One of the most spectacular places of interest near to Punto Fijo, is the 'Los Medanos de Coro.' This is the largest of Falcón State's four National Parks. (30 Kms long and 5 Kms wide).
They lie just as the neck meets the mainland. A small desert, with the Carribean sea each side and the highway inbetween. You can walk the dunes(some over 25 meters high) or in this case, hitchike (click to enlarge pic).
The sands shift constantly which makes for a very creative and unpredictable landscape. Apparently, many people go there in the hope of curing various aches and pains, especially muscular.
We have visited this place in Punto Fijo many times, for bread, snacks, pizza etc and is a local meeting place to have a coffee. They also have a great selection of cheeses, pate, cold meats etc while also selling confectionary, newspapers and ciggarettes . The place to hang - out with friends, with lots of great foods to try or buy.
A great local attraction in the peninsula is "El Cerro Santa Ana" (Santa Ana Hill). You can reach the top departing from Moruy town. I was told it is the only mountain in the local vicinity.
I haven't climbed it, just driven by it a few times and my sister went there with the family and played dominos at the bottom ; )
but according to local info :
"The first part of the ascending road is rather hot because of the scarce vegetation, but as the way goes upward and gets through a humid tropical forest the temperature lowers and the air freshens. At the top you will enjoy a superb overall view of the peninsula, La Sierra de Coro and Aruba Island".
There are many posts on the net re the Aruba to Ven hop. I have done this on a 12 seater propella plane It takes around 15 mins or so (not too long for the torture) quite a few times now.
Departing from Aruba & landing at Punto Fijo's 'La Piedras' a few times a day, times of flights have a reputation of being changed quite drastically so it is always best to recheck the departure times. It is not easy to book flights from the UK for this trip. My Dad always arranges this for us. One of the better airlines is Santa Barbara & it is much easier to book once in the region.
These planes are not for fliers 'muy nerviosos' (ie me).They sound like a small moped when taking off but don't go too high & have nice views over the sea.
Amazingly, they have in flight drinks available for this short flight. The air hostess staggers about with a trolly practically the size of half the plane (usually to much amusement) on which I noted two large bottles one Rum & one Whiskey sit (of course)! Juice & chocolate cake is available for small people.
On one said journey, she poured out two large glasses of spirits & mixers and casually took them to the pilot & co pilot (I kid you not). Somehow it seemed totally appropriate at the time ; )
There IS supposed to be a 4 hr ferry journey starting up this spring but no-one seems to have seen it yet ! Meanwhile my Dad is looking into chartering a private boat to get us all across, which would be much more preferable, but something tells me I that I will be making the journey on that little plane again very soon.
As far as I know, prices are around £45 ($90)return (seeT.A review). There are export taxes from Aruba & Ven which can bump up the price a bit.
Link to a travel journal re this trip :
On spotting our Sol America transport to Venezuela, Sister no. 1, burst into tears. I have to say, this plane made the previous years Santa Barbara flying machine look like a jumbo jet This pic really does not do the dents and the home paint-job justice!
Still, putting on a brave face for the Small Person was essential so after a few large swigs of whiskey coke and a few doses of Aconite homeopathic remedy , I smiled in a hopefully confident looking manner and ushered my loved ones towards our transportation to Las Piedras, Punto Fijo.
After joining our bags at the door, and getting 'comfortable' (no such things as safety demonstrations, drinks or trolly dollies on this flight) Sister no1, was somewhat alarmed that the pilots had 'their arms hanging out of the open windows of the cockpit ' in a simliar style to that of car drivers in hot climates -Hmm.(These were shut in a cool fashion at the last minute before take off).
Rather perversely for a frightened flier, I rather enjoyed the 20 min flight. Although a little bumpy on the way down (causing the Venezuelan lady behind to clutch desperately at various objects in a rather dramatic fashion) I managed to grin, albeit in a rather manic style, through most of it and even tried to calm said lady with an Aconite, the rest of the bottle, which was never returned. (Nothing better to cure fear, than someone else more frightened than yourself)!
As I say, we were lucky the wind dropped and were treated to some wonderful views of the Carribean sea, a distant Aruba and a very desert like Venezuela coming into view.
I may even have sung a song :-)
For some unknown reason, this plane was nicnamed the 'Reggae Plane'.
Note : There is an exit tax of from Aruba to Ven. On leaving Vene the exit tax is 80,000 Bolivares (Apr 05)
Having already done the Santa Barbara mini-plane hop to Venezuela from Aruba a few times already, I thought I was prepared for the latest crossing. High winds in Aruba the previous evening, had prompted some pretty scarey tales from locals of what we could expect the following morning on our early flight to Las Piedras airport and didn't bode well for a good nights sleep I can tell you.
So, it was a very tired and rather anxious Amapola who arrived at Queen Beatrix Airport the following morning, clutching a ready mixed whiskey coke and putting a brave face on for the Small Person. Luckily for us, the wind had temporarily calmed and a quick visit to the meditation room (just by the Venezuelan gate strangely enough) was enough to face the thankfully short 'roller coaster ride' to Las Piedras Airport, Punto Fijo.
Being a big shoe fan, It is impossible for me to leave Venezuela without a pair of their stylish reasonably priced shoes.
Punto Fijo center is an extremely good place to buy clothes and shoes.
The shops assitants are refreshingly helpful and attentive, the shoes are fabulous and go from small sizes with narrow fittings upwards (Hooray!) and it is a miracle I only came home with the one pair this visit (Due to an arepa pan already fighting for space in my suitcase he he ).
Ladies visitng Venezuela, take my advise and take an extra bag for your return, you'll be happy you did ; )
What to buy: Shoes and Matching Bags
What to pay: This pair were £7 !
"The goat population in Venezuela has been estimated in a million and a half heads".
Hmm I think most of these goats live by the roadside in Paraguana! It is often said, that there are more goats than people in this area, goatfarming being one of the most economic activities in the area. The goats I saw certainly seem to like living among the Cardones (desert bushes ) in this part of the world.
Maybe it is this fact that incites the StepMother when driving past groups of goats on the Punto Fijo roads, to become animated, hoot her horn and shout out 'Aha - there are my relatives !' and 'Look, my cousins - All of them!' - .
As I say, Venezuelans have a sense of humour ; )
For those that like goats : Goats in Venezuela even have a plant named after them, the 'Goats Foot Morning Glory' - A creeping plant with beautiful flowers.
I have just recently (this very morning actually), learned that this monster, resides in Venezuela and loves the arid heat of the Paraguaná Peninsula.
Apparently, it has a 'vicious temperament'.
I really wish I hadn't discovered that !
(Remember, when you are in a tropical climate there , it has tropical pros and cons)....
Edit : Thankfully, I didn't come across one of these on my recent trip, then again, I avoided climbing hot tiled roofs and sitting under trees of a bushy nature (you never quite know what's living inside !)