||WARNING: The US State Department advises to reconsider travel to Venezuela due to crime, civil unrest, poor health infrastructure, and arbitrary arrest and detention of U.S. citizens. Some areas have increased risk. Do not travel to certain neighborhoods of Caracas due to crime. The tourists areas are considered today relatively safe for tourists, however. Read the newest Travel Advisory here (January 10, 2018) Venezuela Travel Advisory
A view of Caracas valley from El Avila National Park.
Caracas is the capital and largest city of Venezuela. It is located in northern Venezuela, near the Caribbean.
La Candelaria, the center of Caracas
Venezuela’s urban spirit can be discovered mainly from understanding Caracas, its capital city. Caracas is a busy metropolis located in a beautiful valley, famous for its delicious food, its cultural diversity, and perfect climate, thanks to the unique combination of a high elevation and proximity to the Caribbean Sea. Caracas is a fascinating city to explore, replete with excellent art, food and a bustling nightlife. The city grew slowly until the 1940s. In Caracas, the tallest skyscrapers are: Parque Central Towers, Banco Mercantil Building, BBVA Provincial Tower and The Twin Towers of El Recreo Shopping Mall in Sabana Grande district. Unfortunately, Business Center Confinanzas was not completed. If so, it would be the second tallest skyscraper of the city. Most of the tallest buildings in Caracas are located in La Candelaria and El Conde/Parque Central.
Architecture in El Rosal District
Caracas is a cosmopolitan city, congested and noisy. The restaurants in Caracas are still excellent and have a lot to offer (BUT, owing to an ongoing crisis, this has changed and food is seriously scarce). It is advisable to wear light clothing, comfortable shoes and clothing or jewelry of little value. Also tourists who do not know the language, it is recommended to take a dictionary with Spanish translation to make it easier for them to stay in the country. The people of Caracas are usually quite hospitable and friendly. Caracas is a city of contrasts. El Rosal and Las Mercedes are the most exclusive districts of the city at present. The boulevard of Sabana Grande is the main commercial corridor of the city and is visited by more than 500 thousand people every day. Plaza Bolívar, Plaza El Venezolano and Plaza Diego Ibarra are the most emblematic of the historic center. Plaza Altamira is the icon of the East of the city and has been the center of opposition protests for almost two decades. Caracas is not one of the top touristic destinations of Venezuela, and travelers often bypass the capital city in order to see the country’s amazing natural attractions. However, the Venezuelan capital can be a fascinating city to explore, replete with excellent art, food and a bustling nightlife.
Caracas is a modern, dynamic and diverse city where multiple realities converge at the same time. The architectural, cultural and socioeconomic identity of Caracas has been fragmentation and is the key to understanding Venezuela. Until the beginning of the 20th century, Caracas was a small city that reached La Candelaria. Later, the towns of Sabana Grande, Chacao, Las Mercedes and Petare would grow rapidly and be urbanized. Most of the architectural heritage of Caracas was built in the twentieth century. The Towers of Parque Central Complex, even though they no longer hold the title of the tallest skyscrapers in Latin America, remain the tallest twin towers in the region. Sabana Grande was the favorite place of Juan Domingo Perón during his golden exile in Venezuela, when he lived in the El Rosal and El Bosque neighborhoods.
Caracas is located in a beautiful valley, overlooked by Mount Avila, an impressive mountain that separates the city from the Caribbean Sea and shapes most of the city’s landscape. It is a popular weekend destination for the city’s residents (known as Caraqueños) and is easily reached by taking a very modern cable car that goes all the way from the mountain base to the newly nationalized Waraira Repano park, which is situated at the top of the mountain. In Caracas the staggering inequalities of wealth that characterize Venezuela’s economic situation are on display. They range from very poor neighborhoods in the hills west of the city called “barrios”, to the modern business district of El Rosal, or even the huge mansions of the rich eastern neighborhoods.
The middle class is mainly concentrated in the east of the city (El Recreo de Libertador, Chacao, Baruta, Sucre and El Hatillo), but San Bernardino, La Candelaria, San Pedro and El Paraiso are also important centers of the middle class. The historic center of the city is Plaza Bolívar, the grid has been modified though. The most luxurious urbanization, Caracas Country Club, is located between Parroquia El Recreo of the Libertador Municipality and the Chacao Municipality of the Miranda State. Valle Arriba Country Club and La Lagunita Country Club are as luxurious as Caracas Country Club, however. The Embassy of the United States of America is located in Valle Arriba Country Club, which has one of the most spectacular views of the city at its Mirador Valle Arriba. The geographical center of the Metropolitan District of Caracas has been set at Sabana Grande, considered the Eastern Gate of Caracas. The district of Sabana Grande is the one with the best coverage by the Caracas Metro, but the center of Caracas, Chacao, El Rosal, El Bosque and Altamira are also easily accessible. Most of the embassies are located in the Chacao and Baruta municipalities. However, some have a limited presence in El Recreo. The most important business center nowadays is El Rosal.
The city’s streets and highways are always crowded with vehicles, as Venezuela has the cheapest gasoline in the world (at about $0.12/gallon). Subsidized gasoline and inadequate infrastructure have helped spur pollution and big traffic lines in almost all of the inner city motorways. Caracas’ subway system, once one of the best in all Latin America, is still quick but is often crowded and prone to delays.
Visitors need to be aware that Caracas remains one of the most violent cities in the world, with large parts of the city effectively No Go Areas to outsiders. Murder tallies of as many as 40 are not uncommon on weekends, so exercising caution and common sense - especially at night - is essential to a safe visit.
Entertainment and Nightlife
Caracas is a cosmopolitan city and is admired for its gastronomy. It has restaurants and bars inspired by the cuisine of many different countries and cultures due to great waves of immigration from Europe and the Middle East after the Second World War.
The city is filled with “centros comerciales” and department stores, and the popular restaurants and clubs in the towering malls due to security concerns. In the San Ignacio Mall you’ll find the city’s young, rich and beautiful drinking whiskey and “Las Mercedes”, "El Rosal" and “La Castellana” districts are also popular late night hot spots. "Sabana Grande", "Chacao" and "El Hatillo" are important late night hot spots as well, but "El Rosal" and "Las Mercedes" are the fanciest. Sabana Grande is the bohemian district of the city.
People often party until 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning, so it’s advisable to take a cab (that you trust) when heading out.
Caracas has a tropical climate with very little variation between summer and winter temperatures. Set in a valley some 900 meters above sea level, its climate is often described as its best feature: never cold, seldom too hot. Average daily temperature in summer ranges from a minimum of 18˚C (64˚F) to a maximum of 28˚C (82˚F). Winter temperatures are only two to three degrees cooler. Most rainfall occurs during the period from May to November and can be accompanied by electrical storms.
Bolivares fuertes shown with old bolivares.
A complicated foreign exchange control system creates famous headaches for foreign travellers. Foreign exchange transactions for the bolívar (Venezuelan currency) are carried out at the exchange offices or banks, at an official rate. For some time now, these financial operations have been restricted in hotels. Currency exchange operations are authorized by the Currency Administration Commission (CENCOEX). Which requires a registration process that delays the process a bit. It is convenient to review DolarToday, DolarPro, AirTM, DolarTrue and other portals, to understand the current pricing scheme in Venezuela. 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). Note that all credit card transactions are processed at the DICOM rate. 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.
Credit cards are generally accepted at most establishments, and will be charged at the DICOM rate. 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 24-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.
Maiquetía's Simón Bolívar Airport has three passenger terminals  (Internacional, Nacional and Auxiliar) and is 25 km away from central Caracas via a highway through the coastal mountains. A new road bridge, replacing one that collapsed in 2006, came into service in July 2007, ending months of tortuous journeys to and from the airport. The trip to Caracas should now take around 40 minutes or up to 60-70 minutes during rush hour.
This international airport is served by American Airlines, Copa, Air Europa, Air France, Turkish Airlines and Iberia among others. In May 2016 Lufthansa and Latam announced the suspension of flights to/from Frankfurt, Sao Paulo and Lima. In July 2017, Avianca and Delta announced they will suspend all service to Venezuela on August 16, 2017 and September 17, 2017 respectively.
Non-stop flights are available to and from Miami, Havana, Madrid, Paris, Lisbon, Aruba, Curaçao, Port of Spain, Fort de France, Istanbul, Panamá City (3 times a day) and other cities.
The non-stop flights to Medellin, Cartagena de Indias, San Jose (Costa Rica), Guayaquil, Lima, Santiago de Chile, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, San Juan (PR), Punta Cana, Dallas, Toronto, Oporto, Funchal, Tenerife, Rome, Milano and Damascus are no longer operational.
The cheapest and arguably the safest way to the city is using the big red SITSSA buses from the government. 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. However there are ATMs, currency exchange houses (charging the official rate) and unofficial brokers willing to provide bolívares at a more advantageous rate.
It is advisable to be at the airport 3-4 hours early (and not the normal 2 hours) because of arbitrary security checks.
Nice and pretty highways connect Caracas with La Guaira and the airport to the north; Maracay, Valencia and Maracaibo in the west; Barcelona and Puerto La Cruz in the east.
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.
Car rental is available in the following locations:
- Hertz Car Rental, Maiquetia International Airport, ☎ +58 212 355-1197, . Mon-Fri 5am-11:30pm, Sat-Sun 6pm-11:30pm. Hertz Car Rental is available at the international and the domestic terminals, as well as several locations in the city
- Budget Car Rental, Budget Rent-A-Car Building, Avenida Nueva Granada, ☎ +58 212 603-1360, . Mon-Fri 8am-12pm and 1:30pm-6pm.
Casa John Boulton in Caracas, 2017
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.
There is also a new government-run bus service to the Alba Hotel in Bellas Artes, which costs BsF 8. Passengers do not need to be guests at Alba. Further information is available from the two tourist board offices in the international terminal of Maiquetía airport.
The La Bandera bus terminal connects Caracas with towns and cities to the west of the capital such as La Victoria (1 hour), Maracay (1.5 hours), Valencia (2.5 hours) and Merida (~12 hours). The 800m walk from La Bandera metro station to the bus terminal is unsafe after dark and travelers should exercise caution at all times. 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. The most well known are Aeroexpresos Ejecutivos , Expresos Occidente, Flamingo, Rodovias which operate from their own private terminals, something to consider if you plan on transferring for a destination they don’t cover. As of late 2015, 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. Licensed taxis have yellow plates and while some private cars with white plates are taxis too, it’s generally safer to take a licensed cab.
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. Simply respond with a more reasonable price that you are willing to pay, and it’s more than likely you can meet in the middle. 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. A single journey costs just BsF 4 (Nov 2015), "ida y vuelta" (round trip) is BsF 8 and a 10 journey "multi abono" ticket is BsF 36. 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 2015 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. 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 2000-6000 April 2018), 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.
Paddleboats in the Parque del Este.
Edificio Gran Sabana in Sabana Grande, home to the most important ornithological collection of Latin America
Artworks in the Central University of Venezuela.
Caracas has more than enough sights and attractions to fill three or four days although it is often overlooked by international travelers.
Museum of Fine Arts in Caracas City, 2017
- La Plaza Bolivar, Catedral, located near Metro Capitolio. Is located in the city center. It has statues of Simon Bolivar, and is close to Congress and other government buildings. It also displays nice examples of colonial architecture. Look out for black squirrels that roams around the trees in the plaza.
- Galeria de Arte Nacional Venezuela, Avenida Mexico La Candelaria (near Metro Bellas Artes). This is considered the best art museum of Caracas today. It hosts the best artworks of Arturo Michelena, Armando Reverón, Antonio Herrera Toro, Jacobo Borges, Federico Brandt, and many more. It was designed by Carlos Gómez de Llarena (the architect of Centro Comercial San Ignacio and Centro Comercial El Recreo). The museum is projected to be the biggest museum of Latin America, but it has not been finished yet.
- La Casa Natal de Simon Bolivar, Catedral, near Plaza El Venezolano. Near Metro La Hoyada. Bolivar's birthplace, also downtown. One of the few well-preserved colonial buildings with some great paintings and a museum. Next door is the Museo Bolivariano with some of Bolivar's war relics. Capitolio Metro Station.
- Boulevard of Sabana Grande, (located near the “Plaza Venezuela, Sabana Grande and Chacaito” metro stops). This is the most important shopping street in Caracas and hosts new fancy stores, such as Balu (H&M), AISHOP, Planeta Sports, Brands Shop, and many more. Sabana Grande is the main shopping thoroughfare in Caracas Venezuela, but is also home to many public artworks and nice street art. Sabana Grande is a broad, tree-shaded, pedestrians-only boulevard lined on both sides with stylish fashion boutiques and gift shops. a charming cobblestone street with countless outdoor and indoor shopping establishments as well as hotels and restaurants. Also a great spot for relaxing and people-watching; on any given day you can observe people bartering at shops, playing chess, or even dancing around dressed like Disney characters. Many of the buildings in Sabana Grande are considered architectural heritage of Caracas and they need maintenance.
- Museo de Bellas Artes de Caracas, Avenida México and Los Caobos Park. Candelaria and Los Caobos neighborhoods.. is an art museum located in the Museum Square in Los Caobos Park, Caracas. It was founded on 1917 and is one of the most important Venezuelan museums. Nowadays, it hosts several Picasso's and Botero's artworks. The neoclassical building is in a process of restoration, as it recently turned 100 years old. The museum has the most important collection of European art in Venezuela. National Art Gallery and Museum of Fine Arts are the best museums of Caracas today.
- Panteon Nacional, at the end of Avenida Panteón, Altagracia. A modern building fused with an old church. Houses the remains of Simon Bolivar and other national heroes. There's a change of guards every 2 hours.
- Museo Casa John Boulton, at the end of Avenida Panteón, Altagracia. Next to the Panteon Nacional. One of the best hidden gems of Caracas. This museum houses important historical documents. Some works of the painter Arturo Michelena can only be seen in this museum. In this space part of the torso of "El Saludante" is conserved, a statue of Antonio Guzmán Blanco that was erected in 1875 between the Central University (today Palace of the Academies) and the Federal Legislative Palace. A private collection of Boulton's family. Just in front of the patio, closer to the entrance, is the hand of "El Manganzón", another statue of Guzmán that was in El Calvario. These particular pieces are two of the remains of these statues that were demolished in 1889. The other remains are in the Church of the Immaculate Conception, located on Avenida Francisco Solano de Sabana Grande. The "Bolivarian Collection Room" houses the collection of Bolivarian pieces, consisting of portraits, furniture, china and commemorative ceramic pieces, medals, decorations and objects for personal use of Simón Bolívar.
- Museo Los Galpones The Sheds, Los Chorros neighborhood. Private museum in Caracas. Venezuelan opposition artists have a strong presence in this museum and is considered by them what an ideal museum in Caracas should be. It has few art galleries, but the gardens are spectacular. The restaurants have good food. Recommended to arrive by taxi, away from the Metro station Los Dos Caminos.
- Museo de Arte Colonial, Located in the Quinta Anauco on Av Panteon in San Bernardino. this is a lovely old house and garden that hosts small concerts some weekends.
- Universidad Central de Venezuela, Urb Valle Abajo, near Metro Ciudad Universitaria and Metro Plaza Venezuela. was designated a World Heritage Site by the UN in 2000. Designed by Venezuela's most famous architect, Carlos Raul Villanueva, the university campus, known as the Ciudad Universitaria is a sprawling complex considered a masterpiece of 1950s and 1960s architecture blended in with art. A stroll around the grounds, keeping an eye open for modern art works by artists such as Fernand Leger. Metro Ciudad Universitaria.
- Museum William Phelps Caracas, Boulevard of Sabana Grande, near metro Sabana Grande. is an science museum located in the boulevard of Sabana Grande. It is the most important ornithological collection in Latin America and belongs to the Phelps family.
- Parque del Este, Avenida Francisco de Miranda and Autopista Francisco Fajardo. Los Palos Grandes neighborhood (located near the “Parque del Este” metro stop). This expansive park stretches on and holds many unexpected treats including a planetarium, a small zoo, and a cafe that is occasionally open to serve you a cafe con leche while you watch the turtles in a pond
- Centro de Arte La Estancia, Avenida Francisco de Miranda, La Floresta, ☎ +58 212 507 8815, . 9:30a-4p Tu-F, 10a-4p Sa-Su. An art gallery situated in the middle of the lush and manicured gardens. Rotating exhibits by a variety of artists are shown.
- El Hatillo, (past la Trinidad in the SE of the city). A residential area still styled in traditional colonial fashion that is home to many shops, bars, and restaurants and is frequented by the middle class of Caracas. A great place to stroll around in the afternoon and grab lunch, as it is to return for the nightlife. Public transportation: Metrobus from Altamira, buses from El Rosal neighborhood. The area is commonly known as "Chacaito", however. Chacaito only includes the Brion Square.
- Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas, ☎ Parque Central Complex, El Conde neighborhood. is an art museum located in the Lecuna Level of the Parque Central Urban Complex, in Caracas. It was founded on August 30, 1973 by the journalist and art promoter, Sofía Ímber (Director between 1973 and 2001). It is considered the most important Museum of modern art in Latin America. His collection has artists like Picasso, Miró, Kandinsky, Matisse, Botero, Chagall, Reverón, Fontana among others. Unfortunately, the best artworks are never on display. Nowadays, the National Art Gallery, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Science Museum have better maintenance. Go to Museo de Bellas Artes if you would like to see Picasso's works on display.
- Cuartel de la Montaña or 4F, on top of Barrio (favela) 23 Enero (near Metro Gato Negro and El Calvario Park). Hugo Chavez's mausoleum is at the army barracks where Chavez's socialism was incubated. Although in a barrio, there's a heavy army presence which makes it a safe visit. Entry includes a free guided tour of the mausoleum and Chavez's belongings. There's a change of guards every 2 hours starting at 10am, with the last change at 4pm. At 4.25pm (time of his death) everyday, a cannon is fired in front. To get there, one can take the free Metrobus or private buses at Capitolio.
A view of Caracas from near the top of the Teleferico
- The Avila mountain to the north of Caracas is highly recommended for hiking, views of Caracas, and its fresh air. The Sabas Nieves entrance, accessible by bus from Altamira, is the most popular. To get there, at Chacao Metro Station walk to Avenida Mohedano and take the Transchacao bus (Ruta #1) to the top of Chacao (you will need to ask the best place to get off to Cota Mil). Then walk along Cota Mil to reach Sabas Nieves' entrance. Since Cota Mil is a highway, Sunday morning is the only practical day to go since the whole highway is closed to cars every Sunday morning.
- The Teleferico is a cable-car that takes visitors up the Avila. The ascent provides a beautiful view of the city. At the top (altitude approximately 2600 m), there is a view of Caracas to the south, and of the ocean (Caribbean Sea) to the north on a clear day. It will cost BsF 25 (approx. US$ 5.81) to get a round-trip ticket to the teleferico. Reduced fares are available for students (BsF 15) and children (BsF 10), senior citizens over 60 are free. Take the ride up to Avila as early as possible before an afternoon haze obstructs your view from the top of the mountain. There are a few restaurants, many food kiosks, and numerous attractions suitable for children. These include a small skating rink, some small rides, and jungle-gyms. There is a well known fondue restaurant also located at the top. Some hiking trails branch off from the teleferico station, but without a map it is not easy to find them or know where they go, as they are not marked.
- The MetroCable close to Parque Central. It is colocated in the Parque Central Metro station. It's free and provides a fantastic view of the city and life in the barrios. 
- Watch a baseball game during the baseball season (Oct-Jan) at Estadio Universitario de Caracas. A game between Magallanes and Leones is a great way to observe Venezuelan's baseball fever. Tickets are only sold on the day for this matchup and the queue begins in the early morning. Tickets are also sold by touts around the stadium.
- Paragliding Colonia Tovar Venezuela, Colonia Tovar (the road between LaVicotria and Colonia Tovar), ☎ 04167600374, . 10 am to 5 pm. Tandem Paragliding Flights with Expert Pilots in one of the most beautiful mountain sites in the world. $60,00.
Balu H&M in Sabana Grande. The new fashion stores in Caracas.
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. There is one CitiBank branch in El Recreo shopping mall, Avenida Casanova, in Sabana Grande. Keep in mind that withdrawing from an ATM will be at the official DICOM exchange rate. Prices increase rapidly, so it is advisable to keep up to date.
- Centro Comercial Sambil. One 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. It is still the best commercial center in Caracas and has the best brands. It tends to be very crowded. Hard Rock Café and Memphis are located here. Metro Chacao.
- Centro Comercial San Ignacio. Many boutique stores here, as well as lots of good bars and restaurants. A hub of Caracas nightlife.
- Centro Comercial El Recreo. Another large mall with great shopping stores, located next door to the fancy Gran Meliá Hotel. It is the deepest construction in Latin America. Metro Sabana Grande. Monthly, it has reached 2 million visitors, despite the fact that the commercial area is not very large. Take into account that it is usually very crowded. It still holds the title of having the largest food fair in Caracas.
- Centro Comercial Millenium Mall, Av. Romulo Gallegos. Los Dos Caminas.. 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. It is an incredible place to hang out if you stay near the area.
- Centro Comercial Altamira Village. A shopping mall with exclusive restaurants and upscale shops in Altamira. In its surroundings you can find Rómulo Gallegos Latin American Studies Center, Little Rock Café in La Castellana, the Goethe Institut Altamira and the poor and pintoresque community Pajaritos. It can be accessed on foot through the parking lot. Altamira Village also has a hotel. One of the nicest shopping malls in the city. An intimate place to enjoy the city.
- 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 Tolón. An upmarket mall in the Las Mercedes neighborhood. 15 minutes walking from Chacaito metro.
- Centro Comercial Paseo Las Mercedes. A bit old fashioned but a good art house cinema and Oscar D'Leon's Mazukamba nightclub is here.
- Boulevard of Sabana Grande. The main commercial corridor of the city. Balu (H&M), AISHOP, Brands Shop, Levi's and Planeta Sports are the best stores in the boulevard of Sabana Grande. Sabana Grande is the only public space in Caracas that hosts three Balu (H&M) stores. Metro Plaza Venezuela, Sabana Grande and Chacaito. This place is considered an open air shopping mall in Caracas.
- Altamira. A nice residential area and business district in the eastern part of the city. Can be accessed easily by metro.
- American Book Shop, Centro Comercial Centro Plaza, Jardín level, Altamira. A bookshop with a decent selection of English books and magazines.
- On Saturdays, there's a farmer's market with food and trinkets to buy at the street at Palos Grande (next to Wendy's).
- On Sundays there are the Chinese Market at Club Social del Chinos at El Bosque; Peruvian Market at Colegio de Ingenerios; Antique & Collectables Market at the Museo de Transporte.
For the foodies, a good resource for restaurants and reviews is Degusta Venezuela [www.degustavenezuela.com] which has a useful App as well.
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.
- El Granjero del Este, Av. Río de Janeiro, ☎ +58 212 991 6619. Open late. One 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 3 a.m., after a night out dancing. Cheap.
- Maute Grill, Av. Rio de Janeiro. open late. A very nice place, often crowded but rightfully so, the food and wine are outstanding. . Expensive.
- Malabar, Calle Orinoco, ☎ +58 212 991-3131. Expensive but very good cuisine, mostly French, with a relaxed but trendy atmosphere.
- Aranjuez, Calle Madrid, Qunita Anacoa, ☎ +58 212 993-1326. One of the older steak houses in Caracas, with top quality Argentine and Venezuelan cuts of beef.
- Cafe Ole, Calle California at Calle Jalisco, ☎ +58 212 993-9059. This open air candlelight cafe is a popular haunt for after dinner cafe and some excellent desserts.
- Mamma Mia, Avenida Principal, ☎ +58 212 993-7230. A perennially popular though noisy restaurant with a good selection of Italian dishes.
- Mercedes, Centro Comercial El Tolon. A very fancy place in Las Mercedes. Great decor. Expensive. Nice drinks.
- Auyama Cafe, Calle Londres Las Mercedes. Great place to drink with your friends and have some snacks. People use to drink vodka in this place.
- Avila Tei, Avenida San Felipe, Centro Coinasa, ☎ +58 212 263-1520. Excellent and authentic Japanese restaurant. Operated by Japanese immigrants.
- Chez Wang, Plaza La Castellana (facing the roundabout), ☎ +58 212 266-5015. Very good Chinese restaurant.
- Chili's, Calle Jose A Lamas, Torre La Castellana, ☎ +58 212 267-9146. A branch of the American Tex-Mex chain.
- La Estancia, Avenida Principal La Castellana, ☎ +58 212 261-1874. A famous beef/meat restaurant with traditional Spanish decor.
- La Romanina, Av Avila (between Calle Miranda and Av Mohedano, just west of Plaza La Castellana), ☎ +58 212 266-8819. A simple setting but very good thin crust pizzas.
- New Spizzico, Av Principal La Castellana (one block north of the Plaza), ☎ +58 212 267-8820. Very pleasant Mediterranean style decor with a lovely outdoor terrace. Good mostly Italian food but not with very generous portions.
- El Budare de la Castellana, Avenida Principal de La Castellana, con 1ra Transversal., ☎ +58 212 263-2696. Traditional Venezuelan Restaurant. Moderately priced and open 24 hours. About one block north and west of Plaza Altamira.
- Avila Burger, Avenida Los Chaguaramos. A famous burger chain that sells gourmet burgers at reasonable prices. Queues for tables during lunch hours. There's a few spread around Caracas.
- Lola Cafe, Avenida Transversal 5 La Castellana.. Very chic, bohemian and fancy. Expensive. Nice menu, but not excellent. The quality/price ratio is not the best.
- For quality and authentic Chinese restaurants, go to El Bosque which is within the vicinity of the Chinese Social Club. Casa Deli, Chef Chino & Lai King are excellent choices.
Pizzeria Va Bene in Sabana Grande and its modern design.
- Urrutia, Avenida Francisco Solano, Edif. Libertador, ☎ +58 212 763-0448. One of the most expensive Spanish restaurants in the city. Place frequented by the political elite of Venezuela. Recommended.
- La Huerta, Avenida Francisco Solano, ☎ +58 212 762-5228. One of the best Spanish restaurants in Caracas with a very rich history. It never disappoints. The atmosphere is really nice here. Bigger than Urrutia.
- Pizzeria Va Bene, Boulevard of Sabana Grande and 2th street of Bello Monte, ☎ +58 212 762-4301. Great modern decor. Excellent menu. The best pizzas of Caracas. Take a selfie with Shakira, Ghandi and Carolina Herrera! New place. Highly recommended.
- El Arabito, Avenida Casanova, Bello Monte. Sabana Grande district, near Centro Empresarial del Este, ☎ +58 212 761-7989. Great Arab and Lebanese food. Nice menu. Good quality pita bread. Newly refurnished.
- Eight Bistro, Centro Comercial El Recreo. Avenida Casanova, Sabana Grande, ☎ +58 212 762-4301. New place. A restaurant with excellent menu and very well located. Conveniently located in El Recreo Shopping Mall, it is an excellent option for Gran Melia guests. Very expensive, elegant and chic. Highly recommended. Free Wifi!
- El Rey del Sujuk, Boulevard of Sabana Grande, near Golfeados de Antaño and Pasaje Asunción. New place in Sabana Grande. Nice shawarmas. Try Sujuk, one of the world’s most delicious and ancient types of sausage. The staff is really friendly. Highly recommended.
- Da Guido Restaurant, Avenida Francisco Solano. Excellent menu. Italian food. A place with a very rich history. The building needs some restoration though.
- Mandarin House, Avenida Francisco Solano Sabana Grande, ☎ +58 212 762-3451. Chinese restaurant in Caracas. Insanely big portions and great quality. Recommended. This is one of the best hidden gems of Sabana Grande.
- Golfeados de Antaño, Boulevard of Sabana Grande, ☎ +58 212 761-9668. The best golfeados of Caracas. But do not eat many golfeados. One of the most caloric meals of the national gastronomy.
- Flor Del Pan, Avenida Casanova Sabana Grande, ☎ +58 212 762-1696. Recently refurnished. Excellent menu. Try "Pizza de Nutella". Expensive, but great!
- Heladeria La Poma, Boulevard of Sabana Grande, ☎ +58 212 762-1696. The most popular ice cream shop in Caracas. People always stand in line, but these ice cream cones are not cheap. The boulevard has many ice cream shops in the nearby area, but La Poma is the only one that makes them crazy. A life waiting in line and no one understands why. Their products are not subsidized.
- Cafe-Trattoria Mediterraneo, 1ra Avenida Los Palos Grandes, Edificio Oriental, ☎ +58 212 283-3680. Great retro decor, and a minimal but excellent menu. Recommended.
- Cafe Monsieur, Avenida San Juan Bosco. French food in Caracas. Great desserts. Excellent menu. Recommended.
- Din Din Korea, Los Palos Grandes. Traditional Korean Food. Excellent menu. Recommended. Cheap.
- Rey David, 4ª Transversal de Los Palos Grandes, entre Av. Alfredo Jahn y Av. Andrés Bello., ☎ +58 212 284.45.32. Excellent menu. Great delicacies and desserts. Highly recommended.
- La Praline Chocolatier, 3ª Transversal y Av. Andrés Bello. Good quality artesan praline chocolate
- La Cita, Esq Alcabala, Caracas, Venezuela (La Candelaria), ☎ +58 (0212) 572 8180. In an area of La Candelaria populated by Spanish restaurants, this popular establishment is renowned as one of if not the best. Outstanding paella, tortilla española, and jamón serrano. As with most places, in Caracas, English speaking is very limited so be sure to go with a Spanish speaker.
- El Quijote de la Candelaria, Av. Este, esquina de la Cruz La Candelaria neighborhood, ☎ +58 (0212) 572 4264. One of the best Spanish restaurants of Caracas.
- Café Tribus Cultural, Avenida Mexico, Galeria de Arte Nacional, La Candelaria neighborhood, ☎ +58 (0426) 137 3678. Located in the National Art Gallery, this is one of the best places to have a coffee in Caracas. Try Chocobananas. Excellent menu. A really exotic place. Excellent prices. Bohemian place. Extremely good quality and price ratio.
- Bar Basque, Alcabala a Peligro, La Candelaria neighborhood, ☎ +58 212 572 4857. As in all Basque restaurants, the menu focuses on seafood. Superlative food. Expensive. Only a few tables, reservations required.
- Pipoka, Av. Sur 13, La Candelaria neighborhood, ☎ +58 (0212) 572 2740. A fancy place to eat in the center of Caracas. Recommended. Expensive.
- Restaurante Casa Farruco, Avenida Este 2, entre esquina Peligro y Puente República, La Candelaria neighborhood, ☎ +58 (0212) 576 9494. A great restaurant in the center of Caracas. Expensive.
Plaza Bolivar Area
- Artesano Cafeteria, Avenida Norte, Altagracia. Venezuelan gastronomy. Excellent prices. The best place to get in touch with the local culture. The desserts are great. Unfortunately, too many people go there. Consider yourself really lucky if you find a seat here.
- El Techo de la Ballena, Avenida Este 2 Catedral. Nice and bohemian place in the center of caracas. Mid-budget. Expensive drinks. Great decor. Recommended.
- Arte Catedral Venezuela Nutritiva, Avenida Este 0 Catedral. Decent menu. Mid-budget.
- Cacao Venezuela, Avenida Sur y Avenida Este 2 Catedral. A convenient stop in the historic center of Caracas. The best chocolate 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. Be careful at midnight.
- Centro San Ignacio. In La Castellana, it has many outdoor bars. One of the most popular currently is Buddha Bar. Please note that many of its bars have closed and / or changed owners. Until a few years ago, Le Club was located here. Le Club moved to Paseo Las Mercedes. It is still a good alternative to have fun in Caracas. Be careful at midnight.
- El Maní Es Así. Located in a side street behind Sabana Grande, this remains Caracas' best-renowned salsa club where locals, politicians and tourists like to show off their moves, accompanied by live bands, till the early hours. Take into account that visitors to this place range from low middle class citizens to high level politicians. Celia Cruz and Oscar D'Leon have been here. To get a table, you'll probably have to pay 'servicio', i.e. agree to buy a bottle of rum or whisky. Be careful at midnight and arrange a taxi.
- Moulin Rouge. Located in Avenida Francisco Solano (Sabana Grande). One of the most popular places in Caracas It has two main areas: one for rock lovers and one for lovers of salsa and reggae. Great for alternative couples. BDSM games for couples and beginners. A place that really defies taboos. Be careful at midnight and arrange a taxi.
- Sal Si Puedes. Located in Pasaje Asuncion of Sabana Grande, this is one of the very few bohemian places that are still alive in Caracas. Drinks are very expensive here. Great decoration. University professors, writers, plastic artists, poets, homeless people and prostitutes have fun here. A very interesting mix. Be careful at midnight.
- Hog Heaven. Located in La Castellana. Incredible atmosphere. One of the best places for metalheads in Caracas. Nice drinks. The music is great. Take into account that there are not many tables available and you may have to wait. Highly recommended. Bohemian bar in La Castellana. Be careful at midnight.
- Los Peruanos Rock Bar. Located in Pasaje Asuncion of Sabana Grande, way cheaper than Sal Si Puedes. Great music, live bands, mojitos, cuba libre. A space for nostalgic metalheads of the previous Caracas that has disappeared. University professors, writers, plastic artists, poets, homeless people and prostitutes have fun here. A very interesting mix. Be careful at midnight.
- Le Club - The most exclusive club in Caracas. Located in Paseo Las Mercedes. Neighborhood Las Mercedes.
- La Quinta Bar.
- 360º Roof Bar - Rooftop bar with views of Caracas. It's on the top floor of Hotel Altamira Suites. Entrance is by the side of the hotel (no signs, yell at the security guard to let you in).
- Bar Hotel Pestana Another rooftop bar at the top of Hotel Pestana.
- Teatro Bar, Av. Orinoco · Las Mercedes · Torre DyD.
LGBT bars and nightclubs
- Cool Café Bar - Located in La Castellana, the best option for LGBT community in Caracas.
- Moskowa Disco. - Located in Macaracuay. Nice place.
- Discovery. Los Cortijos. A really nice place for LGBT couples.
- Pasaje Asuncion, Sabana Grande. the oldest gay street of the city. A charming place that has many sad and happy stories to tell.
- La Fragata, Sabana Grande. Frequented by lower middle class Venezuelans.
- Pullman Bar, Sabana Grande. Plaza Venezuela metro stop. Bear community.
- Triskel. Located in Altamira.
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 20-30 USD typical hostel range. However, the situation has changed because of the economic crisis in Venezuela. While the whole of the city is considered to be dangerous at night, it’s preferable to stay near Sabana Grande or farther east. 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. The best options to stay in the center of the city are Hotel Waldorf Caracas and Hotel Alex Caracas. Hotel Waldorf is a new luxury hotel in La Candelaria neighborhood. While Sabana Grande has affordable hotel rates (from $100 to $400 five-star), you need to be wary of occasional street crime in the form of purse snatching (on women) and pick-pocketing are kinda common, but kidnapping is less frequent in the district. 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. A good place to start is the Calle de Hoteles at Prolongación Avenida Las Acacias & Avenida de Los Mangos (which has 2 decent and cheap non-love-motel posadas, but they are not well signposted and look like residential houses). 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. Since 2017, new fashion stores has opened in Sabana Grande, such as Balú (H&M), AISHOP, Brands Shop, Planeta Sports and many more. 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.
- Bella Vista Caracas, Colina de Los Caobos, Calle Bella Vista (near Plaza Venezuela’s subway station), ☎ "+58 (“[email protected]”). Bella Vista Caracas is a modern and safe place with a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. It is ideally located near Mount Ávila’s national park cableway, in a safe and quiet area, just minutes walk from a metrobus stop. The staff speaks fluent English and French and will be glad to help you get around the city. “$12.
- Hotel Altamira, Av Jose Felix Sosa, Altamira Sur (near Britanica Tower), ☎ +58 212 267-4284, +58 212 267-4255 ([email protected], fax: +58 (212) 267-1926). Some travelers are not impressed with the service. Around $70.
- Hotel Cristal, Pasaje Asuncion, Boulevard of Sabana Grande, ☎ +58 212 761-9131 (fax: +58 212 761-9131). An affordable option for hardcore travelers. The hotel is located in the center of the boulevard, which is always crowded with people. Dress like the average Venezuelan. Around $3.
- Gilmar Hotel, Calle Guaicaipuro Edificio Hotel Gilmar, (next to Gourmet Market). Excellent location in El Rosal neighborhood. Probably the least sleazy of the bunch of hotels (most are love motels) nearby. Bright clean rooms with good Wifi. Decent indoor restaurant. $5 a night (black market rate Dec 2015).
- Casa Luisa, Near El Hatillo, some 10-12km from midtown Caracas, ([email protected]). Mrs. Luisa has a three bedroom apartment where she rents out 2 of the rooms (with space for 3 in each room). She prepares nice breakfasts and shares travel tips. $50 a night, $5 breakfast.
- Hotel Savoy, (near the Alliance Francaise). Budget. Good prices. An affordable option at the Eastern Gate of Caracas. Unfortunately, the hotel is located near an invaded building.
- Altamira Village Hotel, Avenue Luis Roche, Altamira Neighborhood (Metro Altamira), . Altamira Village is a 4-star hotel located in Altamira neighborhood, this hotel is connected to Altamira Village Shopping Mall. The shopping mall has many exclusive restaurants. Recommended.
- Hotel Coliseo, Avenida Casanova, Sabana Grande, ☎ +58 (212) 762-7916 ([email protected], fax: +58 (212) 762-7916), . Cheaper than Gran Melia Caracas. The staff is friendly and speaks fluent English. Russian and Belarussian businessmen stay here. Around $50.
- Hotel Lincoln Suites, Avenida Francisco Solano and Boulevard of Sabana Grande, ☎ +58 212 762-8575 (fax: +58 212 762-8575), . Nice location to understand the local culture in Caracas. Besides offering the most convenient location, next to the new financial district of the northeast of Caracas, it offers a cozy atmosphere, highlighted by its friendly, professional and personalized service. The hotel is affordable and is the best accommodation option in the area after Gran Melia and Hotel Coliseo. Dress like the average Venezuelan and enjoy Sabana Grande. Free Wifi. Around $40.
- Hotel Shelter Suites, Av Libertador and Av Jose Felix Sosa, Chacao (opposite Sambil shopping mall), ☎ +58 212 265-3860 ([email protected]). Great location, clean and modern, this is a popular option and should be booked two weeks in advance. Max 2 people per room. Rooms from BsF 190.
- Hotel Vistavila Suites, Avenida Libertador, Sabana Grande, ☎ + 58 212 762-3828. Safe hotel near the main commercial corridor of Caracas. The hotel is located in a mainly residential area. Arrange a taxi after evening. around 20$.
- Hotel Alex Caracas, Esquina Ferrenquin a La Cruz, La Candelaria, ☎ +58 (212) 578-0437 / +58 (212) 578-2118 ([email protected], fax: +58 (212) 578-0437), . The best option by far to stay in the center of the city. The museums and the historic center of Caracas is really close to this hotel. Bright clean roams with good wifi. Tourists are not impressed with the service of the restaurants, but the nearby area has many Spanish restaurants. Around $50.
- Hotel Alba Caracas, Avenida Mexico con Sur 25 (formerly the 'Caracas Hilton'). This once impressive Hilton hotel has suffered from the deterioration of central Caracas, but it is currently under serious restoration. The restaurants are not impressive, but rather kinda decent. Close to the city's best museums and art galleries. A new tower is being built for the complex. Not a bad choice to stay near the National Art Gallery and Fine Arts Museum. Since 2017, Picasso's works are on display in the Museum of Fine Arts.
- El Cid, ☎ + 58 212 263-1715. This residential hotel also caters for short visits. Excellently located in the La Castellana district, it offers an alternative to many hotels, though with aged wooden furniture and worn out rooms. The service is poor. BsF 280-360 ($130-167).
Only two hotels in Caracas have been rated Leading of the World in the last ten years: Gran Meliá Caracas and Hotel Cayena. Nowadays, Hotel Cayena is the only "Leading of the World" in Caracas.
- Hotel Cayena Boutique, Avenue Don Eugenio Mendoza Urb. La Castellana Chacao (Entre Calles el Bosque y José Ángel Lamas), ☎ + 58 212 2748200, . Hotel Cayena is one of the safest luxury 5 star hotels in the La Castellana District of Caracas, Venezuela. Accommodations and amenities include hotel rooms and suites, including extended stay availability, as well as an Italian restaurant, meeting rooms and event space, and more. Hotel deals, packages, and specials are also available from this Caracas, Venezuela luxury hotel. The only Hotel "Leading of The World" in Venezuela.
- Gran Meliá, Ave. Casanova, Urb. Bello Monte, Sabana Grande district 1050, ☎ +58 212 762-8111 (toll free: +1 800 745-8883, [email protected], fax: +58 212 762-3737), . Upscale and safe 5 star hotel with Spanish restaurants, meeting rooms, spa, swimming pool, fitness center and more. Located in Sabana Grande, this hotel is connected directly to the El Recreo shopping mall and a block away from the restored Sabana Grande boulevard. One of the most interesting added values of Meliá Caracas is its heliport. There are few hotels in Caracas that have a heliport. The hotel also has luxury apartment towers, used by consular officials and foreign businessmen who stay in Caracas for a long time. In the "Red Level", Gran Meliá has an impressive panoramic view of the city, accompanied by dishes and delicacies. Some small embassies are located here. Currently, the luxury apartment towers are under restoration.
- Pestana Caracas Hotel & Suites, 1ª Avenida Urb. Santa Eduvigis, ☎ +58 212 208 1916 ([email protected]), . A modern and stylish hotel with all the amenities you might expect at the price.
- Hotel Waldorf Caracas, Av. La Industria, Esquina Campo Elias a Puente Anauco, Edif. Hotel Waldorf. Urb. La Candelaria, ☎ +58 (212) 507-3300 (fax: +58 (212) 507-3300), . Upscale 5 star hotel in the center of Caracas. This new hotel has just opened it doors. The new luxury hotel of the center of Caracas. Excellent accommodation in La Candelaria neighborhood. The service is great. Around $100.
- JW Marriott Hotel Caracas, Av. Venezuela con Calle Mohedano, Urb. El Rosal, ☎ +58 212 957-2222 (toll free: 0 800 100-6139, fax: +58 212 957-1111), . Luxury business hotel located in the center of the business district, the JW Marriott Hotel Caracas is one of the best hotels in the city, becoming deservedly popular in recent years. Excellent accommodation, exceptional restaurant and good service.
- Hotel Intercontinental Tamanaco, Final Av. Principal De Las Mercedes, ☎ +58 212 909-7111 (fax: +58 212 909-7116), . checkin: 3pm; checkout: 12pm.
- Radisson Eurobuilding, Final Calle La Guairita, Urb. Chuao Caracas, 1064 A, ☎ +58 212 902 1111, .
- Centro Residencial Solano (Apartamentos Executive Flats), Avenida Francisco Solano and Calle Los Apamates Sabana Grande, ☎ +58 (212) 762-6823 (fax: +58 (212) 762-6823), . Apartamentos Executive Flats rents 85 flats in the famous Solano Residential Center, which are divided into three categories: family, business and exclusive VIP. The VIP apartments have the most extravagant luxuries of the entire city of Caracas. The Residential Center Solano of Francisco Pimentel, Oscar Capiello and Bernardo Borges (built in 1998) won the Biennial Award for Architecture in Venezuela. The work Centro Residencial Solano has been compared with international urban developments in cities such as Bogotá, Panamá and Barcelona (Spain). From 200 to 1000$.
- Altamira Suites, 1ª Transversal con 1ª Avenida Urb. Los Palos Grandes, Caracas (Chacao) 1060, ☎ +58 212 2093333 ([email protected]), . A five-star hotel with a popular rooftop lounge. Check for weekend promotions that offer significantly reduced prices.
- Renaissance Caracas La Castellana Hotel, Av Eugenio Mendoza con Calle Urdaneta, Urb. La Castellana, ☎ +58-212-9084222 (fax: +58-212-9083222), . A stylish Caracas hotel, the Renaissance Caracas one of the newest Venezuela Caracas hotels on the scene. Modern, inviting and a crisp service too, delightful.
- Venezuela Marriott Hotel Playa Grande, Avenida El Hotel. Urb. Playa Grande. Catia La Mar city. Vargas, ☎ +58-212-5352222 (fax: +58-212-9576333), . One of the best Venezuela Hotels, Marriott Playa Grande is only 10 minutes from Simon Bolivar International Airport with a great location and wonderful views.
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:
- Try to restrict your activities to the daytime - but remember that crime in Caracas strikes at any time. Be vigilant.
- Avoid walking alone and do not venture into dodgy-looking places. Trust your instincts.
- Do not flag taxis on the street, call them by phone or try to arrange some form of trusted private transportation. Even then, be extra vigilant about drivers; they may seem "friendly" enough, though they use it to their advantage so be very careful.
- Do not flash any electronic devices (iPods, cameras, mobile phones) and leave your jewelry in the hotel.
- Bring copies of your passport and important documents and leave the originals in the hotel.
- Be aware of your surroundings and even if you are lost, try to look like you know where you're going (in that case try to find a shop or mall, so you can "regroup" and find out where you are.
- In public transport, try to sit at the front and avoid using your electronics. If it's packed, however, wait for another to arrive that's least crowded.
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 130.35 homicides per 100.000 residents in 2016. 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. Mr. 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 2014 and 2015. Instead of adding A + B, they added A + B + B. 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 100,000 inhabitants in 2015 (balance between its original estimate of 90 and Kronick's estimate of 68.5). To reach that final B that they subtracted, the OVV used an average of the percentage of cases of resistance and homicides that were resistance, from 1990 to 2010 (B / (A + B)). 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. 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. The barrios (poor neighborhoods or shantytowns) are to be avoided. The shady-looking streets near the tourists areas should be avoided as well. They are mostly built into the hills around the west side of Caracas, similar to the favelas in Brazil. These neighborhoods are extremely dangerous, but they are far from the main tourist areas. However, Petare is located in the east side of Caracas, which is the biggest favela of the country. Some say Petare may be the biggest favela in Latin America, but all the area has not been surveyed yet. In case you are robbed, simply hand over what is asked of you. If you have none to give, however, then your best bet is to say those last prayers and be prepared for the worst, that is, being kidnapped and held for ransom, and police will not help you get out of a deadly situation. For this reason it is advisable to carry a “decoy” wallet with small bills (around US$30). Most thieves carry guns and they will use them regardless of the consequences (there is a sense of immunity due to poor policing) and they will get away with it unpunished.
Venezuela is also one of the only countries in the world in which Blackberry still is the popular phone of choice. If you can get your hands on a cheap one that looks nice, it's also a good thing to bring down and hand over in case robbed (there have been news reports of criminals physically beating car passengers that they rob for having only an iPhone to steal). Most thieves carry guns and they will use them regardless of the consequences (there is a sense of immunity due to poor policing).
In the Metro, especially rush hours, do take care of your pockets and handbags. A common tactic is a few guys will seem to be hesitating to enter the train while you are behind trying to push your way in, while the doors are about to close, they will suddenly decide to leave the train suddenly and in the chaos (locals know what's going on, thus they will try to leave the train too), you may find your pocket empty.
Boulevard of Sabana Grande
The statistics of the Venezuelan Observatory of Violence have been strongly biased, as demonstrated by Dorothy Kronick of Prodavinci. However, the crime problem is still serious. Kronick's estimates were not far behind in demonstrating the violence in Caracas, but they made evident the statistical errors of some NGOs. Robberies, assaults and kidnappings are very common, so it is recommended not to go out on the street with valuable items, keep cell phones out of sight of others while in public places, and avoid certain areas of Caracas. The latest security report of the United States Embassy is updated (January 2018). Previously, the districts of Chacao and Baruta were quite safe, but the situation has changed. In fact, kidnapping is very common in these districts, and tourists are not exempt from being kidnapped. The kidnappers demand sums of money that can reach 20 thousand dollars, or risk killing their victims. Las Mercedes and El Rosal are excellent alternatives for the most demanding tourists who have a comfortable budget to pay for line taxis or rent a car in the city. To walk the city and use public transport, the ideal area of the city may be Sabana Grande, following the recommendations of the hotel, though this is a dice-roll in itself. The previously mentioned districts have safer areas than others and the hotel will provide you with the necessary information to make your stay in Caracas a pleasant one, though again, this can be seriously dicey due to the ongoing, unpredictable situation. Hotel Alex and Hotel Waldorf are the most recommended options to stay in the center of Caracas, both hotels are in La Candelaria. Hotel Waldorf is a brand new five star hotel and it is a landmark of Venezuelan architecture.
All areas of Caracas are vulnerable to crime, but the target of the gangs is not the same. The gangster who steals a phone is not as professional as the one who is part of a gang of kidnappers. The best idea is to stay in crowded places, where you see riots of people, such as the boulevard of Sabana Grande and the commercial areas of Chacao and Baruta, though getting lost in a crowd is an obvious red flag; you will face the same outcome as being a victim of crime. In these last two, take into account that most people travel in a private car and not on foot. The commercial and residential areas of Caracas have different dynamics. In crowded commercial districts, it is prudent not to wear fancy clothes and to dress like the local population. Nowadays, precautions must be taken in all the districts of Caracas. Of course, the conditions of the district make it more vulnerable to certain types of damage. While pickpockets abound in Sabana Grande for being the most important commercial corridor in the city, gangs of kidnappers are more common in the residential and dark areas of the Metropolitan District. These areas are: Santa Monica, Florida, Altamira, El Hatillo, Prados del Este, El Cafetal, Los Palos Grandes, etc. You must follow your instincts and not get carried away by first impressions. Often, these gangs of kidnappers receive information from security personnel working in the residences. Common sense. Do not talk about dollars with any stranger, in fact, do not talk to anyone at all.
The police in most districts of the city tend to be corrupt, including at the international airport. Nowadays, there are no safe districts at all. It is advisable to avoid dark streets after 9 PM, the same applies in daytimes where areas are isolated. Lonely streets are not recommended. Tourists should stay in areas frequented by high vehicular and pedestrian traffic, though crime can and will still happen on even frequented areas. Venezuelans in general are friendly and helpful and living through the danger on a daily basis, so will not be shy in their concerns for your safety (this, however, is nothing but a mere facade). Dress like the average Venezuelan and follow the indications of the hotel. It is more likely that you will do okay, if you can survive through most of the days. Venezuelans in general are friendly and helpful, though they will openly avoid helping those who are victims of crime so asking for help, even in crucial situations, will drive them away. The most common recommendation is not to take the smartphone in open places. Kidnapping is a major problem for middle and upper-class Venezuelans, travelers included if they're that unlucky. As with many other developing nations, petty theft is a problem. Ask hotel management to store your valuables when you leave your room and use a money belt for your passport/extra cash when traveling. If, however, you're very cautious, it's best to never bring valuables with you at all.
Most locals will advise you not to even consider visiting unless you have friends in the area who can help you to move around safely and deal with the complicated currency situation. Caracas is by far the most dangerous city in Venezuela and malandros are coming up daily with new schemes to rob and kidnap, and even kill. Be very wary when on the road at all times, always keep your eyes on the lookout for an escape pathway, and be wary of being followed (especially by motorcycles). Over the last few years, the malandros have stopped traffic with a funeral procession in order to go car to car and take wallets/cell phones at gunpoint; staged car accidents with injury so as to rob good samaritans who stop. If you see a motorcycle with 2 men - one wearing a helmet and the other without, keep your distance and drive away. This is a typical robbery setup since the lack of a helmet allows the passenger on the back to have full 180 degree vision while scanning for victims while the driver is free to concentrate on the road.
Again, common sense prevails and note that driving a Mercedes through a poor neighborhood may be unpleasant for both you and the locals (just like anywhere else in the world), and the same applies for late-model cars, or cars that are well-maintained. Keep a cool head a maintain a low profile!
As there is an ongoing blackout occurring in Caracas, and even outside of the capital city, this can make night travel even more dangerous than it already is.
There are many "Centros de Conexiones" in which you can easily make domestic and international calls. There is also a growing number of internet cafes, albeit on a very limited basis due to increased censorship.
Caracas has been the staging ground of violent political conflict in the last few years, as well as suffering from a high incidence of crime. While taking appropriate precautions (dressing down, keeping valuables out of sight and avoiding dangerous areas) will probably keep you out of harm's way, paranoia abounds. Traveling with a partner or in groups is advisable.
- France, ☎ +58 212 909 6500 (fax: +58 212 909 6630), .
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El Litoral, or the narrow band of coast between El Avila and the Caribbean Sea, is also known at the State of Vargas and the location of the best airport hotels. These beaches are not well known with visitors but are popular with Caraqueños on weekends. The area has been slow to recover from the disastrous mudslides of December 1999 which ironically made the beaches better. Still they are of lesser quality than the beaches of Choroni, Morrocoy, Mochima or Margarita.
- La Guaira - historic port district
- Macuto - long history as the favored among the urbanite Caracenos and most crowded on weekends
- Caraballeda - upscale district with yacht marina
- Naiguatá - surf and cultural festival zone
- Catia La Mar - west of the airport with cheaper hotels that do airport pickup. Marginal neighborhood and beaches
- El Hatillo - nice restaurants and pretty colonial architecture.
- Yare - Every Corpus Christi, the town comes alive with the Dancing Devils of Yare, listed as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. It is easy to get here by public transport by going to the La Rinconada metro station, and taking a train to Cua, where there are Metrobus that goes to Yare.
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