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Most rainfall occurs during the period from May to November and can be accompanied by electrical storms. A complicated foreign exchange control system creates famous headaches for foreign travellers. For some time now, these financial operations have been restricted in hotels. Which requires a registration process that delays the process a bit. Prices can change quickly.
Most things are cheap abroad, but not all. If you have a trusted local contact, your best bet is to buy currency discreetly from him or her at the parallel rate. Most airport employees that approach you discreetly looking to sell at the parallel rate are also reliable. Most locals will advise you not to even consider coming to visit unless you have a friend in the area who can help you to navigate the complicated currency situation and move around safely as well.
If you decide to go the Official-rate route, remember that foreign exchange transactions must take place through exchange houses or via credit cards. Currency exchange for tourists can be arranged at "casas de cambio" exchange houses , located near most major hotels. It is technically also possible to exchange money at commercial banks; however, the extensive and painfully slow paperwork required makes this an unrealistic option for tourists.
It is now possible to exchange money at hotels. Due to the prevalence of credit card fraud, travelers should exercise caution in using their credit cards and should check statements regularly to ensure that no unauthorized charges have been made. Caracas has ATMs with hour service where users may withdraw local currency, but many of these ATMs may not accept foreign-issued debit cards.
Travelers should check DolarToday website.
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A new road bridge, replacing one that collapsed in , came into service in July , ending months of tortuous journeys to and from the airport. The trip to Caracas should now take around 40 minutes or up to minutes during rush hour. In July , Avianca and Delta announced they will suspend all service to Venezuela on August 16, and September 17, respectively. You will first need to buy your ticket in the form of a rechargeable card at a kiosk inside the airport or you can ask other passengers to use their card to pay for you and you can pay them cash.
The bus takes around 30 minutes and goes directly to Hotel Alba previously the Hilton Hotel which is within walking distance to the Bella Artes metro station. However, it is recommended to arrange a taxi. Please be aware that there is an exit fee that must be paid in cash as the office in charge of collection does not accept credit cards. It is advisable to be at the airport hours early and not the normal 2 hours because of arbitrary security checks.
While driving in Caracas can be a hectic experience, renting a car to experience the outlying areas is a wonderful way to leave behind the well-traveled routes. Passengers have the option of alighting either at Gato Negro metro station somewhat unsafe at street level or under a bridge at the Parque Central bus terminal, from where you'll need to get a taxi to your final destination or walk about 1 km along a busy road to the Bellas Artes metro station. Passengers do not need to be guests at Alba.
The La Bandera bus terminal connects Caracas with towns and cities to the west of the capital such as La Victoria 1 hour , Maracay 1. The m walk from La Bandera metro station to the bus terminal is unsafe after dark and travelers should exercise caution at all times.
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For the eastern part of the country there's the Terminal del Oriente. Beware of the small "independent" bus services which are announced by "voceros" on both terminals. Although they have more flexible departure times, the buses can be small and uncomfortable, with speakers that blast loud music even at night. There are also private carriers that offer more comfort. They also cost a little more. As of late , there's a shortage of buses for many of the longer routes thus you will see people queuing at the bus terminals private and public at 5am or earlier.
Most bus companies only sell tickets for trips on the same day with the exception of a few eg Aeroexpreso Ejecutivo, Flamingo, Rodovias. Even then you may need to join the early morning queue for your trips a few days ahead. Taxis can be easily hailed in the street and are generally but not always safe. They have no meters so prices should be agreed on before getting in. Some reports indicate that the situation has improved and there are fixed rates posted.
Caracas traffic is notoriously bad and the metro is a better option if your destination is conveniently located near a station. Another reliable option is Easytaxi, which is an App where you can order a taxi to pick you up. Venezuelan taxi cab drivers may quote you about double the actual price when you ask how much a ride will be. Bargaining is totally acceptable in this case. If the taxi driver continues to quote an outrageous price, simply walk away and try another. The Caracas metro is modern, comparatively safe and extremely cheap.
The service is heavily subsidized nowadays. Buying the Multi Abono will save you time from queing up each time you use the Metro. Because prices have changed little in recent years and bus fares have outpaced inflation, the metro is frequently overcrowded, particularly during peak hours.
The metro system is backed up by a network of metrobuses that depart from certain metro stations and take fixed routes to areas of the city not reached by the underground. Like the metro, metrobuses are cheap and clean, but passengers complain of bus shortages. Most services run only about every 20 minutes. The buses have fixed stops and will not pick up passengers elsewhere.
The Metro also connects people from the barrios via the Metro Cable, which are cable cars that goes above the barrios. There are 2 lines in operation as of Nov and may be a good way to see a different side of Caracas in safety from above. The Metro is also connected to the less frequently used Cabletren driverless and automated is of less used for tourist since it skirts along the edges of Petare. The ubiquitous minibuses, or por puestos , run along many main roads in Caracas, often ending up in obscure residential neighborhoods that are not accessible by metro.
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They can be flagged down anywhere and you can generally ask the driver to let you jump off whenever he stops, such as traffic lights. Although sometimes useful for reaching the Sabas Nieves entrance to El Avila from the Altamira metro station the buses are more expensive than the metro BsF April , slower, less safe, and are invariably in a very bad condition.
It is advisable not to use your smartphones inside buses. Bus robberies are common in Caracas. If you see passengers suddenly disembarking when some young men enter the bus, it is best to alight and wait for another bus. Caracas has more than enough sights and attractions to fill three or four days although it is often overlooked by international travelers. Most ATMs will ask you the last two numbers of a local ID, type 00 when it asks this to make withdrawal with a foreign card possible. CitiBank' s ATMs don't ask this information. Prices increase rapidly, so it is advisable to keep up to date.
For the foodies, a good resource for restaurants and reviews is Degusta Venezuela [www. Be extremely mindful that, despite a large list, most have little to no food or menu to offer as a result of the ongoing crisis as a result of food shortages. Caracas has many hotels, but lacks youth hostels found in other South American countries. Some years ago, backpackers used to find that Caracas was not a cheap destination because there were not rooms available in the USD typical hostel range.
However, the situation has changed because of the economic crisis in Venezuela. If you stay farther east, it is advisable to always arrange a taxi, however. Many hotels in the Sabana Grande area will offer rooms on an hourly basis euphemistically known as love hotels which are primarily for unmarried Venezuelan couples. Most of the prices of these list are not updated. Nowadays, it may be way cheaper to stay in Caracas because of the inflation in the country.
You will find it out when making a reservation. Most hotels are in Sabana Grande, which is the geographic center of the city or midtown. The true downtown or historic city center, is known as "el centro" around Capitolio and Teatros Metro Station , which is, in general, not a good place to stay. Hotel Waldorf is a new luxury hotel in La Candelaria neighborhood. Motorcycle-riding thieves are not common near the boulevard of Sabana Grande, but they can be found near Avenida Libertador. Motorcycle-riding thieves are common in most of the residential areas of Caracas.
Another great option to stay is "Centro Residencial Solano", which rents 85 flats in this famous residential complex, divided into three categories: family, business and exclusive VIP.
The VIP apartments have the most extravagant luxuries of the entire city of Caracas. Now you can buy a pair of Levi's in the boulevard of Sabana Grande. The majority of budget hotels you find in Centro and Sabana Grande area are "mataderos" or love motels. Anyway, the Sabana Grande Boulevard sports high-shining lamp posts and police officers along the way. However, crooked cops are also known to sometimes harass hippie-looking travelers during the day, searching for drugs .
Sabana Grande is a pleasantly walkable promenade, fantastic for people-watching and casual shopping. As for the large shopping malls around Sabana Grande, they are absolutely safe, especially one known as El Recreo. All this makes Sabana Grande one of the best place to stay for many. However, the best and most exclusive neighborhoods of the city are El Rosal and Las Mercedes.
Sabana Grande is great for those who love to walk, but Las Mercedes hosts the best and most exclusive nightclubs of Caracas. Another option is to stay in a nearby town or city and bus in in the morning, and get the bus out before nightfall. It will be cheaper and safer than staying in Caracas. Owing to the recent acts of political violence between government supporters and anti-government protesters, the security situation in Venezuela is dire.
With the lack of effective law enforcement and criminal justice system, crime is also widespread, and often goes unpunished. Caracas' major safety problems are the drugged, homeless people that are found all around the city and muggers with knives. The following advice, most of which is common sense, should make your stay more enjoyable and minimise the risk of trouble:. Violent crime in Caracas is a major problem, and it has been getting steadily worse during the recent years: Caracas is now by some counts the world's most dangerous city , with However, Prodavinci portal of intellectuals of the Venezuelan opposition do not trust at all these figures.
In reality, no one really knows the truth because those figures are unofficial. The production of data without definition of procedures, standardized classification systems and duly trained officials for its application does not guarantee data that is accurate, unbiased, interpretable and coherent. The academies of Venezuelan universities do not completely trust these figures. Nobody really has the data. These counts have been made based on unofficial information from the media and protected police sources. For this reason, they are not really reliable at all.
Caracas has been listed as one of the most dangerous cities in the world, but the most worrying thing is that there is a lot of unofficial information and little cooperation between private NGOs and the authorities. Statistics have been altered by the Venezuelan Observatory of Violence, as Kronick pointed out. The most curious thing, that is, the criticisms were also received by the Venezuelan opposition itself. Kronick has also published his own statistics in Caracas Chronicles, which are less scandalous than those of the Venezuelan Observatory of Violence.
Even so, the rates of violence in Caracas remain high. Take into account that what you read in the press could be exaggerated and that has been demonstrated academically. The OVV acknowledged that it counted part of the violent deaths twice a year, creating the false impression that there was an increase in violence in that year, which it produced artificially high estimates for and To correct this error, they subtracted another distorted B cases of resistance to authority. After making this change, the OVV produced a revised estimate of 81 violent deaths per , inhabitants in balance between its original estimate of 90 and Kronick's estimate of However, that percentage is not stable, so the final death toll after all was inflated and altered.
The Venezuelan Observatory of Violence did not answer why they did so and did not justify its actions.
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However, they did admit that there were calculation errors. Stick to the tourist areas and dress like the average Venezuelans jeans and short-sleeved shirt and do not wear any expensive looking jewelry, though this may not always work as you can still be a target to potential muggers and other types of criminals at anytime. Other options at the top include ice skating and outdoor concerts. Try some arepas.
The campus of the Universidad Central de Venezuela UCV is known for its vast collection of noteworthy art, along with hidden gems like the Aula Magna —the university auditorium where Alexander Calder-designed disks hang from the ceiling. Get an adrenaline rush on a mototaxi.
Be warned: the ride is not for the faint of heart. Catch a home run. The Leones del Caracas hold the most championship titles 16 ; and they, along with the Tiburones de La Guaira, play their games at the Estadio Universitario. Combine art and mass transit. Enjoy a sneak peak at the Amazon. Spend the afternoon picnicking under Amazonian palm trees while still in the city. Finish the day with a drink.