Venezuela Visitors Guide

Venezuela Travel Guide

Venezuela, the “Little Venezia” of America, is a Caribbean country. It lies in the north of South America and is the sixth larger country in the South American continent. Venezuela is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea to the north, Colombia to the west, Guayana to the east, and Brazil to the south.

The most attractive of Venezuela is its wide range of natural beauty where contrast diverse landscapes such as the mountain range of the Andes in the west, the almost unexplored jungle in the south, the beauty of the Gran Sabana, and the spectacular Angel Falls in the east, and the tropical beaches of the Venezuelan shores.

Venezuela Travel Guide

The major tourist attraction is the Angel Falls or also called Churun Meru by the local natives, which is the highest waterfall in the world. Located in the Canaima National Park, in the Gran Sabana in the Bolivar State, the Angel Falls offers a unique and spectacular experience for the visitors. This is a country that has much to offer and a place worth visiting.

Travel to Venezuela

Venezuela has much to offer for vacations. There’s fantastic Caribbean beaches, the highest waterfall in the world, tropical rainforest tours, excellent hiking possibilities, and fantastic wildlife viewing tours available to travelers.

Best Times to Visit Venezuela

It is a country that is open to tourists all year round. From November to March are the months when receives the major quantity of visitors, so many of the principal destinations are a crowd with tourists. If you prefer the solitude you can travel to Venezuela in April through June but one disadvantage is that is the rainy season and maybe the days will not be so good to leave the hotel.

Climate in Venezuela

Thanks to its location near to the Equator boats a tropical climate and has just two well-defined seasons: dry and rainy. The dry season begins in November and ends in April, the rainy season begins in May and ends in October.

Certainly, the dry season is the best season to visit Venezuela particularly for outdoor activities like wildlife viewing in the Llanos, trekking and mountain climbing, or going to the beach. Although during the rainy season when the most part of the day is cloudy and raining is the best season to see the Angel Falls because is running stronger and looks more impressive.

Top Destinations in Venezuela

Caracas, the capital city of Venezuela has some good museums, particularly the Museum of Contemporary Art, and a vibrant nightlife scene. Other than that, there’s very little to see in Caracas. Choose your hotel in Caracas wisely – many parts of the city are far from desirable. Almost all flights to Venezuela are to the capital city – take note that it’s a long long journey from the airport to the city center.

Venezuela Travel Guide

On the banks of the Orinoco River, the city of Angostura has renamed Ciudad Bolivar in honor of Simon Bolivar who liberated large parts of South America from Spanish rule. The nearby Orinoco Delta has excellent rainforest tours available.

Los Roques archipelago is a short flight from Caracas. This beautiful archipelago of islands is located 160km north of mainland Caracas. Though growing in popularity, the islands remain quiet and unspoiled, with fantastic beaches and scuba diving available. Los Roques offers dazzling white beaches, turquoise waters and an excellent coral reef – the islands are popular for snorkeling, fishing, and sunbathing. There’s plenty of flights to Los Roques from Caracas.

Mérida is a relaxed city surrounded by the Andes Mountains including Pico Bolívar, Venezuela’s highest peak which can be reached by the highest cable car in the world. Merida has an attractive colonial center around Plaza Bolívar, a lively university scene, and is a major center for adventure sports enthusiasts and adventure tours. Trekking, rafting, and hiking are popular activities in Merida.

Rio Caribe is a small fishing town at the far eastern tip of Venezuela’s Caribbean coast, with beautiful unspoiled beaches which are a short drive away.

Canaima National Park offers fantastic hiking possibilities and is the gateway for a tour to the magnificent Angel Falls. A little further afield, Roraima offers some of the best trekking in Venezuela – treks amongst the tepuys (flat Table Top mountains) that inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s book The Lost World.

The Llanos area west of Caracas is a wetland that is excellent for wildlife viewing holidays.

Destinations in Venezuela

Caracas Travel Guide

Caracas, the capital city of Venezuela, is most tourist’s focal point of their vacations. Caracas itself has little to offer tourists, though it does have some great nightlife and some decent museums. The city itself is rather unattractive, and many parts are not particularly safe these days, but it is the hub for internal/domestic flights within Venezuela. As such, you may find that to return to Caracas two or even three times on your tour of the country. It’s wise to book a decent hotel in a safe neighborhood.

Caracas Venezuela vacation guide
Caracas Venezuela travel guide

Angel Falls

Angel Falls is one of the real travel highlights for tours to Venezuela. As the highest in the world, these waterfalls are a truly spectacular sight. To travel to Angel Falls, tourists will need to catch a flight to Canaima National Park and the Gran Sabana Region, itself a beautiful area for trekking tours. There are flights from Caracas, Ciudad Bolivar, and Margarita Island (note that most of the flights from Margarita Island are charter flights).

Canaima National Park has one small village that has a few good hotels. To organize a tour to Angel Falls themselves, one can either take a long day tour or an overnight camping tour, alternatively, it is easy to locally book a flight over the Falls.

Angel Falls Travel Guide
Angel Falls

Consider two important points, both of which concern the weather, when visiting Angel Falls and Canaima National Park. Venezuela’s weather often prevents flights over the Falls – if you really want to see them from a plane, consider allowing an extra day in Canaima National Park in case the weather is bad on one of the days. Tourists should also consider that the dry season is from December to April – Angel Falls may just be a trickle during this period, and could prove disappointing for what should be a highlight of a vacation. The best time to visit Angel Falls is therefore in Venezuela’s wet season – which peaks between June and August.

Barquisimeto

Barquisimeto is the fifth most populated city in Venezuela, is known as the “Ciudad de los Crepúsculos”(City of twilight) because of its beautiful sunsets and is also known as the “Musical capital of Venezuela” due to its ample musical tradition.

Barquisimeto Travel Guide

The city has preserved the charm of its customs and its traditions over the years in despite of its evolution, which has changed the physical appearance of the city. These two faces of Barquisimeto, one traditional and the other modern, have been able to coexist forming a special landscape that combines traditional features such as the natural beauty around it, places that are full of history and folk manifestations with the modern attractions of the city.

One of these traditions that have been preserved in the city is the festivities of “Divina Pastora”, the patron saint of the city, which are celebrated in January. This procession is very well known both nationally and internationally, and it is one of the biggest in Latin America because it congregates approximately half a million people. On the other hand, it is the modern aspect of the city which presents many alternatives in terms of recreation, such as shopping malls, nightclubs, discotheques, restaurants, etc.

Ciudad Guayana

This city is located in the Bolivar State; it is also the capital of the Caroní municipality. It is a city and a river port located at the confluence of the Caroni and the Orinoco river has a population of about one million inhabitants in its metropolitan area.

Guayana Travel Guide

The union of this city with San Félix city and the industrial zone was the result of Ciudad Guayana in 1961 and its construction took place in 1952. At that time, it was the administrative base of the Orinoco Mining Company and was located at the confluence of the Caroni and Orinoco rivers in order to take advantage of the beauty of the jumps and abundance of the Caroní River.

It is the sixth-largest city in Venezuela and the second planned city in all Latin America, and today is one of the biggest and most modern cities in this country. It is the home of important companies that are dedicated to the exploration and production of iron, aluminum, and gold, it also lodges the major electricity company in Venezuela.

Isla Margarita – Margarita Island

This beautiful Venezuelan island is situated in the southeast Caribbean Sea, near to Coche and Cubagua islands, in the northwest part of Caracas and the north of the Araya peninsula of Sucre State. The trip from Caracas uses to last for some 35 minutes by air, if you prefer is possible to take a ferry in La Cruz harbor or Cumaná, from there the trip uses to last for a couple of hours. The island constitutes the unique insular state in the country; it is called New Esparta (Nueva Esparta), and has a privileged geographic situation and an especial free harbor condition.

It possesses all the characteristics of an important tourist center; for example, it has luxurious hotels, casinos, national and international food restaurants, boutiques, and attractive nightlife. All these attractions added to its tropical weather have made that this place is known as The Caribbean pearl among Venezuelan and foreign tourists.

The island played an important role in the story of Venezuelan independence. Later, it became an important trade center, which was developed thanks to the help proceeding from traveling foreigners, most of them from Spain. It offers to their visitors beautiful beaches of fine sands bordered by palm, traditional towns, and very kind people.

It constitutes one of the most important tourist destinations in Venezuela, it is a place where many activities can be done, besides this, it can be an interesting starting point, to begin with, to explore the rest of the country.

Margarita Island, or Isla Margarita, is in the Caribbean and part of Venezuela. It is particularly popular for package holidays, and there are many all-inclusive resorts and hotels to cater to such package vacations. There are regular charter flights from Europe in particular, and Isla Margarita is popular for a week-long beach holiday.

The beaches are great and tours can be arranged to highlights Venezuela’s mainland such as Angel Falls. Many of the hotels and resorts have casinos attached and the vast majority are all-inclusive. In fact, there are so many resorts on Margarita Island, we won’t even begin to attempt to start reviewing them – they are, by and large, all rather similar luxury resorts. For those looking for a boutique-style, small, and slightly quieter hotel I’ll throw the name of Posada Caracol at you – it’s a peaceful small hotel with a lovely swimming pool, 30 minutes from the airport and main tourist town of Porlamar.

Los Roques

Los Roques is a beautiful set of islands in Venezuela’s Caribbean and a short flight from Caracas. There are only a dozen or so small boutique hotels on Los Roques Island, most of which are owned by Italians. These islands have beautiful beaches (though very little shade), and are likely to remain undeveloped as tourism is strictly controlled. Los Roques makes a perfect place to relax on the beach. Scuba diving, fishing, windsurfing and kite surfing are popular vacation activities in Los Roques, in addition to sunbathing on the excellent beaches. Taking a boat tour of the islands is recommended, as the beaches on the main island of Gran Roque aren’t as beautiful as the more remote beaches.

There are quite a few flights every day from Los Roques to Caracas, and it is quite easy to connect with your international departure flight. Airlines change schedules regularly, but you might find flights to Los Roques with Santa Barbara Airlines, Avior Airlines, Aserca or Conviasa. The flight from Caracas to Los Roques takes less than an hour.

Los Roques Hotels

There aren’t many hotels in Los Roques. As building new hotels is very strictly controlled, the small hotels (or posadas) that are present are rather expensive considering the standard of the accommodation, which is generally good but nowhere near luxury.

  • Posada Macanao – This charming posada is located on Gran Roque, the main island of the archipelago of Los Roques. In our opinion it’s the best hotel in Los Roques in terms of both it’s the beachfront location and the standard of the hotel.
  • Posada Piano y Papaya – a friendly small hotel, which is a good value compared to many of the other hotels on the islands of Los Roques. This is a high-quality hotel, meals are taken communally with other guests.
  • Posada Mediterraneo – the best hotel if you’re going to Los Roques for its fishing – namely bonefishing. This hotel is geared towards those on a fishing vacation, though it’s suitable for all.
  • Other good hotels in Los Roques in Venezuela that are worth mentioning include Posada Albacora, Posada Malibu and Posada Natura Viva Fuerte Caribe.

Flights to Los Roques

There are quite a few flights every day from Los Roques to Caracas, and it is quite easy to connect with your international departure flight. Airlines change schedules regularly, but you might find flights to Los Roques with Santa Barbara Airlines, Avior Airlines, Aserca, or Conviasa. The flight from Caracas to Los Roques takes less than an hour.

Maracaibo

Maracaibo is located in the occidental extreme of Venezuela, in the state of Zulia, in the southwest shore of the lake that has the same name (we mean the Maracaibo lake, the biggest in South America). It is the capital of Zulia state and the homonymous municipality.

Maracaibo is also known as “La Tierra del Sol Amada”, it is the second biggest city in Venezuela, it has an extension of 557 km2 and a population of 1.3 million inhabitants. It was discovered on August 24, 1499, by the marine Alonso de Ojeda, companion of Columbus in his second journey.

It is the principal harbor and industrial center of the rich oil basin of Maracaibo, it is a modern and dynamic city that you must visit in order to enjoy all of the charms that it offers.

Puerto de la Cruz

Puerto de la Cruz is considered one of the most important cities in Anzoátegui state. It is cataloged as a forced point of the visit thanks to its strategic position as a harbor from where the ferries set sail to Margarita Island. From this port is distributed the tourism that visits the beaches in the Mochima national park and the islands from this zone.

It has an excellent geographic position and it is interconnected with Lecherías city and Barcelona city (the capital of this state). Nowadays, it is an important tourist center with a high grade of development that houses hundreds of tourists that visit this zone in order to enjoy the beautiful beaches.

It has about 14 beaches of considerable beauty, besides it has another point of interest formed by ports and national parks. There are also other options, such as museums, walks, and galleries that tourists may consider in their visit to this beautiful port.

San Cristobal

This city is located in the western Andes of Venezuela at an altitude of 825 meters above sea level. It is the capital of Tachira state and is also known as the “city of cordiality”. It is very close to the frontier with Colombia and communicates directly with this country through Cucuta.

San Cristobal Travel Guide

It is one of the oldest cities in Venezuela because it was founded on March 31, 1561, by the captain of the Spanish Army Juan Maldonado Ordóñez.

It is a city that invites its visitors to enjoy beautiful landscapes, cultural activities, wonderful food, and very friendly people. It is also known as the home of the San Sebastian international fair, which takes place during the month of January, as well as musical events, sporting competitions, commercial and industry exhibitions, and its famous bullfighting.

Venezuela’s Beaches

Undoubtedly, Venezuela’s Caribbean coastline and its beaches prove a major attraction for those looking for a holiday. The coastline is long, the beaches are often pristine and deserted and offer a wonderful place to relax for a few nights. Popular beach destinations for vacations to Venezuela include Margarita Island, which is all about cheap package holidays, and Los Roques Islands which has small boutique hotels and fine beaches. Margarita Island is the most popular of these beach destinations, with regular charter flights from a variety of destinations. A good alternative on the mainland is the beaches around Rio Caribe.

Venezuela beach
Venezuela’s Beaches

Rio Caribe Beaches & Hotels

Rio Caribe is a remote but idyllic beach destination. It’s very uncrowded, except during Venezuela’s vacation season when it can get quite busy.

  • Hacienda Bukare – a small hotel with just four rooms, Hacienda Bukare is a family-run hacienda and cocoa plantation. This hotel is 10km from Rio Caribe and 30 minutes from the airport at Carupano. The area is quite remote and undeveloped – you could have the beaches all to yourself. Numerous tours such as hiking in the rainforest can be arranged.
  • Playa De Uva Hotel – a rustic beach hideaway located behind a beautiful stretch of palm-fringed beach, 5km from the fishing village of Rio Caribe. Playa de Uva is a good spot for birdwatching in addition to beach vacations in Venezuela. There are various lovely beaches nearby.
  • Playa Medina – very simple but remote and idyllic rustic beach chalets set behind the palm-fringed Playa Medina Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in Venezuela. It’s pretty off the beaten track but great for a relaxing wind-down type vacation.

 

Venezuela Flights

International Flights to Venezuela

The vast majority of international flights to Venezuela are to the capital city Caracas (or rather nearby Maiquetia airport). Caracas is normally the cheapest city to fly to in South America, especially if flying from Europe.

  • From USA and North America, airlines that fly to Venezuela include Continental, American, Delta and Air Canada.
  • From Europe, Venezuela is served by Iberia, Air France, Lufthansa, Alitalia and TAP Air Portugal.

Domestic Flights in Venezuela

Before details of all of Venezuela’s domestic airlines, a word about flights to Canaima (Angel Falls’ access point), which can be rather problematic to arrange. Avior is currently the only airline with direct flights from Caracas to Canaima. An alternative is to arrange a flight to Ciudad Bolivar and book a separate ticket onwards from there. Many of the airlines that fly to Canaima are charter airlines – there are direct charter flights from Porlamar (Margarita Island) for example. To book one of these charter airlines, you’ll invariably need to book a complete package to Canaima – or try contacting a local hotel who might be able to arrange these flights for you.

  • Aeropostal operates extensive international routes to Ecuador, Colombia, the Caribbean, Miami, and Madrid, in addition to various domestic flights.
  • Aserca has services to domestic destinations in Venezuela in addition to the Caribbean islands of Aruba and Curacao.
  • Avior also offers extensive domestic flights in Venezuela and has plans to soon begin international routes. Avior is the only airline that offers direct flights from Caracas to Canaima – many of the other airlines that fly to Canaima are charter airlines.
  • Santa Barbara offers both international and domestic flights. International destinations include Miami, Aruba, Quito, Guayaquil, Madrid, Tenerife (Canary islands) and even Funchal (Madeira). Domestic destinations are mainly in Western Venezuela and include Caracas, Barquisimeto, Cucumana, Merida, Las Piedras, Maracaibo, San Antonio Del Táchira and Valencia.
  • Conviasa also offers extensive domestic flights, including flights to Porlamar, Ciudad Bolivar and various other destinations (no route map available).
  • Laser has lots of services from Caracas to Margarita Island (Porlamar) – but currently only that route.
  • Rutaca Airlines are based in Ciudad Bolivar and offers various domestic flights to destinations including Porlamar, Puerto Ordaz and Port of Spain (Trinidad and Tobago).
  • Aerotuy offers charter flights and packages to Canaima National Park, the Orinoco Delta (technically, it’s not really the Orinoco Delta that there offer in their packages though) and Los Roques.
  • Venezolana covers Caracas, Porlamar, and Maracaibo, in addition to domestic charters, as well as international routes to Aruba.
  • Aero Ejecutivos has flights from Caracas to Los Roques in addition to Yavi in the Amazon.