Venezuela Journals

Spring Break with Jake - SOUTH of AMERICA

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A March 2004 trip to Venezuela by Jose Kevo

Untamed Caribbean Photo, Venezuela, South America More Photos
Quote: With an income tax refund check and frequent flier miles to burn, what does the broke, non-traditional student do for spring break? Request extra time off and then head for Venezuela's untamed Caribbean coast! This entire journal is a regional overview previewing what travelers should expect and prepare for.

Spring Break with Jake - SOUTH of AMERICA

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Overview

Untamed Caribbean Photo, Venezuela, South America
Quote:
Colonial Caribbean As built hundreds of years ago, spruced-up blocks fill cities and villages with major efforts underway to restore the country's Spanish colonial heritage. Most budget accommodations are found in these historic, rennovated structures, and the area also includes some of the first documented churches on the continent.Back to Nature Venezuela has 43 National Parks for exploring with terrains as diverse as individual's preferences. Five of these were along my coastal route ranging from great sand dunes, pristine cays, and 2000m+ mountain ranges shrouded in dense rain forests.On the CHEAP! Decent places to stay, plates piled high of food with...Read More

The Chameleon Traveler - Blending In

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Attraction

Inside looking Out Photo, Venezuela, South America
Quote:
Based on current global unpopularity of United States, never has it been so important to try and obscurely blend in to local environs, at best, as a traveler from anywhere but America. I made a very conscious effort not to pack items with U.S. sports team logos or name-brand clothing that would've been a dead giveaway...though expect locals to be wearing nothing but. Somehow my tactics must have worked. I was pegged as German everywhere I went, just as I've frequently been in Europe.Venezuela is still very much a traditionally formal Spanish culture though there was obvious resistance and rebellion from younger generations. Yet, as a traveler in their country, you'll be expected to play ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 7, 2004

Seeing RED! - The Color of Money

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Attraction

BEST BUYS #1 Photo, Venezuela, South America
Quote:
Venezuela is definitely a destination for Budget Travelers, but a general lack of information on how their money system works best for foreigners certainly proved costly, and was more frustrating than when traveling across Europe exchanging currencies half a dozen times. Cash, traveler's checks and credit cards had been recommended with still no guarantees.Local currency is known as the Bolívar and designated Bs. Banks are open Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. and were extremely crowded on Mondays and Fridays. When entering the lobby, you'll need to be issued a number from an automated machine. Patrons are called based on type of transaction;...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 7, 2004

Low-Down on the Dirty & Dangerous

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Attraction | "Low-Down on the Dirty & Dangerous"

Inescapable Photo, Venezuela, South America
Quote:
If Venezuela has a downside, overwhelming magnitudes of Dirty & Dangerous were by far the worst I've ever encountered. Information thoroughly covered these issues, but there's nothing that prepares for what I found.Pollution was inescapable. As in most Latin American countries, this is unfortunately to be expected but it extended far beyond where people lived. Plastic shopping bags tossing in the wind were part of natural vistas. Roadways were medians for endless refuse along shoulders. The rudest awakening came when driving around remote areas of Península de Paraguaná and finding barren fields glittering as far as the eyes could see thanks to the sun reflecting off glass objects....Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 7, 2004

Catch of the Day Photo, Venezuela, South America
Quote:
Travel DocumentsWe all know the list of precautions and safeguards which I must confess never bothering with when it comes to "being prepared". But considering the current high-risk security issues in Venezuela, never has it been so critical to follow the recommended suggestions of making photo copies of passport, airline tickets, credit card and other key information to be kept in various safe places.If you plan on traveling around any time soon in this volatile country on the verge of Civil War, you should probably follow the sound advice of actually registering with your embassy. I also highly suggest having a couple of lists prepared with contact numbers to your local emba...Read More

Unveiling la Chinita

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Story/Tip

The Plaza Rotunda Photo, Venezuela, South America
Quote:
When it comes to random cultural festivities and celebrations, I must be the luckiest traveler on the planet for always seeming to show up just in time for these events no one could actually plan for. My first full day back in Maracaibo proved just as fortunate. Trying to get a jump on the heat had prompted an early start to the day. Arriving in the historic center by 8am, I figured the hordes of groundskeepers scurrying like ants around Paseo de las Ciencias must have had the same motivation...but on a Sunday morning?Halfway down this 8-block plaza which anchors the heart of Maracaibo, there was a long stretch of manicured lawns and gardens encased within ornate walls and historic...Read More
Get There How You Can Photo, Venezuela, South America
Quote:
Throughout years of traveling, there were apprehensions and uncertainties about my planned itinerary for two weeks in Venezuela, since this would be my first time of taking to the road rather than basing everything from one location. Would I be able to find my way around? Would it be a hassle repacking every couple of days, hauling bags on public transportation, and then finding some place to stay? And even more important than could I do it, would I enjoy it? YES!Exploring anywhere around Venezuela is inexpensive and efficient thanks to a booming transportation system fueled by some of the cheapest gas prices in the Western world. Regardless of where you plan to go within the country, e...Read More
Double Footprints in the Sand Photo, Venezuela, South America
Quote:
Arepas - cornmeal cakes shaped like a hockey puck, go down like a rubber biscuit, and served everywhere with everything costing hardly anything. Actually, they're rather decent and filling when served as mini-sandwiches stuffed with meats or seafood and cheeses costing about 50-cents.Enjoying an inexpensive meal one night, one of our fellow travelers commented about tiring of always having to eat arepas. Unless you're a glutton for punishment, there's absolutely no need to base your local diet around these - regardless of how tight your budget is! Venezuela serves up a wealth of inexpensive dining opportunities with plates piled high of appetizing local cuisine for under US$...Read More

The Uncertain Times of Travel

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Story/Tip

Illusions of Delusions Photo, Venezuela, South America
Quote:
Ears were somewhat burning as coworkers suspiciously whispered. Eventually, one called me over directing attention to a copy of USA Today. There, buried in a world events sidebar column, was picture of a young woman on her knees with arms lifted upward in surrender while an armed soldier held rifle at steady aim. Background was a haze of smoke and confusion from the streets of Caracas.There was joking about eventually finding my picture in the paper based on my upcoming trip. I self-assuredly quipped about being the potential photographer who takes and sells a similar shot. Later that weekend, I wasn't as cocksure when the same coworker hurriedly rushed me off to witness a news report a...Read More