MY IMPRESSIONS

Bahia Redondo Marina

OUR MARINA - BAHIA REDONDO MARINA - LOOKING OUT TO THE SEA

Puerto la Cruz is one of Venezuela's top tourist destination. The beaches that surround Puerto La Cruz, such as Isla de Plata, Conoma and Arapito are beautiful. Puerto La Cruz is also the entry point of Mochima National Park, one of the most spectacular in the country. From its port, you can take a ferry to Margarita Island. You can (and should) also hire a boat that will take you to the neighboring islands, such as Las Chimanas, Cachicamo and Borracha.

 

In the channels of El Morro, there are elegant neighborhoods with their own decks where yachts are parked.

The Paseo Colon located in front of the Pozuelos Bay, is the tourist heart of Puerto La Cruz. This place is full of restaurants and stores; there you can relax, sit back and watch spectacular sunsets. Also, you can savor the most exquisite dishes and choose the daily catch for dinner, in one of the many restaurants along the coast. Another option you have in Puerto La Cruz is "Altos de Santa Fe", there you can taste Creole sweets and contemplate the beautiful view of Mochima.

water sports and other activities
This is the perfect place to kayak, surf, snorkel, dive and sail. Other activities include renting a boat and visiting one of the most beautiful natural places in the world: Mochima National Park

 beautiful beaches and bays
Beaches stretch from Boca de Uchire to the Gulf of Santa Fe, cover all of the coast which is called, justifiably "The Route of the Sun". The road to these beaches offers some spectacular views. Idyllic bays, paradisiacal islands of fine sands, channels and exquisite beaches for swimming and diving, rich fauna and flora, shopping centers, restaurants and handcraft make of Puerto La Cruz an ideal location.

islands
Islands with the best beaches, islets, bays, peninsulas, gulfs, inlets, cliffs and an exceptional underwater beauty are features in Mochima National Park, just in front Puerto La Cruz. Margarita Island is reachable by ferry.

excursions

 mount avila
Gives a superb view across the city and along the coast. There are several beaches within 30km (20 miles) of the capital, with excellent 'taverns' and restaurants.

angel falls
The world’s highest falls, cascade from twice the height of the Empire State Building. The falls are located in the vast Gran Sábana region with mountains and a dense jungle.

margarita island
Discovered by Columbus in 1493, ranges from the semi-tropical to the semi-arid, mountains up to about 2,500 feet. There are wonderful beaches, all kinds of water sports, fish, produce, hand-craft markets, shops, lodging and restaurants.

 colonia tovar
A Bavarian style village, 41 miles west of Caracas at 6,035 feet above sea level, was founded in 1848 by German immigrants and remained isolated until 1963 when a road was opened. There are shops, inns and restaurants serving German food. On the way stop at El Junquito, a colonial farming town, known for its varieties of sausages, butchers and produce stands.

the andes
There are wonderful treks, many can be reached by jeep, on horse or mule, in the gorgeous Andes surrounding Mérida. The lakes and view are fabulous, the villages interesting. The “frailejón,” great friar, is a plant with yellow flowers which is unique to the area.

 

canals of El Morro
Paseo Colon
Mall - Puerto la Cruz

Our Mall above - Dave and I dinghy over to the grocery store

MY IMPRESSIONS OF VENEZUELA –

Actually there are two Venezuelas – the one that tourists and cruisers see as expatriates and the Latino one. Actually, I enjoy them both. As they can overlap I will try to summarize my impressions thus far.

PUERTO LA CRUZ –
We happened to sail into Puerto La Cruz just after dawn and I was most impressed at how the pink/orange light affected the buildings of the city. I had expected a small town, much in the style of Central American and Mexican cities with which I am most familiar, and was most surprised to find a fairly large metropolis with tan high rise buildings nestled on the sea with the Andes foothills in the background. It was picture post card perfect and I had not expected that. The entire city is spread out into different areas, all located in a linear fashion along the beach, much like the Gulf Coast area of the southern United States from New Orleans to Mobile, Alabama.

As we neared the marina where we will be staying for the next few months while Dave finishes his refit on Swan Song, the industrial port came into view with long lines of freighter vessels waiting their turn for loading in the Atlantic. We passed several official boats – the Venezuelan Navy and the Police and Fire boats. As we neared the area where the many marinas are located I noticed the small fishing boats that were heading out for a day’s catch. They are made locally and are very much like the Island Sloops of the BVI, of which Dave and I are so fond – these however are without masts and are either powered by outboards or are rowed.

BAHIA REDUNDO MARINA
The marina that we selected is the newest in the area and is situated on the outermost canal of a vast area of canals – much like Venice in Europe and Ft. Lauderdale in the US. This was delightful to us as we do not have a car and can use our dinghy for transport everywhere that we want to go. Everything is located on the canals – the grocery, the large modern shopping mall, the high priced residential areas, 5 star hotels and condominiums – even an 18 holed golf course. This is quite obviously the where the upper strata of Puerto la Cruz citizens live. Some of the homes are of the same value as those in Ft. Lauderdale – millions in price – and that’s saying something as one US dollar equals 2,500 Bolivars! - PLEASE SCROLL DOWN ON THE LEFT -

The marina is new and modern with a lovely hotel, pool, restaurants, wireless Internet, spa, laundry, marine shops, etc. The docks are new and our space is sufficient. We are stern to the dock and have an easy entrance due to the set of boarding steps that we brought with us. The big difference between this marina and Nanny Cay Marina in the BVI is that everyone here is a cruiser and live-aboard – there are no charter yachts at all. At Nanny Cay we were the only live-aboard surrounded by 135 high end charter yachts. You can imagine then the vast amount of cruisers, highly cosmopolitan as they have sailed from all ports of the world to escape the hurricane latitudes that are living next to each other. It is much like living in a high rise in a large city only everyone is out doors all of the time. On our dock there is another trawler from Florida, a 50’ sailing sloop from Australia, another large sloop from Barcelona, Spain, a smaller hermit sloop from Bozeman, Montana and two French vessels. Everyone is friendly but for those of you unfamiliar with yachting life, individual space is always respected. No sugar borrowing unless you know the people. Because of this everyone lives in harmony as we all know how important privacy is.

The marina makes up for this by offering a multitude of activities for cruisers if you care to join in. Movie night is Tuesday, dominos are Sunday, fried fish is Friday night, yoga is three times a week as is Tai-Chi and Friday mornings include a long walk for the ladies. Buses run to town for 20 cents – that’s right you heard me – and taxis are very inexpensive. Most are driven by top executives that lost their jobs when they joined an oil strike against President Chavez in 2003. Opinions about that are vast and heated – cruisers know instinctively to stay out of the political arena when visiting foreign countries. This includes feelings about America’s current political situation which is very hard for me as most of you know how I feel on that score.

The prices are just unbelievable. Our dockage is one-third of what it was at Nanny Cay with free water [in the BVI it was 15 cents a gallon] and free electricity [in the BVI it was $300 a month on top of dockage at $18 per foot]. Six of us went out for a lovely dinner on Friday night not far from the marina - I had Shrimp Alfredo, Dave had a filet mignon. With appetizers, many glasses of wine and desert the bill was $30 for the two of us, including the tip. And don’t believe what you hear about Venezuelans not liking Americans – they love us as we are the biggest tippers around. The French don’t tip at all and Spaniards only a little, like the Brits. When asked why we tip so well I always reply that in the US waiters, etc. are at the bottom of the pay scale with many just making minimum wage. As lots of them are students we have always learned to tip well to make up for their low wages. They just look at me in shock. Tis true though.

More later – I must take a break now as my monthly articles are due. I’ll finish later.

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