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.
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?
VENEZUELA. great country, i grew up there, DONT GO, EXTREMELY DANGEROUS
TOO DANGEROUS. DONT GO. PLS
unfortunately it's changing every day.
If you're looking for a reliable tour operator, you might get a good offer here: -snip- (english, german & spanish speaking
[ Edit: Edited on 07-Jan-2013, at 05:15 by ElCattivo Sorry, no promos please. ]
When you have a guided tour you don`t will have any problems...The organization here in venezuela is not so easy for Backpackers it`s highly recomend to do a travel organzitaion before with a experienced tour operator...
My wife and I have just got back from 15 months travel in South America - we visited every country except Venezuela. From what I've read, I don't regret skipping it. Still, as previous posters say, it's hard to define "safe". British tourists are stabbed and shot dead in Thailand every year. Whatever you decide, enjoy your travels! Colombia and Ecuador are simply fantastic.
we visited every country except Venezuela.
So, you've missed the best one.
I visited Venezuela in 2011. And it was not an easy trip. First, you have to always be on guard. I went ot Plaza Bolivar in Caracas and stepped into a church. I remember a woman coming to me and saying in broken English that I had to be careful, because there were a lot of bag- snatchers and pickpockets in the area.
We were also in an accident on the road on the way from Merida to Maracay. The bus flipped over at 4 am on a bridge. Some people were injured. We were lucky nobody died. But that was quite an experience to find yourself on a lonely road in the middle of the night, scared and try to find your luggage in the luggage compartment of the overturned bus in the dark.
I find Venezuelans somewhat arrogant. They dodn't like gringos- I heard a few sarcastic comments a few times.
A piece of advice: learn a few phrases in Spanish before you go, because otherwise it will be tough....
Do not expect too much in the way of service. Busses and planes are late and people are lazy...
Overall, Venezuela is a beautiful country and is well worth a visit, you just have to be careful...
Angel Falls are fantastic in the rainy season....