Los Roques National Park

Venezuela’s Diamond in the Rough


This archipelago of some 150+ islands is exactly the type of scene you would pick from the ‘welcome to paradise’ brochure. You know, the perfect palms swaying in the wind softly playing sentinel over a perfect white sand beach, with crystal clear water as far as the eye can see and warm lapping waves just touching your toes at every other step. A national marine park and protected ecosystem reserve since the mid 70’s, Los Roques is the perfect tranquil escape from the chaotic madness of Venezuela’s capitol and as some may say, most dangerous city in South America, Caracas.

Only 165km due north of Caracas, Los Roques is but a short flight from the main land and well worth the expense. There is only one main island (Gran Roque) where people live, with the majority working in posadas. Los Roques was once designed for fisherman and is now designed for tourists. From the main island you can take a number of small water taxis to any of the smaller cayes and more remote beaches. There are so many options, that depending on which beach you pick, there is a good chance you will find yourself completely alone. The water taxi drops you off, cooler, lunch and beers in hand, you decide a time to return and they agree to pick you up whenever that might be. This is such a good situation I stayed for eight days and seven nights!

Los Roques is a divers and snorkelers paradise. The islands are ALL surrounded by coral reefs and most have easily accessible off shore dive and snorkel sights right from the beach.  For the more ‘off the beaten path’ spots, look for one of the dive operators on the main island of Gran Roque. The archipelago also happens to be windy as f*** creating the perfect conditions for Kite Boarding and wind surfing all year round.

All and all Los Roques is a tropical beach lover’s paradise. Have a look at the photos below. If you’re looking for a Caribbean destination which is unique and widely unheard of, this is your spot. Trust!

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SEE – Photos & Videos

WSE Travel - Los Roques, Venezuela - virgin mary underwater statue

A statue of the virgin mary at one of the dive sights surrounding one of the islands

WSE Travel - Los Roques, Venezuela - shallow water life

A view of some shallow water life – it’s EVERYWHERE!

WSE Travel - Los Roques, Venezuela - Flying into Gran Roque from Caracas

Flying into Gran Roque from Caracas. Amazing!

WSE Travel - Los Roques, Venezuela - Free diving selfie

Free diving selfie 🙂

WSE Travel - Los Roques, Venezuela - Kite Surfer jump

Kite Surfer jumping over some excited children

WSE Travel - Los Roques, Venezuela - sunset over pano III

One of the gorgeous sunsets over Pano III

WSE Travel - Los Roques, Venezuela - Greg Snell

Made it back to Paradise

WSE Travel - Los Roques, Venezuela - dive sites in the archipelago

Some of the dive sights around the archipelago

WSE Travel - Los Roques, Venezuela - Sunset from El Botuto on Gran Roque

Sunset from El Botuto on Gran Roque

WSE Travel - Los Roques, Venezuela - The giant aquarium

Los Roques aka The giant aquarium

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GO – Getting There

The only way to get to Los Roques (easily) is via air. You could probably get there by ship, but there are no ferries and the yacht trip from the main land would most likely take a couple days. You could also sail from Bonaire or Curacao, but again I’m not sure how long it would take. My guess is about 2-4 days.

From Caracas there are a few different airlines offering the trip. I also think you can fly from Aruba which is pretty cool. The return trip to Los Roques should not cost anything over $150.00 USD.

WSE Travel - Los Roques National Park, Venezuela - Map

Los Roques National Park, Venezuela – Map

View Where Sidewalks End in a larger map

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Do – Activities & Attractions

The best thing to see while on the archipelago is Cayo de Mayo in the far south west.  A day trip can be organized at the main pier of Gran Roque or through your posada. On the way to Cayo de Mayo most water taxis will stop at the Los Roques Sea Turtle conservatory. It is an amazing rehabilitation centre with great displays and valuable information on the local marine residents, definitely worth a visit and easy to hit the two birds with one stone.

I would also suggest seeing some of the closer cayes to Gran Roque, There are about four within an easy 10min water taxi ride. They are fantastically close and one can even kayak between them if you’re a keen mariner and don’t mind boats.

Another must see is the cliff jump on Gran Roque. Ask some of the intrepid locals to show you the way. There are a number of platforms ranging from a few meters to 30!! Amazing spot!

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Stay – Accommodation

The best place for a backpacker is El Botuto for sure. This tiny homely accommodation was a highlight of my stay in Los Roques. The staff are incredibly friendly and create a very personal vibe for all guests. You can book a package including breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, all for about $40USD per night. This is incredible considering the locale. A main factor of why I stayed so long, El Botuto made it accommodating and easy! Perfect.

There are a ton of options on Gran Roque, however prices can sky rocket and often are way out of the range of any ‘normal’ South American backpacker. El Botuto seems to be the only establishment taking advantage of this market gap, and they’re doing a great job of it!

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Eat – Restaurants

Coming Soon!

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Time – Seasonality & Schedules

All year round is good to visit Los Roques. It is a gem of the Caribbean Sea. I would suggest going for AT LEAST five days.

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Safety – Possible risks

There is little to no crime on Gran Roque island. It is too small to have any real problems, and everyone relies on tourism to keep the economy afloat. Have no worries in this remote corner of Venezuela.

Please Note: Travel inherently comes with an element of risk (just like crossing the road does). You are putting yourself in elements that are unfamiliar and foreign to your usual lifestyle and with that, become more susceptible to fall victim those who try to play off those unfamiliar to their local scams. There are also potential dangers in the environments to which you may not be accustomed to.

Please take extra care in travelling, ensure that you have adequate medical insurance (accidents seem to happen when you least expect them), and have let a trusted colleague, family member or friend know your whereabouts and activities.

Where Sidewalks End travel advises you to travel at your own risk, and to be extra aware of your surroundings (without letting it spoiling your time).

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Pay – How much does it cost?

The flight from Caracas sells at $150.00 USD return all year round. It is about a 40 minute flight each way. Very scenic.

I spent about $60.00 USD a day. This was broken down to $40 at El Botuto including three meals and my nights stay. I then spent an additional $20 on rum and snacks and water taxis, and sun block.

You could probably do it cheaper if you really wanted to – but would you really?

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Responsible Travel – Best Practices

Coming Soon!

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Reality Check – Be Aware

Los Roques costs more than one may expect. After travelling a month in Venezuela I was pretty shocked at the difference in prices. Now this is to be expected with any small and remote island, of course, due to having to import all the supplies. With a monopoly on everything, and lack of any other infrastructure, I was amazed at how high the prices had risen above that of it’s partnering country. It would very difficult to survive longer than a month without working.

This is also a sun and swimmers paradise. If you are not a water baby, there is a whole lot of nothing to do here. Everything revolves around the ocean and the reefs. There is a lot of sand, sea food, sun, and sailing. Sounds pretty good to me, but then again who knows what you dig. Los Roques is a tropical paradise in essence and that’s pretty awesome! Buen Viaje!!

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JOIN US! WSE Travel Packages

This sounds like quite the adventure, right? We thought so too! Though we realize it can be pretty intimidating to get out there into the world on your own, especially when travelling to some of these off the beaten path locations. We love it when our readers give it a shot and try it for themselves! In fact, please leave us feedback if you do!! If trying something ‘this’ adventurous on your own is just a bit outside of your comfort zone, WSE Travel is here to help!

Follow this link for our ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ Tours – packages that are highly personalized and tailored at your request.

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Have you ever found a magical little archipelago that it seemed the world somehow forgot? Where was it, and what did you get up to while there?

Please feel free to share your stories and thoughts in the comment section below!

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WSE Travel - Los Roques, Venezuela - shallow water life

A view of some shallow water life – it’s EVERYWHERE!