Venezuela used to be an agricultural based country that credits its economic prosperity in farming. But their economic status changed upon the discovery of oil reserves along the Lake Maracaibo. Oil money helped the country get on the right track as the government made all efforts to improve roads, airports, and highways, preservation of tourism and historical sites as well as national buildings. There is a great vastness of land along the Southwest region that still remains unexplored and lush rainforests that awaits every curious visitor.
In the Southeast region, there are great tables of sheer rock called “tepuis” that has remained unclimbed and unexplored. Along the far north, tourists flock the white sandy beaches of the Caribbean Sea. In the center, agricultural life still exists, and to the west side coffee grows prominently along the high valleys of the Andes region.
Read on to learn more about the top ten most visited places in Venezuela.
At Centro de Arte La Estancia, you would not think that even in the midst of Caracas the capital city is a park with many plants of various kinds, as well as flowers. It is a good place to find a moment of calm in a busy city like Caracas. La Estancia is an old colonial house in Caracas, which is located at the ‘Avenida Francisco de Miranda’ national road in La Floresta, a short walk from the Altamira subway station. It is surrounded by three acres of gardens that has a great variety of floral species.
Inside, one can find five huge exhibition halls and wide open spaces where concerts, film festivals, theater performances, lectures, workshops and a series of educational and entertaining events are held for children. The Centro de Arte La Estancia offers a free program that improves the genuine roots and traditions in Venezuela. La Estancia is open to groups and large national and international artists who excel in their cultural presentations to the public to teach the children how to understand and appreciate other nations’ culture and traditions.
If you only stay a few days in Caracas, enjoy the 20 minute ride on board the Teleferico (cable car) for stunning views of the city! Go in the morning to avoid a long queue. It is the best way to enjoy moments of tranquility in a relaxed and calming atmosphere as long as the place is not crowded with people. The cable facilities are practical and modern, the rise is fast and once you reach the top of the El Avila National Park (Guaraira Repano), you can enjoy the view of Caracas and the mountain region landscape views. There are attractions to enjoy on top like; skating rink, restaurants, small shows for children, booths with all kinds of treats and specialties of the region (cachapas, strawberries and cream, ham pork bone , hot dogs, hamburgers, melted cheese and chocolate, souvenir sales, etc .)
Sometimes you will find yourself lost in the fog but it’s very tolerable and even enjoyable. The ideal activity is to bring a good pair of binoculars so you can admire the telescopic views that are limited to the human eye. The ticket prices are reasonable for the cable ride and the attractions that wait for you at the summit park. For lovers of hiking, you can go to Avila and walk along the well-defined paths or combine an uphill walk and down by cable or hiking trails.
Canaima National Park (Guayana Region)
The Angel Falls tumble water at the height of more than 980 meters into a lush rainforest. These falls were declared as the highest falls in the world. Ideally, you can hire a tour company from Caracas, because getting to the Guayana region is quite a long journey. To get there, you have to fly or take a bus from Puerto Ordaz or Ciudad Bolivar (approx 10 hours from the central point of the city) and from there you can ride a plane that will take you to the Canaima National Park. On board the plane you can already have glimpse as the view begins to show the teppuis (flat mountains) that adds a certain character to the area. Once you land and rent a local guide, you can leave your stuff in the camp and bring only what is necessary for the excursion to where you will spend the night. What comes next is a 4 hour and 30 minute boat ride along the Churun Cuariara River.
Four hours sitting in the dugout canoe may be long, but the scenery is stunning. You can set up camp in front of the jump point in the falls or enjoy a good rest on a comfortable hammock. To reach the jump off point, you need to do an hour of trekking along the virgin forest trails (full of rocks and tree roots) and admire the waters from above.
Orinoco Delta (Guayana Region)
A visit to the Orinoco Delta is the best option especially for avid bird watchers. 80% of migratory and endangered bird species can be found throughout the Orinoco Delta. The Orinoco initially forms a natural border between Venezuela and Colombia. Here, the river takes on a lot of sediment and drags it up in the low points of the river. What is fascinating to watch here are the Orinoco river mouths, where clean water flows into the light brown Orinoco River. The delta of the river in the northeast of Venezuela is a great getaway place where you can camp for 2-3 nights.
One can experience the hundreds of small creeks and the great nature atmosphere. The Delta is a bird paradise of toucans, macaws, herons, pelicans, and other species. Towards the coast mixes the sweet with the salty water. With luck, you can also see here several snakes (including anacondas), piranhas, caimans, or maybe even a puma or jaguar. A river cruise on the Orinoco is guaranteed to be a great experience.
Merida (Andes Region)
Conveniently located on the western region side of Venezuela, the city of Merida can be easily reached by a plane ride from the capital city of Caracas to the Barinas Airport. From the airport you can take a bus ride or rent a private vehicle to reach the beautiful town of Santa Maria de Canagua the starting point to the backpackers haven called the Parque Nacional Sierra Nevada. The Parque Nacional is an excellent place where you can find different spaces to spend time with family, mountain hike in a few hours with different levels of difficulty, and even spend a day and night for camping. The mountain is very safe and it is always advisable to take warm clothes (0 degree weather) when you plan to assault the peaks of the mountain.
At the Catedral Metropolitana de Merida, you can witness how art successfully merges with religion. It is located just in front of the Plaza Bolivar in the central part of the city. Despite being built for quite some time, the church is still preserved in good condition. It is a must for any tourist, whether or not practicing Catholics. It is synonymous with art in all its expressions, projected inside majesty and grandeur. There is a mix of colors and materials upon which it was built, predominantly marble. It houses beautiful works of art depicted in paintings and sculptures that any visitor should value.
The Plaza Bolivar is one of the most beautifully preserved historical areas in Venezuela. In the middle of it stands the statue of Simon Bolivar and a landmark representing the five countries that he leads to freedom; Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.
The square is surrounded by pastel colored old houses, an interesting library, the House of Governors of the Colony, and the House of the Congress of Angostura. To one side is the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Snows.
Margarita Island (Insular Regions)
It is highly recommended to visit the Isla Coche when you are in Isla Margarita. It is a great beach place where people are happy and fun, the staff serves with kindness and the water is much clearer than any other beaches of Margarita Island. From the main island, take a catamaran ride to explore all the other beaches and islets within the Caribbean Sea. The Isla Coche is an ideal place to rest or to do various activities including snorkeling fun, exciting water sports adventure and motorbike riding around the coastal town of Margarita.
At the Laguna de la Restinga, the lagoon of fresh water mixes with the mountains Caribbean Sea water. It is a great place to admire the great flora and fauna of this region. Explore the lake with a guide in a boat ride that takes about an hour and a half to fully learn the biodiversity and mangrove jungle sights around the lagoon. In small 4-6 seater boats you drive through the mangrove area. The maze of canals and wetlands is naturally a haven for birds of all kinds. One can observe from the boat other species of animals like; the pelicans, cormorants, several species of herons and flamingos. In the underwater jungle there are many orange starfish, oysters clinging to the roots and peculiar species of algae (coralline algae). Overall, it is an extremely interesting and fun boat trip.
Maracaibo (Zulian Region)
The La Verada del Lago Maracaibo is a place where you can enjoy and admire the beauty of the Lake Maracaibo as well as perform many outdoor activities. The landscape and the surrounding attractions as you view from the edge of the platform provide a great scene of the bridge over the lake in the distance. There are walkways for exercise, cycling, skating, tennis and stadiums from different sections of the park. Also you can take a refreshing drink or take the trolley around town. It’s a good option to unwind.
Its main attraction is that it stands at the edge of the largest lake in South America and from the platform you can see the first reinforced concrete bridge in South America that is nearly 9 miles long. There is an area where you can rent bikes or skates, you can also ride on a little tram with the kids.
There are tennis courts, baseball stadium, basketball courts, climbing wall, a water park, go-kart track, paintball field, inflatable castles. In the park you can see shops that sell crafts, candy, and popcorn and at night there is always a gentleman that lets you see the moon with his telescope for less than 0.5 cents. In the village part you can see the boats entering the lake.
Barquisimeto (Central Western Region)
For people who visit Barquisimeto and want to see architectural and religious monuments, do not fail to visit the Cathedral de Barquisimeto. Unlike many of the old churches in Venezuela, the Barquisimeto Cathedral structure and design is modern and has a translucent roof that is supported by steel cables. The area is famous and tourists flock in big crowds, so it is advisable to visit early in the day. Its shape is quite peculiar, like a flower inverted.
It can be seen in a single structure; the modernism of its design as well as being the center of religious piety and devotion.
Valencia (Central Region)
The Parque Fernando Penalver is an ideal place to spend a day with family, friends to enjoy long walks or a physical exercise. Tread on the 3 km leisure park as instrumental classical music soars in the air. There is an area in the park where the children can learn to ride bikes, tricycles, etc.
There is a public library and an exhibition hall, snack bar areas, parking, and there are a few street vendors preparing freshly squeezed orange juice that is unsurpassed in sweetness.
Isla El Gran Roque
Water Cay or Cayo de Agua is a wonderful beach with walking paths that can make you enjoy one island after another. It has amazing white sand and natural palm shaded areas. If you love the sea, this island is the ideal place to go that is accessible in about 45 minutes by boat.
Don’t forget to wear sunscreen because the sun is very strong. The underwater is a good place to snorkel.