I have a bit of an advantage when traveling to Venezuela because my husband is from there. So it is nice to visit family and get a real sense of the Venezuelan culture. We generally visit and then go site seeing in other parts of the country. The county is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. It makes me sad of the political unrest because I want everyone to go and experience what the country has to offer.
There are a few things to note if you choose to travel to Venezuela:
- Check Twitter or call the hotels to see if there are any shortages. This is serious business. You could get there and they are out of toilet paper or worse beer. Know before you go.
- Even if the hotel says everything is fine, it probably is not. Take any personal items you will need with you. Do not plan on buying anything there just in case.
- Do not wear anything nice. You are not going to 5th Avenue. Express Kidnappings are real. Just be aware and you will be okay, but leave your nice stuff at home. The general rule is if you have to leave it there, how sad would you be? Then leave that stuff at home!.
- If you are not a South American it can be very difficult to understand some of the culture. For example, while we were at the ticketing office, the woman needed to take a break, so she just left. We asked when would she return and her co-worker said in a couple hours. This oddly happened a lot, so don’t be upset if it happens to you.
- If you learned Spanish in the US, you probably learned Mexican. In Europe you probably learned Spain/Spanish. This is not the same as Venezuelan spanish. You will get by but just know there are differences so you probably want to bring a translation book just in case.
- The beef in Venezuela is amazing. I am not sure if they are massaging their cows or what but it is just.. wow!
- Arepas are the official rolls of the country. It is corn-meal made into a patty and then fried or baked. They are awesome with some cheese or like a sandwich. Beware they are addicting and probably not so good for you.
- Sitting in traffic on the Pan Americana is an experience all on its own. People spend hours sitting on it because the congestion is so bad. So, the Venezuelans (although I see this in many SA countries) sell items to you while you are waiting. It is a great concept. Just be aware of thefts and kidnappings and you will be fine.
- Again, I love Venezuela. Venezuela does not love Americans anymore though. If you are planning a trip in 2016 or later, you will need a Visa. These visas require alot of information so be prepared. For example they want a copy of your mortgage payment and proof of income. Check the requirements before you commit to see if you can even get a visa now.
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Also, read my post on Angel Falls. The trip was one of those lifetime experiences. It is a tough trip physically but worth every second. Check it out here: Angel Falls and how we got left in the jungle.