There is always a feeling of joy when you travel in Venezuela as the country has a lot to offer to the adventurous traveler. Salto Angel, the largest free falling waterfall of the world and some 72 islands (among them Isla Margarita), are just some of the amazing attractions to be discovered.
The mountain aficionado will be enchanted by Merida, a wonderful town in the mountains of the impressive Andes range, with the largest and highest cable car of the world.
Venezuela, meaning Little Venice, a name given by cartographer Amerigo Vespucci who compared the stilt villages from the Maracaibo indigenous people with Venice, has a more Caribbean feel than any other country in South America
Although Caracas is a sprawling metropolis, its places of interest can be explored comfortably in a day or two.
The city can be divided in four principal areas of interest. The downtown "El Centro" district and its monument packed Plaza Bolívar, the ideal place for my favorite hobby - people watching; Parque Central and the surrounding "Bellas Artes" cultural district; "Las Mercedes" and the "Bulevar Sabana Grande", with its many boutiques and restaurants; The residential and wealthy suburbs of Altamira and La Castellana.
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The subway is one of the best in South America and interconnects with all the must see places of the city.
Santa Ana de Coro is the Capital of the Falcón State and was one of the first cities to be founded by the Spanish en Venezuela en 1527. It's a wonderful colonial town with a historical center where cobblestone streets are lined with well preserved houses and colonial buildings such as the Cathedral and the Church of San Francisco.
The Cathedral on plaza Bolivar was the first to be built in Venezuela in the 16th century. The houses are painted in joyful colors. Coro made it in the history books as the first European settlement in the entire Americas to formally become "City". In 1993 Coro was declared Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
Mérida is a splendid town up the Andes and is definitely worth a visit. There are plenty of hike and mountain climbing opportunities for those seeking adventure. Mérida has the highest and longest cable car of the world.. yes they have. It's 12,5 km (7,7 miles) long and goes to an altitude of 4,065 meters (13,336 feet) on the mountain Pico Espejo. When I was there the last part of the cable car wasn't working so I didn't make it all the way up.
Angel Falls is the world's highest free-falling waterfall. The falls are 978 meters (3,212 feet) high and has an uninterrupted drop of 807 meters (2,647 feet). It is located in the Canaima National Park and is a "must see" when you travel in Venezuela.
Although Angel Falls was first sighted in the early 20th century by the explorer Ernesto de Santa Cruz, they're named after the American pilot James Crawford Angel, who spotted the falls when he was on a flight searching for gold.
The indigenous people of Venezuela know the falls as "Devil's Mouth". It is quite expensive to get there and you have to inform about the weather condition if you want to see something more than a drizzle.
The brave among you may consider a spectacular base jump next to the free-falling stream of water. Learn how to get to Angel Falls here
For detailed information on Venezuela please consult the excellent Wikipedia article of Venezuela.
A policeman regulates traffic in Caracas - Venezuela
Must See Places in Venezuela
© All photographs by Mark Van Overmeire*
© Photo "Angel Falls, Venezuela" provided by Dreamstime.com