The main island of Gran Roque is the sole place to stay in the island group and day trips are made to other islands. We visited two: Francisquí and Madrisquí.
There are no nice swimming beaches on Gran Roque although our posada (pension) and many of the others here are right on the water. The flight over the idyllic island and atoll group was gorgeous.
Gran Roque (which is the main island but not, as its name would suggest, the largest) consists of a flat part and an uninhabitable mountainous part. The flat part has perhaps 6 x 4 streets of a few blocks in length and is blessed by meticulously painted houses and posadas, and a total absence of motorized vehicles (other than one or two service vehicles) so that the streets are really footpaths part sand and part stone.
There are tons of small guest houses in Gran Roque called posadas which provided either full or part board, largely because there are virtually no restaurants and little with which to self-cater. The posadas ranged from small, cinderblock rooms to luxurious digs with hammocks and leafy terraces. Everything was expensive.
Due, I believe, to the controlled economy, it was difficult to find much of anything on the island other than the posadas. Restaurants are almost non-existent and one so-called 'frutería' had nothing but a few shriveled apples and some potatoes. There is a 'pizzeria' in the central square which looks great and has an awesome menu resplendent with the wonders of Italy, but when I went to check it out I was advised by a rather sheepish employee that they serve only three food items: two kinds of pizza (fish and cheese) and hamburgers, blaming it on the lack of regular supplies. There is little in the way of vegetables here though the residents do look healthy enough.
We were introduced to the delicious Venezuelan specialty known as arepas....thick corn pancakes that are then split in half and filled (kind of like a pita pocket) with fish, chicken or meat seasoned with some spices that give it a yellowish tinge. Very delicious and kind of sloppy.
Gran Roque was filled with Italian, Brazilian and Spanish tourists and it was fun to see everyone trying to communicate with the various languages. Dan observed Italians speaking in Italian to Venezuelans who answered back in Spanish and everyone seemed to understand everything perfectly! We´re told that many of the posadas are owned by Italians and certainly the food had an Italian influence.