La Blanquilla, Venezuela

Ah, the splendors of the Caribbean – of course splendor, akin to beauty, is found in the eye of the beholder, or so it is said. Therefore, one person’s vision of an idyllic spot in these emerald waters might, and most likely will, differ greatly from another’s. One might think of grand hotels, colorful parasols, and luxurious yachts stretched out along a long, curved beach of impossibly white sand. And certainly, such a scene can be easily found in many destinations that can be readily booked through your local travel agent. It is a pleasing image, after all, and one that sends millions of like-minded people to the Caribbean every year. Still, if you look closer at that image, you might begin to see a few things that you would prefer, in a best case scenario mind you, to leave out.

Maybe the first to go would be the pesky sundry peddlers staked out along the beach; all charging an outrageous amount of money for items that you likely just forgot in your hotel room two blocks and six lanes of traffic away. Perhaps, those very hotels would be the second to go, because the natural beauty of your little paradise can’t be fully appreciated with a concrete backdrop. Surely next to go would be all those souvenir shops beckoning the sun-dazed patrons with garish and cheaply-made products each of us has certainly survived the bulk of our lives without need of. And now that you think about it, thinning out a few of those same patrons wouldn’t hurt the overall picture much either. Don’t get me wrong, a great beach is nice regardless, but it’s even nicer when you aren’t laid out in orderly, tightly spaced rows that might be best appreciated by German engineers. While you’re at it, you might as well finish things up by eliminating that string of power lines those hotels were formerly using, and sweep all those marinas out of the frame so that you can get a nice, clear view of the sunset over the ocean. Now you’ve got yourself a spot—a true gem of the tropics, if only such a place could be found without all the necessary deconstruction.

Viola! I give you my vision of the Caribbean… La Blanquilla. Sure, it’s off the beaten path, but it has none of those things that tend to clutter up the initial vision of paradise while keeping true to all those details that make the Caribbean so appealing in the first place. White sandy beach? Check. Palm trees? Check. (Okay, there are only two and a half, but they’re out there giving their best!) Warm tropical breeze? Check. Turquoise-colored, fish-filled waters? Again, got it. And the best part? There’s NO ONE ELSE HERE! That’s right, 70+ square miles of absolute paradise to share only amongst ourselves. So, after a day of diving, swimming, snorkeling, lounging, and kayaking, my fellow travelers and I ask you: which vision holds more appeal?