Los Roques, Venezuela
Los Roques is an archipelago that is part of the South Antilles, located in the Caribbean Sea, 166 km north of the coast of Venezuela. This is one of the few places on the planet that has retained its original beauty and exceptional brightness of colors. In 1972, a National Park was created on the archipelago. Many islands are completely closed to the public, and tourists are provided with a recreational zone, which includes the islands of Gran Roque, Madriski, Francisco, Cayo Pirata, Kraski, Nordiski and many small islands. Nature has given Los Roques an amazing variety of landscapes: impenetrable mangroves are adjacent to lagoons, picturesque rocky shores are replaced by serene bays, and salt deposits turn into white sandy beaches.
Gran Roque is the main city of the island of the same name in the Los Roques archipelago. The small fishing town is home to about 1,200 people who fish for lobster, tropical fish and sea shells. It is the only inhabited island in the archipelago. Here you can rent a boat and take a trip to other islands of the archipelago. Gran Roque is notable for its abundance of brightly painted houses and an 1870 lighthouse that offers stunning views of the area.
In the 16th century, the archipelago was discovered and described by the Spaniards. But they did not show much interest in it and did not establish any settlements here. Fishermen and pearl divers from neighboring islands moved here. The Spaniards did not see the point in maintaining strong ties with the archipelago and in control over it, so pirates began to settle here. However, they did not stay here for a long time – the islands were still sparsely inhabited. In the 19th century, the inhabitants of the Netherlands Antilles sailed here for corals and mangrove wood. And in the XX century. the islands were gradually settled by fishermen from Margarita Island. From the 50s, their products began to be in great demand on the continent, which drew the islands into the country’s general economic market. By presidential decree on August 8, 1972, the Los Roques archipelago was declared a National Park. By the middle of the 20th century, the richness of the archipelago’s waters had greatly decreased due to the growth of the fishing industry. Lobsters and king clams were particularly hard hit by fishermen. Therefore, the government has designated the archipelago as a protected natural area with limited access. Now, after the creation of the National Park, the archipelago receives the main income from tourists.
The archipelago is a wonderful place for fishing. Thanks to the extraordinary, crystal clear coastal waters, as well as coral reefs that protect the archipelago from ocean waves, Los Roques is also an ideal place for diving and snorkeling. The state of the coral formations in this area is recognized as the best in the entire Caribbean Sea, and the diversity of life in the local bizarre underwater forests attracts travelers from all over the world.
The flight from Caracas to Gran Roque takes 40 minutes, the local airport receives all flights from the mainland. The nearby islands can also be reached by water (excursion boats run).
in the archipelago is always sunny and warm; the hottest months of the year are August and September; at night, the air temperature at any time of the year can drop to + 18 ° С; the islands are characterized by strong winds.