Venezuela - Travel Guide
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Venezuela - Travel Guide

Getting there and around


Visas

Citizens of the following countries may not require a visa to visit Venezuela for tourist purposes only for up to 90 days (a tourist-card will be issued instead): Andorra, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Denmark, Dominica, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Grenada, Hong Kong, Iceland, Iran (max. 15 days), Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, Nevis, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Portugal, Russia, San Marino, Spain, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad & Tobago, United States of America, and Uruguay.


For further information please contact your country's ministry of foreign affairs or ambassadorial services.


By Air


Maiquetía's Simón is 25 km from central Caracas. The trip to Caracas should take around 40 minutes or up to 60-70 minutes during rush hour.


This international airport is served by a large number of carriers with routes to almost all major South American Cities as well as several intercontinental destinations.


There is an exit fee of BsF 162.50 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 BsFs at a more advantageous rate.


A Taxi from the airport into Caracas costs about BsF 150. Travellers are advised to avoid unlicensed taxi services or to have a pickup arranged by their hotel.


Getting around


Taxis can be easily hailed in the street and licensed taxis, which can be identified thanks to their yellow plates, are considered safe. They have no meters so prices should be agreed on before getting in. Drivers may quote up to double the actual price, but bargaining accepted.

Caracas traffic is notoriously bad and the metro is a better option if your destination is conveniently located near a station. The Caracas metro is clean, modern, safe and extremely cheap. A single journey costs just BsF 1.50, "ida y vuelta" (round trip) is BsF 3.00 and a 10 journey "multi abono" ticket is BsF 13.50. 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.


Dangers and annoyances

Venezuela has its fair share of poverty and crime. While travellers will find inhabitants of the city to be extremely warm and welcoming, the country does have a very high violent crime rate. It is necessary to be vigilant when in crowded cities, as pickpockets and muggers may be around. Most sections of large cities are not safe to walk at night. Stay in populated areas. Always travel by vehicle at night. The outskirts of many cities are very poor and crime-ridden, and are not appropriate for tourists. It is advisable not to wear expensive jewellery or watches. Take care when taking pictures and unfolding maps in crowds. Pretend you know where you are going even if you aren't sure.


Always ride on a legal taxi (Yellow plates). The white-plated taxis are not legal and may be dangerous.


Despite all these recommendations, one is usually quite safe in Venezuela if they apply a little common sense, and avoid looking overly wealthy when traveling.


In the event you do get mugged, do not attempt to put up resistance and cooperate. Avoid eye contact as most muggers in Venezuela carry firearms and may shoot at the slightest provocation.


Electricity


Venezuela uses a 60 Hz and 120 V power system. The power plugs are identical to those used in North America (referred to as A and B type power plugs).


Tap Water


Bottled water is generally used and highly recommended.
 

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