Review of "Caracas"
This review is a trip I took a few years ago to Caracas, Venezuela.
About CaracasCaracas is the capital city of Venezuela and has 4 million inhabitants who live there.
Caracas is the commercial and industrial centre of Venezuela and these include places such as meat packing, sugar refining and even tobacco products and glassware.
Caracas is also 900 metres above sea level and is a city which is situated next to the Caribbean port of La Guaira and is right on the coast.
WeatherThe weather throughout the year is roughly the same but there are also the additional bad storms that might hit the city.
The normal temperatures throughout the year is around 27c and at night time can be around the 15c mark so at night time might seem the same as it would during the day.
Temperatures have been known to rise up to 37c throughout long periods of time as well so you do need to check before arriving at this destination.
My AdventureI have got a family connection with South America and this is one country I have wanted to visit since I was small so I decided to take a nice 10 day holiday to Caracas the capital when I had the free chance.
I arrived via plane but I had to travel to Lisbon first because it was cheaper doing it this route and you end up flying directly to Caracas so instantly I was impressed, usually I had to go through multiple flights in order to get to a destination in South America.
I noticed on arrival they were 4 hours and 30 minutes behind our time and it was nice arriving in the morning time there and having the chance to spend a quiet day looking around what seemed a superb city.
I found my hotel and was astonished has to how special it looked, it seemed like I had struck gold and brought a palace it looked and was sensational. I then got my camera and went out for a little trip to explore the outside of this marvellous city.
Instantly I was amazed by how clean it was around the streets and how much public transport was around from the local bus service all the way to the taxi and even this odd horse and carriage but I am sure they were not horses. I never did ask what they were.
I was exploring the city and I saw these buildings which you can only believe were there by pictures of experiencing it for yourself. There were some buildings which were museums and churches but there was something about the buildings they had so much pride about them and it made me smile watching people appreciate the art work as well around them all.As I left and finished working the camera batteries out I returned to the hotel and felt I needed to rest. I could hear people out on the streets all dancing and singing and I was sort of intrigued as to what they were up to and I managed to find perhaps the coolest street in the world and it was a party every night there.
I knew the rest of the trip if it followed what I had seen on the first day I was in for a delightful and special holiday experience.
My first attraction was the Teresa Carreño Cultural Complex and this was a theatre which showed everything from ballet performances to operas and general musicals. I remember when I first saw the building because the outside it was built in a very unusual way but inside it was superb. There are 24,000 seats to this theatre and it was a special occasion when I went to see an opera performance and the place was packed. It feels like no other theatre I have ever been in and you’re sat in different locations around the stage. A very special place and for a price of around £18 per person to get in your looking at a very good deal and a great performance to enjoy.Another location was the Museo de Ciencias which is a science museum and it was fantastic. On the outside it appeared small and perhaps pointless but inside it had everything you would want to know and some of the information will be useful to people who enjoy animals because they had so much information on the science of various animals there who live in that country or the continent it was surprising how much you could learn. They had science which perhaps you are familiar with but the tour which I took last a few hours and your left to explore the place on your own afterwards and I found it fantastic. There was apparently 190,000 pieces of Caracas science history to explore as well so plenty to be seeing whilst being there.
You could also go to the Parque Del Este which is a huge park in a town just outside the city and it is an amazing park, there is no traffic around and you can see people playing Frisbee, volleyball, football and more and yet there is a huge mountain which dominates the sky line when you’re at this park. You also have a small zoo as well to explore should you wish to do so and inside there are animals like the lovely Anaconda snake and they have other animals inside as well which might astonish people when they enter inside. There is a nice theme about the place because it is so clean and tidy and the people love it there. The air is fresh and if you want a day to enjoy the weather and want a break from it all then this is the place to go.If you enjoy hiking perhaps or just love heights there is a mountain range name the Avila and this is a mountain which you cannot help notice when you’re out and about and you can walk up the mountain, cycle, climb and even get a cable car there. I took the cable car up there and walked back down but the images you get when you’re up the top is superb. You can see out into the ocean and see a neighbouring city named Valencia which is a good few miles away. The mountain is actually 2,740 metres above sea level and as you get higher you do breathe more heavily due to the lack of oxygen but it was a great adventure and when you reach the top the sense of approval you get is fantastic.
If you like plants and trees then there is a place called the Jardin Botanico and it is this huge area which you can walk around and you get to experience the tropical plants and sometimes you see some of the animals which use them and it is a lovely sight to see. Some of the plants your left speechless by their colour and shape and the garden they are in has a lake running through the middle so you can walk past and observe but you also get a good glimpse of the cleanliness of the place as well. This is a very well kept garden and full of enjoyment for people who use it to experience the beauty of their plants there.One final attraction is the small beach they have named Los Caracas and this is a beach which is very nice with the golden sand and clean beach with the long and powerful waves (perfect for surfing) and the clear blue water. You have tropical trees around and you can hang hammocks there if you wish and you can have a really exciting day there with the nice weather all the time and if you fancy a swim in the water you can and even have a good look at some of the fish they have around and take a few good pictures as well. One warning is that some people do like to walk around naked on the far side of this beach so unless you’re prepared it might take you by surprise.
I have always struggled to find a decent place to go shopping in South America when I am on holiday but I found so many shopping complexes whilst in Caracas it was untrue. One of those was named Centro Sambil and this was a newly formed shopping mall and had over 500 stores and the unique feature was it never went sideways the building.On the outside the mall looks round in shape and that is exactly how it is on the inside. You walk in and you find the stores are all going round in a circle and as you want to go up a floor you just keep walking and you can use the facilities such as a lift to gain entry to the next floor but it keeps on going up and up and round and round. It is something I have never experienced before and they have got this ability there to have so many different stores to make everyone happy from the stores which sell souvenirs to the ones which sell clothing.
A great shopping mall and with others around as well located in different parts of the city you have plenty to go shopping for.
This city is a cultural capital and has so many theatres and museums. The poor part to the culture of this great city is the crime rate.
I was there and I witnessed plenty of activities taking place so the culture is crime and the saddest part to this is that the city is very clean as well.
They have a very good selection of markets but they are not that big when you walk up to them. They have one market which seems to sell that many varieties of spices you are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing from them all but you also have a choice of not just spices but herbs and other sort of leaves you can use to spice up food.This same market also sells food and I have to say one of the animals I saw them have in the back I had no idea what it was but it looked like a sort of camel but I never asked as the person serving seemed not the most pleasant of people. They prepare meat there for you and if you request a joint of bacon (for an example) they will would bring out the animal and cut it up in front of you which was quite unusual but it showed you how they did it.
The spices range from spices they have over there but they had so many chilli types it was untrue and I counted around 25 varieties of chilli they had and every one of them had warnings attached about how powerful they could be.You also had the market which sold goods such as gifts and items of clothing and fruit, and the fruit sadly never looked in date and also looked as if it was not fresh so that was a problem but overall this market had some nice gifts but very expensive.
There food is not the best out in Caracas but they do have one dish I found delicious and I admit I had it most nights because of the taste it left behind. This dish was named Pabellon criollo and it was basically rice and shredded beef which had this sort of sauce on top with some spices but nothing to hot and next to this you had some black beans which had been stewed.Some places I visited had managed to put eggs on them or even other items such as parsnips (which shocked me) and some of the places if you didn’t like beef they would replace the shredded beef with a freshwater fish.
They were keen for rice to be a part of most of their food dishes out there which was always a problem if you got easily fed up with rice and beans were around as well with most of the meat dinners.
If you like vegetables they did do salads and they were always rich in flavour usually due to the dressing they put on top of them.
Night LifeThis city has perhaps the best night life I have ever experienced and one street in particular was the central point for this night life activity. A street named La Union had this constant street party and you might assume this to be a noisy and drunken affair with problems of violence and yet this is not the case at all. The people would turn up in vehicles and people would sit down and have a few drinks and make friends and people just had fun and I felt when I was there that people were very accepting of me and had a good time chatting and enjoying stories told.
There were also plenty of places to drink like bars and restaurants but there was this place which was a bar but when you entered you felt you had walked into this hut of a surfer. There was a nice solid building on the outside and yet the inside was seaweed on the walls and surf boards and pieces of a boat which had been cut up and attached to the walls. It was a fun place to drink and extremely friendly atmosphere as well.
How to TravelIf you want to travel to the mountain top you had to use a cable car but this cable car also took you over the ocean and for a tour as well of the city from a great height but this did seem out of order most of the time so perhaps not the best option of getting around this city at all.
You have the metro which is a nice route which takes you all around the city and is very clean and extremely cheap as well at the same time. They have them situated all over and easy to gain entry to.Taxis they have these here but they are expensive and they have problems there with the drivers because if they know you’re a tourist which is easy to do it appears they make you pay double the fair, so you best go inside and ask about the price and if you’re not happy then tell them what you’re willing to pay and if they refuse to budge on a price then move to another taxi and that is the best route, but I found not many people used the taxi service due to the problems with them inside.
There is the mini buses as well which are useful and cheap and the best part about these is that if you stop at traffic lights you can ask the driver to open up the doors and they open them up and you can jump out and you can flag them down and they usually stop on route to collect you so they are very useful but filthy inside.
AccommodationWell the hotel I was in felt like I had entered a palace and it did feel that way. The room was superb and the table I had in the room was made from solid oak wood and the bedroom had a hammock in the corner and a balcony and you could open the hammock and lay back and relax in the sunshine if you wanted to as well.
There was a television but I never used it because I was always out and it was a nice room with all the proper facilities you would want and the price was just £20 a night and it was so small in price that I would always go back to that hotel. The weird part is some of the poorer hotels were higher in price so no idea how they work out the prices for the hotel rooms at all.
Good PointsThere is a great sense of pride with their buildings in this city and I find it fantastic that they value them so well and appreciate the history behind them all and that is always a good part to a big city when you can see how much they value their heritage.
I think the night life was just out of this world I couldn’t stop finding bars and places to go and have a drink and if you didn’t want a drink you had the theatres to visit and go and enjoy either the opera or a ballet performance and I thought it was a great part of the holiday experience. I think the night life is important because if you have the day time to do stuff and then at night time you get bored it sort of makes the trip seem pointless so the night life here is superb.I like the food here and I found it very spicy at times but I found it very tasty with so many odd items on a plate but when the flavours are mixed they work really well and that for me makes them a very exciting city with food and they explore various potential recipes so the taste is perfect.
The amount of shopping centres they have is just amazing, they have the one I mentioned above the Sambil which is the biggest one they have but there are many more with different stores inside as well. With the shopping being so good you could spend a few days visiting the malls and finding out all the bargains you might find to bring back with you.
Bad PointsSadly the crime tops this list and this is bad here. Usually they say the tourists never experience it and if they do it is rare but I saw a few random points of crime and it was for people’s items of clothing more so then the money in their wallets. They do give you information in hotels that if you feel you could be attacked you should take small amounts of money with you and if you do go out and someone demands your wallet just give it to them and they will disappear if you do not they could have weapons and that instantly can be scary. The crime is usually in the valleys of the mountain Avila and the shantytowns which are nearby.
I was not happy with the people at some places and there rude behaviour. If you have to ask for directions they treat you as an outsider and really do not want you there at all. They look at you as someone who is invading their privacy and you should leave. That being said there were some people who were extremely friendly and kind so it is a mixed bag but I found more people were rude then there were polite.
SummaryA city which has a lot of history, great nightlife, food and shopping sounds fantastic. The amount of hotels you have to choose from and attractions it sounds a great holiday destination but with the crime it might put people off.
I did see some crime but it was to local people and they never seemed to bother with the tourists who you would imagine carry the most cash on them.
It was a nice place to visit and very clean and tidy in some parts and if you do go past the shantytowns you are going to find it a real dump. There transport although some parts are expensive there is quite a few alternatives to use to get around this city and enjoy you.
Product Information : Caracas
Manufacturer's product description
Listed on Ciao since: 30/08/2002