BEHIND THE LENS
ISLA DE MARGARITA, VENEZUELA POR GUSTAVO MÁRMOL
At 28 years old, photographer Gustavo Mármol has lived in several cities of his native Venezuela. Born in Caracas, it was in Valencia where he discovered a passion for photography while working with a renowned local artist. He is self-taught at the craft, developing a style inspired by minimalism, the beach and the sun. Gustavo has a penchant for analog photography, and through his images, aims to reflect on “how beautiful life can be”. In this selection, he reveals the natural charm of Isla de Margarita in the Caribbean Sea.
What brought you here?
It’s a destination that I know quite well; One way or another I always end up here. Especially now as an adult, I appreciate the island with different eyes and discover a lot of new things to do, aside from the tourist destinations. It’s a place I can easily see myself living in several years from now.
Tell us about your personal connection to Isla de Margarita.
Since I was very young I’ve visited Margarita because I have family that’s lived there for about 20 years, so I always had a personal connection.
What does Isla de Margarita smell like?
Sea and salt.
What does it taste like?
Fried fish and papelón con limón.
Best discovery on this trip?
Although I’d been visiting Margarita all my life, it was on this last opportunity that I finally went to the Punta Ballena Lighthouse where you have a 360° view of the island and the Salinas de Pampatar.
If you had to choose your favorite activity on the island, what would it be?
Its sunsets, without a doubt.
What was your first impression of the island?
I don’t exactly remember my first impression because I was very young, but I can talk about the last one: the island feels alive, from the moment you wake up until you fall asleep. During the day there are always things to do, and at night Pampatar is especially illuminated and active.
If Isla de Margarita had a soundtrack, what songs would be included?
Desafinado by Joao Gilberto & Stan Getz
El Sur by The Other Pole
It Runs Through Me by Tom Misch
Playa Azul from Los Amigos Invisibles
Mascarada by Camerata Criolla
Las Tumbas by Ismael Rivera
El Niágara en Bicicleta by Juan Luis Guerra.
What memories come to mind when you think of this destination?
I always have memories of playing with my cousins at Christmas. Also, of my first summer love at age 13 and the first time my dad let me drive a car on a road to the beach or my first trip as a couple.
When you travel to Isla de Margarita, you cannot miss…
A sunset at the Fortín de La Galera, in Juan Griego.
A typical food or drink?
Well, I haven’t tried it, but I’ve heard about the Pastel de Chucho (Chucho Cake). The truth is, I don’t know very well what it’s about; however, you can look for it to see if you dare to eat it. What I do recommend are the Empanadas de Cazón.
Any advice for when visiting the island?
Plenty of sunscreen and, if you stay near the beach, don’t leave the windows open for a long time because sand is likely to get into your room, and well, it’s not pleasant to sleep with a bed full of it.
Something that few know about Isla de Margarita?
There is an area in Margarita called Cerro El Copey. It’s the highest mountainous area of the island, where you’ll find the town of La Sierra. Margariteños like to refer to this as El Ávila de Margarita.
How do you get to the island?
By plane from any airport in Venezuela. Another option, which is not my favorite, is the ferry that leaves from La Guaira and the one that departs from Lechería.
What is the most special thing about Isla de Margarita, something you haven’t seen elsewhere?
I think that, touristically speaking, it’s perhaps one of the most diverse places in Venezuela. It has many beaches that you can visit, a mangrove lagoon in La Restinga, some natural salt flats, a lot of nightlife and even a cold area in Cerro El Copey.
Any local words or slang ?
I’m not too sure about any slang, but locals on the island change Z to S a lot, for some reason.
Anything else you’d like to add?
If you visit Margarita Island and want to stay on a beach, I recommend El Yaque; It’s a bit far from the city. However, if you need transportation, I can recommend Sergio, my trusted taxi driver, who also tells you everything there is to know about the island.
What is beauty to you?
It’s all that we are grateful for having been able to see, feel or taste.