Good tourist info on Venezuela is challenging to come by. The country's Ministry of Tourism offers precious little in the form of information or help geared toward individual travelers, along with their website is entirely in Spanish. Your best bet is usually to search the Internet, or deal directly with hotels and tour operators doing work in Venezuela.
In Venezuela - MINTUR would be the national tourism ministry. Its main office, found in Caracas in the intersection of avenidas Francisco de Miranda and Principal de La Floresta, is open weekdays during business hours. The staff can present you with a basic map plus some brochures for hotels and attractions; however, they aren't really aiimed at serve as a data source for individual tourists. For the most effective tourism information in the united states, contact the established tourism agencies, including Akanan Travel & Adventure, Cacao Expeditions, Lost World Adventures, and Natoura Adventure Tours. Most bookstores and plenty of hotel gift shops around the nation stock a small selection of maps and useful books (some in English) on Venezuelan history, culture, and tourism.
You have to have a valid passport to go into Venezuela. Upon arrival, citizens and residents of Australia, Canada, Great Britain, New Zealand, and also the United States who enter by air or cruise liner are issued a no cost general visa valid for ninety days. If you plan to go in Venezuela by sea or land, it is best to try to have a visa ahead of time from your nearest Venezuelan embassy or consulate, although, in reality, rise not necessary. When applied for ahead of time through a Venezuelan embassy or consulate, the visa costs BsF65. However, you may well be charged more based on the processing fees and policies of your respective local embassy or consulate. I've heard reports that you may possibly face an arbitrary control of between BsF5 and BsF35 at some from the crossings on the borders with Colombia and Brazil. Venezuela requires children 17 and under traveling alone, with one parent, or having a third party to provide a copy of the birth certificate and written, notarized authorization through the absent parent(s) or legal guardian granting permission to visit alone, with one parent, or that has a third party. For more details, speak to your embassy or consulate.
You would bring into Venezuela all reasonable method of electronic devices and items for individual use (including cameras, personal stereos, and notebooks). Officially, you will bring in around $3,000 in miscellaneous merchandise - tobacco, liquor, chocolate, as well as the like. However, that is only loosely enforced. The guiding rule should be to try to not attract the interest rate of immigration officials. Once their interest is piqued, they are able to decide to provide you with a hard time.
In January 2008, Venezuela changed its unit of currency in the bolívar (Bs) towards the bolívar fuerte (BsF). The change simply involves chopping three decimal points off with the severely devalued bolívar. So BsF1 is equivalent to your old 1,000 Bs. The bolívar fuerte also comes in paper bills of 2, 5, 10, 20, and BsF50, while you can find coins of BsF1, in addition to 1, 5, 10, 12.5, 25, and 50 céntimos.
There are 100 céntimos (cents) to each and every BsF. Tip: Many taxis, small shops, and restaurants are reluctant (and often unable) to vary larger denomination bills, so it will be always good to seek to keep several smaller notes and coins around.
Devaluation - In January 2010, President Chávez announced a two-tiered devaluation from the Venezuelan currency. So called petrodólares ("oil dollars") will be exchanged with the new official rate of BsF4.30 to your dollar, while certain basic goods, materials, and medical supplies could be imported for the exchange rate of BsF2.30 for the dollar. What this means for tourists and visitors is the fact all bank card purchases will probably be billed on the new rate of BsF4.30 towards the dollar. A underground community still exists for changing hard currency, both dollars and euros, at rates over the official rate. Note that all prices within this book were current on the time of research, which occurred prior to your devaluation, and then any prices placed in dollars were converted at BsF2.15 to your dollar.
Currency Exchange & Rates - At the time of this writing, a state exchange rate was BsF4.30 to US$1. However, the black-market exchange rates are radically different on the official rate. At press time, the unofficial exchange rate was approximately BsF6.40 towards the dollar. The most common location to exchange hard currencies for bolívares fuertes with the black-market rate would be the Simón Bolívar International airport. While it is technically illegal, and you ought to be careful about which you deal with, it is extremely common. Note that should you be dealing using a Venezuelan-based tour agency, you'll want to ask if they could well be willing to purchase your dollars, euros, or pounds for a more favorable rate. They usually are willing and able to restore currency in your case, and this also takes some in the risk from dealing with a mysterious entity for the airport.
Many banks usually do not exchange foreign exchange, and those that do often increase the risk for process cumbersome and ugly. But you can find currency-exchange offices for most major cities and attractions, and also 24-hour exchange offices in the the national and air-port terminals for the Simón Bolívar International Airport. While the state money-exchange bureaus on the airport and around Caracas exchange on the official rate, you could find money-exchange offices (casas de cambio) in outlying cities and holidaymaker destinations that give an even better rate. All plastic card purchases and ATM withdrawals are charged with the official exchange rate.
Getting the Most of Your Bolívares Fuertes - Exchanging your hard earned dollars, euros, or pounds in the black-market rate will in excess of double your buying power. Prices in this particular book are listed in the former official exchange rate of BsF2.15 towards the dollar. Most restaurants, tour agencies, and attractions set their prices in bolívares fuertes. On the other hand, many hotel prices, particularly for the higher-end hotels, along with tours, are quoted in and pegged towards the U.S. dollar. These hotels and tour agencies then utilize the current black-market rate to arrive at the bolívar fuerte price. For example, if your hotel charges $100 per night, the retail price in BsF is going to be roughly BsF640, which then converts to $149 for the official exchange rate. The bottom line is if you utilize dollars or dollars exchanged in the black-market rate, you only pay roughly $100; if, however, you employ a bank card or exchange money for a bank, you can be charged $149.
ATMs - ATMs can easily be bought in Caracas and many major cities and attractions. Cirrus (tel. 800/424-7787; www.mastercard.com) and PLUS (tel. 800/843-7587; www.visa.com) are definitely the two hottest networks; look at the back of one's ATM card to determine what network your bank is a member of. Use the toll-free numbers to find ATMs with your destination. It might take several tries, and you should be able to pick one up connected to either, or both, in the PLUS and Cirrus systems that will permit you to withdraw bolívares against your own home bank account. However, these will probably be sold to you on the official exchange rate.
Traveler's Checks - In an era of virtually universally accepted bank and charge cards, traveler's checks have gotten less and less common. Most hotels, restaurants, and shops that focus on foreign tourists will still accept and funds traveler's checks -- most will actually change them in your case at or at the going black-market exchange rate -- but many will only change them on the official exchange rate, plus they often exact a surcharge too. Money-exchange houses will simply change traveler's checks for the official rate in most cases charge a different 1% to 5% fee.
Credit Cards - Credit cards are widely accepted at most hotels, restaurants, shops, and attractions to all but the most remote destinations. American Express, MasterCard, and Visa hold the greatest coverage, using a far smaller variety of establishments accepting Diners Club. It happens to be common practice to always show a passport or photo ID when creating a plastic card purchase in Venezuela. Remember, charge card purchases are billed in the official exchange rate.
When To Go
Peak Season - November through February, when it is cold and bleak in Europe and North America, could be the peak season in Venezuela, however, you can enjoy the nation any time of the year. Venezuelans travel a great deal within the nation on holidays and during the teachers break lasting from late July through early September. It is often difficult to acquire a hotel room or bus or airline seat throughout these holidays, and also during Christmas and Easter vacations. April through June is usually a fabulous the perfect time to enjoy cheap deals, deserted beaches, and glorious solitude inside the more popular destinations.
Climate - Venezuela has two distinct seasons: rainy (June-Oct) and dry (Nov-May). The rainy season is locally called invierno (winter), as you move the dry season is called verano (summer). However, temperatures vary principally in line with altitude. Coastal and lowland areas are hot year-round, and temperatures drop since you rise in altitude.
Set in an altitude of some 1,000m (3,280 ft.), Caracas comes with an average temperature of 72°F (22°C), with little seasonal variation. Daytime highs can reach around 90°F (32°C) on clear sunny days. Nights have a little cooler, however, you'll rarely need in excess of a light jacket or sweater.
Public Holidays - Official public holidays celebrated in Venezuela include New Year's Day (Jan 1), Carnaval (the Mon and Tues before Ash Wednesday), Easter (Thurs and Fri of Holy Week are official holidays), Declaration of Independence (Apr 19), Labor Day (May 1), Battle of Carabobo (June 24), Independence Day (July 5), Birth of Simón Bolívar (July 24), Día de la Raza, or Discovery Day (Oct 12), and Christmas Day (Dec 25).
Telephone Dialing Info for a Glance
Venezuela's phone system comes with a standardized system of seven-digit local numbers, with three-digit area codes. Note that you will need to add a zero prior to the three-digit area code when dialing from inside Venezuela, although not when dialing to Venezuela from abroad.
To place a call from the home country to Venezuela, dial the international access code (0011 in Australia, 011 within the U.S. and Canada, 0170 in New Zealand, 00 within the U.K.), plus america code (58), together with three-digit Venezuelan area code (Caracas 212, Isla de Margarita 295, Mérida 274), together with seven-digit number.
To place an area call within Venezuela, dial the seven-digit local number. To call another area within Venezuela, you will need to add a 0 prior to the three-digit area code. If you are calling from the cellphone, or between competing cellphone companies, you will need to also add the 0 ahead of the three-digit area code. For information, dial tel. 113; to position national collect calls, dial tel. 101.
Dial 113 for directory assistance (most operators will speak English) and 122 to attain an international operator.
Common Ailments - Your chances of contracting any serious tropical disease in Venezuela are slim, notably if you stick on the major holidaymaker destinations. However, malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, hepatitis, and leptospirosis all happens to Venezuela, so it is a good idea to be mindful and confer with your doctor before a vacation here.
Yellow fever, while rare, does take place in some remote aspects of Venezuela. A yellow fever vaccine, though not nesessary, is normally recommended and it is good for several years. If you do get yourself a yellow fever vaccine, you'll want to carry a copy from the proof of vaccination.
Malaria is available predominantly from the jungle areas in the Amazonas and Bolívar states, also as from the Orinoco Delta. Malaria prophylaxes tend to be recommended, but several have negative effects and others are of questionable effectiveness. Consult your doctor to what is currently considered the top preventive strategy to malaria. Be sure to ask whether an advised drug may cause hypersensitivity for the sun; it will be a shame to go here with the beaches after which have to hide under an umbrella whole time. If you are in a very malarial area, wear long pants and long sleeves, use insect repellent, and either sleep beneath a mosquito net or burn mosquito coils (comparable to incense but which has a pesticide).
Of greater concern can be dengue fever. Dengue fever is a lot like malaria and it is spread by an aggressive daytime mosquito. This mosquito appears to be most common in lowland cities, although dengue cases are actually reported throughout the continent. Dengue can also be known as "bone-break fever" since it is usually together with severe body aches. The first infection with dengue fever could make you very sick but should cause no permanent damage. However, a 2nd infection which has a different strain with the dengue virus can cause internal hemorrhaging and could be life threatening. Take the same precautions because you would against malaria.
The most commonly encountered health concern for travelers to Venezuela can be a touch of diarrhea.The best way to shield yourself from diarrhea is usually to avoid regular water and drinks or ice made from regular faucet water. Those with really tender intestinal tracts should avoid uncooked fruits and veggies likely to are actually washed in plain tap water, unless you can peel and prepare them yourself.
Vaccinations - No specific vaccinations are essential for visit Venezuela, while it is recommended that you be up-to-date with your tetanus, typhoid, and yellow-fever vaccines. It is additionally a good idea to receive a vaccination for hepatitis A and B.
Health Precautions - Staying healthy on a vacation to Venezuela is predominantly a point of being a little wary of what you eat and drink, and making use of common sense. Know your physical limits and do not overexert yourself from the ocean, on hikes, or even in athletic activities. Respect tropical sun and protect yourself from using it. Also make an effort to protect yourself from biting insects, utilizing a combination of repellent and lightweight, loose long-sleeved clothing.
Years of one's mismanagement and poor planning, as well as severe drought during 2009, have crippled Venezuela's hydroelectric network and output. The government has declared scenario of emergency and instituted a variety of measures to curb electricity and water use, including rolling blackouts and water shut downs. No one is immune; even hospitals and streetlights are periodically affected.