We all believe in paradise right? But its true, it’s not somewhere you look for. It’s in a moment, an experience, in a time of your life where you look around and think, I want this to last forever.
However, most people’s paradise, the idea is, sat on a beautiful beach, white sands, crystal clear water, with limited noise apart from the brushing of the ocean against the sand. Well, I’ve been to many beautiful beaches in my life, and for that idea, that dream of tranquillity on a beautiful island with nothing much else, Los Roques is top of the list. I do wonder, how I can ever get better than what my 4 days and 3 nights were. There are places in Australia, Thailand, Philippines, Greece, Brazil which all have incredible beaches, however engulfed by a surrounding wall of shops and bars. Los Roques is nowhere near that. It has over 300 unhabited islands, which are visited by day only, via boat. The main island people stay on in Pousadas (Family Run Houses) is Gran Roque. A small habitable island with Pousadas, a couple dive shops, some restaurants, a Plaza and a lighthouse viewpoint. People walk bare feet on this island still, as its covered with warm, comfortable sand with no cars or motorbikes. It feels very personal staying on Gran Roques, but during the day it’s pretty empty. By 930am everyone has sailed out to their chosen island, tour or scuba diving adventure. Planes come in regularly with chartered planes as small as 5 seaters to larger aircrafts that seat 10-12. To get to Los Roques and back to mainland Venezuela, you have to get a flight. No boats available for this journey, but the flights them selfs take maximum 1 hour. On that note, the view in and out of Los Roques is truly remarkable. It gives you an incredible viewpoint of this majestic land, the different shades of blue sea scattered around these white turquoise islands, broken up what looks like a million pieces.
My 3 days were amazing. I really wanted to relax, be on my own, just chill. In my life, the way I work or at least for last 2 years, relaxing is only temporary. Being on an island like this would almost always inevitable lead to a party on the night, an enduring activity during the day. Well not this time. It was fitting aswell, my last days in Venezuela, prior to that gruelling trips in Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago all in the past now. My next journey is into Colombia, and back as they say, on the Gringo Trail. These last 6 weeks have been a test and challenging one, albeit I’ve been with people along the way, there has been times I’ve been alone, in these parts of the world, things are a little trickier, and to meet a fellow backpacker isn’t as common as other parts of South America. It’s been an incredible journey and well worth this experience. I have learnt alot about myself, and more than anything have realised how I really can cope on my own, in the most difficult of circumstances for a traveller. I feel everything has gone to plan, subconsciously my mind and heart told me this was the way to do it. My destinations I wanted to visit have all most been complete. I chose this journey, to get away from the demorilisation of other travellers ways, ignoring the temptation to just travel with someone for the sake of it, unlike some who I have met along the way, and really came out what I wanted to do.
My first day was getting set up and getting here. I decided to get to a beautiful island and just park up, with 6 cans of beer and some beach attire. I sat and roasted all day, with the odd hour or two of snorkelling and swimming. I couldn’t resist the clear waters to see what aqua life I could find. After of course, turning slightly pink, as most Brits do, despite having a slight tan anyway, the day was exactly what I could of hoped for. Normally I would worry of boredom setting in, but in that moment, I just look up at the sky, my surroundings, and think WOW, this isn’t any ordinary island, this is unique. The good thing also was, there wasn’t anything else to see or go buy. You just sit there, take it all in, forget what you ‘have’ to do, or organise, or that mental drive that you have of ‘having to do something’, you know that guilt we all place on ourselves of not doing enough. Well, I do enough, my life has and is full on. Not that day, it was sun, sea, sand and cerveza. The night didn’t consist of much, a well needed Air Conditioned nap followed by 2 main meals and desert from the Italian Chef. Pasta followed by fresh Fish and Potato with any drinks to go with. I felt revitalised and so in my comfort zone it was incredible. I didn’t feel the need to do much, I knew what I was there for.
The second day, I got up early after a luxurious sleep my double bed. This time, I took a mini tour. Now it really wasn’t that much of a tour. We visited one island for some photos for 1 hour, followed by a second one for 5 hours of the same sunbathing, snorkelling, sea watching, sand sitting times. The end of the tour was to be taken to some clearer than clearer waters to find starfish and take photos before there lifespan expired, being out of water for over 6 seconds. I met a couple of Venezuelan women, one in particular Marianna, who is a Presenter on a Radio Station in Caracas. I felt such a good spirit with her, she was beuatifull polite, mysteriously cool and very open minded. A backpacker but not. Her presence made my days near her, lust for a love again.
The third and final full day I had to say bye to Marianna before heading off on a Scuba Dive trip in El Morito. I was excited to get underwater. The dive instructor said we could see a shipwreck at 18 metres. My scuba diving experience isn’t much, but I’m beginning to feel a real explorative love for this activity, in my eyes discovering a new world. A peaceful world with no words. With attractive colours and oddly shaped aqua creatures just floating below us. No agendas, no minds of curiousity, just living there, surviving, being all natural. Our dive was brilliant. The fluidity of the water was great,allowing for my questionable buyoncy to take shape and I began to swim freely and in control. The ship itself was a small one, but to experience something of that for the first time, anyones first time, is an amazing experience. More to come I hope. I felt at peace underwater, similar to being at peace on a quiet beach with limited people. I couldn’t say nothing, I couldn’t do nothing, but just to embrace what was around me. We have so many things we have to do, or we could play with, or we ‘must’ see in this world, but we forget what is infront of us. Sometimes, just living right now is the best thing. Your mind is at ease, no guilt or pressure is upon you, and just go with the flow. Thats how I like to try and live anyway. Scuba diving certainly brought 45 minutes of freedom. I decided to hit my final island that day for the remaining afternoon. This island had a sneaky breeze to its creation, so I wondered off and found a rocky-like lagoon with a couple of snorkelers skimming the surface. I decided to have some more aqua times for that day, and I was not to be disappointed. It was like a huge fishtank with no end, The coral and stones alone were mesmerizing, metres of superb visibility. When i first entered, I looked around, and to my left, there must of been thousands and thousands of blue striped fish only about 2-4cm long each, surrounding me. Everytime my limbs made a movement it obviously caused a ribble, with almost simutanousely each fish moved out the way. Robotic like. It was like looking into a circular house full of glowing gems but underwater. I explored these parts until visibility declined and the lack of aqua life diminished. Before getting out, my first coral injury occurred whilst cleaning my mask, a quick craze to my foot, but of no real problem so far.
All in all, this trip, all be it a special and unique one to Los Roques was incredible. A well worth journey to beautiful islands that Venezuela beholds, some of the best if not the best in South America. I know I’ve hit the peak for island life, 3 months into my journey of South America with 3.5 months to go. If the word and meaning of paradise is true to what most think it is, then this is and was it for me. However, paradise isn’t somewhere you can look for, I think most backpackers know that, although you can come close. This place isn’t as easy as any Greek or Thai island to get to. You have to venture through Venezuela to get here, make sure you plan ahead or you know someone in my case(Maria Rivero you are amazing ! ). So going through that effort, through a country much advised from Foreign Offices not to visit, then finally landing on one of the best places to achieve what many think is a dream lifestyle. I mean, who wouldnt love it here?