Venezuela is a lot more than Hugo Chavez and political revolution — it’s a country filled with culture, people, and plenty of things to see and do. As we mentioned with other travel articles, it’s always up to you to figure out what you can handle and what you can’t when it comes to where you want to travel next. Are we saying that you should always ignore government travel warnings? Not at all — when there are active riots going on, it might be best to steer clear. When there are areas of knock kidnapping attempts, you don’t want to try to bring your children there. However, when it’s just an active political country where people want a better life… is that really so bad? We didn’t think so.
So, what do you need to know first about Caracas? Well, quite a bit actually — it’s the capital of Venezuela, and it’s actually more of a well kept secret than a major tourist attraction. We write about it here because anything that isn’t super popular can also have great deals perfect for the traveler that might want to look at something a little bit off the beaten path.
The city is nestled right into a gorgeous valley that’s shadowed by Mount Avila, a huge mountain that keeps the city separated from the Caribbean Sea. You can’t miss it, since it shapes most of the city’s landscape.
There’s even a cable car that goes from the bottom of the mountain to the top of the mountain, which is perfect for tourists looking to really see some stunning views.
Travelers from more Westernized countries might be surprised to see how sharp the class divides are in Caracas — you can really tell who has an affluent lifestyle and who does not. There are very poor neighborhoods and very wealthy ones. You will obviously want to make sure that you guard your possessions and ensure that you are going to be able to always take care of things while you are traveling.
One thing that you will like about Caracas is the gas prices are very, very inexpensive — mere coins per gallon, no matter what currency we’re talking about. The downside is that traffic is very heavy, so you might want to stay on foot or stick to car services.
If you want to party on vacation, this is definitely the city to do it! In fact, a lot of people come to this city for Christmas and New Year’s so that they can really celebrate the New Year in great luxury. It’s possible to even get short stay rentals that are far superior to other types of rentals around the world for the price. If you have a little extra money, shelling out for a great apartment that’s close to everything can really make all of the difference.
What you will also find in the city are plenty of places to shop and eat. You’ll find cuisine from all over the world, because many different groups came to Caracas after WWII.
Speaking of staying around the city, you might want to make sure that you bring some extra money. A lot of the budget accommodations tend to sell out quickly. If you don’t have a reservation in advance, you might end up getting pushed into a hotel that might be stretching your budget a bit.
Even though Caracas is billed as the world’s most violent city, that doesn’t mean that there’s death and destruction waiting for you. This is not a city that we would recommend to people traveling for the first time. However, it’s a city that we would recommend to someone that’s thinking about living on the edge a little bit, someone that’s traveled before, and someone that definitely doesn’t mind being in a foreign country that might be slightly hostile. The local residents of Caracas are pretty friendly, and as long as you pay them the same respect that would be paid to members of your own country, then everything will flow smoothly. It’s only when you think that as a tourist you’re above the people that live there that bad things tend to start becoming much more likely to happen.
Overall, keep Caracas in mind if you’re looking for something a little more adventurous — have fun!