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Getting There

By Guided Tour -- One of the most popular ways to visit Los Roques is on a day tour from Caracas or Isla de Margarita. These trips are sold by almost every travel agent and tour company in Caracas and are aggressively hawked at the airport. Aerotuy (tel. 0212/212-3110; www.tuy.com) is by far the most established operator on the archipelago, with a fleet of catamarans anchored at Gran Roque. The tour generally leaves between 6 and 8am, arriving on Gran Roque in less than an hour. Soon after arrival, you'll board one of the catamarans for a sail to one or more of the nearby cays, with one or more stops for beach time and snorkeling, as well as a buffet lunch onboard the vessel. You'll return to Gran Roque in the late afternoon for your flight back to Caracas. The cost is BsF860 per person. Although there is a cattle-car feel to the operation, organization is tight, and the bilingual guides tend to be helpful, knowledgeable, and cheerful. However, Los Roques is so isolated and enchanting, you'll definitely wish you had spent the night . . . or two.

By Plane -- Several daily flights connect Los Roques to Caracas and Isla de Margarita, with extra scheduled and charter flights on weekends and during peak periods (although demand often outstrips supply, so I recommend reserving well in advance). Aerotuy (tel. 0212/212-3110; www.tuy.com), Blue Star Airline (tel. 0412/310-1962; www.bluestar.us), and Rainbow Airlines (tel. 0212/421-9191), all offer regular service to Los Roques. Round-trip airfare from Caracas or Margarita costs from BsF600 to BsF1,050. Prices fluctuate a little seasonally, and you can sometimes get good deals midweek or on afternoon flights to Los Roques.

All visitors to Los Roques must pay a BsF46 one-time entrance fee for the national park, good for the duration of your stay.

Getting Around

There are no passenger cars on Gran Roque -- just a garbage truck, a water truck, and a handful of golf carts. You can walk from one end of the town of Gran Roque to the other in less than 10 minutes; you can hike to the more distant spots on the island in under an hour.

The only permanent settlement is on the main island of Gran Roque. There are some private vacation homes and fishermen's shacks on some of the other islands, but for all intents and purposes, a visit to Los Roques implies a visit to Gran Roque.

Four crushed-coral-and-sand streets run lengthwise through the town, beginning at the airstrip on the eastern end of the island. The small Plaza Bolívar is just a block or so from the airstrip. The public dock is on the southern side of the island nearly smack-dab in the middle of town.

Fast Facts -- There is actually a branch of the Banesco (tel. 0237/221-1265), which has an ATM and will change money. Some hotels and shops are reluctant to change money, and quite a few do not accept credit cards. Many will accept dollars for payment. The local ATM may or may not be able to access funds in your home account, so it's always best to bring a sufficient supply of bolívares fuertes for your stay, although if you ask around you should be able to find someone who will change foreign currency at or near the going black-market rate.

If you have a medical emergency, you will have to be air evacuated on the next scheduled flight or special charter. Local dive shops often have dive masters and instructors schooled in first aid.

An Internet cafe is on the back street near Posada Guaripete. They charge BsF25 per hour and can get quite busy, as they are the only game in town. Also, note that there is no Ipostel office on the island -- you'll have to mail your postcards and letters from the mainland. A handful of public phones operate on calling cards available at one of the few general stores on Gran Roque.

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.