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  • Overview

    Caracas, capital of Venezuela, hosts the country's international airport and is therefore the gateway for most visitors. This immense metropolis, home to about five million people, is situated in the north of the country, between the sea and the foot of the Avila Mountain.

    Caracas began as a Spanish colonial settlement, founded by Spanish conquistador, Diego de Losada, more than 400 years ago, its growth burgeoning since the 1970s oil boom. Today the sprawling, untidy city throbs with life, the landscape dominated by high-rise office and apartment buildings, threaded through with knots of motorways and junctions, all against the impressive backdrop of the lush, green mountain.

    All sorts of cultures and creeds throng the streets of this concrete jungle, which contains gourmet restaurants, bustling shopping precincts, museums, concert halls, fine art galleries and the massive Bellas Artes cultural centre. There is plenty to see, from the 19th-century Neo-Gothic Santa Capilla church, the birthplace of Simon Bolivar, to the palace of Joaquin Crespo, and the Sofia Imber Museum of Contemporary Art (with works by Matisse, Picasso and Chagall as well as Venezuelan artists).

    Those who need a break from the relentless urban energy can slip away for a hike on the nearby mountain slopes, or take a day trip to the surprising Bavarian-inspired town of La Colonia Tovar.

    A holiday in Caracas is a rather daunting experience as this is a chaotic and intimidating city, seething with humanity. Those who are brave enough to travel to Caracas are rewarded with a chance to get a true perspective on Venezuela by exploring its capital city, and there are more than enough sights to fill a holiday. Caracas is a thrilling destination for intrepid travellers who are not averse to putting up with rougher conditions and the threat of crime in order to discover the treasures the city holds.

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    Caracas has a tropical savanna climate, although its high altitude keeps temperatures lower than most tropical locations. Temperatures stay fairly constant year round, with averages between 60°F (16°C) and 79°F (26°C). The rainy season lasts from June to October, with an average of 16 to 19 days of rain per month. January to March is the driest period, with only three to six days of rain per month. December and January are known for heavy fog, and temperatures tend to drop in the evenings.

    Simon Bolivar International Airport
    Location: The airport is situated 18 miles (29km) north of Caracas.
    Time: Local time is GMT -4.
    Transfer Between Terminals: The terminals are connected, however passengers will need to exit and re-enter through security on connections between international and domestic flights.
    Getting to the city: A public bus services the city centre and taxis are available outside the baggage reclaim area. Tickets for taxis must be purchased at the desks available in both arrival halls.
    Car Rental: Car rental companies include Hertz, Avis and Budget.
    Airport Taxis: Metered taxis are available. Visitors should only make use of those taxi companies that have been approved by the airport.
    Fascilities: Terminal facilities include information points, medical services, a post office, currency exchange facilities, a business centre, interfaith chapels, family bathrooms, VIP suites, meeting areas, duty-free shopping, restaurants and more.
    Parking Short-term and long-term parking is available near both the international and domestic terminal. No over-night stays will be permitted in the short-term parking lot.

    Useful Contacts:

    The main form of transport in Caracas is the efficient, cheap and well-maintained Metro system, which has four lines and provides easy access to most tourist attractions and facilities. The metro operates daily from 5.30am to 11pm, with air-conditioned trains running every few minutes. For visitors, the best option is a multiple ticket known as the Multi-Abono, which allows for ten metro journeys of any distance. The metro is connected to city suburbs via a Metrobus system, which is easy to navigate via maps posted in all the stations. It is best to avoid rush hours, and to be alert for pickpockets. Small buses operating on city routes are called carritos. These are inclined to be noisy with loud music accompanying the ride, and a bit hair-raising as drivers enjoy taking chances in the heavy traffic. Taxis can be identified by 'Taxi' or 'Libre' signs, and are unmetered. Fares are reasonable though, and are best fixed before boarding. Licenced taxis have yellow plates, so it is recommended to hire one of those.

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    No direct flights from Heathrow to this Destination