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Cruising Notes on Tortuga, Venezuela

By doina — last modified Mar 10, 2005 10:09 AM

Published: 2005-03-10 10:09:06
Countries: Venezuela


The anchorage on the NE end of Tortuga itself (Playa Caldera) is extremely pretty, but has sanded up over the past years and is now only useful to very shallow draft vessels i.e. under 5 ft draft. All other yachts may find it rolly as they have to anchor a fair bit out. Superb walks, fantastic beach, temporary fishing village ashore.

Las Tortuguillas on the NW side of Tortuga is fairly open as an anchorage and is mostly regarded as a day anchorage, good for snorkelling and exploring. Safe, but not especially comfortable in the tradewind season.

Anchorage on the West side of Herradura, also NW Tortuga, is very protected, shows no roll in any winds from SE to NNE. Head straight east to the deepest part of the half moon shaped bay. Leave a shoal of 5 ft to the north when approaching the anchorage. Another reef, even breaking in low tide, is in the extreme south of the bay. 6-8 ft of perfect sand about half a mile from the shore offers great protection against the swell. Picture perfect beach with little vegetation growing on it. There is a little iron light tower on the north end of Herradura. In February 2005 it was working.

All three anchorages should preferably entered in good daylight, but if a friendly boat, already in the bay guides you in over the radio, a night approach should be safe enough for the experienced sailor.


You should, in theory, have cleared into Venezuela or i.e. out of Isla Marguerita via Tortuga to another port. But there are no authorities here.


A temporary fishing camp is located on Herradura. No supplies, no water, but great shelling.


Windsurfers and Kiters will find perfect conditions. Limited snorkelling, water often silted up by the beach.

Special Notes

Superb spot for those seeking solitude and have enough provisions on board. Good stopover for those going West from Isla Marguerita to Los Roques or from Los Roques to i.e. Puerto la Cruz.

Lilly Vedana, Thomas Müller

Yacht MIZ MAE February 2005