VENEZUELA, some facts
Because we want you to live something special in Venezuela... all our trips are a combination of human, physical, cultural, recreational and educative experiences.
Venezuela is located at the Northernmost tip of South America, covering an area of 916,445 km2, approximately the size of the province of Ontario in Canada, or twice the size of California.
The country shares its borders with Colombia to the West, Brazil to the South and Guyana to the East. On its Northern border, Venezuela boasts more than 3,000 km of coastline on the Caribbean Sea, of which about half are idyllic beaches.
In Venezuela the climate is tropical, and temperature varies according to the altitude, from 24° to 36°C (75° to 96°F) in lowlands and jungle areas, to lows of 10°C (50°F) in mountainous ranges over 2000 meters (6500 feet). Only two seasons exist in Venezuela, the dry season from December to May and the rainy season from June to November.
But why would I go to Venezuela?
Unfortunately, in North America, Venezuela is known only for its beaches: Margarita and Puerto La Cruz. But did you know that, according to the United Nations, Venezuela is ranked amongst the first 10 countries (on a total of 255!), for its bio-diversity.
We can find about any kind of environment in Venezuela, from idyllic beaches and mangroves on the Caribbean coast to dense jungle in the Amazonas and the Coastal Range, sand dunes in the Coro Peninsula, mystic tepuis in the Gran Sabana, plains and permanent glaciers in Merida state.
More than 40% of the territory is protected under some kind of legal entity: there are 39 National Parks, 17 National Monuments, 9 important Wildlife Refuges and Reserves and Forest Reserves, which makes it the nation with the highest proportion of its territory devoted to environmental conservation.
More than 22 ethnic groups of Native Americans, Indians, are represented in Venezuela; of which the Yanomamis, the last ones on earth who have maintained their original customs and idiosyncrasy until now.
And last but not least, Venezuela is only 3 hours from Miami, 5 from New York, served by American Airlines, Continental, and Delta, as well as the Venezuelan airlines Aeropostal and Santa Barbara.
During the cold North American winter exists charter flights from Montreal and Toronto in Canada, flying directly to Margarita island for incredibly low prices (from November to April).
From Europe, Venezuela is served by all major airlines, Air France, Alitalia, British, Iberia, Lufthansa, as well as regular charter flights form Belgium, Germany and Spain.
With this great number of airlines serving Venezuela, it is always possible to find a good economical fare.
Political situation and safety considerations
Much is being written these days about Venezuela, Chavez, the Bolivarian revolution and the safety issues.
The reality is not what it appears to be. The bad press about Venezuela is about a destabilization campaign against the government of the actual president Hugo Chavez for his posture against capitalism and neo-colonialism. As a result there is an intense polarization in the venezuelan society. A few years ago there were general strikes and marches regularly, but things have calmed down since then. In any case, you should avoid these if there would be any political meeting. If you are outside of Caracas, you will not even be aware of these events, almost entirely concentrated in the capital city of Caracas.
If you are interested in reading a different story about the processes happening right now in Venezuela, we invite you to read, in Spanish:
TeleSur, a very professional South American 24 hours news channel,
Radio Nacional de Venezuela, Venezuela's public radio network, and
In English: Venezuela Analysis
As for violance, it is true that there is a significant number of homicides registered in Venezuela each week-end but if you look at the statistics, you will notice that most of them occur in the shanty towns around the big cities, and most are related to drugs or gang wars. Seen from that perspective, we would say that the situation is not better, not worse than in any other big cities in United States (in the car rental agencies at Miami airport, are they still handing out a leaflet with safety guidelines stating for example not to stop on red lights at night, etc... ? )
Be prudent, always use legal taxis (they have yellow license plates, from the airport buy the ticket at the counter inside the terminal), contract the services of legal tour operators (like us !) using licensed guides, don't show up too much jewelry, cameras etc in center of Caracas, don't go in areas where you have nothing to do anyway, shanty towns etc... and you will have a great vacation without incidents.