Introduction

Venezuela, home to some of South America's most incredible landscapes, rightly has a terrible image problem at the moment. Hyperinflation has led to a dramatic drop in living standards and issues with the supply of basic goods, while personal safety, particularly in Caracas, is worse than anywhere else on the continent. Thousands of its own citizens have fled the country and spread throughout South America (it's estimated more than two million have left since 2014). While visiting can be incredibly cheap because of the black-market value of the dollar/euro, safety is a serious concern.

Few countries in the world have this degree of natural beauty: Andean peaks, Caribbean coastline, idyllic islands, grasslands teeming with wildlife, the steamy Orinoco Delta and the world's highest waterfall, Angel Falls. We cannot recommend traveling here at present, but we hope that the future holds amazing tourist possibilities.

Daily Costs

  • Budget lodging US$5
  • Dinner mains US$2
  • Salto Ángel three-day tour US$200

Highlights

  • Marveling at Salto Ángel (Angel Falls), the world’s highest waterfall, dropping over 300 stories in Parque Nacional Canaima.
  • Feeling the adrenaline rush while playing outside in the adventure-sports capital of Mérida.
  • Hiking to the lost world of the Roraima table mountain for moonscape scenery and unique plant life.
  • Stretching out on white-sand beaches or snorkeling and diving the day away at the tiny, undeveloped islands of Archipiélago Los Roques.
  • Being on the lookout for capybaras, anacondas, caimans and other wildlife in Los Llanos, the grassy flatlands of Venezuela’s cowboy country.
  • Encountering dolphins, howler monkeys and parrots in the wildlife-rich Delta del Orinoco.
  • Kicking back and watching the world-famous lightning show over Lake Maracaibo in Catatumbo.
  • Getting truly off the grid and exploring the pristine beaches of Península de Paria.

Resources

  • Today Venezuela www.todayvenezuela.com
  • El Universal www.eluniversal.com (Spanish only)
  • Venezuelan Politics & Human Rights www.venezuelablog.tumblr.com

When to Go

May–Nov Salto Ángel and the Gran Sabana waterfalls gush, swollen with rainy-season flow.

Oct–Nov Low-season travel means empty beaches before the Christmas holidays.

Feb/Mar The whole country vacations during Carnaval, with special festivals in some cities.