General Info from Margarita Island
Entry Requirements: A valid passport and a visa or tourist card is necessary. Tourist cards are handed out onboard all flights to Venezuela. It is advisable to check the expiration dates of all your documentation thoroughly before you start your trip.
Airlines: You will fly to Caracas first, from anywhere in the world and with practically all major airlines. Then, from Caracas you will fly to the island on one of several local airlines (we recommend Laser or Aserca). You can also fly to the island direct from many parts of the world, mainly on charter flights.
Medicine and Health: There are a number of public and private clinics on the island, along with ambulance and doctor services. In case you require hospitalization, you will find the best medical attention in private clinics (such as Centro Medico La Fe, Clinica Margarita, Clinica Nueva Esparta, Clinica El Valle). You must pay the clinic directly for your treatment and then make a claim for your losses with your own insurance company in your country of origin. You will need your passport as a valid form of documentation, along with a credit card for payment.
Weather: Climate is pretty much constant all year long in Venezuela, with temperatures hovering around 32 degrees Celsius for the most part, with a few exceptions in the winter months where temperatures can dip to 24 degrees Celsius at night. Generally, the climate on the island is sunny, dry and well ventilated all year long. Please take precautions on exposure to the sun's dangerous ultraviolet rays, as they are harsher and more direct here than in other parts of the world due to the proximity to the equator. The island is way beyond the active cone of the many hurricanes that develop in the Atlantic and Caribbean Sea.
Language: The official language is Spanish, although it is fairly common to encounter people in the island (both tourists and inhabitants) that speak English, Italian, German, French, Portuguese and Arab.
Size: The Island has an area of roughly 360,000 square miles. Roads are for the most part paved. You will discover plenty of hidden treasures in the island as you begin to travel along its entire 40-mile length and 20-mile width. Go ahead and discover why life is so laid back here you will feel as though you are in a different planet! There are currently 600,000 people that make a living in Margarita.
Money: Transactions that involve exchange of currency into local money must be done in official banks and exchange houses at the official government exchange rate that applies. It is illegal to exchange money in parallel or grey markets. Credit cards are accepted at the majority of tourist establishments. If you plan to travel to areas well outside the main cities across all of Venezuela, we highly recommend you carry with you a sizable quantity of local money (Bolivar) in cash.
Credit Cards: All major credit cards are accepted in almost all establishments, including Visa, Master Card, Diners Club and American Express, along with Travellers Checks.
Tipping: It is customary for restaurants, bars and clubs to add 10% service tip to the bill. However, it is recommended and typically customary to tip an additional 5 to 10% if service has been exceptional. Maids, baggage handlers, tourist guides and helpers should be tipped accordingly. There are a lot of good people in the island that are always willing to give tourists a hand, as many of them don't earn much money to begin with.
They will appreciate your generosity a great deal and you will have done a good deed too. However, the usual warning must be given here, just like anywhere else: always be careful and keep your eyes open for scammers and unscrupulous people.
Water: It is not recommended that you drink tap water. Bottled or filtered water is preferable.
Transportation: Public transportation in Margarita will take you practically everywhere on the island at a fraction of the cost a taxi will charge. However, buses will often stop anywhere passengers ask the driver to and not necessarily just at scheduled stops, so this is a very slow means of transportation. Car rental places are available in the major city of Porlamar and gas prices are truly out-of-this-world cheap (especially for Americans and Europeans) as petrol is wholly subsidized by the Venezuelan Government.
Electricity: Voltage in all of Venezuela is 110.
Area Code: Dial 58 for Venezuela and 295 for Margarita, before dialing a local phone number.
High Season (Temporada Alta): December to April, and July to September.
Low Season (Temporada Baja): Rest of the year.
If you'd rather vacation when there are not many people then it's best to go during low season, as during high season things are considerably more busy everywhere in the island, especially February ( for Carnival), April ( for Easter), July-August-September (summers are always crowded but fun, lots of people at the beach!), and December ( for Xmas and New Year's.)