I left my bag daily with ipod, camera and small amounts of money and it was always untouched and I don’t believe it was ever in danger of getting poked through or taken at any time I was there. One thing to note, on the weekend it seems like there are many locals that book the hotel for a weekend trip and the beach was very full Saturday and Sunday. Any other day there were always chairs open, but on the weekends, maybe go a bit earlier and get your spot set up so you won’t be disappointed.


All of the beaches in Venezuela are public. Being a single female traveler this worried me as I’ve never had a public beach at my resort but this was not a problem in any way. The beach vendors actually are amazing there. Get to know them, bring them a drink once in a while and they are the ticket to your trip if you love the beach. Most of them are there daily, can speak enough English to get by and can get you pretty much anything and everything you may want to get your hands on.

George – sells carvings out of the local stone there. He has masks, parrots, snakes and also sells some fedoras for the beach. He is a good guy and will help you find things you are looking for otherwise. Bring a servasa along your route and he is even happier to help.

Ildy – braids hair and does an amazing job. She has 5 kids and is a really nice lady and will bargain with you or even come in when she is off if it works for you.

Carmen – braids hair also and also does an awesome job. She along with the other 2 are on the beach almost every single day.

Havier – henna tattoos, I saw some of the best henna tattoes I’ve ever seen done by this guy and got one done myself. They range in price from $5usd and up depending on the size. He has 2 books to choose from and mine from 2 weeks ago is still looking just like new. Havier also sells things on the beach and can get you items upon request. He has pearls also that are from margarita and for about $10usd he will even size them for you on the spot!

Susan – does massages under the tent on the beach. It is the first one if you are walking from the main resort area and the massage I got from her was one of the best I’ve ever had. $15 usd for 45 minutes, $10 for 30 minutes and worth every penny. I also had a massage from Susans co worker, I didn’t get her name, it was good, but not as good. Hold out for susan if you can. The hotel also does massages and they are about the same price but they will not do them on the beach.

Edith – Outside the big buffet there is one vendor set up with small trinkets and souvenirs who I bought all my items from. Her name is Edith and she is adorable. She sells necklaces, shotglasses, wallets, all those type of things. She will give you a better price (slightly) as I found out most will in USD than in Bolivares. She will also break up your USD if you have bigger bills like $20 or $10’s that you need smaller. I brought all usd, $40 worth of $1’s and $40 worth of $5’s and lots of $10s and used this my whole trip and did not need bolivares. They also love Canadian money which I found out on the last day and will take it over usd but do not take our loonies and toonies.

During the day there is a beach restaurant which is a buffet and also has a menu. Most all inclusive clients get to order from the menu for free but there is nothing of great worth there. Their version of burgers, which are surprisingly good and hot dogs and chicken sandwiches and fish and fries. Again, do not expect the food to be the same as home, and you will not be disappointed. The buffet seems to be the same at all the restaurants. Usually some type of salad, pasta salad, rice, fish and the meat of choice for the day which may be chicken, pork or beef. All is good and edible and although there isn’t huge variety, there is always something you can eat and if you are creative, something you can combine to make it even better. If you are going to the dunes to eat gourmet food, you will be utterly disappointed. If you are eating at the Dunes to sustain yourself, you will be happily surprised.


Bolivares – Do NOT BUY THESE IN ADVANCE!! Bolivares is the local currency and most smaller places, if you go into town etc all deal in this currency. Do not change more than you need and do not get this currency before arriving in margarita. The bank will give you a rate 4 times less than you will get from the local beach vendors and you will have much more to spend if you do this correctly. There is no rush. Bring smaller usd and cdn with you as if you use debit or charge you will get the exchange rate of the bank which is very bad. Once you arrive keep your funds in the safe and be smart about your money. Don’t flash it around. Although I did not convert my money I know many people who did so at the beach restaurant and the beach shop. You will find both easily and will figure out the money quickly when you arrive. If you need more help or want more info, email me and I will happily share what I have learned. If you are leery or bad at math, just bring smaller US bills as I did and you will not have any problems. I worried about this a lot and did not need to so if you are the same, don’t worry, it’s easy and not an issue.


Every night the animation team puts on a show. I only saw a few and they were good as compared to other resorts I’ve been to, the couples show, pop night where they mimick performers like gaga, rihanna, etc, local dance shows, an African night, etc etc. The show is on at 10pm and before there is a kids show that the guests’ kids can perform in. After the show the disco opens and is mostly salsa, meringue and local spanish music. They do have dance music that we listen to and will play it upon request. Most nights at the disco though it is Spanish music and people dancing and again, this is why you are in a different country so enjoy it, learn the dances and have fun! So many people I met complained that they hated the disco because they didn’t know the music. This is why I travel to learn about other peoples culture. If I want to go dancing and listen to the usual stuff, I would go out in Canada, right? The locals are happy to teach you and are patient in their dances and the animation staff goes to the disco on more popular nights and they do the dances they teach after the show, such as a gangnam style routine they do and some others and it is fun. The disco is more popular on the weekends as with most bars but if you want to have fun, wrangle up a bunch of your friends and all go together and make a night of it that way. Just a note that the beach is closed at night and security stays at the entrances. This is again, for our safety and it is dangerous to go there alone at night so be smart and don’t be silly and act like a spoiled brat. These things are in place for our protection and the security staff knows what they are doing, trust them for your own safety.

Tours: there are many tours and many tourguides available. You can book a tour through anyone anywhere and it is very easy to do so. I personally chose a guy I met on trip advisor named Marcos Ochos and I highly recommend him. He is not the same Marcos that works through Nolitours at the hotel but works for himself and is on the beach everyday in his marcos tours shirt. He can also be emailed directly at marcostours@yahoo.com. Personally, if you can trust someone other than the hotel moneymakers, this is the best local I found to do so. I booked a tour with him to go to angel falls for a day. Marcos drives you to the airport and you take an 18 seater plane over angel falls, land in Canaima park, hike in the jungle through 2 other waterfalls, have lunch and return. I paid upon arrival and the day before the tour, as I was warned it may be, the trip was cancelled due to a faulty plane. Marcos had someone at the beach find me with a cell phone so he could tell me the news and then met me the next day to return my payment with huge apologies, even though he warned me this could happen. In leui I booked a jeep tour that everyone I’d met had gone on and was all the rave and was not disappointed in any way. The jeep tour is a great value and if you are only doing one excursion this is probably the best one to do. It is all day and you see many parts of the island and for the money it is a really good deal!

I also booked a tour to Cubagua island where you swim in calm waters, can snorkel and then go to the mud mineral lagoon which has healing properties for the skin. You also get alcohol and a nice lunch and a catamaran trip there and back. It was a good day, however, I spoke with many people that went on a similar trip to Coche island and they enjoyed this much more.

As for snorkeling, I was told by someone I met that the trip to Los Frailes was one of the VERY BEST snorkeling trips they’ve ever been on and the underwater view was like a live aquarium. Although I did not do this tour, I highly regret missing it and if I were to ever go back to margarita, I would do this tour first and foremost!!! I brought my own gear thinking I could just snorkel anywhere I went but this isn’t the case here and I was disappointed that I did not opt to do the tour to los frailes. Upon my research I didn’t find anyone really suggesting it or raving about it and I wish I had of had someone tell me to pick this trip so for you, this is what I am trying to do for your trip. If you do take my advice and go, please post photos for me as I missed out and would love to see some of what I missed.

Bring lots of pens, when you arrive at the airport in Porlamar you have to fill out 2 documents, they are extremely ridiculous, one asking you to advise not only the quantity of what you’ve brought itemized, but also the value. For example, clothing, you are asked to list how many pieces you’re bringing in, along with their monitary value. The list includes things like toiletries, medicine, electronics etc, AND you get to sit on the floor at the airport and fill these forms out upon landing. Our flight was delayed 5 hours and this made our arrival more miserable than anyone wanted but I think if I’d known about it in advance, like the other challenges with this resort, it would’ve made it a bit easier to deal with upon arrival! On the way out you stand in line for about an hour and have your bags thoroughly searched by the military. Like other strict countries, this is normal but here they are actually very nice and smile and joke with you. Be patient, this is their job and what else do you have to do waiting at the airport. The adventure is what you make it! Make it great and it will be. Act sour and that is what you will get!

Being able to speak a fair amount of Spanish I spoke with some of the locals that work at the resort and took the time to try and understand why there is not a lot of food, why the crime is the way it is, why some of the rooms have mould, why this resort isn’t what some people would expect or want it to be. These people are not lazy or ignorant, they are doing the best they can with what they have available to them. Every country is different and there are reasons for everything that happens in life. Try and understand these things before complaining and whining about not having a normal hot dog in a foreign country or bread where the locals can’t get their hands on a bag of flour because it just isn’t available and try and appreciate the things they are offering you and the differences we share. Be grateful we are spoiled in Canada and have so many luxuries and appreciate them instead of wanting to have the same thing wherever you go. Life will be easier if you enjoy the good and let the bad slide away. If they make you empanadas, try empanadas, don’t go searching for French fries and hamburgers that won’t be the same as the ones you get at home. You are not at home and things will be different.

If you have any questions, just as many many people helped me prepare for my visit, I am more than happy to help you with yours! Send me an email and I will share whatever I can with you.

If you go to the Dunes, I wish you a wonderful time! And at some point (sunset is best) put on some sneakers and take a hike up the lighthouse mountain. Most likely, as in our case, security will blow their whistle and follow you up to protect you from banditos, but it was well worth the pictures I got to tempt danger and the view from there is amazing!!! Good luck and happy travels!!!

Room Tip: the rooms near the premium section are great if you dont want to pay extra to upgrade, the building...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled solo
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11 Thank adventurerontario
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Dunes Hotel & Beach Resort

Property: Dunes Hotel & Beach Resort
Address: Calle Campo Elias | Sector El Pueblito, Pedro Gonzales, Margarita Island 6301, Venezuela
Phone Number:
Location: Venezuela > Insular Region > Coastal Islands > Margarita Island > Pedro Gonzales
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Pedro Gonzales
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:5 star — Dunes Hotel & Beach Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 578
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Dunes Hotel And Beach Resort
Dunes Hotel Margarita
Dunes Resort All Inclusive Beach
Dunes Beach Resort
Dunes Hotel & Beach Resort Margarita Island, Venezuela

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