Venezuela is a country of immense variety. It offers a vast stretch of Caribbean coastline, Andean peaks, wetlands teeming with wildlife, the Amazon, table-top mountains known as tepuis and the world’s highest waterfall, the Angel Falls, set in the beautiful Canaima National Park. The Gran Sabana offers beautiful waterfalls and tepuis, the most famous of which is Mt Roraima. The Orinoco Delta with its wetlands and waterways is an ideal place for wildlife spotting as is Los Llanos, a vast seasonally flooded savannah that rivals the Pantanal of Brazil for biodiversity. For a Caribbean experience there is Los Roques National Park, a chain of islands and coral reefs.
A pre-arranged visa is not required to enter Venezuela for citizens of the following countries:
For other nationalities please visit the website of the relevant consulate.
Always carry a copy of your passport and Venezuela entry stamp with you, wherever you go.
Cash withdrawals from ATMs
Be careful when withdrawing money from ATMs as muggings do occur. Only take money out during the day and if possible be accompanied by someone you know. Where possible use the machines within banks. Be aware of any suspicious looking people nearby and check the ATM for possible criminal interference as card cloning is a problem in Venezuela.
There are no self-contained public toilets in Venezuela, so you are advised to use the toilets of establishments such as restaurants, hotels, museums, shopping malls and bus terminals. Always carry your own toilet paper with you and always throw used toilet paper into the wastebasket provided. Some public restrooms charge a small fee and this generally includes an allotment of paper.
The unit of currency in Venezuela is the Bolivar (VEF).
Please check websites such as www.oanda.com or www.xe.com for up to date exchange rates prior to your departure.
There are now strict currency controls in place in Venezuela. Foreign exchange bureaux will exchange US dollars and US dollar traveller’s cheques for Bolivars. Please ensure that you only use official currency exchange bureaux. Do not use the black market as you are at risk of being given counterfeit local currency. You cannot exchange Bolivars to any other currency outside of Venezuela.
Credit cards are accepted in most towns and all major cities. ATMs are also plentiful in main towns and cities but please take care when using debit or credit cards as there is a serious problem with credit card fraud and card cloning.
We recommend that you travel with a supply of US dollars, as well as small amounts of local currency as the US dollar is readily accepted in major hotels and tourist areas. Use local currency for small purchases.
LDD, Emergency Numbers, Internet
Country code: + 58
Internet cafes are widespread throughout Venezuela being found in most towns and all cities. Wi-Fi is becoming increasingly common in many hotels – certainly larger hotels and posadas.
Venezuela is an equatorial country, so there are no real seasons other than wet and dry. The dry season runs from November to April and the wet from May to October. The Caribbean Coast is generally dry all of the year and the capital, Caracas has an ‘everlasting spring’ climate.
Venezuela’s cuisine varies greatly from one region to another. It is tropical and Andean with European influences. Staple foods include corn, rice, plantain, yams, beans and several meats with seafood along the coast.
Typical dishes include:
Arepa - The most famous Venezuelan dish, a cornmeal cake that is grilled, baked or fried, split open and filled with cheese and meats.
Cachapa - A thick pancake made from a puree of corn, sugar, salt and oil, folded over and filled with soft white cheese.
Cachitos de Jamon - Similar to a croissant filled with chopped ham and/or cheese.
Pabellon Criollo – The national dish consisting of shredded beef and black beans served on a bed of white rice, accompanied by a fried egg or fried plantain slices.
We recommend that you drink bottled water and avoid tap water at all times.
Spanish is the first language of Venezuela but there are also numerous indigenous dialects including Wayuu, Warao and Pemón.