Top Venezuela Travel and Info Guide
Venezuela has beautiful beaches in its caribbean coastline. It is a place where one can see the world's highest waterfall as well as its unique flat-top mountains called "tepuis". Venezuela is very urbanized, most people living in the capital of Caracas. Venezuela was named supposedly by Amerigo Vespucci when he saw the local villagers living in huts over the water. This reminded him of Venice and therefore Venezuela means "little Venice" in Italian. This is my informational travel guide to this beautiful country.
Venezuela quick facts
Complete Name: RepÃºblica Bolivariana de Venezuela
Language Spoken: Spanish.
Time Difference: GMT/UTC -4.5
Government: - Each president is elected to six year terms and can be re-elected once. The current president of Venezuela is Hugo ChÃ¡vez
Where is Venezuela? Venezuela is located in South America between Colombia to the West and Guyana to the East (see map below).
Venezuela is the Purple part!. Photo by thejourney1972
Basic facs on Venezuela Culture:
Shaped by Spanish, indigenous and African involvement.
Baseball and soccer are the most popular sports.
Joropo is the nnational dance. It is a musical type of dance resembling the waltz
Venezuela History and Government
Venezuela became a sovereign state in 1830 after Simon Bolivar freed it from Spain. Today leftist president Hugo Chavez has been elected pledging a greater voice to the poor. Chavez was reelected in July 2000 to another six year term. IN 2006 he was reelected with 64% of vote. Chavez has set up a very leftist authoritarian style of government. Although, detested by some, he remains very popular among the poor.
Popular Sights and Attractions to See in Venezuela
El Teleferico in Caracas is a cable ride that takes you over the top of Avila Mountain. All who have been here recommend a light sweater to make sure you don't get cold. Once you are on the top you will enjoy some of the best views the world has to offer. Avila mountain is a 2,600 meter mountain that overlooks the city of Caracas. On top of the mountain you can not only see the beauty and splendor of Caracas, but there is also an ice skating rink, a beautiful park. There is also Hotel Humbolt one of the best places to stay for the night. If there is only one place you will visit in Venezuela, you should make this your ultimate priority.
There is also an El teleferico in Merida, Venezuala. This cable car ride is 12.5 kilometers and is the longest and highest cable car ride in the world. It is a 90 minute ride, with a magnificent scenery going to Pico Espejo station. While riding, enjoy a magnificent view of the Andes.
Teleferico. Photo by dancunningham
Los Chorros Park - While you are visiting Avila Mountain, you can also visit Los Chorros Park which is at the base of the mountain. This beautiful park is located at the North of the city. It is highlighted by a marvelous waterfall inside the park. There are beautiful types of trees along with fishes squirrels and many others. There are also some fake wells where kids can bathe and have fun. There is also a cafeteria and a German style mansion to visit.
Please note that it is closed on Mondays here. It is open Tuesdays-Sundays.
Isla Margarita - If you are looking for Caribbean sunny weather, consider Venezuela's isla margarita. It is known as the "pearl of the Caribbean" It has beautiful beaches with palm trees and has more than 300 days of sun annually! It has golf courses, scuba diving and all the amenities you can imagine for a Caribbean paradise. There are 50 unique beaches here. If you enjoy shopping, you can find items 15-20% lower than the mainland's price. It is duty free as well. Among unique items you can find are natively woven baskets, hammocks and handbags. People who visit rave about its bargain shopping.
Isla de Margarita. Photo by kit kath
Angel Falls - the world's highest waterfall at 979 m (3212 ft) is located in Canaima Park. As a comparison, this is 16 times greater than Niagara Falls. It is astounding and breathtaking. Trips to the falls will need to use canoes called curiaras. If the water flow is mild, you may be able to swim in the pool that forms below. Since it is not near civilization, plan to have some hiking shoes ready! You may need to spend two or three days to plan your travel to here.
Angel Falls. Photo by davidkjelkerud
Los Roques - If you are looking for some rest and relaxation in Venezuela, you should go to Los Roques. Los Roques is an archipelago with more than 50 islands. In here El Gran Roque is the one that is mostly populated and also where the airport can be found. With its beautiful clean crystal clear water and white sand, make it the perfect place for relaxing, scuba diving, sport fishing (fly fishing and trolling) or any water sports you can imagine. Its coral reefs along with its underwater flora and fauna make it one of the most amazing sights to behold. Few American tourists know about this paradise in Venezuela, oddly enough you will find many Italian tourist visitors in these islands.
Los Roques. Photo by samout3
Los Llanos - (the Plains) If you are a nature lover, your thirst will be quenched when you visit Los Llanos. Los Llanos is a grassy plain starting from the Orinoco river to the border of Colombia. You can find 50 species of mammals and 300 different species of birds in Los Llanos. Los Llanos is full of capybaras, otters, jaguars, caimans, and ibis. You can also experience Venezuelan culture when you see the Llaneros play joropo insturements, popular music of Venezuela.
Capybaras in Los Llanos. Photo by kingcoyote
Best time to travel to Venezuela
Rainy season is from May-October. Dry season is November-April.
If you plan to visit Angel falls the best time to go is during the rain season because water levels are high and canoes have an easier time to navigate through.
IF you want to visit the wildlife in Los Llanos it is best to go in the dry season because in the rainy season, the animals hide from the rain.
If you want to visit Margarita Island, it is almost always a good time to go since they seem to have perfect weather all year round.
Custom and Etiquette
Venezuelan people have European, Indian, and African roots. They are very happy people and enjoy a fun living atmosphere. Many live in extended families. Always address people by their professional title and surname instead of referring them by their first name. When eating, wait until everyone is seated.
Arepas - A fried or baked cornmeal pancake filled with vegetables, cheese, and any other meat desired. They may be eaten as a snack or may be eaten for breakfast.
Arepas. Photo by NH567
Empanadas - Stuffed pastry made of minced meat and vegetables. It is popular in Argentina and other South American countries as well.
Chachapas chachapas, they are corn pancakes filled melted cheese.
Hallacas - Beef, chicken, capers wrapped in cormeal tied with string with plantian leaves and boiled. Usually served during Christmas season.
El PabellÃ³n is the traditional Venezuelan lunch comprised of rice, black beans, meat and fied plantains.
El PabellÃ³n. Photo by LuisCarlos DÃaz
Video on Making Arepas
Bobby Flay teaches you how to make a Venezuelan Arepa
Joropo - Music and Dance of Venezuela
The joropo is the traditional music and ballroom dance of Venezuela. It has orgins in Iberian music mixed with African and indigenous local influences. Instruments involved are harp or bandola, four stringed guitar, and maracas. Lyrics are often patriotic, depicting the person's country or province. In the joropo dance, the man holds the woman at arms length and stops his feet to the rhythm of the music while the woman follows in sweeping motions.
Joropo - Two children dance to the Joropo
Beautiful video of two children dancing the joropo
Travel to Venezuela cheaper - Use coupon codes
IF you plan to travel use a coupon code to lower your travel costs. If you use travelocity use a travelocity promotional code to get a bargain on your Venezuelan travel. Cheaptickets also offers great rates to Venezuela. Their cheap of the week offers great rates to common destinations for cheap. Use a cheaptickets promo code for more savings!
Make sure you bring enough dollars to enjoy your vacation, dollars are usually accepted in most places. If you want to exchange for the local currency, go to a bank, it is the safest way to exchange your money. There is a black market in Venezuela for currency exchange where people will give you 3-4 times better exchange than what the bank offers you, however, it can be risky as well if you don't deal with good people. Remember when you change your money put it in your pocket quickly and never count it in open public. There is a lot of crime in Venezuela, just be safe and take the proper precautions.
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