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Old 25-06-2011, 23:40   #31
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Re: Safety in Venezuela

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Originally Posted by ex-static View Post
We are debating whether to sail our catamaran to the ABCs via Los Roques from Grenada over the next week or so. Anyone interested in convoying? At the moment we don't feel overly comfortable with the idea of doing it on our own. Also any tips on which route to take would be much appreciated. Thanks and cheers!

As orisail states the trip is relatively easy. However unlike him I would suggest that you stop at Los Roches and Las Alves on the way to Bonaire. You can't linger for a long period at either if you haven't completed the full immigration process but a night at Grand Roches a day sail though the islands to one of the western Cayo's and then on to a night each of the Aves will normally be quite acceptable. To bypass some of the best destinations anywhere would be a missed opportunity.

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Old 26-06-2011, 13:37   #32
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Re: Safety in Venezuela

You can also stop in Blanquilla before Los Roques. You can stay in Blanquilla as long as you like - there is no one there to check on you. If you stay away from Grand Roques and the Northern end of the islands, you can stay as long as you like. The Guardia doesn't leave the North area, and even if they do, you just move on in a day or so. You can also stay in the Aves as long as you like. The Western most Aves has a Guardia station, but they are very friendly and not interested in making you check in or move. In fact, they seem kind of happy to have someone around. They will do a "check in", but not in the sense of customs/immigration.

We spent 6 weeks last winter between Grenada and Bonaire without officially checking into Venezuela. We didn't "hide" or pretend we had checked in, and were up front with the officials we did meet in the Aves. They did not care at all that we were not formally checked into Venezuela.

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Old 26-06-2011, 14:53   #33
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Re: Safety in Venezuela

I agree with both angloof and colemJ - there is some spectacular places to stop and experience, especially the Aves - however, most of my friends are in a hurry to get west to the Canal and end up passing these places by. There is a tendency once you get on a "roll" sailing west, you resist stopping in between especially when the next major stop, Bonaire, is only a day away.
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Old 30-06-2011, 06:36   #34
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Re: Safety in Venezuela

Bill, you asked specifically about Isla Margarita and Los Roques and Angloof is correct - there have already been various threads about the topic. Isla Margarita is a terrific place for provisioning (it is a duty free island and diesel is subsidized); however, there are security concerns. At the moment you are pretty much stuck with Porlamar (I would avoid Robledal as it is isolated and there was a serious attack on a yacht there a few years ago). A few yachts anchor off Juan Griego and, while I have not heard of any attacks there, I would avoid it as again, there will be very few other yachts and the waterfront area can be a bit scarey at night.

The major concern about Porlamar is likely dinghy theft, but you must bear in mind that you are anchoring off a large city (in the context of the Caribbean) and there will always be some risks associated with that. If you are particularly nervous, the marina by the Hilton has decent security, reasonable rates and is a convenient place for checking into Venezuela and as a base for reprovisioning.

Read, talk to people and decide, but as has been pointed out, some of the islands off the coast of Venezuela are not to be missed.

Brad
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Old 30-06-2011, 06:42   #35
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Re: Safety in Venezuela

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geeeziz--markj has apoint-=this argumentative bs doesnt answer anything for anyone--i think aussie males are a lot smarter than are u.s. males..LOL..more to the point, also.
Zee: French born male are not bad too........
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Old 30-06-2011, 06:44   #36
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Re: Safety in Venezuela

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Is that related to the myth that their cajones are more massive?
What do you mean their drawers (cajones) are more massive ???

Oh.. perhaps you meant cojones and not cajones...
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Old 30-06-2011, 09:23   #37
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Re: Safety in Venezuela

I just came back yesterday from a 3 weeks vacation, crewing on a friend's boat from St Vincent, island hopping back home to Curacao ...

Carriacou - Gran Roque / Los Roques was a 3 days and 3 nights sail, incl. a non predicted BF 8+ storm the first night (35-40Kn winds / 12-15 ft waves) ...
Gran Roque was a wonderful reward ... so were Crasqui and Sarqui ...
on Crasqui we were served a very nice, simple meal on the beach ...
I think I liked Los Roques MUCH better than the Tobago Keys (ducking now ) ...

on Las Aves we stayed at Isla Sur/Barlovento, bartered cigarettes and tins of Coke for 4 pieces of Baracuda, leaving the four young fishermen with a big smile on their face ...

then stayed the night over at Sotavento / Isla Palmera ...
what somebody else said, on arriving call the coast guard on Isla Larga, they will visit you, fill in an official piece of paper and then they will ask for food ...
Venezuela doesn't really take care well of the coastguard there...
so be sure to bring something edible for them ... we caught a nice baracuda ourselves and gave it to them ... big smiles were the reward ...

a 7 hrs downwind sail to Bonaire (go to Mona Lisa for their day special) ... and another 7 hrs downwind to Spanish Water Curacao ...

all in all I had a wonderful time, exploring the East Carib for the first time, even though I live on Curacao and sail on other ppl's boats for years already ...

conclusion: no worries about Roques and Aves, just enjoy their beauty ...
we stayed away from the other islands for obvious reasons ...
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Old 30-06-2011, 09:34   #38
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Re: Safety in Venezuela

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I just came back yesterday from a 3 weeks vacation
Welcome home, see you soon!
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Old 30-06-2011, 10:05   #39
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Re: Safety in Venezuela

(The Red hurst the eyes)

I found out the other day that you can do Los Roques (Venezuela) without clearing in if its only 24 hours.

Another trick I hear is to get a Venezualean visa in Grenada... they are issued on arrival, but the thought it may make it easier is going to Los Roques and the Coast Guard rolls in.

By the way are their coast guard trustworthy?
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Old 30-06-2011, 12:14   #40
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Re: Safety in Venezuela

Mark, I have never had an issue with them, nor indeed with any public officials I have dealt with. I was at an International Association of Prosecutors conference in Venezuela a few years ago and was truly impressed at the efforts being made by their prosecutors to go after corruption by public officials. To this point, even in purchasing and developing land which required approvals by various levels of government, I have still not been pestered for a bribe. Does it happen? No doubt.

But I suspect that the level of corruption is no worse than most areas in the Caribbean, and significantly less than in areas such as the DR and Mexico.

Brad
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Old 30-06-2011, 12:39   #41
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Re: Safety in Venezuela

PS Like anywhere it helps to be polite and respectful (and in that connection, I would suggest that you wear long pants when entering any government office). It also helps, of course, if you know a little spanish.

If you are worried about the Chavinistas, I had an interesting experience in January at the airport in Porlamar. Security personnel were pulling virtually everything out of everyone's luggage and when they opened my carry-on, they saw a copy of the biography of Ernesto 'Che' Guevara that I happened to be reading. No, I am anything but a 'red', but the offical took it that I must have at least been a sympathizer - he pulled it out and said, "Un buen libro, Sr?" (a good book, sir?). I responded, "Si, si, muy importante por los Cubanos, y pienso igualmente por todos los latinamericanos!" (yes, yes, very important for the Cubans, but I think also for all latin americans). He smiled, closed my carry-on and returned my suitcase (and my fiancee's) unmolested. I'm not suggesting that you carry one as a prop - well, maybe I am!

Cheers!

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Old 01-07-2011, 12:58   #42
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Re: Safety in Venezuela

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I found out the other day that you can do Los Roques (Venezuela) without clearing in if its only 24 hours.
You can do Los Roques forever if you just stay away from Grand Roques and the Northern part of the island group. The Southern and Western parts of the group are fantastic and the Guardia do not come down there. Even if they did, the worse they would do is give you a 24hr notice to move on (and then they would not come back to check if you did).

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Old 01-07-2011, 14:42   #43
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Re: Safety in Venezuela

Mark,

we have been sailing in the E Carribbean for the past 1o years,
two persons on board - no guns
have visited Venezuela approximately 20-25 times,
the last a year ago, all I can tell you is that

1) we have never been attacked or threatened there

2) but we have been hassled / robbed by the Guardia Nationale twice ! (on land)
but then even the Venezuelans get that

3) re Isla de Margarita and Los Testigos - both lovely places but both have had numerous incidents of violence & crime - some of which took place while we were in the area

Blanquilla and other (very offshore islands) are pretty safe and to my knowledge have not had any problems

But under NO CIRCUMSTANCE travel along the coast and anchor in any of the bays on the mainland, we keep out at at Lat 11 deg N when on passage

Basically it (crime & Violence) seems to flare up on occassions - often with no warning, so what is safe today - can easily be bad tomorrow and vice versa

the country is in a real mess politically and economically,
the people are lovely (most of them) the fisherman the salt of the earth,

but you do put yourself "potentially in harms way" by being there -
your call ?

Best of luck with your cruising
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