Tourism is of great importance to the economy of Margarita Island. Despite this, the island's own moderate, always ventilated climate, along with the laid-back mentality and folklore of its people, contribute to a strange phenomenon, readily noticed by all residents and visitors alike: clocks seem to move their hands slower here than in other parts of the world. Margarita is known for the charisma, the friendliness and the cleverness to improvise of its natives. The island's many hidden beauties can be readily and easily discovered from wherever you are. Surprise yourself!
Margarita Island is located on the northern coast of South America, in the Caribbean Sea. Along with its sister islands, Coche and Cubagua, Margarita makes up the state of Nueva Esparta. Politically and culturally, Margarita is part of The Bolivarian Republic Of Venezuela. It is the only island of the Minor Antilles that has always been either natively ruled or ruled only by the Spanish Empire throughout its history. It has an area of just over 360,000 square miles, it is located 15 miles from the continent, and has a population of 600,000.
Margarita is one of the primary vacation destinations in the Caribbean Sea. The island has two very different geographic characteristics: the mountainous region La Sierra to the east, where the most inhabited areas of Porlamar, Playa El Agua, Pedro Gonzalez and Juangriego reside, and the peninsula of Macanao to the west, by contrast a very sparsely populated, almost deserted area. Both east and west come together at the center by a strip of land that makes up what's known as the heart of the National Park of La Restinga, a salty lagoon of over 26,000 acres, where a myriad of small canals and tunnels have formed in a vast mangrove swamp-like region, mainly covered by thick water-grown vegetation.
The Concha Pinctada Margaritifera gives Margarita Island its nickname "The Caribbean Pearl." This seashell was a very important economic factor for this region for over 500 years until the 1960s.
The Guayqueries Native Indians were the first inhabitants of the island. Margarita was previously called Paraguachoa Island due to the great abundance of fish in the region. Today, the island natives still follow their ancestors' traditions and customs in essentially dedicating their lives to the art and trade of fishing as their primary means of income.
In order to defend themselves from the attacks of pirates in the region, the Spanish people of the time build enormous castles and fortresses, some of which are still well preserved today as historic monuments.
By the way: Christopher Columbus supposedly spotted Margarita Island but did not disembark on it.
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