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Diving in Los Roques, Venezuela
"A new world - class destination.... with schools of fish on every dive and caverns as large as St. Paul's cathedral"...this is the kind of diving once found in the Caribbean 20 years ago, yet almost non-existent today... Rodale's Scuba Diving Magazine.

4 days from 399, 8 days live-aboard from 999 ex flights.

Venezuela is located on the northern coast of South America where it meets the Caribbean Sea. Stretching over a surface of 916,050 square kilometres, with over 40 national parks, it offers a myriad of landscapes from white sandy beaches and desert like zones to ancient tablelands, Andean mountains and dense verdant jungles. Venezuela shares 2,800 kilometres of its northern coastline with the Caribbean and boasts over 70 Islands to discover and enjoy.

When the Spanish landed in 1498, in the course of Columbus' third voyage, they found a poor country, almost exclusively agrarian. It was given its name - "Little Venice" by the Spanish navigators who, when seeing the poor lake settlements of Indian huts on stilts, were reminded of the buildings along the Venetian waterways. All this changed in 1914, when oil was discovered near Lake Maracaibo and today Venezuela is one of the largest producers and exporters of oil in the world. This development has led to the opening up of an extensive infrastructure of transport and communications systems, making some of the most distant territories easily accessible for visitors.

Situated 176 kms. north of Caracas, lies the atoll of Los Roques which contains about 340 islets and reefs, constituting one of Venezuela's loveliest National Parks with crystal clear, warm waters and 12 miles of coral reef making it a paradise for divers and snorkellers alike. The area was declared a National Park in 1972 and its 221,120 hectares of sea ringing a central lagoon of mangrove and coral, has developed little since then.

Diving in Los Roques archipelago is the essence of a diving adventure. It is a paradise of secluded and little known reefs with huge amounts of marine life, soft corals and a kaleidoscope of tropical fish. Diving is spectacular with a great variety of coral fauna and flora where there are 200-foot vertical walls, pinnacles and fabulous underwater caves filled with forest of multicoloured sponges and black coral formations. Along the flanks of submerged mountains, snappers, groupers, jacks, creole wrasse, barracudas and shark can be observed cruising along, whilst rays gently glide over the sandy bottoms. There are also a few shipwrecks to explore and a biological research station which shelters a turtle breeding centre.

There are two ways of diving Los Roques, either land-based or live aboard. Land-based accommodation is on the main island of Gran Roque where the population consists of about 150 fishing families and the main road is a sandy dirt-track trail! Accommodation is an informal affair of a few quaint guesthouses, all with fans and en-suite facilities. Rooms are small but clean and comfortable and lie within 100 ft. from the sea.

All diving is run through Sesto Continente Dive Resort, which is a professionally equipped and well-run operation with 2 dive boats of 30 and 35 feet. Boat runs range from 10 to 90 minutes and there are 2 dives daily with the occasional night dive. For non-diving partners exploration of nearby islands by catamarans can be arranged on request. Prices start from 399 for 4 days including accommodation, full board, weights and weight belts, 2 dives daily and 1 night dive every other day and return flights between Caracas and Los Roques.

For those who prefer to be on a live aboard, the Antares Dancer provides the ideal alternative. She is a 85 ft. motor yacht with six double cabins all with en-suite facilities and air conditioning. She also houses an ample dining room, sitting room with television and a solarium on the upper deck. She is equipped with the most modern of navigational aids and communication equipment. Once on board, you will receive 3-4 dives daily including night dives almost every night. Although some sites allow diving directly from the boat, on most dives there is a support boat and boat runs are approximately 10-20 minutes. Prices start from 999, which includes 8 days on Antares Dancer with full board, all diving, tanks, weights, and weight belts. All trips, whether land based or live aboard provide services of a dive master and English-speaking guide. Weather is tropical and warm, and temperatures vary from 75F to 87F throughout the year. Water temperatures vary from 77F to 85F and visibility ranges from 40 to 100 feet. There are dives for every level of diver from beginner to advanced, PADI certification courses are offered, and diving gear rental is available at land based and Antares operations.

Although Los Roques is fairly secluded and unspoilt, it is only 30 minutes by plane from Caracas, the capital of Venezuela. KLM, British Airways, Iberia and a variety of other airlines fly from Europe to Caracas on almost daily basis with flights connecting daily to Los Roques. If you would like to sample other islands, the nearest alternative - just one hour away - is Margarita Island, which in complete contrast to Los Roques, has plenty of nightlife, luxurious hotels, and duty free shopping. All trips can be tailor made to extend your cruise or stay on the islands or combine your holiday with a trip to the mainland. Venezuela offers fabulous national Parks such as Canaima Park which includes the highest waterfall in the world: the Angel Falls, Lake Maracaibo, the Orinoco river, the longest and highest funicular railway in the world, and the most ancient rocks on earth: Guayana's Massif.

Whether travelling alone or in a group, we can arrange all trips, accommodation and flights to suit your particular requirements. Special charter rates available for divers and non-divers on request.

 

         

This site is Sample Tours and Boats, more information being added all the time so if you can't find the tour you want then contact Ania Mudrewicz   by E-mail:- info@galapagoscruises.co.uk at Galapagos Classic Cruises. The Web Site is in the process of being updated and reconstructed.  Other destinations apart from Galapagos are:  Amazon, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, South Africa, Fiji, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Turkey, Arctic and Antarctica.