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First timer questions!

Saint John, Canada
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79 posts
55 reviews
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First timer questions!

Hi everyone!

We just decided an hour ago that we are fed up with this Canadian winter and want to go somewhere exotic and hot, within our budget, and we found this on redtag.ca.

We're staying at the Sunsol Isla Caribe! Trip advisor has pretty decent reviews, of course there were a few who were unhappy but we are very easy to please, and just grateful to be going somewhere warm, so I think we'll be fine.

We are world travelers and are not afraid of public transit, new food, etc. We aren't normally "all inclusive" travelers, normally we're hostel stayers, so this is quite exciting.

What would you recommend for two late 20's first timers?

Are there nice towns near by, or perhaps Sunsol is located in a nice area? I am trying to gather some information but this is all a bit overwhelming considering how fast it's happening.

Also we love day trips but all of the companies I've googled seem to include flights/more than one day..... any recommendations? Can we rent things like bikes/snorkel gear easily?

We love jungles, oceans, cities, restaurants. We don't want to spend EVERY day on the beach so we'd like to find some other options :)

Also is it a good idea to just exchange US money at our resort?

Sorry for all the questions but an hour ago I had never even heard of MI ;) Oh by the way.... we leave February 5th!

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SunSol Isla Caribe
SunSol Isla Caribe
1,569 Reviews
Margarita Island, Venezuela
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SunSol Isla Caribe
SunSol Isla Caribe
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19 reviews
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1. Re: First timer questions!

Hi there.....

I have yet to go, but have been doing some research as well and have been told by people on TA to contact Marcos Tours, and I did. I emailed him and I llive in Ontario and he called us. My husband spoke to him and we are going to book our tours with him. We are not staying at the same hotel as you are and we are travelling from the 23rd to 30 of Jan. so upon my return if I have any tips for you I can message you.

Cheers and I agree get out of this Canadian deep freeze!

Hampton, New...
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51 posts
13 reviews
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2. Re: First timer questions!

I live in Hampton, not very far from you at all. I went to MI about 5 years ago and am planning another trip on Feb 5th. You must be traveling out of Montreal, are you driving or flying to Montreal?

I stayed at the Palm Beach Resort but talked to a few people that stayed at the Isla and they liked it allot.

Sounds like you have lots of travel expierance so you will have a blast, same rules apply as other undeveloped places. Dont walk around off the resort at night. Take cabs every where and dont leave anything valuable lying around because it will be gone. ( cabs are between 2 and 7 bucks to go just about anywhere)

Dont change you money at hotels or banks you will only get about 4 Bs per dollar. Exchange your money on the parellel market (check forms here) and you will get about 17 to 1 if you have large american bills (20s and 50s) are best) There are lots or tours and lots to do on the Island and if you get your money exchanged on the black market most tours are half the price as they would be at other destinations. Same goes for shorts t-shirts suntan lotion and really anything is about half the price there when you exchange your money properly. Got 36 beer for $6!

I think the Isla is near Playa el Augua its a great beach with lots of restraunts shops and a market. When I was there there was a popular night club right on the beach called Woody's.

I have traveled allot and found it to be one of the hotest places ive been too but always a nice ocean breeze so it's fantastic this time of year.

The biggest piece of advice I can give you is find someone reputable to change your money with on the parellel market, it makes everything so much cheaper. Just ask around, there is always a shop somewhere, it is illegal but very common, I have never known anyone to get in trouble useing it but be sure to count the Boulavars before you give them your money.

I havent chosen my resort yet, the prices always drop about 10 days before departure I am thinking I will be at the Dunes but if I end up at the Isla I would be happy to help yas out.

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Montreal
Montreal
Quebec, Canada
Porlamar, Venezuela
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121 posts
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3. Re: First timer questions!

Sorry to differ with the previous poster but it's best to bring 50s or 100s for the best rate. Hotels are usually ok to exchange if they are offering a competitive rate. Woody's has closed, not sure if anything has replaced it for nghtlife.

Hamilton, Canada
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107 posts
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4. Re: First timer questions!

You guys have been getting bomblasted by snow up in Newfoundland! I think you're really gonna appreciate MI. 50's and 100 USD bills are the best. Bring a couple of 10's so you can pay for your taxi fare from the airport. Don't change money at the official counters there because you'll get roasted. Best is to have a contact lined up to meet you at your hotel to get you started because you don't wanna get there and immediately have to scramble for someone to change your money and some payment will demand payment before releasing the room. So without some local currency on your arrival, you'll have to pay with a credit card or USD at the official rate of (what the hell is this?) I can help you there with a contact. Then with alittle local currency in hand you'll come in contact with others or you can call your contact again. Also DO NOT change money on the street from a stranger. There's alot of bait and switch operations going down in downtown so NEVER exchange money with people approaching you on the street - downtown or wherever. First timers need to be aware of this and Margarita should wake the fk up and help the tourists avoid becoming victims of this by informing them of it. Never hand over your money where the guy has to go to a secondary location to get it, EVER. This advice alone will save you world of hurt.

Edited: 18 January 2013, 04:53
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Margarita Island
Margarita Island
Coastal Islands, Venezuela
Hampton, New...
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51 posts
13 reviews
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5. Re: First timer questions!

I Think you guys are likly traveling with Nolitours? They provide transportation to your resort, your rom will already be paid for and I think they also look after the departure tax these days.

You shouldn't need money till you get to your resort unless you want to pick up some beers for the bus ride.

Might be less stressful to wait till you get to the resort to change money, talk to a bartender, they will know the best place to change money and usually know everything else about tours in the local area. From what I have been able to figure out don't accept less than 16 to 1 when exchanging right now but that changes every day.

I dont like to change $100 at a time unless I am paying for tours as I never carry allot of money with me. Any time I have changed money I got the same rate for $20 bills as I got for $50 bills. They just didnt want anything lower than 10s but that was 5 years ago so things may have changed.

Hamilton, Canada
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107 posts
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6. Re: First timer questions!

That should read some *hotels* will demand payment.

Hamilton, Canada
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107 posts
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7. Re: First timer questions!

Yes, Bear is right. If you have a package deal then you don't need to secure your room and they do have transportation. I wouldn't carry a hundred dollars of Bs either. My contact comes to my hotel and we do everything in the front lobby (in plain view of the security) so I lock up what I don't need for the day before heading out.

Hampton, New...
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51 posts
13 reviews
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8. Re: First timer questions!

Thats a good idea Demay0 can you PM me your contacts information. Does he give the going rate on the street. Aparently at the dunes the beach wear shop does it for you but still not sure if that is where I am staying.

Toronto
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4,192 posts
29 reviews
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9. Re: First timer questions!

When we were in MI late December we had no problems changing even 1 dollar USD notes. So notes of any denomination should not be an issue.

If you are with Nolitours, you don't need money till you get to the hotel. I would just keep several USD one dollar notes for tipping the bus driver and hotel porters. They happily accept either USD or Bolivars.

Don't be in a panic to change money as soon as you get there. look around, talk to people and you will get an idea as to where, who and when to change money.

Exchange only the amount you need as required as you will not get the black market exchange rate when you try to buy USDs at the end of your trip. Don't change 1000 USDs if you plan on spending only 200 USD while you are there.

If you are staying at Dunes, the place to change money is the beachwear shop that is located on the beach. The Nolitours guys who were in selling the local excursions at Dunes will also change money, but at a lower rate than at the beach shop.

B.C.
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127 posts
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10. Re: First timer questions!

May I suggest posters refrain from naming locations or people engaged in the parallel market money on the open forum.

Although wide spread and not often targeted by authorities it is illegal. It also makes people aware that they have cash on hand.

Naming locations and people could put them at risk from police and criminals.

(often in Venezuela one in the same)

Please use PMs to convey this information.

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Venezuela
Venezuela
South America
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