If you want the beauty of the Caribbean without its crowds, then Los Roques Archipelago, Venezuela, is the place for you. This virgin haven has remained relatively undiscovered, and thus, it was able to maintain its natural beauty. Let your hair down and laze under the tropical sun without being disturbed by a crowd. You can just leave your troubles behind and immerse yourself in quiet walks along the shore or indulge in a variety of water sports. Get yourself a cooler and a picnic basket and drop by any of the isolated beaches and relax the day away. This National Park is among the biggest marine park in the Caribbean Sea, with 546 acres of coverage. The archipelago is located north of the Venezuelan capital – Caracas. It is home to white, sandy beaches, relaxing azure waters and unique flora and fauna. The archipelago was declared a National Park in the 1970s so that the creatures living there are protected, as well as coral reefs, sea grass beds and mangroves located there. The cluster of islands houses frigates, white herons, pelicans, sea gulls, terns and much more, which make it an excellent place to go birding. You can also go island hopping. There are, after all, over 300 islands, plus quite a number of coral reefs sandbanks and keys. You can drop by deserted islands and taking a dip at the serene yet breathtaking waters. The major island in the archipelago is the Gran Roque ('the Big Rock'), which provides you with a glimpse of life in the area. This is the only island in the archipelago that has residents, mostly fishermen. At the western end of the island, there are two volcanic peaks, plus a nearby lighthouse. This makes Gran Roque an ideal place for hiking. Another interesting sight is the two islands bridged by a strip of sand. The islands of Francisky, as they are called, are great for snorkeling, as the sand strip results in a natural lagoon. Of course, as this is the Caribbean, the waters are just the right temperature – never too warm or cold. Some sports you can try while in this part of the Caribbean are snorkeling, scuba diving, water-skiing, windsurfing, kite surfing and fishing. The steady winds make it a great place for sailing – and there are many lagoons and bays for you to explore. Go underneath and explore the fascinating world of coral reefs and marine life, particularly at sites like La Guaza or Crasqui. Come face to face with groupers, queen conch, king mackerel, turtles and a whole slew of marine wildlife. Really, a highly-diverse collection of species, with around 60 species of corals, 60 species of sponges and quite a number of mollusk and fish species. There is also a turtle farm, as there are four endangered species of sea turtles in the area. If you are into culture, you can also visit the Lobster Festival in November and the feast of the Virgen del Valle in September. You can also stay at the unique 'hotels' – fishermen's huts that were renovated to accommodate tourists.
Los Roques Archipelago