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 Los Roques - Profile

Location

This group of islands lie about 120NM off the coast, due north of Caracus. Much of it is a National park and its pristine coral reefs attract many international visitors. It is a nice place for cruising boats to stop on passage from the Windward Islands to the ABC-Islands.

Gran Roque, the capital, is the most easily accessible spot for tourists from the mainland. Consequently, all types of planes come and go at all hours, so it is not the totally quiet, remote island you might have expected.

However, other parts of the group are rarely visited and provide many quiet and peaceful anchorages.

Security

Yachts should take care visiting Venezuela at this troubled time in Venezuela history. Cruisers reported visiting Los Roques in 2016 and 2017 with no problems (see comments at bottom of page), however an alert was received from an agent in Los Roques in June 2017 warning yachts to stay away.

Position 11°57′00″N, 66°40′36″W (Gran Roque island location)

Clearance

This is not an official port of entry, but yachts may visit here for a maximum of 15 days if not visiting the mainland.  Clearance must be completed (both in and out) at Roque Grande, which will probably mean an unpleasant beat back against the wind to clear out.

Some yachts try to prolong their stay by taking several days to reach Roque Grande where one has to do the clearance and also take time on departure after outward clearance. Take note that the penalty for illegally entering a country can be very tough.

Clearing in

To clear in, the skipper must visit 4 authorities located in 5 different locations (see map showing approximate locations provided by S/Y Korrigan who visited in October 2016).

First, if you need to exchange money, visit the pharmacy.

Note: All officials only speak Spanish and most offices close at 4/4.30pm.

Offices must be visited in the following order:

1. First go to the Coast Guard Station (Guardacosta), on the far western side of the village. They will issue you with a document that will need to be stamped by all required administrations (Coast Guard, Immigration, National Guard & Park Administration). There is no fee for this document.

2. Next go to the Immigration (SAIME) office, near the airport. You will need to go back across the village to the east and you will find the immigration office just before the small airstrip. Here you will have to pay an entry fee per person (see below), get your passports and Coast Guard document stamped.

3. Then to the National Park office (Inparques or Parque Nacional), located just across the street from immigration in a small prefabricated building. Here you pay your entrance fee for the marine park (see below) for which you will receive a receipt. This receipt needs to be shown to prove your payment at the Marine Park office, and also when you clear out.

4. Almost there.. Now go back across the village along the main street to the National Guards office (Guarda Nacional). This office is in front of the school on the left and can't be missed with a huge portrait of Bolivar and "National Guards" written in big letters. They will simply stamp the Coast Guard document.

5. Finally you need to visit the Marine Park office, which is on the way back to the Coast Guard station on your right (between the supermarket and the Coast Guard station). They
will ask for the Coast Guard document and your receipt for the Marine Park payment made earlier at the National Park office. They will log your boat information in a register that you
will have to sign.

They will explain the rules of the park and provide a small map of the archipelago showing the authorized and forbidden areas.

Once you have visited all offices and have paid your park entry fees, you are legitimately checked into Los Roques.

Note; Clearing in here will take some time. Cruisers in June 2017 reported it taking 6 hours to complete the port, immigration, customs and cruising permit paperwork and more than 6 km of walking.

Fees

In 2014 fees for yachts went up considerably here. It now however appears that fees have been reduced and there is no longer any charge made for the yacht, only the people on board. See old fees at bottom of section.

Clearance Fees

Customs and Immigration (SAIME) tax: $40 per person

A Canadian yacht visiting in October 2016 reported paying 1800 Bolivars per person.

Park Fees

Inform the Park official where you intend to go, as special permission is needed for some areas of the Park and some areas are prohibited.

National Park Fee: $45 per person (includes the cost of water, where available).

The same yacht as above with 2 adults and 2 children on board reported paying 80,000 Bolivars in park fees (approx. 110 USD).

There is a small fee for a diving permit if wishing to dive.
No spear fishing is allowed.

Clearing Out

When leaving Los Roques you have to return to El Gran Roque and clear out with the Coast Guard on the north side of town to get your zarpe. Finally vist Immigration to get your passports stamped - they will not stamp your passports without the zarpe.

Old Fees

Foreign Flag Vessel’s Venezuelan Visa: $2.50 per ft.

Anchoring/ Mooring and cruising permit: $7 Per ft.

Last updated June 2017.

Alejandro Linares (Yacht Services Roques)
Tel:+1-849-4537503
A useful contact for dealing with officials and can arrange many other services including fresh supplies and money. Has lived on the island for 15 years. See his latest notice to yachts in comments at bottom of page re. how safe it is to cruise here.

Docking

Anchoring at Gran Roque

At Gran Roque, anchor off the western end of the village to avoid being in the way of landing planes; also when approaching be aware that aircraft fly extremely low over the beach to reach the runway.

The anchorage is rolly and windy at times and the holding not always the best.

The Francisqui (Francis Cay) anchorage - just east of G. Roque - is a lovely, large and well protected anchorage from all directions. There is a small beach bar/restaurant in the NE corner of the anchorage which serves excellent food. Only 1-2 miles from G. Roque. Note however that whilst this Cay is beautiful, there is a lagoon near by and after rain showers the mosquitoes will arrive in droves.

Other Anchorages

Nordisqui (Nordis Cay) anchorage is not as scenic and not as well protected as many of the others. However, there is a good anchoring basin.

Carenero anchorage is very well protected and a favorite stop for fishing boats from whom fish can be purchased.

A quiet place to anchor is tucked in behind the reef at the southernmost tip near to Sebastapol.

The Herradurra anchorage at Tortuga is the most scenic and protected one mentioned in the Doyle Guide and excellent lobsters can be purchased from the fishermen's settlement there.

The west side of Isla Pelona is a calm anchorage and allows visiting the turtle research centre.

Cruisers recommend the anchorage at the Island of Crasqui (Cras Cay). The bay is protected by the shallows on the northern side and smaller islands on the south. There is a stunning beach and superb snorkelling.

With all the anchorages, the sketches and charts provided by various sources should only be regarded as a rough guide. Eyeball navigation in the correct light conditions is essential. Even official charts cannot be regarded as accurate.

Last updated November 2016.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jul 18, 2017 04:44 PM

June 2017: Report from Jean-Pierre Germain of SY Eleuthera about Los Roques:

We were in Los Roques in June 2017.

The isles appear to be on their own, or at least distancing themselves from the mainland Venezuela policies.

We were always safe but had to put up with minor "irregularities". It took 6 hours to complete the port, immigration, customs and cruising permit and more than 6 kms walking.

The currency is as bad as ever and for $USD206 (Cruising permits) for 2 boats, I brought back nearly Bolivar 2,000,000. (The Pharmacy is still the point for currency exchange but we managed to get about 15% more Bolivars than the pharmacist was willing to give initially. Bargaining seems acceptable.) The bundle of cash fitted well into my 2 backpacks but weighed nearly 50 pounds. A mate commented that the Bolivar was cheaper than toilet paper thus....

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jun 19, 2017 09:24 AM

Posted on behalf of Alejandro Linares (Yacht Agent - Los Roques)

Update 17 June, 2017:

Los Roques current situation is not good. Please avoid any cruise close to Margarita Island - Coche and Cubagua - at least between 40 to 60 nautical miles away from this island due to piracy.

Contact number: + 39-371-3723788 WhatsApp

Editor's Note - we have asked Alejandro for more details, in particular if there have been any incidents involving cruising yachts recently. We are waiting to hear.

rochero
rochero says:
Nov 08, 2016 01:06 AM

We visited Los Roques and Los Aves in October 2016. We were 2 boats with 2 kids on each boat. Before taking a firm decision to visit or not Los Roques, we made a lot of research, back in Grenada: We were hearing many bad news in regard to the situation in Venezuela. Our main concerns were not piracy but more the army or coast guards, both having a lot of power since June 2016. As it is impossible to get direct information from Los Roques on the internet, we made a few phone calls to pousadas to inquire about the situation on the islands. We also got a contact of a local guy running a kite school over there. Every feedback was positive. We were only warned that we may experiment food or water shortage. When we arrived, we were very well received by the Coast Guards. They were really and helpful. Same thing with immigration agents.
It cost us around 110 USD for immigration and park fees for a 43 feet boat with 3 adults and 2 children aboard. All money get changed on the black market, but there is no other solution. Formalities are not complicated and we saw no need for an agent.
Gran Roque is charmful, with many beautiful pousadas and nice restaurants. There a 2 supermarkets where we found more choice of veggies and fruits than in the Grenadines ! Just be aware of the cargo ship schedule to go shopping the next day (In October, the cargo ship came every Thursday). Water is free for whoever has paid the park fees. For a few bucks,you can even get someone to deliver it to your boat in Francisquis.
We spent the next 2 weeks in the archipelago: Francisquis, Crasqui, Noronsqui, Carenero, Cayo de Agua and never noticed any suspicious people / activity. We had a very good contact with local people and fishermen and an overall wonderful experience.
Los Roques does not share much with the situation on the mainland as the main income is tourism, paid in USD. So, people keep a better buying power than on the continent.
Los Roques are beautiful, unspoiled islands, missing it would be too bad.

Olivier Rocher
S/Y Korrigan
www.altitudezero.org

amybradford
amybradford says:
Nov 05, 2016 03:32 PM

We visited Los Roques October/2016. As an American boat we were told that we could not visit Venezuela without a visa obtained at an Embassy. I'm not sure if this was because we didn't use an agent, but they didn't suggest it and we only wanted to stay a short time With several calls to Caracas we were able to obtain a 72 hour visa for $25 each. They did not ask us to pay any other fees even when we inquired about the national park fee. This was a true visa (although the stamps in our passports do not have entry dates) not just a stop over for weather/health. We checked in and out the same day and were allowed to move through the anchorages freely. We stayed a few extra days because the weather was not conducive for leaving and no one bothered us.

I also emailed the agent referenced in the earlier comments. While his comments online were cautionary, his note to us implied that Los Roques was still safe at the moment, but cruisers should keep tabs on the situation as it could change overnight.

We stopped in many different anchorages and found the people and the fishermen to be very friendly and we never felt unsafe. We had our three children on board, and we never felt like we were taking risks. Gran Roque has a few small restaurants and wifi is available, but groceries were slim picking. Everyone took dollars, so we paid in dollars and got pesos back in change.

Amy Bradford
SV Pelagic
www.sv-pelagic.blogspot.com

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jun 23, 2016 01:08 PM

Posted on behalf of Alejandro Linares (Yacht Agent - Los Roques)

Due to Political and economic situation, always thinking in the safety of the crew, passengers and the vessel, my advice is to avoid cruising to Venezuela for now.

I'm the most interested person to have you here, but make you come to Los Roques in this critical time in Venezuelan history, means to put you at risk.

Los Roques is still a safe place, but the lack of food and inflation rate are uncontrollable and we are about to have a civil war.

Sorry for the news, but safety is first and Los Roques will always be there, it is just not the right time.

As soon I think it is possible to visit without any risk I'll notify noonsite.

mischa
mischa says:
Jun 06, 2016 01:09 PM

We visited Los Roques in May/June 2016. Our experiences:

Safety is NO concern at all, the town at Gran Roque is super peaceful, people really friendly.
Everyone is struggling with the situation, but there are still some tourists and the situation seems to be much better than at the mainland.

Check-in was 9000 Bolivars for immigration and 56000 Bolivars park entrance fee for two adults and a baby. Exchange rate changes quickly, we got about 900 bolivars for one USD. Bring cash (USD)! Money can be exchanged in restaurants or the pharmacy.

Shops and supermarkets are open, but the goods vary from day to day, fresh fruits and vegetables are nowhere to be found.

We were the only foreign boat there, so we could enjoy all the great beaches and bays alone, which was awesome.

We really loved it there, a pity that you can only stay for 15 days, with probably another 15 day extension!

BR
Jaqueline & Mischa & Baby Willi
SY SAILOR MOON
http://www.gowesst.com

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Mar 10, 2016 09:16 PM

Please note the correct e-mail addresses for Alejandro Linares are:
info@yachtservicelosroques.com
Yachtservicelosroques@gmail.com

captalegria@outlook.com
captalegria@outlook.com says:
Feb 16, 2016 08:40 PM

If you want help with Clearance or information Contact:
Alejandro Linares
http://yachtservicelosroques.com/
+58‐4248033723
+1‐5612078475
Yachtservicelsroques@gmail.com
Or fishinglosroques@gmail.com

He has been great with me, honest and looking out for the best interest of us and our yacht and putting customer service above profits. I definitely recommend.

Telefine
Telefine says:
Dec 02, 2015 11:55 PM

Hello,

We arrived on Sunday at Los Roques and paid no overtime.

We Paid:
Saime: 4500 Bolivar
National Park Fees : 3852 Bolivar

Thats it !

Exchange Rate is 650-750 Bolivar for 1 USD.
We are 3 persons on board of a 38 feet vessel.

Be sure your clearance from previous port are correct with "next Port" VENEZUELA OR LOS ROQUES. Otherwise you have to pay a bribe of 180-40 USD. :-( Depends on your condition and arguments.

The people are friendly and helpfull.
At the moment there are only few sailors here.
The market are very cheap for Rhum,Cigarettes and Beer.
Fuel are also very very cheap.
0,75l Rhum 2,8 USD
1can of Beer 300ml 0,16 USD
1ciragette box Marlboro 0,5 USD
10 L Petrol 0,04 USD
20 L diesel 0,09 USD.

CRAZY !

We are now 4 days at el gran roque, and the village are very safe.

No worries about anything.

We recomend everybody to visit Los Roques.

Enrico
SV Telefine
info@sailness.at

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Nov 11, 2014 02:13 PM

Posted on behalf of SV Perry:
Just cleared out of Los Roques and had a wonderful time. A quick clarification on clearing out: Make your first stop the Coast guard station on the north side of town for your Zarpe. Immigration (your second stop) wouldn't stamp passports without the Zarpe. We asked if we also needed to check out with the Guarda National (Police), but were told that was no need.

Water is available from the 'service station' at the far north end of the beach. You may be asked to get a piece of paper permitting you to take water. If so, you get this from the local government office next to the bank in the town square. You may or may not be charged a small amount (we were not charged and permitted to take up to 600 liters).

Be sure to stop here if you can. The islands are fabulous and the people friendly. This is not the Venezuela you've been taught to fear...

rabertrand
rabertrand says:
Oct 12, 2014 01:08 PM

Visiting Los Roques is one of our cruising highlights. Extremely safe, beautiful, and welcoming. We have been there on 6 separate occasions over the past 2 years.

To clarify some of the costs of clearing in, and the procedure...
First go to the SAIME office, near the airport. They give you a bank account number, and you have to got the bank and deposit 1016 Bolivar. Then you go the Garda Costa post, near the airport. (Located in the Trailer, next to the National Park office. No cost for Guarda Costa, just paperwork. Then to the National Park office. Cost us 3000 Bolivar (for 47' yacht) plus 254 bolivar per person. TOTAL COST was 4500 Bolivar for the boat, and 2 people, for 14 days.
This equated to about $55 US at the current exchange rate.
To change Dollars(Cash only) to local currency, go the the Pharmacist in the main square. Always fair rates, and can manage large amounts. Be prepared. If you change $100 USD, you are given around 150 bills, (quite bulky!) Bring something to carry the cash in....
In October 2014, the exchange rate was 85 bolivar to US$1. (Better rates on the mainland, but still pretty good!).

To clear out, go back to SAIME (Immigration) and get your exit stamps,(No cost) then go to the Police station,(Guardia Nationale) to get another stamp. (No cost) then off to the main Guarda Costa base, to get your Zarpe. (Clearance form)
Everything closes between 12 noon and 2 or 3pm, so it is best to start early, and get it all overwith in the morning hours. If you have a wifi antenna, there is now wifi available in Grande Roque.

We discovered an awesome Day Spa in Los Roques, "Spa Horua" . 90 minute massage is $25. to give you an idea of pricing. Top quality, professional spa. Thai stretching massage also available. Just ask the locals for directions. Bit hard to find, but well worth the effort.

We spoke to the Coast Guard when there, and asked about getting some gasoline for our tender.
No Problem, they said. Just turn up at the end of the beach, at the gas pump, at 2pm.
So, I turned up with the gas can in hand. Lined up with 15-20 locals, and was able to fill the can. Cost 8 bolivar for 20 liters. Try to carry small bills, because they may not have change! It was not possible to get diesel, although I have heard stories of others being successful there. Fresh water is available for free, but you need to bring containers.
There are NO DOCKS to go to. You have to beach your tender, and drag it up the sand.

They sell fresh fish at the beach each day. Fisherman come in around 12-1pm and there is a few guys cleaning and selling fish. Costs about $2 per kilo for cleaned and filleted fish. Wahoo, Mahi, Tuna, Macrel, etc etc. As far as I could tell, everything was the same price.

Grocery stores are hit and miss, lots of empty shelves on any given day.. If you see something you want.. Buy it right away, because they will run out at any time. Typical supply day is Wednesday, so Late Wednesday or Thursday shopping is the best. Some things are extremely inexpensive. If you want an imported item such as a bottle of Baileys, you will pay the US price. Better to buy local products.

You can use the clearance agent if you wish, but we fumbled through the process, and were fine.

Best overnight anchorage near Grand Roque is at Francis Cay, just East of Grand Roque. Very protected from all directions, calm water, etc. only 1-2 miles form G.Roque.

Los Roques Cruisers Paradise!


Travel safe!

Capt. Russ.

Aiyana821
Aiyana821 says:
Aug 13, 2014 02:58 PM

After discovering that our circumnavigation of the Caribbean was to pass by the Venezuelan Islands of Los Roques I was sure that we had to visit. After some research though I was concerned that we may have to visit mainland Venezuela to gain the clearance necessary. I found the contact for Alejandro from Yacht Service Los Roques on Noonsite and after a quick email to see if he could help us I suddenly received a call from him offering his services and asking what we would need to make our trip special. It is not very often that an agent will put so much effort into making sure that you have every detail sorted and more so that you are chasing them just to get what you need. Alejandro is very different and was keen to show us his beautiful Islands and make sure that we got a real flavour of the local food, beautiful beaches, and incredible diving. Clearance was made simple and there was no issues in clearing in and out directly tom Gran Roque. Alejandro arrived on board and everything I needed was supplied, internet/phone fresh fruits and supplies. He showed me a great itinerary and planned some sensational days for us. Everything can be organised through Alejandro and as a captain himself he understands what is needed whether you are on a superyacht or cruiser. The highlight for all was a local seafood lunch on the end of a sandy spit on Crasqui, a table laid with fresh lobster oysters and such tasty fish, salads and all. A typical Venezuelan lunch we were told but I can’t believe how the locals all stay so good looking with all this food! Here there is also some of the best snorkelling in the islands so that just rounded off a perfect Sunday.

Capt Matt Hooper

talulahruby111
talulahruby111 says:
Mar 22, 2014 08:24 PM

We have been planning to go to Los Roques for many months and have been in touch with Alejandro to do the paperwork clearances etc. He seems like a great guy and very efficient and helpful. 5 days before we were due Grenada bound for Los Roques I received an e mail from Alejandro asking us to delay our visit because of the"critical" political situation. We have taken his advise so unfortunately missing out these wonderful islands. I advise anyone wishing to visit to contact Alejandro info@yachtservicelosroques.com for an update.

Paul Atkinson Talulah Ruby111

Emil Erichsen
Emil Erichsen says:
Feb 18, 2014 05:25 PM

Los Roques, Venezuela.

We had this February 2014 the great pleasure of visiting the Los Roques Islands in Venezuela.

Alejandros yacht service took us all the way through customs, emigration in an absolutely excellent way. Alejandro took care of everything, took us on an unforgettable l trip around the islands. Help us with contacts for our journey ahead, and is beside all that, a very nice, positive and effective relationship.

We can highly recommend a visit to the wonderful and absolutely safe Los Roques Island, as long you have Alejandro on your side.

info@yachtservicelosroques.com

Emil Midé Erichsen
Captain
S/Y Havana, Denmark

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Caution if Sailing Between Los Testigos and Porlamar, Isla Margarita (10 Nov 2010)

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Around the next Bend - a 7 month journey along the many rivers of Guyana and Venezuela (29 Sep 2010)

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Update on Los Monjes, Venezuela (30 Aug 2010)

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Spanish for Cruisers - 2nd Edition (03 Jun 2010)

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Venezuela: North Coast - Yacht Skipper Shot and Killed (06 May 2010)

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Venezuela: Followed Suspiciously - Nov 2009 (19 Apr 2010)

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Venezuelan Tax Authorities still checking foreign boats (06 Apr 2010)

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Venezuela - Don't Believe the Rumours! (01 Mar 2010)

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Report on Various Ports of Call in Venezuela (20 Jan 2010)

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Los Roques - Our Check-in Experience (16 Jan 2010)

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New 1% Tax in Venezuela - All Foreign Yachts Being Checked (25 Sep 2009)

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New 1% Tax in Venezuela - Not for Visiting Yachts (25 Sep 2009)

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Venezuela to Canada (15 Sep 2009)

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Porlamar and Venezuela - a positive view (08 Feb 2009)

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Venezuela, Margarita, Porlamar - Dinghy Theft (21 Jan 2009)

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Venezuela, Margarita, Porlamar - More Thefts and Incidents (21 Jan 2009)

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Venezuela, 10 miles from Puerto Santos - Attack on British Yacht (21 Jan 2009)

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Venezuela, Off NE Coast - Armed Boarding and Robbery (21 Jan 2009)

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Venezuela, Margarita, Porlamar - Spate of Robberies (21 Jan 2009)

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Venezuela, Puerto Santos - Yacht Boarding (21 Jan 2009)

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Venezuela, Isla De Margarita - Yacht Robbed and Crew Member Shot (21 Jan 2009)

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Venezuela, Margarita - Increase in Yacht Attacks in 2007 (21 Jan 2009)

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Venezuela - Gunpoint Robbery (21 Jan 2009)

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Venezuela - April Brings New Spate of Attacks (21 Jan 2009)

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Cruising in Venezuela - a local's perspective (25 Sep 2008)

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Not All Bad News in Venezuela (15 Jul 2008)

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Cruising from St. Lucia Southwards (02 Jul 2008)

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Update on Aves/Los Roques Coastguard Report (14 Jun 2008)

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USA, Florida to Margarita, Venezuela (18 May 2008)

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Credit Card Fraud In Caribbean Alert (29 Apr 2008)

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Venezuela to Trinidad: Sailing Boat Shot At (06 Apr 2008)

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Further Information On January Attacks On Yachts (20 Mar 2008)

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Cruising Report On Cuba & Venezuela (11 Mar 2008)

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Porlamar, Margarita, Security News (11 Mar 2008)

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Venezuela Cruising Report (30 Jan 2007)

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Report of other pirate attacks in Venezuela 2003-2005 (26 Sep 2006)

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Update On Shooting Of Yard Owner at Puerto La Cruz (21 Jun 2006)

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Adios Venezuela - Paradise Lost? (20 Apr 2006)

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2005: More Reports On Violent Attacks On Yachts In Venezuela (20 Jan 2006)

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Cruising Notes for the Los Roques/Venezuela (24 Aug 2005)

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A Response To The Positive View Of Venezuela (07 Aug 2005)

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Cruising Notes on Tortuga, Venezuela (10 Mar 2005)

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Cruising Notes on Los Testigos (09 Mar 2005)

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Caribbean Island Updates 2003 (23 Jun 2004)

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Los Roques & Las Aves (19 Aug 2002)

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Venezuela: Los Roques to be Nationalised  (11 Oct 2011)

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Venezuela: Caution if Sailing Between Los Testigos and Porlamar, Isla Margarita  (03 Nov 2010)

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Venezuela: Boca de Rio - Italian Skipper Murdered - Update  (20 Sep 2010)

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Worrying news from Trinidad and Venezuela  (19 Aug 2002)