The Península de Paria – the only place in South America where Colombus actually set foot – has some of the most gorgeous and least-visited spots in the country, all backed by the thick jungle-covered mountains of the peninsula's largely untouched interior. Dozens of white- and gold-sand beaches await travelers on the 50km coastal stretch between Río Caribe and San Juan de Unare, the last seaside village accessible by road. Beyond San Juan de Unare you can only continue by boat, making a trip to futher flung villages such as Santa Isabel a real adventure. Bring repellent if you stay overnight, and always check with locals before swimming, as some beaches have treacherous currents.
An easy jaunt from Río Caribe before hitting the beach, chocoholics shouldn’t miss Chocolates Paria, where you can tour the small-scale organic shade-grown cacao plantation and nibble on samples of varying concentration. Tours are available in German, English and French. Take a por puesto (US$0.05, 15 minutes) to Hacienda Bukare.