Back in the mid-nineties we visited Puerto La Cruz in Venezuela for a week. We were staying across the street from the beach, which proved to be a bit of a disappointment; broken glass was scattered in the sand and the area didn’t look safe.

In order to enjoy the warm Caribbean waters we had to take a taxi boat to a more secluded area, some quiet islands not too far from the coast. The beach was really nice but the lack of shade resulted in us getting wicked sunburn. We had planned on spending a full day at the beach and had bought roundtrip tickets with a 4 pm return. However by 2 pm we were so red that we begged the taxi boat driver to take us back earlier. Thankfully, he agreed!

Puerto La Cruz 3

Even for sun worshippers like us, we couldn’t imagine spending another 2 hours hiding under a very small umbrella. Back then nobody talked about skin cancer. We were using sunscreen but since we didn’t bring enough from home we had to buy a local brand. It was useless and felt like a coat of plastic on our skin. Lesson learned, from that point on I always bring plenty of sunscreen in order not to run out.

We were so burned from our outing at the beach that the clerk at the convenience store told us to mix olive oil with ice and cover our skin with this mixture. He promised us that the sunburn would be gone by the next morning. We didn’t believe him but being in pain with nothing to loose, we tried it and surprisingly it really worked. Overnight our skin healed and the next morning we had a nice golden color. We were so glad that we wouldn’t have to hide from the sun for the rest of our stay but we avoided the brutal midday sun for the rest of our vacation by going out for lunch at our favorite restaurant.

Our package deal didn’t include all the meals so we had to venture outside of the hotel compound for lunch and dinner. We found an excellent pizzeria nearby with prices that suited our budget at the time. One evening we treated ourselves and went to this French cuisine restaurant. It was expensive and the portions were so small that we had to go out for pizza after. We laughed and laughed at the plate with a mini potato, a drizzle of coulis, and a 1oz piece of meat.

Once while we were exploring shops near our hotel my husband noticed that someone was following us. Since we didn’t feel safe we chose not to venture too far from our hotel and didn’t explore much of Puerto La Cruz. I guess our instincts were right on! Shortly after our return home, all charters stopped flying tourists to this area.

We loved the hot sunny weather so much that we decided to give Venezuela another try by booking a trip to Margarita Island. We never made it because one week prior to our departure a bus of tourists was attacked and all flights from Montreal to this area were cancelled. Even with all the planning, our trip was cancelled and we were left scrambling to find another option at the last minute.

Latin America & The Caribbean