Mélange Travel & Lifestyle Magazine July 2018 - Page 404

Festival and Traditions The most important celebration in Los Roques is the Festival of Our Lady of the Valley, the patroness of sailors and fishermen. The celebration begins the first week of September, with decorations throughout the villages, all reflecting and commemorating St. Mary’s nativity. There is also dancing to the catchy sounds of Latin American music and many other activities. Boats are decorated with colorful flags and, while playing traditional music, head towards Crasquí Island in a floating pilgrimage which includes a statue of the Virgin. They all head to El Gran Roque where the celebrations continue in the main square until the next day. Fishing and Tourism Lobster fishing season goes from November 1st until January 31st. This is a great time to be in Gran Roque as culinary competitions and other activities are held on the island at that time, allowing you to sample local dishes and observe and participate in traditional dances dedicated to the important resource of fishing on the island. Ecological Sanctuary The National Park of Los Roques is considered an ecological sanctuary. The area has been protected from net fishing and other disruptive activities in order to preserve the coral reefs and its delicate marine life. Construction in most islands is not allowed and there are some marine protected areas where not even locals can go, to ensure the conservation of the ecosystem. In town, building construction is limited to a max of 5m, to avoid visual pollution and overpopulation. All this, together with the limited amount of tourists that visit throughout the year make Los Roques an exceptional place where absolute virgin islands are seen and enjoyed as they were initially found by Spanish explorers in the 16th century.