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Nueva Esparta is one of the 23 states of Venezuela, granted free-port status in 1973 and located in the Caribbean Sea, just a short distance off the northeastern coast of Venezuela.
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Points of Interest in El Yaque
The climate is warm and pleasant with vacationers visiting all year long. It becomes extremely busy in the summer months and Christmas holiday season as Venezuelans bring their family for holiday. During those times it is wise to pre-plan all aspects of your holiday. Many visitors enjoy the states' duty-free shopping. In the evening, a active nightlife awaits you, full of beach bars, discos, salsa clubs and fine restaurants. The Caribbean's largest indoor shopping mall, Sambil, with over 250 stores, is located in Pampatar.
Exploring the mangroves of La Restinga National Park, visiting Spanish Colonial historical sites, swimming with dolphins, horseback riding, exquisite spa treatment, a shopping trip to buy a hammock made in the state, a visit to the maritime museum, fishing or sailing, Wind and kite surfing are the major tourist activities on Coche and in Playa El Yaque.
Popular events in El Yaque in the near future
About El Yaque
Nueva Esparta is outside the "hurricane belt", situated in the Caribbean Sea, off the northeastern coast of the mainland and has never been hit by a hurricane. The tropical weather is about the same all year, hot. Seasons tend to come and go with such gradual change one hardly notices. It tends to rain more in the winter then anytime else. It is not unusual for the rain to be nightly, leaving many sun filled days. It is said that the state gets on average over 320 sun filled days per year. The state has more than 60 beaches along 145 miles of coastline.
- Visit La Restinga National Park, which consists of a sandbar that unites the eastern part of Margarita with the Macanao Peninsula and is home to interesting flora. The park's mangrove-covered natural canals can be accessed by boat from El Indio sector, where one can take either an hour or half hour tour of the mangroves. Once at the beach let the boat driver know what time you want to be picked up to go back. The beach is made up of very fine seashells. There are a few restaurants that are open air and serve on paper plates. The oysters on the half shell served there are the freshest available. The park can be crossed by vehicle on the road to San Francisco if you have a 4x4 vehicle.
- Visit the fort just north of Juan Griego to watch an awesome sunset. "Fortin de la Galera" is atop a large hill overlooking the bay in Juan Griego. Parking can be an issue the closer it gets to sunset.
- Visit Isla de Coche, a quiet fishing island with around 10,000 inhabitants. The island offers windsurfing and kitesurfing. Take a ferry from Punta de Piedras or a lancha from El Yaque. The most popular beach on the island is Playa la Punta.
- Visit Conejeros Market, located just outside of Porlamar on the main highway coming from the airport it is on ones left. This "flee market" type shopping is filled with souvenirs,clothing, beach towels shoes, sunglasses and knock offs of all kinds. The market is only open in the mornings and early afternoon. Some sellers begin closing around noon but most stay open until 1 or 2
- Go for a night out at Kamy Beach in Pampatar, a great club where many of the mainland tourists go. Another club is Pampatar Beach Bar located in the La Caranta section of Pampatar. It is beach front and on Thursday nights offer cinema night where one can sit back and watch a newly released feature while sipping on their favorite cocktail.
- Try your luck at surfing if you are so inclined at Playa Parguito, located just off 31 de Julio, just before Playa el Agua. Like Playa el Agua, the surf can get quite rough at times and there are no life guards on duty.
- Take a private tour to Cubagua, the smallest island of Nueva Esparta, located to the southwest of Margarita Island and about 15 kilometers to the west of Coche. Some like to snorkel and explore the sunken ferry that is just off the coast.
- Visit Plaza Bolivar in La Asuncion, located in a valley making it very lush and green most of the year. Spend a few hours checking out the museums around the plaza, the Cathedral, said to be the second oldest surviving colonial church in the country and walking amidst the houses painted in many Caribbean colors. About a 15 minute uphill walk will take you to the fort "Castillo de Santa Rosa".
- Explore on your own. If on Coche, rent a bicycle or ATV to see the island. On Margarita Island one can rent a car to explore the island. It can take a full day to drive around the entire Island, so plan for at least 2 days to explore.
- Spend a day at Playa El Agua, one of the most popular beaches with Venezuelans and foreigners on Margarita Island. Take the time to have something to eat in one of the many restaurants along the beach. Playa El Agua is a good location to arrange tours or to do some shopping from one of many stalls selling things like hand carved sculptures, handmade jewelry and paintings, Many unique and inexpensive souvenirs are available here.
Alcoholic beverages abound throughout the state. Both import and domestic alcohol are available, the beer tends to be mostly domestic production. A popular brand is Polar, it comes in both bottles and cans. There is a light, a regular and a dark. Sunday has recently become a dry day and the purchase of alcoholic beverages has been restricted. So make sure you stock up on Saturday. It is popular to pack a cooler with ice, beer, your favorite spirits, spending the day on the beach getting sloshed.
There are many popular tropical drinks in Nueva Esparta. Just ask at the club, hotel, bar or restaurant you are visiting and the local bartender will no doubt be pleased to get things moving. Watch out, some of these drinks can be a little potent.
- Cuba Libre Load the glass with ice, add rum to just under the brim, add a splash of Coca Cola, serve with a limon wedge.
- Coco Loco 1 fresh coconut, 1 cup ice, 1 ounce white tequila, 1 ounce melon liqueur, 1 ounce coconut rum, 1 ounce pineapple juice, 1 Tablespoon sugar, 1/2 fresh limon. Slice a couple of inches off the top of the coconut, keeping the coconut milk inside. Put everything inside the coconut and squeeze the limon half over the mixture then drop the limon in. Stir, drink, repeat.
- Margarita Mojito 1 teaspoon powdered sugar, juice from 1 limon, 4 mint leaves, 1 sprig of mint, Cacique Rum, club soda. Put the mint leaves into glass and squeeze the juice from a cut limon over it. Add the powdered sugar, then crush the mint into the limon juice and sugar with a muddler or spoon. Add crushed ice add rum until glass almost full, stir, add a splash of club soda and garnish with mint sprig.
- Kapiroska Squeeze the juice from one limon into a glass, add 2 Tablespoons of powder sugar, fill glass with crushed ice then add vodka until almost full and shake for a full minute. Strain into clean glass and garnish with limon wedge, drink, repeat.
- El Ritual is not about mixing the flavors in a glass, but setting up the steps that allow you to mix the flavors in your mouth. First pour a shot-glass of Pampero Aniversario (aged Venezuelan rum), next you need a limon wedge, then you pour brown sugar and instant coffee into two separate piles on a small dish. Dip one side of the limon into the sugar, the other into the coffee and bite and suck on it, chug the rum and let the flavors intermingle in your mouth before swallowing.
A limon is a cross between a lemon and a lime and is common in Nueva Esparta.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Nueva Esparta on Wikivoyage.