Sunday, December 3, 2023
Caracas Travel Guide - Travel S Helper


travel guide

Caracas, formally Santiago de León de Caracas, is Venezuela’s capital city, the hub of the Greater Caracas Area, and the country’s biggest metropolis. Caracas is situated in the northern section of the nation along the Guaire River, following the contours of the small Caracas Valley on Venezuela’s coast mountain range (Cordillera de la Costa). Between 760 and 910 meters (2,490 and 2,990 feet) above sea level is good construction terrain. The valley lies next to the Caribbean Sea, separated from it by a steep 2,200-metre-high (7,200-foot) mountain range known as Cerro El vila; to the south, more hills and mountains exist.

The Metropolitan District of Caracas consists of five municipalities: Libertador, the main administrative division of the Venezuelan Capital District, and four additional municipalities located within Miranda State: Chacao, Baruta, Sucre, and El Hatillo. Libertador is home to numerous government facilities and serves as the Capital District (Distrito Capital). As of 2011, the Distrito Capital had a population of 2,013,366 residents, while the Caracas Metropolitan District had a population of 3,273,863 residents (2013). Caracas Metropolitan Region is predicted to have a population of 5,243,301.

The city is home to a variety of businesses, including service firms, banks, and shopping complexes. Apart from limited industrial activity in its metropolitan region, it has a predominantly service-based economy. Caracas is home to the Caracas Stock Exchange and Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA). PDVSA is Venezuela’s biggest enterprise. Caracas is also the cultural hub of Venezuela, with an abundance of restaurants, theaters, museums, and shopping malls. Caracas is home to many of Latin America’s highest structures.

Venezuela and its capital, Caracas, are said to have among of the world’s highest per capita murder rates, with 116 killings per 100,000 residents. The majority of homicides and other violent crimes remain unsolved. The impoverished areas that dot the hills around Caracas are always perilous.

n. South Africa is sometimes referred to as the “Rainbow Nation” to reflect the country’s newly emerging multicultural variety in the aftermath of apartheid ideology. South Africa is classified as an upper-middle-income economy and a recently industrialized country by the World Bank. It has the second-largest economy in Africa and the 34th-largest in the world. South Africa has the seventh-highest per capita income in Africa in terms of purchasing power parity. Poverty and inequality, however, remain pervasive, with almost a quarter of the population jobless and living on less than US$1.25 per day. Nonetheless, South Africa is regarded as a medium power in international affairs and wields substantial regional power.

Flights & Hotels
search and compare

We compare room prices from 120 different hotel booking services (including, Agoda, and others), enabling you to pick the most affordable offers that are not even listed on each service separately.

100% Best Price

The price for one and the same room can differ depending on the website you are using. Price comparison enables finding the best offer. Also, sometimes the same room can have a different availability status in another system.

No charge & No Fees

We don’t charge any commissions or extra fees from our customers and we cooperate only with proven and reliable companies.

Ratings and Reviews

We use TrustYou™, the smart semantic analysis system, to gather reviews from many booking services (including, Agoda, and others), and calculate ratings based on all the reviews available online.

Discounts and Offers

We search for destinations through a large booking services database. This way we find the best discounts and offer them to you.

Caracas | Introduction

Caracas – Info Card

POPULATION : • Capital City 3,273,863
• Metro 5,297,026
FOUNDED :   25 July 1567
TIME ZONE :   VST (UTC−04:00)
LANGUAGE :  Spanish
AREA : • Capital City 777.1 km2 (300.0 sq mi)
• Metro 4,715.1 km2 (1,820.5 sq mi)
ELEVATION : Highest elevation 1,400 m (4,600 ft)
Lowest elevation 870 m (2,850 ft)
COORDINATES :  10°30′N 66°55′W
SEX RATIO :  Male: 50.14%
 Female: 49.86%
AREA CODE :  212
POSTAL CODE :  1000 – 1090, 1209
DIALING CODE :  +58 212

Tourism in Caracas

Venezuela’s urban character may be gleaned mostly from a knowledge of Caracas, the country’s major city.

Caracas is not one of Venezuela’s most popular tourist sites, and visitors often avoid the capital city in order to explore the country’s incredible natural wonders. However, Venezuela’s capital may be an enthralling place to visit, with superb art, cuisine, and a vibrant nightlife.

Caracas is nestled in a lush valley, dominated by Mount Avila, a massive peak that divides the city from the Caribbean Sea and determines the majority of the city’s environment. It is a popular weekend destination for city inhabitants (known as Caraqueos) and is readily accessible through a highly modern cable car that connects the mountain base to the recently nationalized Waraira Repano park at the summit.

Caracas exemplifies the huge wealth disparities that define Venezuela’s economic condition. They vary from very impoverished “barrios” in the city’s western hills to the contemporary commercial center of El Rosal and even the opulent mansions in the city’s wealthy eastern districts.

The city’s streets and roads are always congested with automobiles, since Venezuela has the world’s cheapest fuel (about $0.12/gallon). Subsidized fuel and insufficient infrastructure have contributed to pollution and long traffic jams on almost all inner city highways. Caracas’ subway system, formerly regarded as one of the greatest in Latin America, is still efficient but sometimes congested and subject to delays.

Visitors should be informed that Caracas remains one of the world’s most dangerous cities, with significant sections practically off-limits to visitors. On weekends, murder counts of up to twenty are not unusual, therefore exercising care and common sense – particularly at night – is critical for a safe stay.


Caracas is a cosmopolitan city renowned for its cuisine. It has restaurants and pubs influenced by the cuisines of a variety of various nations and cultures, owing to the massive influx of immigrants from Europe and the Middle East after World War II.

Due to security concerns, the city is densely packed with “centros comerciales” and department shops, as well as prominent restaurants and nightclubs housed in tall malls. The city’s young, wealthy, and attractive congregate in the San Ignacio Mall to drink whiskey, and the “Las Mercedes” and “La Castellana” neighborhoods are also famous late-night hangout locations.

People often party until 4 or 5 a.m., so it’s best to grab a taxi before going out.

Climate of Caracas

Caracas has a tropical savanna climate, according to the Köppen climatic classification (Aw). Caracas is also intertropical, with annual precipitation ranging from 900 to 1,300 millimeters (35 to 51 inches) in the city proper to 2,000 millimeters (79 inches) in certain areas of the Mountain range. While Caracas lies in the tropics, its height prevents temperatures from being nearly as high as they are in other tropical areas at sea level. The annual average temperature is roughly 23.8 °C (75 °F), with the coldest month (January) averaging 22.8 °C (73 °F) and the hottest month (July) averaging 25.0 °C (77 °F), resulting in a very modest annual thermal amplitude of 2.2 °C (4.0 °F).

In December and January, dense fog may emerge, along with a sharp overnight temperature drop to 8 °C (46 °F). The indigenous people of Caracas refer to this strange weather as the Pacheco. Additionally, nighttime temperatures are typically substantially cooler (14 to 20 °C) than daytime highs and seldom exceed 24 °C (75 °F), resulting in quite comfortable evening temperatures. Hail storms occur in Caracas on an infrequent basis. Due to the city’s location in a narrow valley and the orographic activity of Cerro El vila, electrical storms are significantly more common, particularly between June and October. Caracas’s record extremes have been recorded to reach a low of 6 °C (43 °F) and a high of 35.5 °C (95.9 °F) at other city’s stations.

Geography of Caracas

Caracas is totally confined inside a valley of Venezuela’s central range, separated from the Caribbean coast by about 15 kilometers (9 miles) of El vila National Park. The valley is quite tiny and somewhat uneven in shape; its elevation above sea level ranges between 870 and 1,043 meters (2,854 and 3,422 feet), with the historic zone at 900 meters (3,000 feet). This, along with the city’s fast population increase, has had a major effect on the city’s urban development. The highest point in the Capital District, which includes the city, is the Pico El vila, which stands at 2,159 meters (7,083 feet). The Guaire River, which runs through Caracas, drains into the Tuy River, which is also supplied by the El Valle and San Pedro rivers, as well as several tributaries that originate in El Vila. The city receives water from the La Mariposa and Camatagua reservoirs. Occasionally, the city is struck by earthquakes, most notably in 1641 and 1967.

Economy of Caracas

Among the businesses found here are service firms, banks, and shopping malls. Apart from limited industrial activity in its metropolitan region, it has a predominantly service-based economy. Caracas is home to the Caracas Stock Exchange and Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA). The PDVSA is Venezuela’s biggest firm and is responsible for negotiating all international petroleum distribution and export agreements. The airline Viasa had its headquarters at the Torre Viasa throughout its existence.

Milla de Oro, situated north of the Baruta municipality and south of the Chacao municipality, is Caracas’ core business sector. It is one of the greatest financial districts in Latin America, home to several corporations and dominated by multiple high-rises. Plaza Venezuela, the Parque Central Complex, and El Recreo are all significant commercial areas.

The economy of Caracas is fueled by small and medium-sized industries. The city serves as the link between the metropolitan region and the rest of the nation, providing communication and transportation facilities. Chemicals, textiles, leather, food, iron, and wood products are all significant industries in Caracas. Additionally, there are rubber and cement industries. Its nominal GDP is 69 billion dollars, and its nominal GDP per capita is $24,000.

Internet, Communication in Caracas

Numerous “Centros de Conexiones” are available for making local and international calls. Additionally, the number of internet cafés is increasing.

How To Travel To Caracas

Get In - By plane

Simón Bolvar Airport in Maiqueta has three passenger terminals (Internacional, Nacional, and Auxiliar) and is 25 kilometers from center Caracas by a roadway across the coastal highlands. A new road bridge, which replaced one that collapsed in 2006, opened in July 2007, putting an end to months of agonizing travels to and from the airport. The travel to Caracas should now take roughly 40 minutes, with the possibility of taking up to 60-70 minutes during rush hour.

American Airlines, Aeropostal, Aerolneas Argentinas, Avianca, Aero Repblica, Air Europa, Alitalia, Air France, Air Canada, United, Delta, Caribbean Airlines, Copa Airlines, Iberia, LAN, and Lufthansa are among the airlines that fly into this international airport. There are nonstop flights from and to Miami, New York, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Havana, Curaçao, Madrid, Damascus, Guayaquil, Buenos Aires, and Oporto. Santiago, Paris, Rome, Funchal, Milano, Frankfurt, Lisbon, Aruba, Bogota, Medelln, Cartagena de Indias, Port of Spain, Rio de Janeiro, Panamá City, Lima, So Paulo, Fort de France, Toronto, and more cities

Taxi rates are always rising owing to excessive inflation. Taxis to Caracas cost normally BsF 350 (US $55 at the official rate, roughly US $13 at the “tourist” rate) as of May 2013, although there are numerous unlicensed taxis advertising their services, so passengers should take caution. It is especially recommended to settle on a fee before getting into the taxi, without sharing with anybody other than the driver, and to take the airport’s official black Ford Explorer taxis. Check with your hotel to see whether they provide airport pickup; it may need to be scheduled ahead of time. TaxiToCaracas is a new taxi service that you may order online.

There are ATMs, currency exchange houses (at the official rate), and unauthorized brokers prepared to provide BsFs at a better rate in and near the airport (but not the best rate that you can find on internet sites).

Get In - By Bus

A cab from the bus station to the city center will cost roughly BsF 200.

The cost of a bus from the airport to Caracas is between BsF 50 and BsF 100. Passengers can disembark at the Gato Negro metro station (which is fairly dangerous at street level) or beneath a bridge at the Parque Central bus terminal, from whence you can take a cab to your final destination or walk about 1 km along a busy road to the Bellas Artes metro station.

There is also a new BsF 40 government-run bus service to the Alba Hotel in Bellas Artes. Alba does not need passengers to be guests. More information is accessible at the two tourism board offices in Maiqueta airport’s international terminal.

Caracas’ La Bandera bus station connects the capital with towns and cities to the west of the city, including La Victoria (1 hour), Maracay (1.5 hours), Valencia (2.5 hours), and Mérida (12 hours). After dusk, the 800m walk from La Bandera metro station to the bus terminal is dangerous, and visitors should use caution at all times. The Terminal del Oriente serves the country’s eastern region. Be cautious of minor “independent” bus services promoted by “voceros” at both terminals. Despite having more flexible departure hours, the buses can be tiny and unpleasant, with speakers blasting loud music even at night.

There are also private airlines that provide a higher level of comfort. They are also slightly more expensive. Aeroexpresos Ejecutivos, Expresos Alianza, and Expresos del Oriente are the most well-known, and they operate from their own private terminals, which is something to consider if you intend on transferring to a place they don’t serve.

Get In - By Car

Beautiful roadways link Caracas to the north with La Guaira and the airport; the west with Maracay, Valencia, and Maracaibo; and the east with Barcelona and Puerto La Cruz.

While driving in Caracas might be stressful, hiring a car to explore the surrounding countryside is a great opportunity to get away from the well-traveled highways.

Car rental is available in the following locations:

  • Hertz Car RentalMaiquetia International Airport,  +58 212 355-1197.Mon-Fri 5AM-11:30PM, Sat-Sun 6PM-11:30PMHertz Car Rental is available at the international and the domestic terminals, as well as several locations in the city
  • Budget Car RentalBudget Rent-A-Car Building, Avenida Nueva Granada,  +58 212 603-1360Mon-Fri 8AM-12PM and 1:30PM-6PM

How To Get Around In Caracas

Taxis are easily hailable on the street and are typically (though not always) safe. Because there are no meters, costs should be agreed upon before entering. According to some accounts, the situation has improved and fixed tariffs have been set. Caracas traffic is famously awful, so taking the metro is a preferable alternative if your location is close to a station. Legal taxis have yellow license plates, and while some private automobiles with white license plates are taxis as well, it is typically safer to take a licensed cab.

When you ask how much a journey will cost in Venezuela, taxi drivers may estimate you nearly double the actual amount. In this instance, bargaining is quite permissible. Simply answer with a more fair amount that you are ready to pay, and you will almost certainly be able to meet in the middle. If the taxi driver continues to charge an exorbitant fare, simply walk away and try again.

The Caracas metro is clean, contemporary, secure, and relatively affordable. A single journey costs only BsF 4, a “ida y vuelta” (round trip) ticket costs BsF 8, and a 10-journey “multi abono” ticket costs BsF 36. The metro is typically congested, particularly during peak hours, because costs have changed little in recent years and bus rates have surpassed inflation.

The metro system is supplemented by a network of metrobuses that depart from specific metro stations and travel set routes to regions of the city not served by the subway. Metrobuses, like the subway, are inexpensive and clean, but customers complain about bus shortages. Most services operate every 20 minutes or so. The buses have set stops and will not pick up passengers from other locations.

The omnipresent minibuses, or por puestos, operate along several major highways in Caracas, frequently ending up in remote residential communities not reachable by metro. They may be hailed down anywhere, and you can normally ask the driver to let you off once he comes to a complete stop, such as at a red signal. Although useful at times (for example, to get from Altamira metro station to Sabas Nieves entrance to El Avila), buses are more expensive than the metro (BsF 10.0 for a single journey), slower, less safe, and always in poor shape.

Districts & Neighbourhoods In Caracas

Caracas Divisions

Center – Eastern

Prices in Caracas


Milk 1 liter $1.00
Tomatoes 1 kg $1.55
Cheese 0.5 kg $4.50
Apples 1 kg $
Oranges 1 kg $1.10
Beer (domestic) 0.5 l $1.00
Bottle of Wine 1 bottle $6.50
Coca-Cola 2 liters $
Bread 1 piece $1.00
Water 1.5 l $0.95


Dinner (Low-range) for 2 $15.00
Dinner (Mid-range) for 2 $36.00
Dinner (High-range) for 2 $70.00
Mac Meal or similar 1 meal $6.00
Water 0.33 l $0.50
Cappuccino 1 cup $1.25
Beer (Imported) 0.33 l $2.70
Beer (domestic) 0.5 l $1.00
Coca-Cola 0.33 l $0.92
Coctail drink 1 drink $


Cinema 2 tickets $5.50
Gym 1 month $
Men’s Haircut 1 haircut $
Theatar 2 tickets $
Mobile (prepaid) 1 min. $0.19
Pack of Marlboro 1 pack $2.50


Jeans (Levis 501 or similar) 1 pair $83.00
Dress summer (Zara, H&M….) 1 pair $52.00
Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas…) 1 pair $125.00
Leather shoes 1 pair $120.00

Sights & Landmarks in Caracas

Caracas offers more than enough sites and activities to keep you busy for three or four days, despite the fact that it is sometimes disregarded by international visitors.

  • La Plaza Bolivar – La Plaza Bolivar is located in the city center, near the Metro Capitolio. It features Simon Bolivar sculptures and is adjacent to Congress and other government buildings. It also has some lovely examples of colonial architecture.
  • Simón Bolívar Birthplace House (La Casa Natal de Simon Bolivar) (Near Capitolio Metro Station), +58 212-5412563. Bolivar’s birthplace is also located downtown. One of the few well-preserved colonial buildings in the city, complete with magnificent paintings and a museum. The Museo Bolivariano, located next door, houses some of Bolivar’s combat treasures.
  • Museo de Arte ColonialLocated in the Quinta Anauco on Av Panteon in San Bernardino. This is a charming old house and garden that occasionally accommodates small concerts.
  • Universidad Central de Venezuela. In 2000, UNESCO listed this huge university campus as a World Heritage Site. The Ciudad Universitaria campus, designed by Venezuela’s most famous architect, Carlos Raul Villanueva, is a huge structure regarded a masterpiece of 1950s and 1960s architecture merged with art. A stroll through the gardens, keeping an eye out for pieces of modern art by painters such as Fernand Leger. Ciudad Universitaria Metro.
  • Jardin Botanico – Jardin Botanico, located near Central University, is a well-kept garden with a diverse collection of tropical plants and trees. Plaza Venezuela or Metro Ciudad Universitaria.
  • Parque del Este (located near the Miranda, formerly “Parque del Este”, metro stop). This sprawling park contains several unexpected attractions, such as a planetarium, a tiny zoo, and a café that is periodically open to give you a cafe con leche while you watch the turtles in a pond.
  • Centro de Arte La EstanciaAvenida Francisco de Miranda,,  +58 212 507 88159:30a-4p Tu-F, 10a-4p Sa-Su. An art gallery nestled in the midst of beautiful, manicured gardens. There are rotating displays by various artists.

Things to do in Caracas

  • The Avila mountain, located to the north of Caracas, is highly recommended for trekking, panoramic views of the city, and fresh air. The most popular entry is Sabas Nieves, which is accessible via bus from Altamira.
  • The Teleferico is a cable vehicle that transports passengers up the Avila Mountain. The elevation offers a stunning perspective of the city. On a clear day, the peak (height roughly 2600 m) offers views of Caracas to the south and the ocean (Caribbean Sea) to the north. A round-trip ticket to the teleferico will cost BsF 45 (about US $5.81). Students, elderly, and children are eligible for reduced rates (BsF 25). Take the journey up to Avila as early as possible, before the afternoon haze obscures your view from the summit. There are a few restaurants, several food booths, and various kid-friendly attractions. A little skating rink, several small coasters, and jungle gyms are among them. A well-known fondue restaurant is also located at the summit. Some hiking routes branch off from the teleferico station, but they are poorly signed and are difficult to identify without a map.
  • The MetroCable station is near to Parque Central. It is located in the Metro station Parque Central. It’s free and offers a great perspective of the city, although the surrounding neighborhood is often regarded as hazardous by residents.
  • Paragliding Colonia Tovar VenezuelaColonia Tovar (the road between La Victoria and Colonia Tovar), +58 416760037410AM-5PM

Food & Restaurants In Caracas

Las Mercedes

  • El Granjero del EsteAv. Río de Janeiro,  +58 212 991 6619Open lateOne of the better of the dozens of “areperas” dotted around town. Specializes in arepas, a savory corn-flour bread that doubles as Venezuela’s traditional staple food. Pick from a dozen types of filling (including the classic Reina Pepiada – chicken, avocado, spring onions and mayo.) Or try a cachapa (a sweet corn pancake with a choice of toppings) or a nice steak with yuca. Wash it all down with beer, or with freshly made tropical juice. To do it the traditional way, go at 3AM, after a night out dancing. Cheap.
  • Maute GrillAv. Rio de Janeiroopen lateA very nice place, often crowded but rightfully so, the food and wine are outstanding. . Expensive.
  • MalabarCalle Orinoco,  +58 212 991-3131Expensive but very good cuisine, mostly French, with a relaxed but trendy atmosphere.
  • AranjuezCalle Madrid, Qunita Anacoa,  +58 212 993-1326One of the older steak houses in Caracas, with top quality Argentine and Venezuelan cuts of beef.
  • Cafe OleCalle California at Calle Jalisco+58 212 993-9059This open air candlelight cafe is a popular haunt for after dinner cafe and some excellent desserts.
  • Mamma MiaAvenida Principal,  +58 212 993-7230A perennially popular though noisy restaurant with a good selection of Italian dishes.
  • CarnivinoAvenida PrincipalIt is good if you want to savor good meat and chicken

La Castellana

  • Avila TeiAvenida San Felipe, Centro Coinasa,  +58 212 263-1520Excellent, if costly, Japanese restaurant.
  • Chez WangPlaza La Castellana (facing the roundabout),  +58 212 266-5015Very good Chinese restaurant.
  • Chili’sCalle Jose A Lamas, Torre La Castellana,  +58 212 267-9146A branch of the American Tex-Mex chain.
  • La EstanciaAvenida Principal La Castellana,  +58 212 261-1874A famous beef/meat restaurant with traditional Spanish decor.
  • La RomaninaAv Avila (between Calle Miranda and Av Mohedano, just west of Plaza La Castellana),  +58 212 266-8819A simple setting but very good thin crust pizzas.
  • New SpizzicoAv Principal La Castellana (one block north of the Plaza),  +58 212 267-8820Very pleasant Mediterranean style decor with a lovely outdoor terrace. Good mostly Italian food but not with very generous portions.
  • El Budare de la CastellanaAvenida Principal de La Castellana, con 1ra Transversal.,  +58 212 263-2696Traditional Venezuelan Restaurant. Moderately priced and open 24 hours. About one block north and west of Plaza Altamira.


  • Cafe-Trattoria Mediterraneo1ra Avenida Los Palos Grandes, Edificio Oriental+58 212 283-3680Great retro decor, and a minimal but excellent menu. Recommended.
  • Rey David4ª Transversal de Los Palos Grandes, entre Av. Alfredo Jahn y Av. Andrés Bello.,  +58 212 284 45 32Excellent menu. Great delicacies and desserts. Highly recommended.

La Candelaria

  • Bar BasqueAlcabala a Peligro, La Candelaria,  +58 212 572 4857Caracas has a large Basque immigrant community and many excellent Basque restaurants. Bar Basque is the pick of the litter. Run by the same family for half a century, it’s a legendary hangout for the politically connected. As in all Basque restaurants, the menu focuses on seafood. Superlative food. Expensive. Only a few tables, reservations required.

Shopping In Caracas

Most ATMs will ask for the last two digits of your local ID; provide 00 when prompted to make a withdrawal with a foreign card feasible. CitiBank ATMs do not request this information. CitiBank has a branch at Sabana Grande’s El Recreo retail complex on Avenida Casanova.

  • Centro Comercial SambilOne of South America’s largest shopping malls, with two movie theaters, dozens of restaurants and probably hundreds of shops. Popular destination for shopping and hanging out. Metro Chacao.
  • AltamiraAn exclusive neighborhood and shopping district in the eastern part of the city. Can be accessed easily by metro.
  • Centro Comercial San IgnacioMany boutique stores here, as well as lots of good bars and restaurants. A hub of Caracas nightlife.
  • Centro Comercial El RecreoAnother large mall, located next door to the Gran Meliá Hotel. Metro Sabana Grande.
  • Centro Comercial Millenium MallAv. Romulo Gallegos. Los Dos Caminos.Another great mall with an amazing infrastructure, located next to the metro station Los Dos Caminos, have a great shopping stores, cinema and fast food restaurants.
  • Centro Ciudad Comercial Tamanaco (CCCT)An old but popular complex of shops, offices, restaurants and a couple of nightclubs. Take a Metrobus from the Altamira metro station.
  • Centro Comercial El TolónAn upmarket mall in the Las Mercedes neighborhood. 15 minutes walking from Chacaito metro.
  • Centro Comercial Paseo Las MercedesA bit old fashioned but a good art house cinema and Oscar D’Leon’s Mazukamba nightclub is here.


Venezuela’s government imposed foreign currency restrictions in 2003, with a set official exchange rate of BsF10 Bolivar Fuertes to US$1 dollar. Foreign exchange transactions must be conducted at the official rate through exchange houses or commercial banks. Unfortunately, hotels no longer accept currency exchange. Currency exchange for travelers is available at “casas de cambio,” which are located near the majority of large hotels. Tourists can also convert money in commercial banks; however, they should be advised that the trade will be delayed. Commercial bank exchanges must first be authorised by the Commission for the Administration of Foreign Currencies (CADIVI). This necessitates a registration process, which adds time to the trade. The exchange control mechanisms also require exchange houses and commercial banks to get CADIVI authorisation before trading Bolvares Fuertes (BsF, the local currency) into US dollars or Euros.

Travelers are likely to meet Venezuelans eager to swap Bolvares Fuertes for US dollars or Euros at a rate much higher than the official rate. The Venezuelan foreign exchange restrictions ban these “parallel market” currency trades. Travelers who engage in such conduct may be arrested by Venezuelan authorities if caught. Furthermore, under an October 2005 rule, anybody who swaps more than US$10,000 (or its equivalent in other currencies) in a year through unauthorised channels faces a punishment of double the amount exchanged. If the sum surpasses US$20,000, the punishment ranges from two to six years in jail. Anyone transporting more over $10,000 USD into or out of Venezuela must disclose the amount to customs officers.

There are three exchange rates on the “Parallel Market”: tourist, black market (a little higher but unsafe and shady), and bonds brokerage (high amounts in government bonds, when on sale). The highest, which appears as a reference on certain online pages, is the government dollar bond rate, which is unreachable unless you buy thousands of dollars in government bonds through a Venezuelan brokerage business. This is the one that determines the black market and tourist rates. Once you’ve changed, you can’t go back to euros or dollars. Rates fluctuate around Venezuela and from week to week. The tourist rate is seldom variable over time. The tourist rate ranges from BsF172 to US$100. (as of February 2015). It should be noted that these rates are many times higher than the official rate.

Most places accept credit cards, however foreign exchange limitations have made foreign credit card use less widespread than in the past, owing mostly to the disadvantageous official exchange rate. Venezuela has agents for Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Diners Club. Due to the frequency of credit card fraud, travelers should use their credit cards with caution and check their accounts on a frequent basis to ensure that no unauthorized purchases have been made. Caracas offers ATMs that are open 24 hours a day and allow customers to withdraw local money; however, many of these ATMs may not accept foreign-issued debit cards.

Nightlife In Caracas

  • El León. On the corner of La Castellana roundabout, this Caracas stalwart benefits from one of the best open air terraces in Caracas. Plastic tables and chairs are simple and the service is slow, but the beers are cheap and the atmosphere is good. This is a favorite hangout for Caracas’ college crowd.
  • Whisky Bar. Located in the “Centro Comercial San Ignacio” (Shopping Center), it has a similar layout to a typical East Coast lounge in the United States. This place is a popular hang-out for uppity Venezuelans. If you feel comfortable around posh and preppy crowds and you have certain buying power and trendy casual wear, this is a great place to enjoy people-watching while listening to great rock-alternative music.
  • El Maní Es Así. Located in a side street behind Sabana Grande, this remains Caracas’ best-renowned salsa club where lower middle-class locals and tourists like to show off their moves, accompanied by live bands, till the early hours. To get a table, you’ll probably have to pay ‘servicio’, i.e. agree to buy a bottle of rum or whisky. Sadly, the area around the club is not safe after dark and visitors should arrange taxis to avoid walking in the area.

Stay Safe & Healthy In Caracas

Violent crime is a big issue in Caracas, and it has been gradually worsening in recent years: Caracas is currently considered the world’s most dangerous city, with 7,676 murders in 2009. If you are robbed, simply hand over what is requested. As a result, carrying a “decoy” wallet containing little money (about $50) is recommended. Most robbers own firearms and will use them regardless of the repercussions (there is a sense of immunity due to poor policing).

Stick to tourist areas and dress like a regular Venezuelan (jeans and a short-sleeved shirt) without any expensive-looking jewelry. Avoid the barrios (poor neighborhoods/shantytowns). They are largely constructed into the hills of Caracas’ west side, comparable to Brazilian favelas. These are exceedingly hazardous districts, yet they are remote from the main tourist sites.

Kidnapping is a big issue for upper-class Venezuelans, but it is unlikely to be an issue for visitors. Petty thievery is an issue in this country, as it is in many others. When traveling, ask hotel management to keep your valuables and wear a money belt for your passport and additional cash.

The police, notably those at the international airport, are notoriously corrupt. The Lonely Planet guidebook says: “Stay away from the blue-clad cops. The only’safe’ cops are the Chacao cops in tan yellow uniforms “. Venezuelans, on the other hand, are generally kind and helpful.



South America


North America

Read Next


Grand-Bassam is a town in the Ivory Coast’s south-eastern region, east of Abidjan. It served as the French colonial capital from 1893 until 1896,...

Santa Ana

Santa Ana, El Salvador’s second biggest city, lies 64 kilometers northwest of San Salvador, the country’s capital. Santa Ana has a population of over...


Stuttgart is the capital and biggest city of Baden-Württemberg, a state in southwest Germany. Stuttgart, Germany’s sixth largest city, with a population of 600,068...

Port Moresby

Port Moresby, commonly known as Moresby and Pom Town, is Papua New Guinea’s capital and biggest metropolis (PNG). It is situated on the beaches of...


Columbus is the capital and biggest city of Ohio, a state in the United States of America. With a population of 850,106, it is...


Montpellier is a southern French city. It is the departmental capital of Hérault. Montpellier is France’s eighth biggest city and the country’s fastest growing...