Aragua is a state in north central Venezuela. It is famous for its fertile valleys and beautiful beaches, and is within easy reach of Caracas
The fertile valleys of Aragua, Venezuela
- La Colonia Tovar - a fascinating town hidden in the mountains outside Caracas, still populated by descendents of a colony of German settlers who built the town from scratch in the 19th century. Today, the town is a popular weekend escape for Caraqueños who enjoy its cool climate, restaurants serving traditional German food and locally brewed beer. Locally grown produce such as strawberries and raspberries are also sold.
- Choroní - probably Venezuela's most popular beach destination for foreign travellers with a great after dark atmosphere, plenty of restaurants and posadas.
- Cata - together with neighbouring Catica, this is another good Aragua beach resort in a beautiful bay, albeit somewhat spoiled by the construction of two tall apartment buildings just behind the beach.
- Henri Pittier National Park - Venezuela's first national park, covering the mountains that separate Maracay from the coast. Cloudforest and plenty of wildlife.
Buses from the Caracas La Bandera bus terminal go to Maracay (1.5 hours) and La Victoria (1 hour). Change at Maracay for buses to Choroni (2 hours).
A railway linking Aragua with Caracas is currently under construction but all travel at present is by road. A fast highway runs the length of the state.
- Santa Teresa Rum - this excellent family owned rum plantation is open to the public at weekends, with tours and a tasting session. It is the home of arguably Venezuela's best rum, the "1796" brand, which is carefully aged in oak barrels. It is located in the village of El Consejo, close to La Victoria. 
- Rancho Grande Biological Station - this ecological research post is run by Venezuela's prestigious Central University, hidden in the Henri Pittier National Park. From Maracay, take the road to Ocumare-Limon and the station is about 45 minutes outside the city, on the right hand side just after the Rancho Grande Restaurant (which only usually opens at weekends). Buses to Ocumare leave from Maracay's bus terminal, and ask the driver to drop you off at Rancho Grande. Visitors are welcome, day entrance is Bs. 5,000 for non-Venezuelans, or Bs.10,000 for an overnight stop (no food is provided, though kitchens are available). Tel: 0243 5507085. 
Hanggliding is offered close to La Colonia Tovar, on the road down towards La Victoria.
The Hacienda Santa Teresa's Zafra restaurant, in El Consejo, is open weekends until sundown, offering interesting variations of traditional Venezuelan dishes with a rum theme, as well as international dishes.
- Hotel El Recreo. Av Intercomunal, La Victoria, Tel: 0244 3210244. A converted colonial era farm, this pleasant hotel is a lovely retreat with a good terrace restaurant and swimming pool. Certainly the best option in La Victoria.