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Venezuela's capital Caracas is located in the north of the country and is the most populated city in Venezuela. Venezuela's major international airport is located in Caracas, making it the primary entry point to the country for visitors. Located near the coast, Caracas is situated in a valley at an altitude of roughly 800 metres (2,400 feet). This gives the city a unique climate which many describe as the Caracas' best feature - never too hot and never too cold.
Caracas has a bad reputation amongst travellers as it offers very little in the way of charming and beautiful. Consisting of densely packed concrete buildings, it is a congested and polluted city. On top of that, many parts of the city are considered downright dangerous, even during the day. Taking the proper precautions however, Caracas will provide you with a unique and interesting travel experience.
Caracas is hard place to visit, to have an enjoyable trip to this city is strongly recommended to be oriented by a "Caraqueño" who can give you, tips to a safer and funny trip. If you want to know the fancy and avoid the danger, go the following "urbanizaciones": Altamira, La Castellana, Los Palos Grandes, Sebucan, Chuao, Las Mercedes, El Hatillo, El Rosal, Campo Alegre, El Cafetal (Este de Caracas). If you want to taste the "third world" feeling, visit on daylight and leaving your important belongs safe at your accomodation visit Sabana Grande and El Centro de Caracas, Bellas Artes, El Ateneo and Parque Central. Avoid any place on the western part of the city, and avoid "Petare" in the eastern part of the city.
I visited caracas for a short period of time. I did not see much of the dangers of which we were warned. It is a very lively city and was very enjoyable. There was only one incident when my english guide stole our money! But other than that great fun and brilliant if you are looking for culture.
One of the most popular activities for visitors is ascending Avila (2,600 metres), the mountain at which foot Caracas lies. You can reach the top either by cable car or by foot, which is roughly a 3 to 4-hour hike. Caracas is also an important cultural center and it's museum of modern art is one of the best in South America.
Caracas has a tropical climate but with somewhat lower average temperatures and rainfall. Maximum temperatures are between 24 °C and 27 °C, minimum temperatures around 16 °C year round. June to November is the wet season, with around 100 mm of rain during each month, while January to April is fairly dry, with only about 20 mm of rain a month on several days each month.
Simon Bolivar International Airport (CCS) is located in Maiquetia, about 20 kilometres from downtown Caracas. Several arlines offer a range of international flights. Iberia has flights to and from Madrid, while Lufthansa serves Frankfurt and Air France serves Paris. Other destinations are mainly within the region, Havana and a few American cities.
Aserca, Avior and Santa Barbara Airlines all have scheduled domestic flights to almost all airports in the country from Caracas. The main destinations include Maracaibo, Merida and Ciudad Bolivar.
There are direct buses between Caracas and Bogota, the capital of Colombia. If you want to visit the northern Caribbean coast of Colombia from Venezuela, there are direct buses from Caracas all the way to Santa Marta and Cartagena. The main long distance bus companies for domestic travels are Rodovias, Aeroexpresos Ejecutivos and Peli Express.
|Hotel Altamira||Avenida Jose Felix Sosa||Hotel||71|
|Hotel Vistavila Suites||Av. Libertador, between Av. Las Acacias & Av. Los Jabillos Sabana Grande||Hotel||74|
|Dal Bo Hostel||Av Sur 2 y Av Universidad Esq de San Francisco Esq de Pajaritos,Residencias S.Francisco,Capitolio||HOSTEL||94|
|Alto Prado Inn||Avenida 10, 483B Alto Prado||GUESTHOUSE||91|
Internet cafes, often incorporated in the above-mentioned 'communication centers' are increasingly common, and even small towns usually have at least one spot with more or less decent connections.
See also International Telephone Calls
Venezuela has international country telephone code 58 and three-digit area codes (plus an initial '0'), and phone numbers are seven digits long.
Area codes beginning with '04' - e.g. 0412, 0414, 0416 - are mobile phones, while area codes beginning '02' - e.g. 0212 (Caracas), 0261 (Maracaibo) are land lines. A single emergency number 171 is used in most of the country for police, ambulance and firefighters.
Public payphones use prepaid cards which cannot be recharged but are easily available in shopping centers, gas stations, kiosks, etc. Phone boxes are common in the cities and do not accept coins. The vast majority are operated by the former state monopoly, CANTV, although some boxes operated by Digitel or Movistar do exist, particularly in remote areas. CANTV prepaid cards can be used only in their booths.
More popular today are the ubiquitous 'communication centers' or clusters of phone booths located inside metro stations, malls, or like a normal store in the street. Most of these communication centers are operated either by CANTV or Movistar, and offer generally cheap phone calls from a normal phone in comfortable booths equipped with a seat. A log is made of all your calls and you pay when exiting the store.
Mobiles operated by Movilnet, a division of CANTV, start with the 0416/0426 code and use the CDMA 800 MHz system and GSM/HSDPA 850 MHz. Rival Telefónica Movistar, formerly Telcel, start with 0414/0424 and use both CDMA & GSM/HSDPA (GSM/HSDPA 850 MHz). Digitel is another operator with a GSM/HSDPA (GSM/HSDPA 900 MHz) network and its numbers start with 0412. It is possible to buy a pay-as-you-go SIM card for Digitel's GSM phones, but make sure your phone is unlocked. A pay-as-you-go Digitel card is working straightaway when bought from any official retailer. The cost of the card is around 20 VEF (new bolivares). Top up vouchers from 10 VEF. The cost of a text message abroad is 0.3 VEF. Please note that from Movilnet phone you are not able to send a text message almost to any European network. A Digitel phone allows to send a text message to almost any European network (tested) and Movistar may let you send a text message to any european network but is not reliable as Digitel for this purpose.
You may use your phone with a foreign SIM card in roaming. Check: www.gsmworld.com or call to your operator for roaming information to Venezuela. Movilnet and Movistar will require quad-band phones for European users, Digitel will work with any European phone. Tourists from other than European countries should check their phones if the phone will work with the above bands.
Venezuela's state-owned postal is slow, unpredictable and not widely used. Postal offices are few and far between, although they are still probably your best bet for sending postcards back home. For mailing within Venezuela, courier services such as MRW, Domesa and Zoom are the most popular. These usually guarantee next day delivery.
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