Isla de Margarita has an oversupply of hotel rooms. Visions of a tourist mecca led to the construction of massive resorts in the style of Cancún and the Dominican Republic. The tourists never arrived in large enough numbers, and the current political climate has further affected the industry.
In general, all-inclusive packages here are a good bet and can often come quite cheap. Charter packages to Margarita from the United States, Canada, and even Europe, including round-trip airfare, can cost as little as $1,000 per person for a full week. Another alternative is to book your tour in bolívares fuertes through a Venezuelan-based tour agency. Margarita hotels do about 80% of their business with national tourists; competition is steep, and if you exchange money at the black-market rate, you can get a real bargain. Try Akanan Travel & Adventure (tel. 0212/715-5433 or 0414/116-0107; www.akanan.com) or Natoura Adventure Tours (tel. 303/800-4639 in the U.S., or 0274/252-4216 in Venezuela; www.natoura.com).
The prices listed here are the hotels' published rack rates. These tend to be the highest rate applicable, and as in Caracas, most hotels here sell very few rooms at the actual rack rate. Prices fluctuate radically according to season and demand. If you book direct, feel free to bargain -- it may pay off with some deep discounts.
Very Expensive -- In addition to the hotels reviewed in this section, you might also consider the Dunes Hotel & Beach Resort (tel. 0295/250-0000; www.dunesmargarita.com), which is set on a gorgeous stretch of beach on the northern end of the island, near the Hesperia Isla Margarita.
Moderate -- In addition to the hotels listed in this guide, there is a growing range of small posadas, bed-and-breakfasts, and condo rentals, particularly at the popular beaches. Two of the best are Casa Caracol (tel. 0295/416-8439; www.caracolgroup.com) and Posada Casa Mejillon (tel. 0295/872-5518; http://posadacasamejillon.jimdo.com).