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“be careful when entering and leaving venezuela”

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Dunes Hotel & Beach Resort
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Pedro Gonzales
Reviewed 18 April 2013

We had a great time because it was 17 of us.Our room in the premium section was very good the ac was tops,the room was clean and spacious. maid service was good.The food was ok it was not a great variety for lunch and dinner it was almost the same thing every night, the breakfast was the best.The staff was very pleasant and security was good.The departure from Venezuela was the most horrible thing i have ever witness they make you feel as if you are in a military boot camp,they have to check and double check then they have to give you a rub down and to top it off last exit point to the airplane they have to check your purse 'AGAIN'.BY DOING THIS THEY STEAL YOUR MONEY. Yes that is the truth because they stole us160 from my sister-in-law and us 300 from a friend. It is disgusting to spend so much money had a good time and left with a bad taste in your mouth because of the airport security!!!!!!!!!

Room Tip: the premium room was great
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  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled with friends
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3  Thank Aleyia Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 16 April 2013

I had the best 1 week vacation of my life here, using the dunes as a home base. I travelled alone here, but met many cool people. my first room was not nice, but I was able to upgrade to the new section for only 580bs! (about $25 using the blackmarket exchange rate.) compare this to $200 to upgrade with my booking back home!!! I highly recommend waiting and doing this at when you get here, especially if you are travelling solo as I was.

it is the crazy exchange rate that made this vacation so great, as the food on this resort was the worst I have ever had in a 4 star resort. but a car rental for the week(not for everyone!!! best to use taxis as they are very cheap and safe) was only $100 and it cost 8 cents to fill the tank with gas!!!! with this I was able to drive to the beach restaurants in playa el agua and enjoy great food, for crazy good prices! about $4 for a steak dinner!

I also drove to other spots, such as el yaque and stayed a few nights in hotels there as it only cost me about $30 per night with breakfast! so the cost of things off the resort made the trip. the beach at dunes is not very good, but there are great ones not far away.

I RECOMMEND THIS as a solo traveller, because I met some great people here, and that made my trip. I would only stay at dunes because it was cheap ($700 all taxes ect in, no single supplement) for the week, cheaper than just a flight here.

you cannot stay just on the resort here and enjoy yourself. go to dominican, mexico or jamacia for that. I dont think you can do this in margarita island at all. the all inclusives here are some of the worst I have encountered. but the cost of off resort activities makes up for it.

Room Tip: there are some pretty cool rooms in the old section, on the top floors, but it is hit and miss.most...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled solo
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3  Thank michaelonmyown
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 April 2013

Just got back from spending three days at this isolated Venezuelan Beach Resort. Since I was just kicking back and relaxing I didn't really mind that we were very isolated and around 10 kiometers from a major center. The highlight of the resort is the beach. It is a world class beach of close to 5 kilometers of lenght nestled within (you guessed it) Sand Dunes. The service was quite good and the staff was very friendly. The rooms were clean and everything worked well but I believe the rooms could stand some maintenance and newer furniture. The hotel is an all inclusive and I thought the food was great with variety for all. There was also a movie theatre than featured recent flics and a nightly show to go along with a very intensive program by the pool throughout the day. Read all the reviews about this place if you are from out of the country. They tend to be very mixed and after my stay I can understand why. I would go back though in the future.

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled with family
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Thank Ken1949
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 March 2013

We spent a week at the Dunes starting March 7. We were in the Premier section and it was excellent and well worth the money. You had to get wifi in the hall but not a big inconvenience. Most meals were eaten at the restaurant in the Premier section. They were ok. The buffet was different most days.The fresh fruit was great and plentiful. Most days there was something that you could find to eat. I am not a big pasta person but my son is vegetarian and my grand daughter is lactose intolerant. They got along fine every day. It depends on your expectations. Photos of the capybara were unexpected. I got good night time and daytime photos. This was a big plus to the trip.
The tour people (Marco) scarred us the first day about the locals and told us not to exchange money or buy tours/safari from others not associated with the hotel. We got a great exchange rate on the beach and purchased the Jeep safari tour from Bernie on the beach. I highly recomend dealing with Bernie (Magic Tours). He set us up with Jose who spoke fluent English and had a university degree. He toured us all over the island and gave excellent value for the money. There was a definite difference of opinion between Jose and Marco. Where ever we drove people waved and were very hospitable. We went to Juan Gregio a small fishing village twice. It is 10 minutes away from the resort. It is well worth going and safe. By taxi it was 60 B or $3 US. Lunch at Mama's was worth while.
The main thing is to travel smartly. I carried my Nikon SLR and telephoto lens with me everywhere but it was placed in my pack sack when I wasn't shooting photos. I have it insured but don't want it stolen. There is a lot of poverty and Jose indicated that everybody is just trying to get by. It was a good week. The worst was having to deal with the military at the airport searching everything by hand twice, Xray of baggage plus a patting down. Meanwhile the drug sniffer dog was tied up to a piece of the furniture and not used at all.

  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled with family
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4  Thank Bob W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 March 2013

We traveled to Margarita and the Dunes February 26- March 12 staying in the premium section building 51. Our favourite saying became "maybe tomorrow" and we settled into the laid back atmosphere at the resort. Language didn't seem to be a barrier. The staff all tried there best. The small pool in the premium section became one of our favourite "lay abouts" after the beach. The weather was fantastic. Hot but a breeze almost all the time. One of the best things the Dunes had was lots of beach chairs and pads to put on them. Because we had the premium package, the pads were free but I heard that others had to pay a dollar a day. Well worth it.
Our room was clean and everything was is fairly good shape. The t.v. actually had some english channels besides CNN. (Spanish subtitles). The internet was a little irregular in the room. It didn't work the first week, only on the main floor but the second week we had good service right in the room and no extra charge. Good for keeping in touch with the family back home and much nicer environment than the internet spots at other island resorts. The maids were very friendly and there was always a good supply of bottled water on hand. The water in the bathroom was yellow but it was a good reminder to keep it out of your mouth. Lighting in the rooms could use some work. Very dull. The air conditioner worked well and we turned it down to low at night and it felt good to come back to at the end of the day. There is a shuttle that takes you back and forth to the main part of the resort. Never had to wait very long. You can also take the short cut to the beach through the lighthouse gardens and across the parking lot in about 10 minutes.
The food was a little erratic but really typical Caribbean fare. Lots of salad choices and the guys loved the soup every night. Lots of desserts to choose from. Loved the coconut macaroon bars and yellow passion fruit is one of my favourite treats when south. I have never seen it at home. Pick the most yellow ones to try. My friend likes to sprinkle a little sugar on them. Luciano's is the al la carte. Our package gave us one visit a week. The vodka tomato soup was delicious and so were the seafood crepes and lasagna. I usually stick to local foods when away but the pasta bar was good too. The beach dining room served a limited buffet and you could order burgers and fries. The fish dinner off the menu was excellent every time. No one in our group had any stomach problems there or when we got home. We usually had breakfast in the Talapia Restaurant in the morning. Omelets and fried eggs were quick and delicious. Empanadas every morning. Some had cheese and we weren't crazy about the fish ones.
The beach was wonderful and the pearl sellers were great entertainment. Carlo and Jose custom made a couple of pieces for me. Tell them what you want and they will do their best to make the sale. Bargain with them. Never take the price they tell you first, second or third. You never need to leave the beach to go shopping. There is a little beach store that sells pretty swimsuit cover ups, float things, t shirts and hats. All very good prices but I did get some better deals in Juan Griego. A friend that accompanied us there has spent a few years vacationing in the area and he even bartered with the store people. Trade your american dollars with the guy at the beach store or Marco. More bang for your buck. There are some shops in the lobby too. Candy, cigarettes, suntan lotion etc. No booze though. There are 2 lady's shops that had cute bathing suits, beach bags and jewelry. There is also internet at one of them if you didn't bring your own. There are also jewelry vendors that set up near the main restaurant. Very nice pieces with gold and silver that you don't get on the beach.
We usually spent some time at the Shobana bar in the evening, just a skip from our rooms. No watering down drinks there for sure. Some new furniture is badly needed. You can catch the Capybera parade almost every night. Intriguing characters, but very shy.
"Outsider" tourism has taken a dive in Venezuala. The Dunes won awards in 2009 but is in need of some updating. They were working hard while we were there cleaning the grounds and planting. The weekends are very busy with "locals" but the food is fresher. No problems with crime, felt safe always. Security keeps a good eye on things on the beach. They won't let you down past the boundary if you have cameras or fancy jewelry on. We walked a little way down and back towards the Hesperia every day. No one bothered us. Yes, the airport is a pain. I don't think the customs guys are having too much fun either. The dumbest thing was the 2nd check of the carry ons getting on the plane. Men in one line and women and children in the other. The tour operators have tried to talk to them to no avail. While we were there Chavez died. They weren't allowed to serve alcohol from open spaces at the resort, the liquor stores and Stores selling booze were closed off. The funny thing at the resort was the playing of "sad" music. Their repertoire was limited so we were serenaded to silent night and the wedding march sometimes. No loud animation teams to put up with though. Liked that.
This was our 2nd trip to Margarita. We stayed at the Hesperia down the beach last time. The experience was comparable. Some good things and not so good things there too. By the look of other accomodations reviews on the island it seems to be the status quo. The government doesn't promote tourism or foreign investment.
One thing we noticed was the deterioration of scenery and there seemed to be more poverty than before. Lots of garbage by the roadside and in the hamlets. Margarita Island has beautiful vistas. We did our jeep tour through Marcos Tours like the last time. Ramone drove us around the island all day and showed us some new spots we had not visited the time before. I'll do a review of Marcos Tours on the attractions site. Marcos Ochoa is an island gem. Not to be confused with the Marco 1 & 2 at the resort. They are great people too. Always helpful and friendly.
Perhaps with the change in government good things will start to happen again on Margarita. It is a very beautiful place and Venezuala needs to recognize this, You must take a tour of the island when you go. Try the beach restaurant at Playa Blanca and the coco locos at the cantina by the road. La Restinga bioreserve boat tour is breath taking. Lots of flora and fauna.
We definitely plan to go to Margarita again. Maybe the Dunes maybe not. The weather climate won't keep us away as much as the political climate.

  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled with friends
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4  Thank OutOfTheCold
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 March 2013

Hola Travellers!
Margarita Island is Paradise, and The Dunes hotel... well, it's like a shack in paradise. Ya get it? Don't count on your shower water being hot, or cold, or clear or on for that matter... but you don't know the benefits of being 10 degrees closer to the equator!! Can't whistle... you'll be pro by the time you leave! DANCE PARTIES ALWAYS WELCOME!! I have to give a shout out to security and staff... for a trip with 4 girls, we felt more than safe! Nobody was pushy or rude... the maids were so happy and chipper! We all went into this trip with huge smiles on our faces, and left the same way, with upset belly's. Tho the omelette bar is safe, and great! It'll get ya through the day... All 4 of us ended up sick upon arriving home, but this still couldn't put a damper on how freakin' fantastic our trip was! This place attracts only the coolest Canadians and South Americans. Know what you are getting into when you come here. Do your research. There will be language barriers, and lots of pasta, especially if you are vegetarian. You can try to catch the capybara's, and if you succeed, send me a picture. Talk to the folks you are sharing the week with and you will see you all get poop stained towels! It's ok, it's just the water. Low expectations and you'll be fine. The staff alone make this place entertaining. I highly suggest the jeep tour run by Marco, he is very accommodating, even when you miss multiple meetings with him... We loved Antoni! The shuttle bus drivers kept us going... we woo'd the trip away with energy like no one else!! The beach is beautiful, tho you may be on garbage duty once ya hit the rocks! Cushy sand, pretty seashells, and tons of fun waves! Come here. Have fun. And don't let your smiles fade. Love this place. Love you Jhon.
primos y amigos del

Room Tip: We liked our standard room on ground level, corner room... has a nice patio!
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  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled with friends
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2  Thank rikaphi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 March 2013

Beware people get robbed in the hotel. Don't wear any nice clothing or jewelery. Everyone sizes you up for you net worth. 3 people were robbed that I know of when I weas there. It seems not to be a priority. After hearing first hand I inquired about the security issues with the reception and head of security. They told me nothing bad happens at the resort. I find this strange as I saw two people yelling at security as there room was just ransacked durring dinner. Maybe that is part of the reason they ask for not only your bracelet number but also your room number to get food at the restaurant. The food was the same every day but the salad was a good change compared to other hotels in south america. It is a dangerous place to visit as this is why cruise ships very seldom visit and tourism is down 70%it is not a place for adventurem its too bad as the nature is wonderful too bad it is inhabited by criminals and military dictatorship. Even the locals that have to go back to visit sick family will plead do not come back as you are playing russian roulette with your life. I wish I had some positive to say but the only thing was a guy on the beach selling excursions named Bernie who speaks english and is much cheaper than the nolitour shyksters. He will help you with frankness and you can trust him..

  • Stayed: March 2013
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4  Thank travellove69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Dunes Hotel & Beach Resort

Address: Calle Campo Elias | Sector El Pueblito, Pedro Gonzales, Margarita Island 2000, Venezuela
Region: Venezuela > Insular Region > Coastal Islands > Margarita Island > Pedro Gonzales
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Pedro Gonzales
Price Range: £42 - £95 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Dunes Hotel & Beach Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 578
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Also Known As:
Dunes Hotel And Beach Resort
Dunes Hotel Margarita
Dunes Resort All Inclusive Beach
Dunes Beach Resort
Dunes Hotel & Beach Resort Margarita Island, Venezuela

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