Thursday, 13 December 2007



This instructional Module is an introductory part of a course Historical and Theoretical Foundations of Cultural and Ecological Environment designed for University Students as part of one of my assignments in Communications & Technology in the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, 2008. The purpose is to address the learning needs with respect to examining ecological and cultural features of Margarita Island. In this site you will find readings on definition, characteristics, distinguishing features of ecological and cultural areas of the Venezuelan Island. Various recorded scenarios, photos, videos and activities are available in this site. Also, some suggestions for students’ evaluation tasks and responsibilities.

Nelson Dordelly-Rosales

Friday, 16 November 2007

Margarita Island: Beautiful Place to Visit

with MUSIC

Margarita Island is one of the most interesting destinations in the Caribbean. It is a beautiful place to visit and enjoy. It has natural beauties and attractions, a perfect starting point to enjoy the exhuberant Venezuela with it´s tropical rainforest, impressive waterfalls and rivers, paradise-like islands, surprising snow-covered mountain ranges, desert- like dunes and imposing plains with it´s large diversity of flora and fauna.

The Island itself is an example of contrasts. Porlamar , with it´s modern buildings and sofisticated boutiques offering the very best of the world in clothing and decorations….Bodegones (delikatessen) full with fine vines and exquisite food imported from all over the world….the Free Market Conejeros… handcarft stores…..picturesque kiosques offering fried fish, cachapas (kind of a corn pancake), cocadas…restaurants offering French, Italian, Japanese and International dishes as well as local ones. And the villages, with its ever present shaded plaza,…churches telling tales form other times and that always are visited by devots…..the remains of the Colonial Arquitecture…the warmth of the natives with their very own way of talking that makes them sound as if they were always joking….and of course its beaches.

Margarita Island combines the traditonal ways with modern arquitecture and comfort. Discover it and let you be charmed by it…Below see pictures, music-videos...

The purpose of this instructional Module:

Is to address the learning needs with respect to distinguishing
ecological and cultural features and locations in Margarita Island.


After completing this module, you should be able to

(1) define ecological and cultural environment and its importance,

(2) examine similarities and differences,

(2) articulate a personal plan or project for yourself
to enjoy Margarita Island by specifying locations
and defending significant eco-cultural learning.

Learning Activities

Learning activies are organized in four parts:

I. Introductory
II. The practical
III. Analysis-Synthesis
IV. Evaluation


By the end of the first session, the student and the group

will answer the following questions:

1.Which two of example WebPages listed below are the

best ones in terms of providing you with enough

information regarding eco-cultural tourism in

Margarita Island? Why?

2. Which two are the worst? Why?

3. What do best and worst mean to you?

4. Which other ones would you recommend?


1. The instructor will be the general manager or organizer.

The instructor will provide each participant with a hard copy of the

Work sheet. To answer the questions given above,

the student will break into groups of four.

Within the group, each of the students

will take on one of the following roles:

A. The Efficiency Expert:

You are an expert on educational environment. You know all about ecological and cultural tourism. You believe that too much time is wasted in theory and not knowing what they should do at a given moment.

B. The Affiliator:

To you the best learning activities are those in which people learn by deliberating and communicating each other. Collaboration and creating a good environment for discussion and consensus are the best ways rather than working alone. Relationship oriented.

C. The Smart

Higher level thinking is everything to you. There's too much emphasis on factual recall in schools today. Sites on ecological and cultural environment should allow for some creative expression on the part of the learner.

D. The Technophile:

You love Internet quest and on line modules. If web quest has attractive colors, animated gifts, and lots of links to interesting sites you love it. If it makes minimal use of the Web, you’d rather use a worksheet. The only justification for bringing technology into schools is if it opens up the possibility that students will have to analyze information, synthesize multiple perspectives, and take a stance on the merits of content.

2. Individually, each student will examine each

of the sites below and use the worksheet to jot down

some notes of their opinions of each from the perspective

of their role. Each student will need to examine each

site fairly quickly. They should not spend more than

5 minutes on any one site. The student coordinator

will keep time using a clock.

The sites that will be analyzed are:

Paths to successful touring

Ecological tourism characteristics

Cultural tourism: art and historical museums

Tourism features

3. When everyone in the group has seen all the sites,

it's time to get together to answer the questions.

One way to proceed would be to go around and

poll each team member for the best two and

worst two from their perspective. Each student

should pay attention to each of the other perspectives,

even if at first s/he thinks might disagree with the others.

4. There will probably not be unanimous agreement,

so the next step is that students talk together

to hammer out a compromise consensus about

each team's nominations for best and worst.

Pool your perspectives and see if each student

can agree on what's best.

The coordinator should check that each group

do not just tally up the votes and declare a winner.

Instead, each student should begin to put aside

his/her individual perspective and come to an agreement

that takes into account all four perspectives.

5. One person, the coordinator in each group

should record the group's thoughts.

6. When debriefing time is called, the coordinator

will report the group's results to the whole class.

The question to be discussed is: do you think the

other group will agree with your conclusions?

Also, provide a summary of the results.

7. Finally, the instructor will ask for comments

on the activity and get feedback from students.

How the learners feel about the instruction?

Did you like the experience? Any suggestions?


2.1. Read the steps to visit Margarita Island.

The order was taken considering any person

arriving from the Airport:

Zone 1: Upon Arrival to Margarita Island
Zone 2:
On the Way to Porlamar (main city)
Zone 3:
This is Margarita Island's most developed area
Zone 4:
The Colonial Tour
Zone 5:
Still in the Colonial Tour
Zone 6:
Zone 7:
Beaches and Art Crafts
Zone 8:
Sigthseen, Colonial and Romantic Sunset.
Zone 9:
To the Restinga Lagoon.
Zone 6:
To the West Peninsula de Macanao (adventure).
Zone 7:
Coche Island.

2.2. Consider the information given; identify

a problem in ecology-cultural tourism, make a plan/project

for yourself to solve the problem, and organize your visit

to different places in the Island. List all the steps.

2.3. Send by e-mail your plan or project:

Once all of the plans have been posted in this web site
compare the various approaches outlined by others.

Find one posting that differs from yours,

and comment on the difference you found.

Did someone think of something you overlooked?

Did someone include something that you wouldn't

want to include in yours?

Think about it.

What did you learn from each other?


3.1. Complete the following required readings:

3.2. Supplementary Readings:

3.3. View the following videos:

“Music and Colors Margarita”

"Margarita Island and the Nature"

3.4. Take notes as you watch videos,

much the same way as you would do normally in class,

and answer each of the following questions:

- How would you describe Margarita Island?

- Could you be able to evaluate and improve your plan/tour?

3.5. View and/or visit the following places of Margarita Island:

Natural Monuments
Colonial Constructions

3.6. Think about what competencies and issues are

important to you as a researcher/professional in the field.

3.7. Make a summary based on the Study Questions:

(A) Write at least two similarities between cultural and

eco-tourism in Margarita Island. Provide examples.

(B) Write at least two features that distinguish cultural

and ecological tourism in Margarita Island. Provide examples.

(C) Given characteristics of eco and cultural tourism in

Margarita Island, describe in your own words a tour

or a plan of cultural and eco-tourism in Margarita

in a plan or project, integrating what you have

learned into your existing knowledge and practical

experience, providing examples.

(D) Think about, how important is to learn Internet skills

and the use of computers for tourist experts?

You are not required to hand in thes questions for evaluation.

Remember that by writing your answers down, you will be

more likely to make sense of the content.

Optional readings:you can either click on each link or cut & paste to the browser

3.8. Review key terms/concepts

Match key concepts with pictures on your right hand:

Ecological tourism

Cultural Tourism

Margarita Island

Do some additional research on:

Venezuela, Caribbean and Latin America

3.9. Reread objectives for this module

Think about whether you have been able to meet

those objectives. Review your notes and lecture and

ask your instructor for clarification where needed.

Prepare for the final exam or post-test

3.10. Synthesize your final plan

It should include your objectives, places of your own

choosing, strategies/activities to further examine the Island.

Select eco-cultural locations that will be useful for you

There are two case studies you can review

and might be used as insights for your final plan.

PART IV. EVALUATION: 1. Assess your own project or plan with

colleagues on the basis of the following check list:

(A) Does it include clear objectives that are "connected" with contents?

(B) Does it include knowledge of ecological and cultural environment?

(C) Does it includes activities or experiences to learn about eco-cultural

environment in Margarita Island?

(D) Does it include how to evaluate and improve it?

Briefly explain the strengths of your project and hand in to the instructor.

2. Take the post-test and evaluate this module as follows:

Evaluate this Module:

- Identify strengths and weaknesses.

Were the specific objectives and content (disciplinary and pedagogical) accurate and up to date?

- Did the module stimulate questions, inquiry, and encourage field work?

- Were appropriate readings and resources available?

- Any suggestions to improve this site?

1. What is ecological environment?
2. What is cultural environment?
3. How important is to learn about eco-cultural environment in tourism?
4. Are there any similarities/differences between both types of environment? Please mention at least 2 of each.

What is Cultural Environment for Tourism?

Cultural tourism is based on the mosaic of places, traditions, art forms, celebrations and experiences that portray the Island and its people, reflecting the diversity and character of the Margarita Island. We need to think about cultural environment because really there is no other kind of tourism. It's what tourism is...People don't come to the Caribbean only for the recreation facilities, people don't come to our Island only for our beautiful views, sunsets... -- they come to the Island to enjoy also art, history, cultural experiences, music, folkloric spaces, colonial architecture, natural monuments, museums, old castles, forties, ceramics, flowers...
Tourism can make a significant contribution to economic prosperity of the Island, it enables its Cultural Heritage to be recognized, but unfortunately can also harm it if we don't take good care of culturally and naturally vulnerable regions.

The necessary interaction between Cultural Heritage protection and cultural development can be achieved through the key role of museums of preserving and conserving the Heritage itself and of fostering cultural diversity and mutual understanding.

Cultural historical places in Margarita Island:

During the Colonization Period, the Spaniards built several castles and forts to defend the island against pirate attacks. Those buildings remain as a reminder of this turbulent time in our past.

Castle Santa Rosa: Located in the capital La Asunción, at 10 km from Porlamar. It dominates strategically the Valley of Santa Lucia. Its construction was initiated in 1667 and it was finished in 1683. It was declared National Monument in October 1965.

Fortín de la Galera: Is located in the bay with the same name in Juan Griego. It was built in 1811 by the provisional Government of Margarita and given the name Libertad (Freedom)

Fortín España: Is located on a hill outside of Santa Ana and protected the road form Juan Griego to La Asunción.

Castle San Carlos de Borromeo: Was protecting the bay of Pampatar. It was built between 1664 and 1684. It was the most important one on Margarita Island

Fortín Santiago de la Caranta: On the other side of the bay of Pampatar are the ruins of Fortín Santiago de la Caranta. It was built between 1586 and 1595. It was destroyed in an attack of Dutch Pirates in 1926

Below, please visit some locations by "clicking" each of the following:

Natural Monuments
Colonial Constructions

What are the Principles of Sustainability?

The tourist experience should draw upon the character of the environment, its aesthere, vegetation and wildlife.

The tourism development should assist conservation, supplement local people's incomes, bring new use and value to historic structures and enhance reclamation of derelict land.

Planning, and designing of tourist developments should be compatible with and, if possible, enhance the local landscape.

Control of tourism should remain as far as possible in local hands; this control and the ensuing benefits should contribute to environmental conservation and enhancement.

Tourism investment should support the local economy and encourage a steady dispersal of activity, so avoiding congestion and minimizing impacts

The tourism industry should actively assist the understanding of both the local populations and the tourists – education plays an important role.

Source: Cater, Erlet, &Lowman, eds., Ecotourism: A Sustainable Option? (1994)

What is Ecological Environment?

According to The Ecotourism Society, ecological tourism "purposeful travel to natural areas to understand the culture and natural history of the environment, taking care not to alter the integrity of the ecosystem while producing economic opportunities that make the conservation of natural resources beneficial to local people."


1. It must promote positive environmental ethics - fostering preferred behavior in its participants.

2. It does not degrade the resource - There is no consumptive erosion of the natural environment visited.

3. It concentrates on intrinsic rather than extrinsic values. Facilities and services may "facilitate" the encounter with the intrinsic resource; they never become attractions in their own right, nor do they distract from the natural attraction itself.

4. It is biocentric rather than homocentric in philosophy. Ecotourists enter the environment accepting it on its terms, not expecting it to change or be modified for their convenience.

5. It must benefit the wildlife and environment. If the environment has not at least achieved a net benefit toward its sustainability and ecological integrity, then the activity is not ecotourism.

6. It is a first-hand experience with the natural environment. Movies and zoological parks do not constitute an ecotourism experience. Visitor centers and interpretive slide shows are included.

7. It has an "expectation of gratification."

8. It has a high cognitive and effective experiential dimension.

*James R. Butler,Ecotourism: Its Changing Face and Evolving Philosophy, Department of Forestry, University of Alberta, Canada, 1992


This instructional Module is an introductory part of a courseHistorical and Theoretical Foundations of Cultural and Ecological Environment: the case of Margarita Island in Venezuela for university students. The purpose is to address the learning needs with respect to examining ecological and cultural features of Margarita Island. In this site you will find readings on definition, characteristics, distinguishing features of ecological and cultural areas of the Venezuelan Island. Various recorded scenarios, photos, videos and activities are available in this site. Also, some suggestions for students’ evaluation tasks and responsibilities.

Come with us to enjoy the best way to travel through Margarita Island.

In the Island you can find tour guides in English, German, Italian and French languages are in charge of our jeeps while you’re visiting the most important places of Margarita such as:
- “THE FORT OF SANTA ROSA” in “LA ASUNCION”, the political capital of Margarita Island. This fort is a place full of history and has a nice panoramic to the mountains, the city and the ocean.
- Our second place is a small town called “EL VALLE DEL ESPIRITU SANTO” where tourists could get acquainted to the culture, the religion and the traditions of Venezuela.
- Our third place is “LA RESTINGA NATIONAL PARK” where there’s a big swamp which is about 25 square km. This visit includes a boat ride on the lagoon into the mangroves and it takes about 40 min. to appreciate its natural flora and fauna.
- Our fourth place is “PUNTA ARENAS BEACH” on the peninsula de Macanao where you can enjoy one of the best beaches of Margarita Island with a delicious lunch in a typical Venezuelan restaurant. Visitors would spend about two hours for lunch and go swimming.
-Then “LA CARMELA”, a place where you can appreciate cactus and dunes into the nicest landscapes of Macanao.
-At last a brief stop in a grocery store called “COCO LOCO” where tourists could order a tropical natural refreshing coconut milk shake called “Cocada”.
-Before going back to the hotel, we visit the “Juan Griego Bay” so you can appreciate the commercial activities such as fishing and the duty free shops...
Retrieved from Margarita Island

General information about Venezuela:

* Capital - Caracas
* National Bird - The Turpial (Icterus icterus)
* National Flag - The Venezuelan flag is rectangular, with three horizontal stripes of equal width: yellow, blue, and red. Yellow stands for the richness of the Venezuelan earth. Blue, for the immense sea separating Venezuela from Spain. Red, for the blood that was spilled in the battles for independence.
In the center of the blue stripe there are seven stars in the form of an arc, representing the seven original provinces that formed the Capitania General of Venezuela declaring their independence on July 5, 1811. The Coat of Arms has been added to the upper left corner of the flag.
* National Anthem
* Coat of Arms vz_coa.gif (65010 bytes)
* National Flower - The orchid (Cattleya mossiae).
This kind of orchid is also known as Flor de Mayo (May Flower).
* National Tree - The Aragüaney (Tabebuia chrysantha)
* Independence Day, July 5th

For more information please click: VENEZUELA

What is Margarita Island?

“Margarita Island (Spanish: Isla Margarita or Isla de Margarita) is the largest island of the Nueva Esparta state in Venezuela, situated in the Caribbean Sea, off the northeastern coast of the country. The state also contains two other smaller islands: Coche and Cubagua. The capital is La Asunción, located in a river valley of the same name. Primary industries are tourism, fishing and construction. Its population is about 420,000” (Wikipedia, 2009).


“In 1498, Christopher Columbus discovered Margarita Island. The local natives, named Guaiqueries, received the conquering Spaniards with open arms unaware that they later would become slaves of their own wealth. Pearls represented almost a third of all New World tribute to the Spanish Crown. Margarita Island had to be fortified against the increasing threat of pirate attacks, and several of these fortifications remain today. In 1561, the island was seized by Lope de Aguirre, a notoriously violent and rebellious conquistador who held the islanders in a grip of terror until he returned to the mainland in an attempt to take Panama from the Spanish crown.In 1814, the islanders fought successfully for independence from the Spanish after the collapse of the First Republic of Venezuela. Margarita Island became the first, permanently free territory in Venezuela. That same year, Luisa Cáceres de Arismendi was detained for over three years in a dark dungeon where she was harassed and abused. The authorities were hoping to put pressure on her husband Juan Bautista Arismendi, who was fighting for independence. It was on Margarita Island that Simón Bolívar was confirmed as Commander in Chief of Venezuela in 1816. From there he started a nine-year campaign to free Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia from the Spanish Crown”(Wikipedia, 2009).


“Located in the Caribbean Sea between latitudes 10°52'N and 11°11'N and longitudes 63°48'W and 64°23'W, it belongs to the State of Nueva Esparta which also comprises the islands of Coche and Cubagua. The island is formed by two peninsulas joined by an isthmus. It covers an area of 1,020 km². It splits into two sections linked by an 18-km (11-mi) spit of sand. It is 78 km long and its widest side measures roughly 20 km. The climate is very sunny and dry with temperatures from 24 to 37°C. Most of the island's 420,000 residents live in the more developed eastern part, especially in the city of Porlamar and adjoining city of Pampatar. Others are found in the much smaller city of La Asunción, the capital of the region or Juan Griego. Direct flights from Caracas and other Venezuelan cities, as well as scheduled or charter flights from a number of North American and European cities, ferries from Puerto La Cruz, Cumaná, and La Guaira also travel to the island. The Macanao peninsula to the west has a central mountain range in the east-west direction. The highest altitude is 760 m at Pico de Macanao. Several smaller ranges derive from this axis following a north-south orientation with deep valleys between them. The most notable of this valleys is San Francisco in the north-central part of the peninsula. The Paraguachoa peninsula to the East is formed by a mountain range in the north-south direction from Porlamar to Cabo Negro. The highest peaks are San Juan or Cerro Grande (920 m) and El Copey (890 m). Both peninsulas are connected by La Restinga, an isthmus of low altitude with a lagoon called La Restinga” (Wikipedia, 2009).

Main Cities: Porlamar, Pampatar, La Asuncion, and Juan Griego.

The biggest city on Margarita island is Porlamar, known for its commercial center; it flourishes with shops and good restaurants. About 85,000 people live there during the low season in Porlamar; about 125,000, in the high season. It has two city beaches (Wikipedia, 2009).

Beach near Pampatar

Is one of the largest towns on the island . Pampatar has around 50,000 citizens in its greater area. Most of the larger shopping malls are in its Jurisdiction: Sambil Margarita, Rattan Depot, Centro Comercial AB (Avenida Bolivar), and La Redoma. It has several beaches. It is the seat of the Castillo San Carlos Borromeo constructed approximately from 1664 to 1684 (Wikipedia, 2009).

La Asunción is the capital of the Federal State of Nueva Esparta with about 25,000 citizens. It is the seat of the regional government (Wikipedia, 2009).

Juan Griego is a city of around 45,000 people, it has small shopping centres and beaches. La Galera is a fortress not far off the city centre, where, in the early 1820s (Wikipedia, 2009).

Tourism on Margarita Island is increasing year on year. "The breathtaking scenery and excellent hotels and nightlife and duty-free shopping are all attracting foreigners. Margarita Island can usually be reached by ferry or by airplane, as the Santiago Mariño International Airport is located 25 kilometers away from the city of Porlamar. Its status as a duty-free port and proximity to the mainland make it one of the top vacation spots for Venezuelans. Vacationers crowd the island especially during Christmas time, Easter week, and from July to mid-September. Venezuelan tourists come on shopping sprees; whiskey, cheese, chocolate, and electrical appliances, are among the goods that can be purchased less expensively than on the mainland. Also, many retired people choose Margarita as an ideal, peaceful dwelling place.There are at least 50 unique and magnificent margarita beaches which are scattered along a 106 miles of coastline. Its location as an island in the Caribbean sea offers lots of beaches to explore which range from crowded to solitary and most of them virgin. Playa El Agua, in the north, is the most popular with 4 km of fine sand. Playa El Yaque is internationally known as an excellent location for windsurfing. Playa Parguito, Playa Caribe, and Playa Punta Arenas are also popular beaches. Many resorts cater to the international, Caribbean-loving crowd, especially from European countries. The beach of Playa Puerto Cruz is one of the most popular with tourists” (Wikipedia, 2009). All the above text was retrieved from WIKIPEDIA on June 9th, 2009