DateFrom July 28th to August 22nd 2006
MoneyIn Venezuela we changed our money in banks, in the different travel agencies that offer touristic services, and the agencies that organize trips or even in “posadas”. At Caracas airport we changed 300U$ and the bank kept 6% comisión for State Taxes and a Bank Commission (we “gave” 37U$ to Hugo Chávez and company in total). The official change is 2.100Bs per dollar, and 2.500Bs per Euro.
In agencies or “posadas” the exchange rate is much better since they do not take commission, so that overall the rate of exchange is much more favourable.
Also there is the possibility to change money in the street, but we felt too inexpereinced or simply lacked the trust so we did not try this and therefore cannot explain if changing in the street works or not.

Credit cards are accepted everywhere and at all the hotels, but they charge between 3% and 5% of commission.

Médium change (in travel agencies):
Venezuelan Bolívar (Bs) 1€ = 2700Bs
Per each American dollar 2400Bs.

Travel expenses

+ 850 € (Flight BCN-Venezuela-BCN)
+  410 € (Flight and stay of 5 days- 4 nights at los Roques)
+ 150 € (Transportation: buses, por puestos and taxis)
+ 210 € (Hotels)
+ 120 € (Restaurants, juices and supermarkets)
+ 28 €  (Souvenirs and others)
+ 45 €  (Trips and entrance fees)
= 1.813 € Total of the travel

Average daily budget: 27€, flights aside.
VisaIt is compulsory to have and show a valid passport and to keep the Immigration entrance card until the end of the travel because it will be requested at the airport customs. A visa is only necessary if you want to stay in Venezuela more than 90 days.
HealthIt is not necessary to be vaccinated to enter Venezuela, but if you want to go to the Rainforest it’s advisable to be vaccinated and to take pills to prevent Malaria. The recommended vaccines are for Yellow Fever, Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid, Meningitis and to be up to date on vaccines for diphtheria and tetanus.

You need to be vaccinated at least one month before beginning the travel, and the tablets of the malaria must also be taken 1 week before the trip and for the full 6 weeks. To get the vaccine you must go to the centres qualified by the department of health of the Generalitat de Catalunya (Tel. 93-443 05 07). The vaccines and consultation cost around 30€. We recommended asking for an appointment, a minimum of 3-4 months in advance, because as the number of travellers to exotic destinations is growing, you may not otherwise get your preferred time.

Curiously in Venezuela, we saw some places that they obliged us to have a tetanus vaccine, for instance in the bus station of San Félix. As we had with us the vaccine card that we were given at the consultation of the Catalan Government, it was no problem and we did not have to have another vaccination.
SecurityVenezuela is a South American country unfortunately well-known for its high crime rate, and all the Venezuelans we met - even before travelling or at the airport -advised us to be very careful especially in Caracas, as beside the robberies,  thieves carry guns and are dangerous. They have been known to shoot if you do not immediately give them your valuables. We therefore chose not to stay in Caracas so we have no personal experience but people we met in other cities who had stayed in Caracas, said it was fully ok. In the other cities and villages around Venezuela we felt safe, but we always stayed around the posada at night.

I must say that when it went dark, there was almost nobody in the streets and it was strange to see the streets empty or with only a couple of tourists around at 8 pm. We remained close to the posada when it was darker.

Robberies happen, but if you take care of your valuables, nothing should happen. Of course it’s advisable to travel without jewelry or without flaunting our wealth.

Our experience was fully positive, however it is obviously advisable to take the same sort of precautions one would normally take in an unknown city or as for usually travelling around (or even walking in Barcelona), in crowded places and at night and dark places.
TransportAlthough distances in Venezuela are not huge, when you use public transport, they do seem to be longer than they actually are. Taxis or buses do not drive over 70/80 km per hour and what could be done pretty fast, takes longer, sometimes by many hours.

Generally, the road infrastucture is not good though generally better in the North, around Caracas, regional roads are poor with many pot holes. I think it is strange that the roads are not better as the Venezuelan economy and wealth is predicated upon the production of oil and gas.

Taxi: taxis in Venezuela are cheap, they work without taximeter. Within the cities they usually cost between 3.000Bs and 6.000Bs per trip. In Caracas fares are around double this. It is better to agree the price for the trip before entering the cab,you can bargain and they will make it cheaper. If it is later than 8pm, the price is more expensive, around between 1000Bs and 3000Bs depending on the distance.

The “Por Puesto”: is another good option between the cities in Venezuela, to take a “carrito” (=car), that is an old car for 6 people (driver + 5 people) that make fixed routes between cities with a higher price than the buses but faster. They do not leave until the car is full. The cars are really old, literally ramshackle, old American Dodge or Chevrolets from the 80’s and you always think they will break down.

Airplane: We took 2 internal flights and both were small light aircraft. It’s a good option to move around the country but it’s not cheap.

General information on flying in Venezuela:

Flight companies in Venezuela:

Bus: The inter-urban buses are a good and cheap option for moving around the country. The different companies operating between the cities, have similar prices, and this means that before deciding which company we travel with, we must check which kind of bus they offer.

We would strongly emphasise one negative aspect:- the polar cold that you find in the buses. We had to buy a big blanket so as to be able to survive on the different night routes we did.
All the travellers had blankets and winter clothes even if outside it was 35 degrees, the Venezuelans were ready for the cold. We asked many times the drivers to switch off the air conditioning and they always said that it was fixed, that they knew of the problem but they could not change it, so if you must take the night bus, be aware that inside you will find 17-19 degrees.

Also the “bus cama”, bed-bus that we travelled on, is not as in other South American countries, which have “real beds”, but only offer confortable seats.

Strangely in some buses they take pictures of passengers holding their passports. When I asked why, they told me this was for for security reasons,and  in the case of accidents.

To buy a bus ticket, a passport is required (or Venezuelan ID). They really check: As an anecdote, once we did not go to the counter ourselves but we gave our passport numbers to our friend to buy our bus tickets, but she could not make it, as we did not give her our dates of birth which is also necessary.

The biggest bus companies, have their own termini, called “terminal privada”, which usually are in front or very close of the main terminal. These private terminals are modern, cleaner and with a sense of higher security.

There are a lot of bus companies, some with curious names, but the most important and with private bus terminals are:
Aeroexpresos Ejecutivos :
Expresos Occidente:
Rodovías de Venezuela:
Expresos Flamingos

Train: there is no passenger service with train, only goods transportation.

Car: the rental of a car seems to be good as petrol is incredibly cheap for European pockets, one litre benzine costs 97Bs and one of gasoil 73Bs. To rent a car costs around 60€ per day.
WeatherFor the most part of Venezuela does not present big regional weather changes, neither in rain nor in temperatura nor humidity. Weather in Venezuela when we visited the country was extremely hot but not around Mérida (1.800 m. height) where at night it was fresher and during the day was warm but nice.

Temperatures are even higher than 35 degrees during the day and around 28 degrees at night.
It almost did not rain during all the days in Venezuela, only on our trip to Canaima.
LodgingVenezuela offers a lot of posadas where you can sleep for a reasonable price and with a variety of room types (with air condition, with fan or hammock…). Prices vary between 30.000Bs and 150.000Bs depending room choice. Breakfast is almost never included, but is usually offered for an additional 5.000Bs or 10.000Bs.

We did not make any previous hotel/posada reservation from Barcelona, we simply arrived and looked for a posada. We should say that we did reserve at posada Don Carlos in Ciudad Bolívar and in posada Shalimar in Río Caribe the day before arrival as we wanted to be sure that we got a bed to sleep in these two wonderful posadas and as these two cities are more visited by the tourists. Even in Ciudad Bolívar we met two Catalan and two Italian tourists that had to sleep in the main square as everywhere was fully booked.

It is always worth trying to bargain over the price, though Venezuela is not like other countries where it is easy to get cheaper price when asking. Here we were not as lucky as elsewhere
GastronomyGastronomically Venezuela has been a big disappointment, mostly concerning the offer of fresh fruit. Fresh fruit does not seem to be part of the menus in the restaurants and you cannot find it much around, you cannot buy it in as many places as we expected. Given the climate one can be forgiven thinking it logical to find fresh fruit and vegetables but we did ot find it so easy.
We did not even see many restaurants or bars where they offer freshly squeezed juice, only bottled varieties!

The juices are called "batido". A "milkshake" is not a "milkshake" as we understand them here with milk, but that is natural juice. Also "juice" is the word used.
In addition, we have seen that the Venezuelan eat too much fried food, there is much North American influence in the gastronomy. They eat "empanadas" round the clock accompanied by gaseous drinks, mostly cola.

All the main plates are usually accompanied by rice, salad or some other alternative such as yucca or boiled potato. Quality of the meat is good, and quality of fish from the river or from the sea is very good.

Some restaurants where we went were simple, with plastic chairs open air affairs, without glasses.
The price of most dishes was cheap, if you want you can eat for between 3€ and 5€ and one normally pays between 5€ and 10€.

Bottles of water cost between 1.350Bs and 3.000Bs depending where we bought it.

For wine lovers we must say that in Venezuela you mostly find Chilean and Argentinian wines and the prices in the restaurants are high. In Venezuela wine is also produced, in the area of Barquisimeto, Pomar cellars: (

At paying you must add sometimes 10% for taxes services.
Time differenceDuring European Summer Time Venezuela is six hours behind (seven from UK time).
Travel guidesVenezuela, Lonely Planet Italian version (Ed. March 2004).
(When we traveled, Spanish version did not exist).
c/ Capitán 1, 13 – Edf. Eurocentro – 28020 Madrid.
Telf. 91- 417 59 42 Fax 91-417 60 47

E-mail: [email protected]