Colorful Venezuela is famous for its many Miss Worlds and endless soap operas. For tourists, there are Andean mountain scenery, the resort island of Margarita and old conquistador towns, waterfalls and national parks. All about Venezuela: tours, prices, maps and photos.
The role of tourists in Venezuela usually belongs to people with a stamped passport, a long list of countries visited and a thick wallet.
Cities and regions
The capital is Caracas. The main tourist centers are Margarita Island and national parks.
Visa for Venezuela
To enter Venezuela for up to 90 days, a visa is not required. Medical insurance is not required at the border crossing, but it is not worth flying to South America without it.
Import and export of foreign and local currency is not limited, the sums over 10 000 USD, gold and jewelry need to be declared. Persons aged 18 years are permitted duty free import of 200 cigarettes or 25 cigars, 2 liters of alcoholic beverages, 4 bottles of perfume, and other packaged goods not exceeding $ 1000 USD.
The import and export of vegetables, plants or plant materials, drugs and narcotic products, meat and meat products, firearms and ammunition (requires a permit from the local police), as well as items and things of historical, artistic or archaeological value are prohibited.
Climate of Venezuela
Most of the country is dominated by a subequatorial climate. And since it is located only a little north of the equator, temperatures vary little throughout the year. For example, in Caracas – from +18 to +20 ° C, and in Maracaibo – from +27 to +29 ° C. In the mountainous areas in January the temperature stays within +4 … +9 ° C, in summer it can reach up to +23 ° C.
The best time to visit the country is from November to May, but some world-known sights (Angel waterfall and others) are the most picturesque just during the rainy season. During the dry season it is impossible to get to the falls by land – only by helicopter.
Hotels in Venezuela
The classification of hotels in Venezuela is standard five-star with high requirements for service. And the hotels not only correspond to the declared stardom, but sometimes even noticeably exceed it. For example, a simple “three” can boast a level of service as a good 4-star hotel.
Banks and exchange offices in Venezuela
The monetary unit of the country is the Bolivar Fuerte (VEF), 1 Bolivar has 100 centimos.
Banks are usually open Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 15:30. Currency can be exchanged at casa de cambio exchange offices, at the airport, banks, hotels, stores and transportation agencies. The return exchange of local currency is not an easy task.
It is advantageous to exchange U.S. dollars in the country, the euro is less popular. In markets and private establishments, it is possible to pay in U.S. dollars.
It is not advisable to use bank cards in Venezuela. Here’s why: the official exchange rate is very different from the “black” rate, and when paying with a bank card you will be charged at the official rate. It is better to exchange your cards with your guide in order to avoid scams.
Bus transport in the country is well developed (as opposed to the railway). There are stations in all major cities, and buses there usually stick to the schedule. In remote areas the situation is somewhat different – trips are infrequent, outdated buses run, the schedule is constantly changing and it’s very difficult to plan a trip.
There are ferries between Puerto la Cruz and Margarita Island (3-5 hours depending on the ship type). All major cities have an extensive system of public passenger transport – buses and shuttle buses.
During the rainy season, many roads are washed out and traffic is severely impeded or even halted for days or even weeks.
Rent a car in Venezuela
Renting a car in Venezuela is not a cheap pleasure. For example, rental Toyota Corolla will cost about 800 VEF per day, plus separately paid mileage. In order to be able to drive yourself it is necessary to be older than 21 years, have driving experience of 3 years, a credit card and the driving license of international standard.
In recent years, the crime rate in the country has increased markedly. Therefore, it is not recommended to move around the capital at night, and the city center is considered unsafe even in the evening. Outside Caracas, safety concerns are not as acute.
It is recommended to avoid swimming in local freshwater reservoirs (water in swimming pools is usually chlorinated and safe). Only boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, brushing teeth, or making ice. Vegetables should be thoroughly washed and processed, and fruit should be skinned.
Travelling around the country during the Christmas and Easter holidays, Carnival and Holy Week is not a brilliant idea. Half the country is travelling at this time and there is a shortage of tickets and hotels.
You should always carry insect repellent and only check into hotels with rooms equipped with mosquito nets.
A traveler flying to Venezuela directly from Russia does not need vaccinations. But if after that he decides to visit the Central American countries, you must be vaccinated against yellow fever. It is also worth doing if the tour includes visits to areas of the Amazon. A complete list of required or recommended vaccinations should be checked with your doctor.
Shopping and Shopping
The best souvenir from Venezuela is, of course, rum. Also popular are original local products, such as clay painted dolls, as well as hammocks, colorful capes and openwork baskets made by local Indians. The fragrant local coffee and chocolate are a must-have.
Most stores in the country are open from 8:00 to 18:00 on weekdays, but outside Caracas many stores close by noon and do not open until 14:00-15:00. Some malls are open until 9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Cuisine and restaurants in Venezuela
As with many other Latin American countries, the mainstay of Venezuelan cuisine is meat, legumes, corn, specialty bananas, and many vegetables and spices, often used in the most unpredictable combinations.
Tipping is usually 10% of the bill. Most bars and restaurants automatically add exactly that much to the bill, but even then it is customary to tip the waiter directly. More often the money is simply left on the table.
A separate attraction in Merida is the local ice cream parlor Koromoto. This institution has rightfully entered the Guinness Book of Records, as it has the widest range in the world. In addition to the amazing fruit and sweet varieties, you can taste ice cream flavored with shrimp, beer, sardines, and even garlic!
The most popular word in Venezuela is manana, which in addition to its original meaning of “tomorrow,” has many other translations and is used by the locals on any occasion.
Venezuela’s Entertainment and Attractions
The colorful city of Merida is one of the most popular tourist centers in Venezuela, from where many trails and routes of hiking, trekking and other outdoor activities begin. There are four picturesque waterfalls around Angel – Salto Acha, Salto Ucayma, Salto Galondrina and Salto Guadima, plus the picturesque Laguna de Canaima with small sandy beaches.
The Roraima Plateau is considered the “center of the Earth” by the Indians and was named after the highest mountain of the massif, Roraima (2772 m). However, in the vicinity there are also other famous mountains: Cerro Autana, Cerro Pintado or “Painted Mountain” (several dozen petroglyphs, many of which have no analogues on the continent), Serra de La Neblina or “Mountain of Mists”, Cerro Sarisarinama with huge canyons.
Also of interest in Venezuela are the caves of Cueva del Guacharo, the towns of Barquisimeto and Coro, and the plains of Llanos.