Caracas is the bustling capital city of Venezuela, set along the scenic Guaire River and nestled within the Caracas valley of the coastal mountain range in the northern tip of the country. Although grossly overlooked for other destinations like Angel Falls, the tallest waterfall in the world, and Los Roques National Park, it has enough attractions to deserve a stopover on a Venezuelan itinerary. As the cultural and commercial hub of the country, this fast-paced city offers a little bit of action for all types of visitors. Quaint galleries, world-class museums, trendy restaurants, and vibrant nightlife spots abound, ensuring no dull moment in the city.
Caracas is also surrounded by sprawling mountains, lovely waterfalls, and lush jungles, making it the perfect playground for nature lovers and adventurers. For food enthusiasts, a delectable dining experience awaits, with the opportunity to sample some of the best Latin American flavors. Caracas has plenty to offer, but remember to take all the safety precautions when exploring this beaming South American gem for a delightful experience.
UPDATE: 2023/08/28 12:42 EST BY NICHOLAS MAYAMBA
Top Things To Do In Caracas
Venezuela’s beautiful capital city is home to diverse attractions that will intrigue all types of travelers. This updated article features more adventurous activities for first-timers and returning visitors to Caracas.
Top Things To Do In Caracas
Although Venezuela is among South American countries often overlooked by travelers, its capital has much to offer. Whether a history buff, outdoor explorer, cultural aficionado, or foodie, there is enough to go around in Venezuela’s top city. Set the stage for a riveting rendezvous with the top things to do in Caracas.
Visit The Vibrant Plaza Bolivar
Statue of Simon Bolivar in Caracas, Venezuela
Plaza Bolivar is a cultural and civic hub in Old Town Caracas, where visitors and locals converge. It is the spot where the city was founded in 1567 and pays tribute to Simon Bolivar, a revered military leader and national hero.
The tree-lined square features a beautiful equestrian statue at the center, made in Munich and assembled at the site. Four more statues of women at the plaza’s corners represent the states of the former Greater Colombia: Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Colombia.
Plaza Bolivar also comprises notable public buildings like La Catedral de Caracas, El Capitolio Nacional, and Palacio Municipal del Caracas, making it the perfect launch pad for scoping out the sights of Caracas.
Pay Tribute To National Heroes At The Panteon Nacional
National Pantheon is the final resting place for Venezuelan National heroes, Caracas.
The Panteon Nacional can be found in the northern section of Old Town Caracas. Formerly a church, the building became the final resting place for national heroes, including Simon Bolivar, Fransisco Andara, and Jose Angel de Alamo.
The central nave pays homage to the country’s liberator, Simon Bolivar, who’s credited with championing the secession of the Greater Colombian states from the Spanish Empire.
Several paintings from the 1930s cover the pantheon, depicting scenes from Simon’s life and accomplishments. The majestic crystal chandelier and ceremonial changing of the guard at the site are notable fixtures worth seeing.
- Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 9 am – 2 pm
Consider taking a guided tour when visiting the Pantheon Nacional. The guides are deeply knowledgeable about Venezuelan history and offer an immersive experience when scoping out the historic landmark.
Break A Sweat With A Hike To The Top Of Pico Naiguata
Sunrise over Caracas seen from Pico Naiguata El Avila National Park
Outdoorsy travelers craving a little physical activity can try this exciting trek to Venezuela’s Coastal Range summit. The 10-mile backcountry trail is quite popular with hikers and takes tourists to an altitude of over 9,000 feet.
Starting at the Cotamil Entraces, seven miles from downtown Caracas, the path traverses unique landmarks and ruins while offering dramatic viewpoints of the surrounding landscape. Hiking to Pico Naiguata is the ideal way to escape civilization and explore the city’s open spaces.
Soak In The Serene Atmosphere Of Parque de Recreacion Los Chorros
Lake and palms in East Park (Parque del Este), in Caracas, Venezuela
Parque de Recreacion Los Chorros is a 9-acre stretch of exuberant outdoor scenery highlighted by a natural cascade, lush landscapes, mountain springs, tunnels and bridges, large trees, and benches.
Situated at the base of Caracas’ Cerro El Avila, the park is ideal for relaxing and unwinding on a picnic, dipping in the natural waterfall, or simply inspecting the fantastic scenery.
On a lucky day, tourists may encounter exotic species like lazy sloths, squirrels, and the vocal guacharaca birds.
- Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 8:30 am -3 pm
A small restaurant on-site sells various meals and drinks for guests who forget to carry a snack.
Sample Local Culture At Centro de Arte Los Galpones
Urban residential buildings on hill in Caracas Venezuela capital at day
Art enthusiasts and lovers will feel at home at Centro de Arte Los Galpones, east of Caracas. The popular site is full of giant mango trees, while an outdoor terrace makes for the ideal getaway in the middle of the busy city.
Visitors can tour several art galleries and eateries to sample the local culture. This is also an excellent opportunity to taste the local flavors, with sumptuous dishes like the famous arepas and corn patties on the offing.
Other interest areas include yoga and tango classes, bookstores, and outdoor concert venues, making it a one-stop shop for all kinds of entertainment.
- Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 11 am – 7 pm
Consult the venue’s events calendars to catch some exciting activities throughout the year. Also, readers can bring along a book as Centro de Arte Los Galpones is never crowded and offers the ideal reading atmosphere.
Caracas. Venezuela: The exhibition “Comrade Picasso”, in the Museum of Contemporary Art.
The Caracas Museum of Contemporary Art (MACC) houses a collection of more than 5,000 art pieces, featuring historical heavyweights like Picasso, Warhol, Monet, and Bacon. The world-class facility in Parque Central comprises 13 halls, a grand library, a garden courtyard, and several auditoriums.
The museum also harbors the works of Jesus Soto, a renowned Venezuelan artist who created the Caracas Sphere.
- Hours: Thursday to Sunday, 10 am – 4 pm
The Caracas Sphere is an attraction in itself and features a kinetic sculpture created using hundreds of metal rods to form a huge orange ball that remains dangling in the air.
Hunt For Souvenirs At Centro Artesanal del Goajiros
Caracas aerial view
Visitors looking for the perfect memorabilia for their time in Caracas can visit the bubbly Centro Artesanal Los Goajiros. The handicraft market west of Plaza Chacaito is rife with local vendors selling merchandise like wallets, bags, hammocks, musical instruments, and clothing.
The picturesque space is very popular with tourists, who enjoy inspecting the various artisan goods along the corridor and interacting with the local traders.
Most vendors sell more or less the same items, so visitors should prepare to bargain for the best deal. Also, most of the stalls accept credit cards.
Take A Trip To El Hatillo
View of a popular suburb in “El Hatillo” (Caracas, Venezuela).
El Hatillo is a tiny village to the northeast of Caracas and one of the most visited areas in the greater Caracas region. A national monument, the area lures tourists with its small-town charm, introducing them to the traditional Venezuelan lifestyle, defined by modest houses, soothing music, and authentic local cuisine.
Several restaurants in the area accord guests an unforgettable culinary journey. El Hatillo is also known for its traditional crafts and furniture, which offer villagers the bulk of their revenue. It is the ideal getaway for those seeking an alternative to the Caracas urban experience.
It takes about 21 minutes from Caracas to El Hatillo by taxi and costs around $35 to $50, depending on driver rates.
Enjoy A Cable Car Ride In El Avila National Park
View of the cableway to the top of Avila mountain (Caracas, Venezuela).
El Avila National Park is the ideal place to be one with nature. Located northeast of Caracas, the park is famous for its dense jungles and diverse wildlife populations. It is also home to one of the country’s longest cable cars (telefericos), offering visitors one of the best aerial adventures in South America.
The thrilling ride provides dramatic cityscape views, and tourists can glimpse the Caribbean Sea atop the mountain on clear days. But if the cable car ride is too overwhelming, interact with the species in the park, such as birds and butterflies, or hunt for the country’s national flower, the Easter orchid, for a less adrenaline-rushing adventure.
- Hours: Open daily, Noon – 11:59 pm
Shop For Groceries At Mercado Municipal del Chacao
Caracas, Venezuela: Sale of fruits and vegetables in the Municipal Market of Chacao
Those curious to interact with locals and experience their lifestyle can head to Mercado Municipal del Chacao. This vibrant market sells fresh produce from the region, allowing tourists to purchase vegetables, fruits, poultry, fish, and dairy products from the farms. The traders are super friendly, and the upbeat atmosphere of the market can be contagious.
Some vendors exhibit local hand-made crafts and décor items that will make great souvenirs. Guests will also enjoy fun sampling the snacks and teas in the area.
A tour of Mercado Municipal del Chacap is not complete without trying a local snack and drink to go. Be sure to sample crowd favorites like arepa de chicharrón (pork), a chicha (rice drink), or a refreshing cup of hot Venezuelan coffee.
Walk Along Paseo de Los Proceres
The Monumento a Los Proceres is seen at country capital city, Caracas.
Paseo de Los Proceres (Walkway of Heroes) is a scenic promenade with important monuments paying homage to the country’s Independence heroes. Guests can inspect statues, climb steps, and hang out in squares at the venue. It also features several routes and pathways, ideal for runners, walkers, and bikers looking for a light workout.
The area is also a cool urban oasis where visitors can shelter under the shade to escape the scorching Caracas sun. The many fountains and decorative details on the site add to its charm, but the highlight is the Monumento Los Proceres, which features four giant marble slabs engraved with the names of important national figures like Simon Bolivar.
Although Paseo de Los Proceres is relatively safe during the day, thanks to the high presence of military personnel, tourists should leave once it gets dark. Cases of theft and robbery are not unheard of.
Step Back In Time At Casa Natal And Museo Bolivar
Simon Bolivar birthplace house. The museum’s exhibits include period weapons, banners and uniforms.
Casa Natal and Museo Bolivar is a 17th-century colonial structure that once served as the residence of Simon Bolivar’s great-grandfather and his birthplace. Today, it is a museum dedicated to honoring the legacy of one of Venezuela’s most consequential national heroes. Here, guests can explore Bolivar’s past through old family portraits and ancient furniture.
The venue was designated a national monument in 2002 and houses several stunning paintings by the renowned Venezuelan creative Tito Salas. At the onsite museum, tourists can check out a collection of personal documents and items belonging to the fallen hero, including weapons and military gear.
- Hours: Wed-Sun, 9 am – 3 pm
The guides at the museum only speak Spanish, so guests might want to bring along an interpreter so as not to miss out on the interesting history lesson.
Pop Into Casa Amarilla (Yellow House)
Caracas, Venezuela: The Casa Amarilla de Caracas (Yellow House) a 19th Century neoclassical building in Plaza Bolíva.
Travelers can immerse themselves further into Venezuela’s history by visiting the Yellow House, declared a National Historic Monument in 1979. This historic center has undergone an interesting evolution since it was built. It served as the Caracas prison in 1696 and later the City Council before transforming into the government palace, then the official presidential residence.
A quick trip to Casa Amarilla takes guests down memory lane with its 19th-century neoclassical architectural style and old furniture. They also get to view the Foreign Affairs Ministry, which has been housed in the structure since 1912.
- Admission: Free
- Hours: Mon-Fri (24/7) Saturday (12 am – 5 pm)
Casa Amarilla is a stone’s throw away from Santa Ana Cathedral, another great sight that tourists can check out after visiting the Yellow House.
Sample The Artworks At The National Art Gallery
Caracas/Venezuela: National Gallery of Art in Caracas city Venezuela designed by Carlos Raul Villanueva in the Museums square
Established in 1976, La Galeria de Arte Nacional offers one of the most artistic experiences in Caracas. The venue can be found next to Puente Brion and features over 10 rooms exhibiting at least 4,000 art pieces by renowned local and international artists. These cover works from the colonial and pre-Hispanic periods, as well as contemporary art and sculptures.
Although the gallery was originally situated near Parque Los Caobos, it was shifted to a new building in 2009. At the structure’s top floor, visitors can access a terrace that offers beautiful vistas of the Parque Los Caobos and the rest of the city.
- Admission: Free
- Hours: Tue-Sun, 10 am – 4:30 pm
Best Time To Visit Caracas
Caracas, Capital District, Venezuela
Unlike the norm in most American cities, Caracas only experiences two distinct seasons: the dry and wet seasons. The city’s proximity to the equator means it enjoys pleasant sunny weather, with temperatures averaging around 80 degrees Fahrenheit and minimal variation throughout the year.
Nevertheless, the ideal time for tourists is the dry season, between November and April. The weather is comfortably sunny, with low humidity and the least rainfall. This is perfect for exploring the numerous sites in the city.
Visitors also take the opportunity to experience the great outdoors, hiking the green jungles without worrying about Nature changing the timetable.
Meanwhile, the wet season, from May to October, is best avoided as it brings rainfall and a lot of heat. Besides the rain interrupting outdoor adventures, the humid conditions can be uncomfortable for many; not even the rain offers relief. Occasional thundershowers and cloudbursts can also throw a wrench into the works.
For festival lovers, February is the best time to visit, when the nationwide Carnival takes center stage just before the beginning of Lent. Colorful costumes, songs, and dance fill the streets as parades take over the neighborhoods of Caracas. Travelers get to experience a long-held national tradition and revel in the exuberance of the local culture.
Best Ways To Get Around Caracas
Multi level highway in center of Caracas capital Venezuela with national flags at day
Caracas is served by the Simon Bolivar International Airport, one of the region’s busiest and the main gateway to Venezuela. The airport is less than a 30-minute drive from downtown Caracas, and upon arrival, travelers have different options to move around the city.
The best way to get around Caracas is through its efficient and reliable metro system. This is well-maintained and offers visitors a cheap transportation option. The metro operates on three distinct lines, spanning almost 39 stations, and traverses most tourist attractions in the city.
Trains are comfortable, air-conditioned, and pass every few minutes. The metro is connected to the city suburbs via a “Metrobus” system, making it convenient to access distant attractions.
- Tickets: Less than $1 for a one-way ticket
- Hours: Operate daily, 5:30 am – 11 pm
To save on metro tickets, buy the “multiabono” (multiple) ticket, which allows visitors ten trips to chosen destinations. Also, avoid the metro during rush hours as this is the opportune time for pickpockets in Caracas.
Caracas has plenty of taxi operators, which can be identified by the “Libre” or “Taxi” signs. Although they are not expensive, taxis are unmetered, and travelers should negotiate the fare before boarding to avoid surprises later on. Most taxis operate 24 hours daily and can be accessed at different taxi ranks or summoned via phone.
Riding telefericos or cable cars is a unique way of exploring the city, and numerous lines exist at the Parque Nacional Avila in Caracas. These take visitors to the top of the mountain, from where they can enjoy an exquisite bird’s-eye perspective of the cityscape.
Car hire services dominate the airport and major city centers. These are handy when planning to venture outside the city or taking day trips to neighboring towns.
Driving in Caracas may prove too daunting for tourists. Too much paperwork is involved, and many local drivers are too aggressive on the roads, with little regard for traffic laws.
Downtown Caracas is best explored on foot. The modern metropolis has everything from world-class museums, vibrant cultural centers, lively markets, and historical monuments that should be experienced at a snail’s pace. The numerous parks, centers, and plazas also provide resting areas when the heat proves too much.
Where To Stay In Caracas
Aerial photography of the Palo Verde baseball stadium, in Caracas
Caracas has a population of just over 2 million, with residents settling in different residential areas spreading to the Vargas and Miranda States. Each neighborhood has unique offerings and personalities, providing tourists with an enjoyable experience wherever they stay.
When contemplating accommodation options in Caracas, these are the highest-rated neighborhoods.
Chacao is a district in Miranda State and the smallest among five municipalities forming the Caracas Metropolitan Area. Situated to the east of downtown, it’s an elegant neighborhood housing major commercial and financial institutions in the city. It also features modern skyscrapers, trendy restaurants, and a string of bars to entertain locals and visitors alike.
Chacao is connected to the city center by the Caracas metro, enabling guests to access other areas of Caracas if need be. It is also one of the safest areas travelers can opt to stay. Top hotels in the area include:
- Address: Chacao, Avenida Tamanaco, Urb. El Rosal, Caracas
- Rate per night: Starts at $250 for 2 guests
- Amenities: Spa and wellness center, Free Wi-Fi, Room service, Coffee shop, Coffee machine, Fitness center, Restaurant, Bar/Lounge, Valet parking, Business center
- Address: Avenida Venezuela Con Calle Mohedano, Caracas
- Rate per night: Starts at $169 for 2 guests
- Amenities: Outdoor pool, Spa and wellness center, Fitness center, Restaurant, Bar/Lounge, Room service, Valet parking, Business center, Flat-screen TV
La Castellana & Altamira
Altamira is a section of the popular Chaco Municipality and home to high-end residential properties served by a dedicated metro station. Its main highlight is the Plaza Francia, a lovely public square with a fountain and obelisk.
Next to Altamira, tourists will bump into La Castellana, a middle-class district and a cultural hub within the city. These two neighborhoods house various diplomatic buildings, including the Spanish, Portuguese, Swiss, Japanese, and Brazilian embassies. Accommodation options here include:
- Address: Avenida Eugenio Mendoza con Calle Urdaneta, La Castellana, Caracas 1060
- Rate per night: Starts at $176 for 2 guests
- Amenities: Outdoor pool, Spa and wellness center, Fitness center, Restaurant, Bar/Lounge, Room service, Tea/coffee maker, Valet parking, Business center, TV
- Address: Avenida Francisco de Miranda, Caracas 1060
- Rate per night: Starts at $86 for 2 guests
- Amenities: Restaurant, Business center, Wi-Fi available Bar/Lounge, Coffee machine, Valet parking, Room service, Free Wi-Fi, Free parking, Flat-screen TV
Las Mercedes is essentially the city’s commercial district south of Caracas. It has a string of bars and nightclubs, known for its throbbing nightlife. Also, shopping venues, art galleries, and restaurants abound, making it a popular option for shoppers and party animals. There are multiple transport options, with several taxi stands and a metro station just a stone’s throw away. Some of its top hotels include:
- Address: Av. Don Eugenio Mendoza, Entre Calles, Caracas 1060
- Rate per night: Start at $408
- Amenities: Outdoor pool, Spa and wellness center, Fitness center, Restaurant, Bar/Lounge, Room service, Free Wi-Fi, Valet parking, Free parking, Business center
- Address: Final Calle La Guairita Chuao, Caracas 1064 A
- Rate per night: Starts at $100 for 2 guests
- Amenities: Room service, Free Wi-Fi, Spa and wellness center, Coffee machine, Fitness center, Restaurant, Bar/Lounge, Outdoor pool, Tea/coffee maker, Valet parking
Where To Eat In Caracas
Multicentro Empresarial del Este, Avenida Libertador, Caracas, Distrito Capital, Venezuela
Caracas’ savory South American cuisine is one of the many reasons tourists should visit Venezuela. But the dining scene is much more diverse.
Several award-winning restaurants serve everything from Pan-Asian cuisine and Venezuelan fare to seafood specials and international flavors, with specialties like arepas and beef steaks promising to tickle the taste buds. When it’s time to dine, look for these popular Caracas eateries:
- Address: 3ra Avenida Con 4ta Transversal de Los Palos Grandes Chacao, Caracas Venezuela
- Hours: Monday to Saturday, 7 am – 10 pm
- Food to order: Squash cream and empanadas
Lunch and dinner:
- Address: Av. Ppal. de La Castellana, Caracas 1060 Venezuela
- Hours: Monday to Thursday (11:30 am – 11:30 pm), Friday (11:30 am – 12 am), Saturday (11:30 am – 11 pm), Sunday (11:30 am – 10 pm)
- Food to order: Churrasco
- Address: Av. Luis Roche cnr 5a Transversal, Caracas 1060 Venezuela
- Hours: Monday to Saturday (Noon – 11:45 pm), Sunday (Noon – 10 pm)
- Food to order: Boquerones and fosforera
- Address: Las Mercedes, Calle Madrid, Caracas
- Hours: Thursday to Saturday, 10 pm – 6 am
Tips To Know When Visiting Caracas
Abandone Caracas Subway during quarantine
- Venezuela’s capital city is a delightful vacation destination with a lot to offer first-timers. However, consider the following to get the most out of a stay in Caracas.
- Target the dry season from November to April to take advantage of conducive conditions for exploring all the outdoor sights and attractions.
- Pack warm clothing and comfortable walking, no matter the season. The weather remains sunny throughout the year, and multiple outdoor attractions result in much walking and exploring.
- Unfortunately, Caracas has one of the highest crime rates in the world. It is critical to take all the necessary safety precautions for a foreigner in a new city upon disembarking from the plane. Leave all essentials and valuables at the hotel, avoid engaging strangers, don’t party too hard, and steer clear of the dark. Stick to tourist-heavy areas and avoid isolated streets.
Spending The Perfect Day In Caracas
Cerro El Ávila, Distrito Capital, Venezuela
Start the day with a tour of the city’s historic center, and Bolivar Square is perfect for just strolling and admiring the statues. Check out the cathedral and pay homage to the final resting place of the iconic national hero. Head to the charming Iglesia de San Fransisco, constructed in the 16th century. Discover its rich history before finishing the morning’s activities admiring masterpieces at the Museum of Modern Art in Central Park.
Recharge the body with lunch at La Estancia and pick it up at the Museum of Fine Arts. Be sure to check out the fantastic Egyptian collection and the sculpture garden. Later, explore the local flora at the Botanical Garden of Caracas and proceed to El Avila National Park for a thrilling ride on the telefericos.
After enough cable rides and aerial views of the city, grab supper at El Barquero and cap off the day sampling the Caracas nightlife. Stop by Holic for drinks and bust a move on the dance floor.