Report on Various Ports of Call in Venezuela
Published 14 years ago, updated 5 years ago
Here is some information on the various anchorages and Marinas we have been into during the past few months, though some are I’m sure well known, but facilities change rapidly. I am writing this on 25th December 2009.
Islas Los Roques
Starting with Islas Los Roques, our visit was too short, there is so much to see, but I can say there was far more available in Gran Roque than I was led to believe. Apart from the airport that has several daily flights to Caracas. There is a bank with cash point, a panaderia (bakery), several minimarts that can sell most basic supplies. Water can be obtained at the western end of Gran Roque anchorage, you need jugs but it’s free. There is a good dive school, many shops selling artesania, tourist goods etc. There are many bars and restaurants, some expensive, some quite reasonable, though most more expensive than one would find on the mainland. There are also many beautiful Posadas (mini hotels) they look good.
When we anchored off Gran Roque we expected that we may have to check in with the park authorities to pay, though we had been informed that some cruisers didn’t. Nobody asked us for anything when we went ashore, we walked through the sandy streets past the Guardia Costa, “Buenos Dias” to all, we were not asked for anything. I would imagine if we offered some money they would have gladly accepted, needless to say, we didn’t offer.
Marina Caraballeda on the mainland (10°37.4’N, 66°50.9’W) was destroyed in 1999, reports said it was being rebuilt, well it is almost finished. The electric supply was only 110 volts, but that should soon be 220 volts too. Water had been disconnected because of a broken pipe, but it is on the dock. The staff were helpful, there wasn’t too much space available, but the final dock was in the process of being finished, allowing another 10 or 15 berths. There is a lovely restaurant on the marina grounds, great food and good prices open for lunch and dinner. The marina has a fuel dock, we were told it is possible for foreign flag boats to buy fuel but it means getting permission from the port captain and can be long-winded, a Marinero brought us two 65 liter jugs. The price for “Chaser 2”, 42 feet, was 110 Bolivares, not cheap. The nearby town has one or two small supermarkets, a small shopping center.
Traveling east to Carenero (10°31.66’N 66°05.9’W) was a nice peaceful anchorage outside the marina, we felt comfortable here watching the parrots and red ibis roost.
Islas Piritu makes a convenient stop en route to Puerto De La Cruz, but there is nothing there.
Puerto De La Cruz
Everybody knows Puerto De La Cruz, though few travels outside the marina gates. The Marinas are all good, this time we stayed in Bahia Redonda, previously we stayed in TMO marina, (which we prefer). TMO had only 6 boats in the water, and the haulout yard was quieter than we’d seen previously. Bahia Redonda had many resident motor and sailboats, but maybe only a dozen visiting boats, most of which have left after our departure. The restaurant was open and good, but we have been told it has since closed (approx 12th Dec.09).
Bahia Redonda marina has a haulout, 2 swimming pools, 220 volts, and 110 volts, water and wifi, laundry and a couple of shops and minimart, there are many facilities, laundry, gas refill. “Chaser 2” was charged 71 Bolivares per night, ( very reasonable). The main promenade is a great place to stroll daytime or evenings, so to is the Marina Plaza a shopping center at the end of the canal system. You can go by cab or dinghy, the canal system, like a little Venice, is lovely.
Mocima National Park is a large area and includes many islands. Chimana Segunda is one we have spent a couple of nights at, there is a bar on the beach, open when it’s busy, normally there are a few boats there at weekends, quieter during the week. The water is clear and snorkeling is good.
Mochima itself has many anchorages, some with good clear water and reasonable snorkeling. We anchored off the village, it’s a busy village with many posadas, bars, and restaurants. Holding is good and during the day there are many taxi boats zooming in and out ferrying landlubbers to the lovely beaches. You can usually find a spot to tie your dinghy to, we didn’t feel the need to lock it.
We continued east to Marina Cumanagoto in Cumana. The marina docks are quite tatty, some have collapsed. It can be quite noisy because of the adjacent shopping center, or because of the motor boats whose sound systems are more powerful than their outboards. The shopping center is nice for an evening stroll, there is now a large supermarket in the center as well. Wifi can sometimes be found in the marina area, being sent out from somewhere in the shopping center. Petrol and diesel are available at the fuel dock at Venezuelan prices. The marina staff is helpful and friendly. “Chaser 2” was charged 110 Bolivares per night (expensive).
We moved into the Gulf of Cariaco, this area is becoming more and more attractive. There are many anchorages to the north and south sides. Laguna Chica is a favorite of mine, having a small bar amongst the fishing community. All the anchorages have their own attractions. Sailing in the Golf can be good, 15-knot winds are the norm, tacking up the golf is fun, down winding on the return. And, of course when there is a blow, this area is perfect, it really has 365-day sailing. Our Doyle guide tells me there is a bar-restaurant in Punto Cangrejo, this is no longer open.
Medregal Village (and associated anchorage -10°31.35’N, 63°47.25’W) is a Posada with a bar and restaurant plus an adjacent haulout yard. They can take out monohulls and catamarans up to about 20 tons. The haulout prices are good.
The anchorage has an excellent holding, the water is clean, though sometimes not too clear depending on the season. English, Spanish German, Swedish and French are spoken. It’s quite an international community there. Most cruisers’ requirements are available in the area.
Three miles further east is the village of Guacarapo, a good safe anchorage too, ashore there are a few small kiosk type shops that also sell beer etc. There are one or two small bars that sell foodstuffs. There is no restaurant here. Por Puestos (minibusses) run regularly to Cariaco.
The dock further east at Posada Bellorina is broken, so no access for cruisers there.
Muelle de Cariaco
At the far end of the Golf is the Muelle de Cariaco. Anchor in 3 or 4 meters of water. You can dinghy up the river, see the red ibis and parrots roosting as well as the fish-eating bats. The village dock no longer exists though. To go ashore take your dinghy to the easternmost dock, it belongs to a fisherman/carpenter, he’ll keep an eye on your dinghy, and allow you to walk through his garden to the main road, you can get a Por Puesto outside his house. We would normally tip him 5 Bolivares or so for his trouble. The Por Puestos run into the Main town of Cariaco, you can get most things here if you look, better still ask someone who knows first.
It appears many sailors have come to this area of the Golf to find tranquillity and wildlife, some have bought property here, hence the international community amongst the unspoiled Caribbean of South America.
The only place I haven’t mentioned that we have been to recently is Isla Tortuga (10°57.9’N, 66°’13.8W), a day sail from PLC, Mochima or Cumana. There are magnificent beaches and beautiful waters but not much else. Its worth remembering that the few fishermen that live here may pass trying to trade fish, money is still not so important to them, they may prefer, petrol, cigarettes or coke (the drink).
Also, take note, in this part of Venezuela I have noticed Camp electronic charts to be inaccurate. If you have a radar check it out, it can be as much as half a mile out. We have often anchored on land according to the chart!
With regard to security. The Golf of Cariaco is safe, we don’t feel the need to lock anything. One can walk the street day or night, and in Mochima too. The other places I’ve mentioned you need to take the common sense precautions. The daytime I find totally all safe, the promenade of PLC day and evenings is safe.
Phil and Yvonne
S/V Chaser ll