Nestled in the hills in the Central Mountains, Colonia Tovar takes you out of the beauty of South America and makes you feel like you have entered the Black Forest of Germany. The nearest city, Caracas, is 60km away. Although Tovar seems much like Germany, this is no accident. Germans founded it in 1843. German immigrants arriving in Venezuela were quarantined to the coast after diseases broke out on their ship. Once the quarantine was lifted, the Germans moved into the mountains to avoid the locals who were hostile to them. Until recently, the town has remained isolated in the hills.
Arriving at the entrance of the city, we saw horse-drawn carriages on the sides of the road. The houses had beautiful red roofs that reminded me of Heidelberg. Even some of the residents were dressed in German clothing.
Along the main street are stores packed with over-priced souvenirs for tourists. These stores are worth a look, but it’s the stores off of the main street where the amazing deals are. I happened into one store full of the most beautiful pottery that I’ve ever seen. The clay for the pottery came from a nearby town. They had everything from pots to incense burners. I picked up a beautiful vase with a handle. Around the neck was three clay flowers attached by hemp. Almost afraid of the price, I turned it over and found out that this vase was only $3.50. Most of the other clay items in the store were priced even less.
One of the things not to miss here is the hot chocolate. I didn’t catch the name of the place, but if you find the church—it’s off of the main street and everyone knows where it is—there is a little café across the street with a patio and chairs facing the church. The chocolate they serve is unlike anything that you’ll find in the US. They make it with much more cocoa, so if you’re addicted to US chocolate, the stuff you’ll find in Venezuela is enough to make a chocolate addict go through withdrawal.
It’s hard to take a bad photo in Colonia Tovar. Everywhere you look are lush mountains with farms cut out of the sides. The buildings are beautiful and well kept.