The archipelago of Los Roques is probably the best known of Venezuela's Caribbean islands. Situated 110 miles north of Caracas, Los Roques is an atoll of reef-islands, tidal islets and reefs surrounding the Laguna Central, and is one of Venezuela's most beautiful sights. Covering an area of over 225,153ha, the archipelago is Venezuela's largest marine park. The islands in Los Roques are edged with brilliant white sand, and at low tide, finger-like sandbars protrude into the turquoise sea. The waters over the surrounding 120 miles of coral garden are crystal clear, providing fantastic snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities. The coastlines, interspersed with green mangroves, form a striking contrast with the barren grass and arid scrub of the inland terrain.
Los Roques was originally settled by Indians some 900 years ago. Colonization began some years later on Gran Roque Island, after fishermen from Margarita Island discovered the rich waters of the area. Today, Gran Roque Island, the largest of the islands, is home to the majority of the archipelago's 1,000 or so inhabitants. Los Roques is renowned for its variety of marine fauna. Just some of the many species include parrotfish, barracuda, red snapper, dolphin, shark, octopus, lobster and the near-extinct queen conch. Green turtles visit the beaches to lay their eggs, and the island of Dos Mosquises Sur is the home of a biological research station dedicated to preserving the green turtle populations in the region. The resident and migrant bird population of the archipelago exceeds 90 species and includes enormous gull colonies, boobies, frigates, pelicans, herons and scarlet ibis. Daily flights operate to Los Roques from Margarita Island and Caracas.
Activities in Los Roques include:
Los Roques maintains an average annual temperature of 86ºF, though nights remain cool thanks to the regional breeze. The temperature reaches a peak of 92ºF in July and a low of 76ºF in January, and there is occasional rain from September to January.