Venezuela is a country in northern South America . It has a long northern Caribbean coast. Bordering countries are Colombia to the west, Brazil to the south and Guyana to the east. Venezuela is located at major air and sea routes between North and South America.
Not to be missed is the Gran Sabana in southern Venezuela, on the border with Brazil . On the high plateau (1,000 m) one has the feeling of meeting the next moment a herd of dinosaurs. The landscape is in addition to their relatively meager, but peculiar vegetation of the so-called ” tepuis “was coined, several mesas, whose flora and fauna is one of a kind and still not all been developed by humans. The trip from sea level to the plateau, which lasts approximately 3 hours, leads the traveler through different climate zones, which fascinate with their respective vegetation.
After the collapse in 1819 created the United Republic of Venezuela-Colombia in 1830 regardless. In 1864 the country became a federal republic. In the first half of the 20th Century ruled most of military dictatorships, while the enormous oil wealth caused an economic boom, but also for increasing dependence on the United States . Since 1958, there are free elections. Since Hugo Chavez took office in 1998, Venezuela spent more strongly dependent on the United States. Instead Chavez maintains close relations with Fidel Castro and want in their own words “socialism of the 21st century” build. Greater independence of all so-called First World countries will be sought. Size of investments in infrastructure, such as Metro (subway) in Caracas, Valencia. Highways, etc. A large proportion of the oil coming from the state budget revenues in social projects such as medical care for the Barrios put.
Domestic flights are very cheap and best book on the spot. This is especially true in larger cities. Those who intend to or from a small airport, for example, in the Gran Sabanna fly can experience it, that this is due to lack of language skills as expensive out. The pilot of the plane is well aware that they do not come around him and could exploit it.
A special highlight is the airport of Merida – the runway is on an inclined plane, and can only be approached by turboprops. Also recommended for a flight from Ciudad Bolivar to Kavak (Gran Sabana) is. Kavak is served only with small Cessnas of all ages – to combine well with a flight over Angel Falls (highest waterfall in the world).
Bus tours are a cheaper alternative to flying. There are bus stations in major cities. In small and very small towns have to wonder through. Not all bus stops are also used for the return trip. Where you get off you will not always be entered again. Ask help here. Signs are simply inadequate. Respect for the air conditioners: The intercity buses are cooled down by like ordinary air conditioners. Often the temperature is below 16 degrees. Therefore, take warm clothes in the bus.
Rental cars are available in all small to medium-sized cities, prices range from $ 30 to several hundreds (09-07-2006). Taxis are also cheap, taxi lines provide a higher degree of safety. Prices should always be negotiated in advance. In Venezuela, gasoline is very cheap. Apart from this, one must be aware that the roads are often in very poor condition. Potholes are more the rule than the exception, and in the cities it may be already times, that one or the other manhole cover is missing completely. Above all roads that lead through uninhabited areas, are dangerous at night. You should not stop it (have to), no Venezuelans (if he has good intentions) would do that. It is better to avoid long night trips to entirely over land. In addition, you should always know how far is it to the next gas station. Sometimes several hundred kilometers are uninhabited long distance and free from gas stations.
The official language is Spanish . To travel around the country on your own, you should have at least expandable basic language skills. Outside of Caracas, one comes with English is not very far. Even in Caracas, it is not the rule that everyone speaks English. There are language schools in Merida, Caracas, Puerto La Cruz and Margarita Island. Even a week of classes can already make a big difference.
Rule of thumb (in Latin America):
“If you speak English, all doors open. If you speak Spanish, to open the heart.”
In general, Venezuela is among the insecure countries. The uncertainty in Venezuela is primarily caused by the high level of street crime. She meets locals and tourists alike. A typical tourist behavior and appearance may attract predators. However, it is not necessary to be robbed. Tourism (with the exception of Margarita) or rural areas are often less dangerous than large cities, but violent crime occurs there, too. Robbed can always be dangerous. Therefore, any resistance from strongly discouraged. Venezuelan robbers usually have weapons and not shy away from its use. They have little to fear consequences, because the police are often the motivation, courage, or lack of competence, to act against criminals, or because she herself is even perpetrators. The murder rate in Venezuela is rising among the highest worldwide.
Barrios (slums) are to be avoided, and otherwise it is always wise to be traveling together with local guide. Night walks are always dangerous, and only by Venezuelans, who have no alternative, or those made with “bad” intentions. Not only in the region bordering Colombia and Brazil come from kidnapping to extort money.
The Government alleged attempt on weekends and public holidays such as Mardi Gras, the security provided by police and military presence to improve. But this is mostly an illusion, since police and military presence in the bay and limited mainly to the roadside. Such controls are often very meticulous and controlled to be used to coerce bribes. Often the police are themselves involved in criminal activities.
Venezuela is a country with yellow fever-infected areas. In the border area with Brazil , in the Parima region in the state of Amazonas , and in Bolivar is a general risk of yellow fever transmission. Nationally, there is a risk of rabies infection and an increased risk for various infectious diseases that are transmitted by contaminated food or beverages (eg, hepatitis A, typhoid, dysentery, amoebic dysentery, giardiasis, worm disease). On the road should be eaten only what can not be bad in the heat can (fried, boiled, be careful with salad or Mayonnaisse).
Medical care is free. There are health centers, which also provide Cuban Physicians to treatment.
The climate is tropical, hot and humid, temperate in the mountains. The hot region ( tierra caliente ) takes in Venezuela by far the largest part of the country. It ranges up to about 700 m above sea level. Sea level and has an average heat of 26 ° C. Several points are still warmer in La Guaira (29 °), Puerto Cabello (28 °) and Maracaibo (29 ° C). The temperate region ( tierra templada ) is between 700 and 2,000 m, and the warmest months are April and May (with rarely more than 25 ° C), the coldest December and January, in which the temperature in the morning and evening, often at 15 ° C. decreases. The cold region ( tierra fria ) finally begins at an altitude of 2,200 m and extends to the snow line, which is located in Venezuela 6-8 ° n at an altitude of 4520 m, but in cooler years, 400 m deep sinks. The average temperature here is 2 to 3 ° C.