Looking at the stunning picture above you would probably guess that it’s the Maldives in the Indian Ocean. It looks a lot like them, but this group of picture perfect islands is actually right here in the Caribbean. Say hello, or hola, to the islands of Los Roques, you will never want to leave.
Los Roques, a Venezuelan national marine reserve archipelago is among the least visited areas of the Caribbean, at least for us Americans. Located 90 miles north of the central coast of Venezuela, it consists of 40 coral islands sprinkled along with hundreds of smaller islets, sandbanks and flat sandy cays. Gran Roque is the only island with lodging options, mostly charming, small-scale posadas run by Italian expats.
With numerous beaches, this paradise is a haven for tourists (mostly European) to put their feet up and savor the sun and sand in style. Perfect for fishing, diving and snorkeling, Los Roques is a place waiting to be discovered. A day in Los Roques usually goes something like this: You eat breakfast at your posada, then have a boat shuttle you over to an uninhabited cay for the day with a picnic basket full of food, a cooler stocked with drinks, and a big umbrella. Or you charter a sailboat or yacht in Gran Roque and skip from one jewel-like cay to another.
Primarily, a bone fishery, Los Roques also provides great opportunities for snook, baby tarpon and permit during certain times of the year. Furthermore, it is place renowned for its small wade able flats which present wonderful fishing prospects or just floating around doing nothing at all. I’m not a big fishing type person, so you will find me either face down in the clear waters snorkeling or just limin’ with a cold drink. Someone else can catch the fish, I’m here to look at them and eat them.
In the Los Roques archipelago, time has almost reached a stand-still, its natural beauty sustained, surrounded by a special magic that captures everyone including its homegrown people and their way of living. The islands are famous for their diversity of marine fauna including parrotfish, red snapper, dolphin, octopus, shark, barracuda, and the almost-extinct queen conch.
Los Roques Island is practically unknown to tourists, especially when compared with its well-marketed neighbors, Bonaire and Curacao. It is one of the few virgin paradises left in the Caribbean, offering an isolated island experience, with sea birds, pristine underwater life, and beaches bathed by crystal clear waters just begging you for a quick dip.
To maintain the natural environment of Los Roques there are no big hotel chains, no building can be over 2 stories tall. Its varied and interesting fishing combined with a prolific bird life, good quality lodging, and a serene island atmosphere will remain etched in your mind for a long, long time. The worst thing about Los Roques is saying good bye, or adios I should say.
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