According to cheeroutdoor, the Los Roques Archipelago, located in the Caribbean Sea north of Venezuela, consists of four large and 350 small islands, separated by shallow lagoons with clear blue water and a sandy bottom.
According to businesscarriers, the largest atoll in the Caribbean has a coral reef on the outside that protects all the islands from strong ocean currents. For diving, the conditions here are the most ideal. It is as if nature itself has tried to ensure that nothing prevents diving enthusiasts from traveling.
How to get there
Only by plane, as ferries from the continent do not go here. The airport is located in the city of Gran Roque on the island of the same name. Due to its small size, it accepts only small aircraft and medium-sized liners. Planes from Caracas and Porlamar fly to Gran Roque several times a week.
History of the archipelago
Once the islands of Los Roques were a haven for Caribbean pirates, famous throughout the world for their love of freedom and recklessness. If Jack Sparrow from the famous “Pirates of the Caribbean” really existed, he would probably live here. After all, it was from Los Roques that the bloodthirsty corsairs made their raids on the peaceful settlements of Venezuela and Colombia. And it was here that their base was located – a harbor with pirate ships.
For a long time, pirates considered Los Roques their home (if thieves and murderers had such a concept at all), but in 1529 their cozy nest was “covered”. Most of the corsairs who terrorized the civilian population were destroyed. Someone managed to escape to the sea. Gradually, the islands became empty, only occasionally treasure seekers came here, believing that somewhere here, in the ground or at the bottom of the sea, in the sunken Spanish galleons, untold riches lie.
If Jack Sparrow from the famous “Pirates of the Caribbean” really existed, he would probably live on Los Roques.
In 1972, in order to protect the ecosystem of the islands, the Venezuelan government decided to designate the Los Roques archipelago as a national park. Every year it is visited by more than 70 thousand tourists, most of them are Venezuelans themselves who come here for the weekend from Caracas.
One of the main treasures of the archipelago is the white sandy beaches. Fringed by turquoise seas and clear blue skies, they seem to be specially made for a serene holiday. There are no beaches on the main island of Gran Roque, they are all located on neighboring islands. The most visited are the beaches of Madriska.
Hotels and infrastructure
There are no hotels and nightclubs, restaurants and cafes on the islands! You can stop in a special recreational area in the northeast of the archipelago. In Gran Roque there are family hotels with several rooms. Housing is quite modest, so you should not count on deluxe rooms. People come here not for convenience, but to enjoy unity with nature.
7 things to do in the Los Roques archipelago
- Visit an underwater rock in the northeast of the island of Gran Roque. This is one of the most mysterious places in the entire archipelago. From the bottom of the sea, the rock rises 45 meters. The visibility here is simply fantastic – you can see everything at a distance of 30 meters. The rock is perfect for diving.
- Visit the lagoon system in the southeast of the Los Roques archipelago, surrounded by mangroves and beaches with surprisingly fine sand. The depth of the lagoons is 1-2 meters. The conditions for snorkeling are simply amazing.
- Climb to the very top of the old Dutch lighthouse, located on the island of Gran Roque, and admire the stunning views of the surroundings. The best time to visit the lighthouse is 17.30-18.30, when the sun goes down and you have the opportunity to enjoy the divine sunset.
- Dive deeper and see the sunken ships with your own eyes. There is definitely no gold in them, but there are plenty of famous Caribbean
- Catch a wave with a surfer and a kite. Such water entertainment is called kiting. The wind is not too strong on the archipelago, so there is no need to worry that the kitesurfer will be carried far into the ocean.
- Order sea fishing. The choice here offers such ways to catch fish, such as flying or trolling. Most often, albula is caught on a bait. But if you’re lucky and luck smiles broadly with all its 32 teeth, then you can get tarpon, mackerel or barracuda.
- To snatch a sea shell with you, to pour a handful of fine white sand, a pebble or another particle that would symbolize this wonderful land, there will be no problems at customs. Venezuelans, unlike the Egyptians, are more generous with their “national treasure”.
Flora and fauna
Due to their status as a national park, the islands of Los Roques have preserved their coral reefs in their original form. But the world of flora and fauna has suffered significantly due to the deteriorating state of the environment. The world of terrestrial animals is especially poorly represented. Only lizards, iguanas and some insects have survived to this day.
But the aquatic fauna is represented in all its diversity: more than 200 species of fish, about 200 species of crustaceans, 45 species of starfish and hedgehogs, 140 species of molluscs. Dolphins, turtles, whales and stingrays are also found in coastal waters.
The only inhabited island in the archipelago is Gran Roque. There is a small fishing town in which about a thousand people live. The main occupation of the local population is fishing and tourism. By the way, it was due to the fault of local fishermen, who sold all their catch to the continent for a good reward, that there were practically no lobsters and royal clams left on the islands.