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Isla Margarita, La Restinga, Venezuela - National Park, Lagoon & Beach

Venezuela travel blog by Mark Berman - January 2011   » View Photoset (41 Photos)

Mark Berman, South America backpacker for 10yrs!
From the bus terminal 5 blocks from Plaza Bolivar in Porlamar I took a bus westward to La Restinga about 33kms away. I had been invited to
Venezuela Photo - The locals of La Restinga celebrate a party in their costumes, Isla Margarita.
The locals of La Restinga celebrate a party in their costumes, Isla Margarita.
visit by a sweet lady friend I had met the day before while I was walking around Porlamar. I didn't know it then but I would end up staying for 2 weeks living in a house on the beach with a family of fishermen. I was lucky, they gave me free accommodation and food, mainly fish.

Where is La Restinga?

La Restinga is in the middle of Isla Margarita in the area where it thins out and the 2 islands are joined by a bridge. The beach and locals of La Restinga National Park are separated from the mainland by a large lagoon. Boats bring people back and forth. It didn't take too long to get there in the bus, about 35 minutes from Porlamar.

La Restinga National Park Lagoon

It is a beautiful lagoon, there are many little fishing boats that take people across to the beach, usually at a cost. I told them I was coming to visit a friend and mentioned her name and I got across free. The boat ride takes less
Venezuela Photo - Local children of La Restinga play outside before dark, Isla Margarita.
Local children of La Restinga play outside before dark, Isla Margarita.
than 10 minutes before arriving at the wooden jetty where trees overhang the water creating a tunnel and palm trees stand in the distance.

Beach and Seafood Restaurants

Behind the sand and beach there are 3 outside restaurants serving fresh seafood. They bring around the various catches of the day and you pick the one of your choice and they cook it up for you - crayfish, squid, shrimp, prawns, oysters and fillets. The beach is long with white sand and has regular strong waves - good to play in close to the shore. The locals are very friendly and live in the houses along the beachfront.
Venezuela Photo - The local people of La Restinga's houses with palm trees behind on Isla Margarita.
The local people of La Restinga's houses with palm trees behind on Isla Margarita.

Staying With a Fishing Family

I was taken to the house where I would stay for the next 2 weeks. I had my own basic room complete with mosquitos and leaky roof. The family were very nice and hospitable, they worked hard during the day fishing and cooking in the restaurant. I was quickly introduced to many people and relatives in the village. La Restinga is a popular place to spend a day at the beach, take a tour of the lagoon and eat fresh seafood. Each day boat loads of visitors came to do just that, many are from Brazil and of course there are Venezuelans too.

Oyster Collecting for Fishing

The family took me out fishing one day around the lagoon, first we collected oysters from the roots of the trees that grow in and above the
Venezuela Photo - A beautiful day at La Restinga as I arrive back after the day exploring Isla Margarita.
A beautiful day at La Restinga as I arrive back after the day exploring Isla Margarita.
water to be used as bait. The bucket began to fill with fish very quickly, pelicans flew in to sit and watch in the trees overhead. Most days for lunch and dinner we ate fish and arepas although one night we ate a fresh duck from the backyard and another I believe it was goat.

Dominoes, Snooker, Basketball and Soccer

When the tourists have left for the day the locals enjoy playing dominoes, snooker and basketball or soccer on the outdoor court. Many children live here. There is a school for the younger ones at La Restinga while the older kids cross the lagoon each day to get to theirs. It is a slow paced and slightly isolated life here, the boats across the lagoon run only during the day until dark. It is impossible to go
Venezuela Photo - A rare cameo of me playing my guitar at La Restinga, Isla Margarita.
A rare cameo of me playing my guitar at La Restinga, Isla Margarita.
out at night to another part of the island. I spent many days just relaxing, swimming, eating, playing guitar and surfing the internet with the little Movistar modem stick that connects to the cellphone tower that I bought in Porlamar, but the signal was very weak at La Restinga.

Day Trips Around the Island

On other days I went on day trips to different parts of the island. I visited Boca de Rio nearby a few times and I bused all the way to the western side of the island to the Peninsula de Macanao. Another day I visited Pampatar to see the castle and on another La Asuncion, Santa Ana and Juan Griego.

     

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Distances & times (if available) from Isla Margarita - La Restinga (Venezuela) to:


Map location: Isla Margarita - La Restinga, Venezuela. Totally by accident and unplanned I ended up staying at La Restinga at the beach/lagoon with a local fishing family for 2 weeks!
 A : Isla Margarita - Boca de Rio - Venezuela 4 kms 4 kms straight distance | 6mins 6mins by car (6 kms) | 7mins 7mins by bus (6 kms) (6 kms)
 B : Isla Margarita - Porlamar - Venezuela 24 kms 24 kms straight distance | 24mins 24mins by car (28 kms) | 28mins 28mins by bus (28 kms) (28 kms)
 C : Isla Margarita - Juan Griego - Venezuela 21 kms 21 kms straight distance | 39mins 39mins by car (40 kms) | 46mins 46mins by bus (40 kms) (40 kms)
 D : Isla Margarita - La Asuncion - Venezuela 28 kms 28 kms straight distance | 48mins 48mins by car (42 kms) | 57mins 57mins by bus (42 kms) (42 kms)
 E : Isla Margarita - Pampatar - Venezuela 34 kms 34 kms straight distance | 40mins 40mins by car (43 kms) | 48mins 48mins by bus (43 kms) (43 kms)
 F : Puerto La Cruz & Barcelona - Venezuela 115 kms 115 kms straight distance | 2hrs 44mins 2hrs 44mins by car (140 kms) | 3hrs 16mins 3hrs 16mins by bus (140 kms) (140 kms)
 G : Ciudad Bolivar - Venezuela 328 kms 328 kms straight distance | 5hrs 46mins 5hrs 46mins by car (419 kms) | 6hrs 55mins 6hrs 55mins by bus (419 kms) (419 kms)
 H : Ciudad Guayana - Venezuela 331 kms 331 kms straight distance | 6hrs 31mins 6hrs 31mins by car (492 kms) | 7hrs 49mins 7hrs 49mins by bus (492 kms) (492 kms)
 I : Colonia Tovar - Venezuela 350 kms 350 kms straight distance | 7hrs 57mins 7hrs 57mins by car (515 kms) | 9hrs 32mins 9hrs 32mins by bus (515 kms) (515 kms)
 J : Puerto Colombia - Venezuela 382 kms 382 kms straight distance | 9hrs 26mins 9hrs 26mins by car (580 kms) | 11hrs 19mins 11hrs 19mins by bus (580 kms) (580 kms)
 K : Puerto Cabello - Venezuela 431 kms 431 kms straight distance | 8hrs 41mins 8hrs 41mins by car (617 kms) | 10hrs 25mins 10hrs 25mins by bus (617 kms) (617 kms)
 L : Morrocoy National Park - Venezuela 459 kms 459 kms straight distance | 9hrs 23mins 9hrs 23mins by car (674 kms) | 11hrs 15mins 11hrs 15mins by bus (674 kms) (674 kms)
 M : San Felipe - Venezuela 510 kms 510 kms straight distance | 9hrs 32mins 9hrs 32mins by car (699 kms) | 11hrs 26mins 11hrs 26mins by bus (699 kms) (699 kms)
 N : Coro to Puerto Cabello - Venezuela 500 kms 500 kms straight distance | 10hrs 4mins 10hrs 4mins by car (732 kms) | 12hrs 4mins 12hrs 4mins by bus (732 kms) (732 kms)
Driving times are accurate but approximate and are listed in the order of driving distance! Drive times are always affected by weather conditions, the terrain, time of day, altitude, dinner and bathroom stops, animals on the road, protests, a fast or slow bus driver, police checkpoints, border and river crossings, dropping off and picking up passengers etc. These drive times are obtained from Google Maps and are meant as a guide. Note however, times quoted in the main text of this page are exactly as the author experienced it.


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