As a gateway to Venezuela, Caracas is often overlooked in a country so full of other natural riches. Yet while time may stand still in some of the country’s other beauty spots, you rarely have a chance to catch your breath in the city’s capital.
There are some genuinely beautiful places in this elevated tropical paradise, where altitude combined with its equatorial location keep the climate in perpetual spring. The emerald greens of East Park against the backdrop of the Andes feel like an urban Eden and the surrounding mountains offer hundreds of opportunities to examine the glorious natural heritage of this remarkable city.
But step out from these sheltered oases of calm and embrace a turbo-charged city with everything from shanty town to glittering high-rise behemoth, open air market to modern shopping mall, barbecue street vendors to haute cuisine, salsa clubs to late night raves.
Where to stay
Be careful when booking hotels in Caracas as not all are what they appear; be sure to follow the recommendations of fellow travellers. The Caracas Palace is well-equipped and offers stunning views from its upper floor suites; The Lidotel has a great location in one of the safest downtown areas, next to a shopping mall.
Where to eat
Astrid & Gaston is a high class venue with an excellent Peruvian menu. The Tarzilandia is most notable for the unusual ambience; it’s like dining in a tropical rainforest. Le Gourmet, in the Intercontinental Tamanaco Caracas Hotel, serves superlative French cuisine.
What to see
The summit of Mount Avila, accessible by cable car, provides stunning views of the city. Plaza Bolivar is an important site where the city was founded in 1567. The Cathedral Metropolitana is impressively ornate and the adjoining Museo Sacro de Caracas is a fascinating historical record of Venezuelan religion.