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In addition to the activities mentioned below, jet skis and WaveRunners are available at many beaches and resorts around the island, as are parasail flights.

Amusement Parks -- Parque El Agua, Av. 31 de Julio, El Cardón, on the way to Playa El Agua (tel. 0295/263-0710; www.parqueelagua.com), is a fairly extensive and well-maintained water park with an assortment of pools, slides, and rides. The park is open daily from 10am to 6pm. Admission is BsF75 for adults, BsF55 for children. During the low season, the park only opens Thursday through Sunday.

Diverland, Isla Aventura near Pampatar (tel. 0295/267-0571), is a combination amusement park and water park, with a wide range of attractions and rides. You'll find typical amusement park rides, such as Ferris wheels and roller coasters, as well as go-karts, a petting zoo, and batting cages. They also have trained dolphin and seal shows, as well as a swim-with-the dolphins program. However, I find both the shows and the swim program rather sad and unfortunate for the animals. It's open from 10am to 11pm daily throughout the high season and most weekends the rest of the year. Operating days and hours are much more limited during the week and low season. Admission is BsF55 for adults and BsF35 for children for unlimited use of the rides and pools. Some features and exhibits, such as swimming with dolphins, have additional fees.

Biking -- The stunning scenery and combination of off-road and paved highway possibilities make Margarita a good place to rent a bike for exploring. Be careful, though: The sun can be brutal, and the distances between towns and beaches can quickly become more daunting than you might expect. The best place for mountain biking is the Macanao Peninsula.

Cruises & Sailboat Charters -- The most popular day cruises from Margarita are to the islands of Coche, Cubagua, and Los Frailes. Trips cost from BsF100 to BsF200 per person for a full-day tour with lunch.

With the constant trade winds and translucent turquoise waters, Margarita is a great place to sail. A host of charter vessels anchor in the Pampatar harbor and other protected anchorages and bays around Margarita. The fleet fluctuates seasonally, but a sailboat is always available for a day cruise or multiday charter. Day tours cost from BsF90 to BsF200 per person. Rates for all-inclusive multiday charters range from BsF200 to BsF500 per person per day. Contact Explore Yachts (tel. 0212/635-2166 or 0414/287-7554; www.explore-yachts.com), which manages a fleet of vessels.

Fishing -- The waters off Isla de Margarita are excellent fishing grounds. A day's catch might include any combination of tuna, dorado, marlin, and sailfish. You can hire a guide and a boat for the day, with lunch and beverages, for between BsF700 and BsF2,500, depending on the size of the boat, number of fishermen, and game sought; check with your hotel or call Explore Yachts .

Golf -- There's only one working 18-hole course on the island. The Isla Margarita Golf Club (tel. 0295/265-7371) at the Hesperia Isla Margarita is a 70-par links course. The course is fairly flat and open, with few trees, little rough, and very inconsistent groundskeeping. During the dry season, the course gets particularly brown and parched. This isn't a popular golf destination, so tee times generally aren't required, but it never hurts to make a reservation. Greens fees are free for guests at both Hesperia hotels on the island and BsF90 for visitors.

Horseback Riding -- Whether you fancy a ride on the beach, through the forested hills of the Cerro El Copey, or over the barren desertlike landscape of the Macanao Peninsula, there are great opportunities for horseback riding all over Margarita. Inquire at your hotel, or contact Cabatucan Ranch (tel. 0416/681-9348; www.cabatucan.com), which specialize in tours of the Macanao Peninsula. A 2-hour ride, with transportation to and from your hotel, should run around BsF90 per person.

Jeep Tours -- Small 4X4 jeeps are the ideal transport for a full-day tour taking in a wide range of the sights and scenery of Isla de Margarita. The tours usually include pickup at your hotel, a trip to the top of Cerro El Copey, visits to a couple of churches and forts, a boat ride through La Restinga, stops at several beaches, and lunch and an open bar. The prices range from BsF90 to BsF180 per person. Both Highberg Tours (tel. 0414/789-7000; www.highbergtours.com) and Walter's Tours (tel. 0295/274-1265 or 0416/696-2212; www.margaritaislandguide.com) offer this adventure outing.

Kitesailing & Windsurfing -- Although you can rent a Windsurfer on many of the beaches on Margarita, Playa El Yaque, on the southern end of the island near the airport, is the place to be if you are a windsurfer or kitesailer. A handful of small hotels here cater specifically to windsurfers and kitesailers, usually with a wide selection of boards and sails for rent, and lesson options. El Yaque Paradise (tel. 0295/263-9418; www.hotelyaqueparadise.com) and El Yaque Motion (tel./fax 0295/263-9742; www.elyaquemotion.com) are both excellent options.

Scuba Diving & Snorkeling -- As this is the Caribbean, count on some good snorkeling and scuba diving on and around Isla de Margarita. Conditions immediately around the island can be a little too rough and murky. Two of the more popular dive sites close to Margarita are Los Frailes, a group of small rock islands about 11km (7 miles) offshore that are good for both snorkeling and scuba, and the Cueva el Bufón, a small cave near Pampatar thought to be a hiding place for pirate loot that can only be visited with scuba gear. Off Isla Cubagua, you can dive the wreck of a sunken ferry, with intact cars still aboard.

Snorkel trips average between BsF90 to BsF180 per person for a full-day tour with lunch, and scuba tours cost around BsF205 for a two-tank dive trip. Contact Ecobuzos (tel. 0295/262-9811; www.ecobuzos.com).

Surfing -- If the swell is right, you can find ridable surf on the island. Playa Parguito, just south of Playa El Agua, and El Tirano, a little farther south, are the principal breaks on Margarita.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.