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:
Climate and Weather, Property Ownership, Exchange Controls,
Starting a Business and working on Margarita Island
Supermarket Food Prices, Utilities including phone, Internet,
Electricity & Water & Cellular phones.
Language, Banking, House help, Nannies, Gardeners, Security guards,
Political Situation, & Security
(you are here):
Schools, Doctors, Hospitals, Medical Insurance, Buying a Car and Insurance,
Doctors and Hospitals
first thing that you should know is that the public system does NOT work.
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
would be well advised
to attend schools in your home country.
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
All will require a working knowledge of Spanish and all give some type
of English lessons.
doctors are also plentiful and reasonably priced - a typical visit currently
costs around $6 for residents.
A specialist consultation would be around
US$10 (Apr 2019).
(Many doctors have special tourist rates that
are higher than what they charge residents).
like eyeglasses and dental work are MUCH cheaper than outside Venezuela.
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).
pair with designer frames and multi focal progressive plastic lenses were
January 2018 - Just had some dental
Cleaning cost around US$3.
April 2019: Costs are often now
charged in US$
Still cheaper than other countries but not like the old days
medical insurance, while available, is costly compared to the coverage
are all sorts of loopholes and exceptions.
Many foreigners either self insure
(pay for things themselves) or have plans from their home countries.
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.
a Car & Insurance
are generally more expensive than North America & Europe.
Isla Margarita it is possible to buy a car with duty free (Puerto Libre) license
This allows you to save about 30% on the cost of the car.
is that you can not take it outside the duty free area (to the mainland) and
must also present it to the customs people once a year to show them that it is
(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 $20,000 & are virtually
Used cars, as a result, are super expensive and in some cases are
more expensive than the same car new.
The government has announced that they
will regulate new car prices in the coming months
which, in my opinion, will
only depress the supply even further.
The main problem is that the government has not supplied sufficient dollars to
to allow the assembly plants to have sufficient parts to build the cars needed.
Update - Dec. 28, 2012. With the increase in the
black market rate the price of these cars in US$
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
with low end cars costing the equivalent of around $16,000.
Update - September 23, 2013. The production of new
cars continues to fall in light of the government's inability
to provide sufficient hard currency to allow the car factories to import the
In addition the government has announced that they will be importing thousands
on Chinese cars. Good luck with that.
Update - December 24, 2013. The government will
announce new price controls on both new & used cars.
(Just an absolutely dumb
They also announced a new policy allowing the importation of new cars but the
2014 will show more details.
Update - July, 2015. With the government
basically broke due to falling oil prices & mismanagement
the outlook for new cars in 2015 is pretty dismal. They produced just 1,884
new cars in June.
With no dollars the manufacturing sector will be hard pressed to maintain any
reasonable level of production.
Ford has announced that they will begin selling cars in US$ starting in July.
Update - April, 2016. There are no new cars. Only
387 were produced in Jan. 2016 and 325 in Feb. 2016.
Update: January, 2018. Only 2,000 cars were produced in the entire year of 2017
Update - January, 2019 Virtually no new cars are being produced.
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.
prices as of September 23, 2013 for some Toyotas: Fortuner - Bs.831.000 (± $20,775).
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
all-wheel drive small wagon sold by Toyota but made by Daihatsu, a Toyota Group
Bs. 357.140 (± US$15,528) for a manual transmission model and
(± US$16,451) for an automatic version.
Expect waiting lists of
months (years?) to obtain cars.
Terios by Toyota Group / Daihatsu
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.
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 -
also get full coverage including collision damage, etc. which runs
10 to 15% or more of the car's value per year.
yourself enough time to shop around for the coverage as it varies greatly in
and often the deal offered by the dealer may not be the best although it
With regard to bringing
cars to Margarita from the USA or Europe - yes, it is possible but not
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
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
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
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" -
stop signs, traffic lights, traffic circles, intersections or what ever.
rule of the day here is drive defensively and never assume that someone will
The other thing you have to be ready for is unusual actions with no
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
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.
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
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.
is close to
Margarita Island's most popular tourist area and beach,
Playa El Agua .
just send me an e-mail at
B&B (posada) / hotel /
for sale in Playa El Agua beach!
Living, Working & Retiring In Margarita Island,
Venezuela - Page Index
Climate, Property, Exchange, Business &
Food Prices, Utilities, Phone, Internet
Language, Banking, Help, Security,
Schools, Hospitals, Doctors, Car Buying,