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Venezuela - Don't Believe the Rumours!

By Sue Richards last modified Mar 01, 2010 06:14 PM

Published: 2010-03-01 18:14:07
Countries: Venezuela

Received 2009-12-30

My family arrived in Caracas with their 9 month old baby last month. We met them at the airport in Cumana and sailed up the Golf of Cariaco. We spent a week there, in or near Medregal Village haulout yard.

From here we sailed to Mochima, spent a night there, then on to Isla Tortuga a beautiful island where if you are lucky the fishermen will come and barter with fresh fish or lobster. Three days later we sailed to Los Roques, beautiful lonely safe anchorages, before returning to Marina Caraballeda near Caracas. We went in the Marina and were greeted by friendly staff. We could have anchored out, but we felt it unwise to anchor a “Yacht” in front of 5000 poor people living in slum conditions.

Our family then flew out of Caracas leaving us in the Marina for a couple of days. Our plan was to return to the Golf of Cariaco. We sailed, sometimes motor sailed, from Caraballeda to an anchorage outside Higuerote, a lovely spot near the mangroves. Next day we sailed to Islas Piritu and then on to Puerto De La Cruz. Having stocked up at some of the local stores, we moved onto Cumana to fill our fuel tanks before sailing onto Laguna Grande in the Golf.

The point of this story is to say we were not “lucky” to have survived this trip. So much bad propaganda is being placed on or in cruising websites or magazines. Some I know to be fabricated by businesses in the competing Grenada and Trinidad. Cruising throughout the Caribbean Venezuela can be said to be as safe as anywhere and safer than some. Chinese whispers turn people away. Rumours, such as those regarding Seniat, the tax office, banning foreign flag boats from leaving, or paying a 1% tax on entry, are simply not true.

I won't go into details, but these stories get passed on from one to another by people who have not even been to Venezuela. Hopefully people will read this note and come to visit this beautiful country where you can sail 365 days a year without the worries of Hurricanes.

If you do come, there is certainly no need to travel with sails down or without nav lights, like some idiots suggest. Such actions can only cause confrontations by experiencing near misses. Molitov cocktail classes in Grenada can also be ignored. Avoid any known trouble spots - of course there are a few - and see the real Caribbean, how it used to be.

Happy New Year to all from Chaser ll.

Our thanks to Phil Chapman for this report.

Received 2010-02-24

The "Golfo de Cariaco" in Venezuela is a very beautiful, quiet and still a safe place to go sailing or spend the hurricane season.

We left our boat for 3 months (Sep to Dec 2009) in the anchorage in front of "Medregal Village". It´s very quiet, cruisers are scared to go there because of security reasons, business owners are struggling to survive, but it is a safe place right now. We don´t know about Cumana itself, but inside the golfo there are no known of problems.

Via the "cruisers net" on VHF channel 71, (cruisers can get) laundry service, trips to the market or to get fuel, fill dive tanks and you are able to get WIFI.

The climate is very dry (no mould inside the boat!), the place is very well protected and the bottom is also very good holding.

The whole golfo offers plenty of anchorages, Laguna Chica, Laguna Grande, Medregal, Guacarapo, Muelle de Cariaco and others.

From Muelle it´s easy to get to the big market in Cariaco, to Caripe and the Guacharo Cave (a must do, closed on Mondays) with local transport.

We can just recommend to go there, we will be back in July or August to leave the boat and fly home.

It is easy to get to Margarita from there, there is a ferry service from Carupano directly to Porlamar, the whole trip takes only about 3 hours.

Clearing in and out is very easy in Porlamar, Isla Margarita. You can do it yourself as everything is in one building but it can take very long.

Hannes & Christine
S/Y Pukuri