Margarita Tropical Villa Pool
Margarita Tropical Villa bed and breakfast (posada), Playa el Agua, Margarita Island, Venezuela
Bed & breakfast in Playa El Agua. 10 rooms with king size beds, A/C,
pool, fridges, DirecTV, free Internet & breakfast
From US$33 - See www.casatrudel.com for info!


Pool Side Room

Living on or retiring to the tropical island of
Isla Margarita or Margarita Island, Venezuela
Tropical Island Living!

This is the fourth page of our information on Living, retiring to
and Working on Margarita Island or Isla Margarita.

On this page you will find information about Schools, Doctors, Hospitals,
Buying a Car & Insurance and Driving in Margarita Island.

Because of the total amount of information on living in Margarita Island I have broken it down
into 4 separate pages:

Page One:
Climate and Weather, Property Ownership, Exchange Controls,
Starting a Business and working on Margarita Island

Page Two:
Supermarket Food Prices, Utilities including phone, Internet,

Electricity & Water & Cellular phones.

Page Three:
Language, Banking, House help, Nannies, Gardeners, Security guards,
Political Situation, & Security

Page Four (you are here):
Schools, Doctors, Hospitals, Medical Insurance, Buying a Car and Insurance, Driving

Schools, Doctors and Hospitals

The first thing that you should know is that the public system does NOT work.
The public schools and the main hospital in Porlamar do not function in such a way as to be considered by foreigners.
There are, however, excellent private hospitals and schools up to high school.
The one University here is quite small and has limited places available so if you have children of University age
they would be well advised to attend schools in your home country.

Private schools here are plentiful and range from very inexpensive ($100 per year) to others that require
that you purchase a share and can be a few thousand dollars per year.
All will require a working knowledge of Spanish and all give some type of English lessons.

Private doctors are also plentiful and reasonably priced - a typical visit currently costs around $7 for residents.
A specialist consultation would be around US$10 - $15 (Apr 2017). 
(Many doctors have special tourist rates that are higher than what they charge residents).

Things like eyeglasses and dental work are MUCH cheaper than outside Venezuela.
We just purchased some new glasses and the prices were US$36 at the low end (reasonable frames with plastic lenses)
to US$90 (lighter, thinner plastic lenses with photo gray).
Another pair with designer frames and multi focal progressive plastic lenses were US$125.
July 2013 - Just had some dental work done.
Cleaning cost around US$10 while a bridge repair (replacing porcelain on one tooth) was around US$12.

Medical Insurance

Local medical insurance, while available, is costly compared to the coverage
and there are all sorts of loopholes and exceptions.
Many foreigners either self insure (pay for things themselves) or have plans from their home countries.

You do not need any special shots other than maybe a hepatitis booster to live here.
Isla Margarita is virtually free of communicable diseases like malaria, etc. although, like everywhere,
AIDS and other sexually passed diseases are present in a certain segment of the population.

Buying a Car & Insurance

Cars are generally more expensive than North America & Europe.
Here on Isla Margarita it is possible to buy a car with duty free (Puerto Libre) license plates.
This allows you to save about 30% on the cost of the car.
The negative is that you can not take it outside the duty free area (to the mainland) and
you must also present it to the customs people once a year to show them that it is still here.

(Note: with the current dollar problems duty free cars are virtually non-existent
and other cars are now on an up to 12 month waiting list. This has caused the price of used cars to skyrocket.
Update - Oct. 2009 - It is now virtually impossible to buy a new car.
Update - Feb. 2012 The cheapest new cars now are over $20,000 & are virtually unavailable.
Used cars, as a result, are super expensive and in some cases are more expensive than the same car new.
The government has announced that they will regulate new car prices in the coming months
which, in my opinion, will only depress the supply even further.
The main problem is that the government has not supplied sufficient dollars to the market
to allow the assembly plants to have sufficient parts to build the cars needed.

Update - Dec. 28, 2012. With the increase in the black market rate the price of these cars in US$
has actually decreased while the price in local currency has increased.

Update - April 24, 2013. The production of new cars in Venezuela continues to fall year to year.
With the continuing strength of the black market the price in US$ continues to be lower
with low end cars costing the equivalent of around $16,000.

Update - September 23, 2013. The production of new cars continues to fall in light of the government's inability
to provide sufficient hard currency to allow the car factories to import the required parts.
In addition the government has announced that they will be importing thousands on Chinese cars. Good luck with that.

Update - December 24, 2013. The government will announce new price controls on both new & used cars.
(Just an absolutely dumb idea)
They also announced a new policy allowing the importation of new cars but the rules
are complicated, 2014 will show more details.

Update - July, 2015. With the government basically broke due to falling oil prices & mismanagement
the outlook for new cars in 2015 is pretty dismal. They produced just 1,884 new cars in June.
With no dollars the manufacturing sector will be hard pressed to maintain any reasonable level of production.
Ford has announced that they will begin selling cars in US$ starting in July.

Update - April, 2016. There are no new cars. Only 387 were produced in Jan. 2016 and 325 in Feb. 2016.

All the major manufacturers are represented here including Toyota, Honda, Mitshibushi, GM, Ford, Chrysler
and other assorted Korean, Italian, Iranian :-), Chinese :-) and Japanese manufacturers.
Sometimes the models that you get here are not exactly the same as you would find in your home country.

Typical prices as of September 23, 2013 for some Toyotas: Fortuner - Bs.831.000 (± $20,775).
Corolla automatic Bs.507.000 to Bs.593.000 (± US$12,675 to US$14,825).
It would be very unlikely to find one of these cars new.
January, 2015: Toyota has stopped publishing prices

Terios (an all-wheel drive small wagon sold by Toyota but made by Daihatsu, a Toyota Group company) -
Bs. 357.140 (± US$15,528) for a manual transmission model and
Bs. 378.385 (± US$16,451) for an automatic version.
Expect waiting lists of months (years?) to obtain cars.

Terios by Toyota Group / Daihatsu

Gas, by the way, is only US$0.0075 per litre (US$0.029 US gal) (less than 3¢) for 95 octane unleaded.
It's virtually free. For the cost of 1 beer you can fill your tank with 16.7 litres of gas.

The government requires minimal third party insurance which is 
very cheap and covers very little (Renewed ours with 
liability coverage of Bs.52.959 (US$300) for $5.00 annual - Feb. 2015). 

You can also get full coverage including collision damage, etc. which runs 10 to 15% or more of the car's value per year.
Give yourself enough time to shop around for the coverage as it varies greatly in price
and often the deal offered by the dealer may not be the best although it could be.

With regard to bringing cars to Margarita from the USA or Europe - yes, it is possible but not recommended.
There are very strict rules regarding ownership for at least 1 year before importing a used vehicle
and for new vehicles the big problem is available parts.
We had a 1992 Pontiac Grand Am that we bought new that sat parked for almost 2 years of the 10 we owned it
waiting for someone to figure out what was wrong with it and then waiting for parts from the US.
The guy that eventually bought it from us pulled out the original engine and replaced it
with one that was assembled here in Venezuela and had a ready supply of parts.
The bottom line is you are way ahead to just buy a car here.
Update March 2015: You can now import a new car.
Please check with an importer to know all the rules & costs.
You'll still have the same parts problems with an imported car.

Driving on Margarita Island

First off let me say that in the 30 years I have been dealing with tourists, many of whom rented cars while here,
only one has ever been involved in an accident. He insisted that he had "the right of way".

The most important driving lesson here is that there is no such thing as "right of way" -
that includes stop signs, traffic lights, traffic circles, intersections or what ever.
The rule of the day here is drive defensively and never assume that someone will stop.
The other thing you have to be ready for is unusual actions with no warning.
Many cars have no brake lights or directional signals and the local people have a bad habit
of coming to abrupt stops for no apparent reason on main roads.
As long as you are aware that this might happen it becomes pretty normal.

The roads are generally in bad condition and in recent years there are many more pot holes.
It is relatively safe to drive around the Island if you drive defensively.
The police do nothing to stop drinking drivers so on weekends and late afternoons you have to be
a little more attentive than normal.
Pedestrians are also a hazard as people will step off of curbs into traffic without looking.

For information on rental cars have a look at
Margarita Island rental cars .

If you need some time to find a rental place I can recommend my vacation property
as an affordable & comfortable place to stay for a couple of weeks / months
while you are looking around and getting oriented.
Have a look at Margarita Tropical Villa (Casa Trudel Bed & Breakfast) which offers
rooms with private baths, A/C, DirecTV LA, pool, fridge, microwave and king size beds.
The property is close to Margarita Island's most popular tourist area and beach, Playa El Agua .
You can just send me an e-mail at margarita.island@gmail.com .
 

B&B (posada) / hotel / large house
for sale in Playa El Agua beach!

Living, Working & Retiring In Margarita Island, Venezuela - Page Index
Page One
Climate, Property, Exchange, Business & Working
Page Two
Food Prices, Utilities, Phone, Internet
Page Three
Language, Banking, Help, Security, Political
Page Four
Schools, Hospitals, Doctors, Car Buying, Insurance

 

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Contact: Dan & Kira O'Brien, Playa El Agua, MARGARITA ISLAND, Venezuela,

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Telephone: Please call ONLY between 8 AM & 7 PM Venezuelan Time
We do not give quotes by telephone. Please send an email.
(58) 295-249-0558 / 295-249-0715 or Cel (58) 416-695-3704

NOTA IMPORTANTE: Si requiere información de disponibilidad o precios favor enviarnos un e-mail.
No damos información via telefónica.

This site was created by Dan O'Brien...your comments & suggestions are welcome.