Hello fellow travellers!!
Just curious if anyone has been to Venezuela recently?
My gf and I have been doing a round the world backpacking trip and so far have visited vietnam, laos, cambodia, thailand, india, nepal, tibet, china, peru, bolivia, chile, argentina, uruguay and soon antarctica. We are also planning on going to Ecuador, Columbia, and possibly Venezuela.
Unfortunately Venezuela is the first country we have had second thoughts about; we have read and heard from a couple of other travellers that at the moment Venezuela is possibly the most dangerous country in south america and have been advised against visiting.
So what do you guys think? Should we go or not?
Hi, I'm Yusuke, Japanese.
I went to Venezuela last JUL.2011. It was safe, I didn't have any problem
But in a big city like Capital and Ciudad Bolivar, you have to be very careful.
My Venezuelan friend keep saying that Venezuela is very dangerous country for rich Venezuelan.
However, for touristic area such as santa elena, it's ok. I saw so many tourist traveling.
I hope this would help.
double post removed
[ Edit: Edited on 26-Jan-2012, at 14:26 by Rainer Dynszis ]
Just curious if anyone has been to Venezuela recently?
I'm not sure how this question relates to safety in Venezuela.
Imagine the following card game: The player draws a card from a standard poker deck, and if he picks any queen, he gets killed.
Now if another player tells you that he picked an ace of spades, would you conclude that this game is harmless?
There's two aspects to this game: First, the odds are higher than 92% that you "win" by drawing a card other than a queen. Even for five people playing at once, there's still a probability of 66% that none of them will come to harm.
The second aspect is that the losers will never tell you, because they're all dead.
Tourists who got killed in Venezuela won't tell you either.
Venezuela is in fact the most dangerous country in South America, just like your fellow travellers said. Statistically, it has the fourth highest recorded murder rate in the whole world, after Honduras, El Salvador, and Saint Kitts (in that order). Venezuela's rate is 55 times higher than that for Australia.
If I were you, I'd pass. Odds are that you'd get home unharmed, but personally, I would find the risk to draw a queen too high.
[ Edit: Edited on 26-Jan-2012, at 14:25 by Rainer Dynszis ]
Quoting Rainer Dynszis
Statistically, it has the fourth highest recorded murder rate in the whole world, after Honduras, El Salvador, and Saint Kitts (in that order).
Never trust any statistics that you didn’t forge yourself ;-)
As a tourist you don't have to care about that murder rate statistics. Although it's correct it doesn't matter for you unless you don't intend to visit the slums of the big cities, especially Caracas.
Thanks guy, still debating it...
Disclaimer: a venezuelan ex-pat. Last visit to Venezuela: 3 months ago.
You question is: "is it safe" -- and it isn't. It isn't safe, just as Atlanta isn't safe, or Sao Paulo isn't safe or Barcelona isn't safe.
As a tourist, you're bound to pretty much the same recommendations you follow elsewhere: maintain low profile (perceived wealth attacks are an issue) avoid troublesome situations (this no longer means "don't visit the slum", but also "have secure transportation arranged", "avoid travel by night", "learn to drive defensively", etc.) and don't fight back in a hostile situation. The fact that 1st-world cities are also unsafe doesn't cover the fact that violent crime is rampant in Venezuela, and while fighting back in Atlanta might get you on the evening news as the "tough guy" who resisted robbery, in Venezuela it's likely you'll make it to the statistics instead.
Now, as per the spirit of your question, should you travel there? I'd say no, if you don't have locals supporting you. And this is not only (and not mainly) because of security (although those issues can and have collided in the past, such as with the armed robbery of a hostel full of brazilian tourists in Margarita), but because of the negative general climate for tourism: infrastructure, reliability, good service, price/value ratio et al. But if you have friends that can arrange transportation and plans for you, and you can do it as a local, and stay away from trouble (as it happens elsewhere, crowded beaches and alcohol are a dangerous mix) then you will be fine and will enjoy some good natural landscapes and activities.
I live in Ecuador for about 3yrs now and I'd definitely recommend visiting here. Despite being a smaller, and perhaps poorer country, having the USD as the local currency and having locals treasuring their tourism adds up to good experiences. Perhaps you should also consider Colombia, both beaches and large cities (I acknowledge that after Perú and Bolivia, probably mountains in Ecuador is the last thing you'd like to see... that's fine, then go to Ruta del Sol!)
Hope this helps! Enjoy Latin America!
Thanks for your replies. We've decided that we're going to skip visiting Venezuela...for now anyway.
We're going to go to Bonaire instead
I've replying very late in order to keep the information limited to one thread.
I'm currently travelling in Venezuela, hitchhiking. I can say that safety is usually a relative thing, which depends on how you act, your appearence, your language capability, where you are and when, and sometimes it's just luck.
Venezuela has the highest crime rate, and unfortunately, it is individual, meaning that the common tourist has more to fear than elsewhere. For instance, Baghdad is a dangerous city above all for the suicide bombings, but travelers being targeted for theft is actually less common than in Caracas. I won't quote statistics because they vary, but it is generally agreed that Venezuela has one of the highest murder rates, and that Caracas is the most dangerous city in Latin America.
I'm in Caracas now, and I can say that my friends basically don't allow me to go out at night if not in a taxi and with a destination. The daytime seems fine enough if you use your head and stick to where there are people, and crowds. I'm staying in an area beside a barrio, which is considered dangerous, but I simply don't go out late at night, prefering to leave my party instincts for some other, smaller town.
However, I was held at gun point in the small town of Piritu. They approached ona motorcycle, two men. They took nothing, because as it turns out I'm somewhat of a vagabond. However, I realized my mistake. I was in an area with only one kiosk, beside the road with plenty of traffic, but standing too far from it for it to serve as a deterrent to the robbers. It was daylight. Elsewhere in Latin America I have been in much more isolated areas, without any problems, and for 3 years running. I had been in VZ for only 10 days.
Based on my experience, how the locals talk about the danger not only in Caracas but elsewhere as well, I can say that the danger is almost tangible. However, the tourist beaches seem calm. There have been robberies, but the best you can do is not resist, because these robberies are usually with firearms.
All this being said, I do not think Venezuela should be overlooked as a destination, especially since we have much to learn from their political history, whether we agree with it or not. If you're truly afraid, the best you can do is to travel only in the daylight, and stay in well-guarded areas (Chacao in Caracas, or large hotel chains in Margarita). Stay where there are plenty of people, even at beaches. The Gran Sabana and Santa Elena are generally considered to be quite safe, and that area is one of the main tourist destinations. As is Merida, which is safer than the rest of the country.
So these are my two bits. I was held at gun point but I do not warn against travel to VZ.