Friday, December 7, 2012

Los Roques: There Really is a Heaven on Earth!

(Trip date: December, 2011-January, 2012)

We all picture it when we’re daydreaming of an escape…silky white sand, turquoise waters, the sounds of the lapping waves, the seashells under your feet and nothing but ocean as far as the eye can see.  In my travels, I’ve visited many beautiful beaches that fit the above description, but there is something so magnificent and different about Los Roques. Situated in the Caribbean, very close to other popular beach destinations like Aruba and Curacao, Los Roques is an archipelago not known to many as it belongs to Venezuela. I had seen many pictures of Los Roques before I went, but thought most of them must have been digitally enhanced as they didn’t look real at all, I didn’t believe a place like this really existed, and that I was going to visit this magical land myself!
I’ll never forget the journey there – firstly because our pilot was sick and throwing up at the airport so we had to wait three hours for a new pilot to drive across Caracas and take over. We all huddled into the tiny plane that sat about eight people and flew an hour over the ocean on our way to paradise. At one point our  plane went into a massive cloud and we were immersed into complete grayness, then suddenly we emerged from the cloud, as if we just went through a magical doorway, into a whole new world! The sun was shining and the ocean was bright blue, completely covered with tiny islands, sand banks and cays…each little island sparkled a different shade of turquoise, looking like precious gemstones glittering across the sea. The sight before my eyes looked like the fantasy photos I had seen and I couldn’t believe that I was going to be stepping foot on those exact islands!
There is one main island that has all the accommodations and restaurants, and every day a boat takes you to a different island to explore. What I loved most about Los Roques was its simplicity – the accommodations are pretty basic (there are fancier hotels, but not too many and they are quite pricey) and they are all family run. Our guest house was right on the beach and we ate breakfast and dinner at the same time as all the other guests that the family prepared fresh every day. There is a certain community feeling in Los Roques, as you walk around to the handful of shops, restaurants and bars, and run into the same people every day.
Los Roques is an almost untouched coral reef and the secluded beaches we visited each day were each as stunning as the next. Some were busier than others, but you could always take a walk and in five minutes you would be alone and by yourself in total tranquility – just you and the beauty of the ocean. Although Los Roques does have a tourist industry, it is still so unknown to the world that the beaches are still fairly quiet and untouched my man. On my walks along the beach I found many seashells without any cracks, as if they’ve coasted along the calm waters and landed on the quiet beach, never having been stepped on or touched by anybody…my friend even found a live starfish!  One of the beaches had a massive sand bank where you could literally walk along the ocean surface until you almost reached the next island.
At night we would visit the bar next to our guesthouse, which was not only a bar, but it also had a dance floor with no roof so you could literally ‘dance under the stars’.  If you didn’t feel like dancing, there was an outdoor sitting area right beside the ocean where you could plop yourself into a big, comfy bean bag chair and enjoy a cocktail after a hard day at the beach! One night a huge group of guys invaded the bar - they were on a trip from Caracas and this was their night out, and kindly took it upon themselves to be our dance teachers. They taught us all sorts of Latin dance moves including salsa and meringue as they whisked us across the dance floor, making us look like we actually knew what we were doing!
If you haven’t guessed by now, Los Roques is one of my favourite places I’ve ever been to, and by far at the top of my list of beaches in the world to visit. I never imaged a beach to be so beautiful and untouched, to be able to close my eyes and know that I have visited true paradise. Where the calm waters glitter in the sun and the silky sand is smooth at your feet, where the starfish live and turtles play, where you dance under the stars at night after a perfectly blissful day.

1 comment:

  1. It is pretty amazing to read all the stories of your trips, specially because I've been part of every single one you have written about so far. It is pretty spectacular to experience my country through your eyes. I've been lucky to see beauty and experience magic with you. Can't wait for our next adventure. Lucky to have u as a friend.