Venezuela, home to South America’s most incredible panoramas, rightly has a disturbing image issue at the moment. Hyperinflation has led to a sad drop in living standards and problems with the supply of essential goods. At the same time, personal safety, particularly in Caracas, is graver than anywhere else in the Americas.
Because of widespread crime, ongoing civil unrest, and decaying infrastructure, only necessary travel to Venezuela should be considered. However, if you are still planning to visit Venezuela, let’s look at a few things to understand, and then we will explore the top attractions here.
Tourists in Venezuela are required to carry identification. There are army checkpoints on many streets, so while traveling by bus or car, keep your passport handy; ideally, you should retain a color photocopy of your passport. Should your passport be randomly stolen, this will expedite procedures with your regional consulate. The army presence is constant yet is not normally cause for concern. Nevertheless, there are corrupt officials. It is smart to keep an eye on your belongings when, for example, bags are being checked for drugs. A Guardia Nacional (National Guard) soldier sometimes plants drugs to steal valuables or solicit a bribe.
There is only one relatively short intercity rail line in Venezuela, which gives us three options for travel inside the nation: using buses, car rental, and using cars-for-hire. Drivers in Venezuela are very aggressive and not worried by traffic regulations. The traffic in Venezuela is horrible, the drivers are hostile, and all drivers want to overtake everyone. Thus, car rental is not suggested in general. The highly cheap fuel prices make this option reasonably economical, though.
Regarding the use of money, as of 2021, most restaurants, shops, and even street markets have started readily accepting U.S. dollars directly. As a traveler, you may not need to deal with dead sovereign bolivars at all.
Top Attractions in Venezuela
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas (the Museum of Contemporary Art)
Holding the easterly end of the Parque Central network, the Museum of Contemporary Art is by far the best in the nation, though it can be a little perplexing to spot amid the concrete jungle. In many halls on five levels, you’ll find paintings by many notable Venezuelan artists, such as Jesús Soto, renowned for his kinetic pieces, plus various paintings by international stars such as Chagall, Picasso, Leger, and Mondrian.
Centro de las Artes
On the southerly edge of the colonial sector is the beautiful tree-shaded Plaza Miranda. Located at the halfway point between the cemetery and the cathedral, it was formerly known as the Plaza Descanso (rest) because cremation pallbearers would unwind to break here along the way to burials. A large building on its eastern side was prepared in 1870 CE as a hospital, but sadly it never served that purpose. It has had a strange list of occupants instead, having been used as a theatre, prefecture, police station, and army barracks. Ultimately, it opened in 1992 CE as the Centro de las Artes and exhibited temporary exhibitions of modern art, which is it’s a new role as per day.
Iglesia de San Francisco
Just south of the famous Capitolio Nacional, the Church of San Francisco was constructed in the 1570s CE but was later remodeled on numerous occasions during the 17th and 18th centuries CE. Guzmán Blanco, unable to oppose his passion for refurbishing, installed a neoclassical facade on the church to meet the just-completed capitol building. Luckily, the church’s interior didn’t undergo such an unrestricted alteration, so its medieval character and much of its old design have been preserved. Have a look at the lavishly gilded ornate altarpieces scattered along both sidewalls, and stop at the San Onofre statue in the right-hand path. He is the most revered saint in the church due to his extraordinary mythical powers of bringing happiness, health, and a good job.
This green square is the center of the old city. It’s always bustling with huddled groups of caraqueños involved in long conversations and kids feeding fresh corn to the squirrels in the trees. Vendors hawk lemonade and shaved ices (cepilladas) on the sidelines, and African green tulip trees and jacarandas shade the entire scene. Golden cherubs gather around the fountains at each corner of the square.