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33°C

Local time Caracas

Currency

Bs.F.

Caracas Travel Guide

About Caracas

Nestled below rolling mountains and a short hop from a sun-drenched coastline, Caracas is a frenetic city of petrodollar wealth, modern high-rise architecture and volatile culture.

The birthplace of South American independence hero Simón Bolívar, Venezuela’s capital is among the most sophisticated and cosmopolitan places in South America. It is inordinately proud of its past, and has its eyes set firmly on the future – even if not all its inhabitants are looking in the same direction.

Caracas can boast one of the most dramatic settings of any world city. The Parque Nacional El Ávila looms directly over its northern outskirts, and its green forested slopes are riddled with walking trails. It is also home to a spectacular cable car ride, making a cool and breezy escape from the urban sprawl an easy reality.

Architecturally, Caracas is a modern concrete and glass jungle, but many buildings also have sleek lines that betray art deco roots with some recent constructions designed in a distinct, postmodern style. Culturally, the city also has plenty to offer but it’s good to start at the Museum of Fine Arts before moving onto the Museum of Contemporary Arts; both are worthy of a visit.

Famed for its dedication to the good life, Caracas fizzes with energy at night when clubs and bars absorb tireless revellers hell-bent on having a good time. Another thing the Caraqueños take seriously is food, and arguably South America’s best eating options are found here, be they gourmet, international, down-home or freshly sizzled street fare.

However, a word of caution: safety is an important issue here that cannot be ignored. Crime is a serious problem and some areas are strictly off limits. Evidence of poverty is omnipresent and you may be shocked by homeless families camping outside corporate skyscrapers and glitzy malls. At night, the twinkling lights decorating the mountainsides are beautiful, yet bitter-sweet reminders that shanty towns encircle the city.

Don’t be put off. It may seem daunting at first, but with a few common sense precautions, Caracas is a richly rewarding place to visit.

Key facts

Population:
5 million
Latitude:
10.495331
Longitude:
-66.919899

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Cayena-Caracas Hotel

A secure retreat in the centre of the bustling metropolis, unwind on the rooftop of this 5-star hotel with a dip in the heated pool. Packed with a boutique, Venezuelan-inspired style, amenities at the Cayena-Caracas include a 42" television and pillow menu in every room, and fitness centre on the top floor.

Dal Bo Hostel

Expect a warm welcome at the premiere hostel in the historical centre of Caracas, graced with an international crowd taking refuge in one of its six-bed dorms. Facilities include free Wi-Fi, towel rental and 24 hour security at the front desk.

Pestana Caracas Premium City & Conference Hotel

Plush with rooftop pool and views overlooking Parque Generalísimo Francisco De Miranda this business hotel includes free Wi-Fi 24 hour room service and a fitness centre with sauna and jacuzzi.

Caracas Palace Hotel

The former Four Seasons hotel does not disappoint and is widely considered one of the best hotels in Caracas located in the exclusive and safe neighbourhood of Altamira. There's a fantastic, curvaceous pool, two excellent restaurants and a spa as well as 115 sumptuous and spacious rooms.

Gran Melía Caracas

This princely choice is one of the largest and most sumptuous hotels in Caracas, which manages to feel far removed from the surrounding noise and heat despite its central location. It boasts all the trimmings including Jacuzzis in the rooms, gym, swimming pool and several first-class restaurants.

Hotel Paseo Las Mercedes

This squeaky clean hotel is ideal if you have a stopover in Caracus. It has uniformly comfortable rooms and pleasant English-speaking staff. It is located in a shopping centre but has the pick of dozens of excellent restaurants, cafés, bars and nightclubs on its doorstep.