Tropical Refuge, Margarita Island, Venezuela
December 22, 2005 – January 5, 2006
4 single Canadian girls average age 32
My friends and I went to Tropical Refuge to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s. Given that this hotel was one of the cheapest options available for anywhere ‘South’, our expectations were not high. We went on the thinking that all we need is a place to rest our head that is close to the beach. Given this, we were pleasantly surprised with this hotel.
Very average, nothing fancy, basic, but extremely clean. Hot water was a luxury, even luke warm water a luxury. On many occasions the shower consisted of a light drip. But whenever we had a problem, they fixed it within an hour. Our two rooms were really spacious, one of them could even occupy 5 people. We were very satisfied with our space. This is a small resort, you will not get lost. Very little English is spoken at this resort, in fact all over Margarita compared to other southern destinations, but we liked this, it had a real Spanish feel to it. The resort also has a great store with some of the best prices we seen on the Island, plus Tony the girl that works at the store is a sweetie. For entertainment, there is a group that comes in every night from about 9 till 11:30. They basically play the same songs in different outfits. But fun is what you make of it.
Short shuttle or 10 minute walk. The shuttle to the beach is always fun with Armando, in his Zebra bus. He really goes out of his way to accommodate the guests at this hotel. Even after his official ‘hours’ are over you will see him picking up guests along the beach and returning them to the hotel. Oftentimes at night, he will provide transport to discos. The beach is beautiful and given that it was high season, jammed packed - although we always got a lounger no matter what time we made it to the beach. There are a lot of waves on this beach, a lot of fun. If you want a calmer beach, you can get a cab to one for less than $5CAD. The staff at the beach club is excellent. They provide excellent service, yummy food, and great drinks with big smiles.
The food at the hotel ranged from horrible to not bad to oh, wow, it’s good tonight. As we were there for 2 weeks we seen the same things over and over many times. Many times we did leave the dining room hungry. Luckily there are many good restaurants at the beach. I highly recommend the Golden Fish. Also there is not a huge selection like some of the bigger resorts we have been too. But part of booking an inexpensive resort was so that we could go out and experience what the Island had to offer. Two of us got sick, but this was probably a combination of many things. The food was always well cooked and strictly followed the time table.
This is where this hotel REALLY excels. Collectively we’ve been to about 6 other resorts in southern destinations and we all agree that the staff at Tropical Refuge was top notch, head and tails above all other places we have been. We always encounter great staff, but the staff here is ‘extra special’. We also noticed the ease with which the people work here, a sign to us that the hotel has good staff management. We made many friends and hope to return to this hotel to see them again. Lots of fun, sometimes going to discos with the guests, always gentleman and ladies. Again top notch. Always made us feel safe, and being Canadian girls, if we overindulged at the Disco, they would keep an eye on us and make sure we made it back to the hotel safely. The hotel put on a good party for Christmas Eve with a special dinner, and for New Year’s, we opted to stay at the hotel, they threw us an excellent party, with lots of fireworks and good times.
The only tours we booked were with Marcos Ochoa of Marcos Tours. What can I say, Marcos is EXCELLENT. His English and knowledge of the Island is way above standard. I found him in advance online and was not disappointed. We took his Jeep Safari, his open jeep takes 6 passengers around the whole Island for the day and includes drinks and lunch. This is a small sized group tour, so you can change it along the way if you like, his service is very personal and exclusive. His rates are also very competitive, a lot cheaper than booking with the hotel. You can reach him at ----, his website is ----. Book with him, you will not be disappointed!! We had booked a snorkeling tour with him, but due to weather conditions, it got cancelled twice, so we asked for another morning exploring the Island with him. During our first tour we seen just about everything, but we had such a great time, we wanted to go out exploring with him again. He’s a great guy with a very nice family.
What can I say, it was a blast, stories to last a lifetime!! There is a local disco on the beach called Woody’s that was always packed… only $10,000 BLV (like $5CAD) and it includes 4 drink tokens. Beer was about a buck CAD, and a B52 about $2.50 CAD. We had many of these, luckily the hotel staff when out always kept an eye on us and our safety.
AMAZING, best time I ever had in my entire life. When I travel I always meet so many amazing people, but the people here, they are extra special. There is just something about them that will keep you wanting to come back. Great people who work extremely hard, know how to have a great time, and seem to be relaxed and enjoying life. So many kind people, it’s not often that vendors on a beach will give you presents when you don’t buy anything, or when someone will give you a little tour around town looking at Christmas lights, or drive you around and insist that they do not want payment. There are people selling things on the beach, but just shake your head, not a problem.
The Island is also very inexpensive, I never felt that I was trying to be ‘scammed’, or pressured to buy anything. I spent about the same as I usual do each week when traveling, but did at least 3 times more things. Great value for your dollar.
I would return to this hotel for the right price - without hesitation, and to this Island absolutely. I can’t say enough about the place. It really is paradise. Go, you won’t be sorry… just be sure to meet up with Marcos of Marcos Tours, and get to know Armando who takes you to the beach… surely these gentlemen were our highlights.
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- Also Known As:
- Tropical Refuge Margarita Island
- Tropical Refuge Hotel Margarita Island