The Best Things to Do in Caracas, Venezuela
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Enjoy The Best Places & Things to Do in Caracas, Venezuela!
Many people pass through Caracas, Venezuela, on their way to other destinations in the country, such as Angel Falls, Margarita Island or Los Roques National Park. However, there are countless things to do in the capital and visitors will find everything from some of the tallest skyscrapers in Latin America to a historic and colonial center around Plaza Bolívar, the heart of the city. It is worth adding a few days in Caracas to your itinerary.
You will have the opportunity to see beautiful views, whether you are taking a cable car up into the mountains, swimming in a waterfall, or strolling past beautiful cathedrals and historic buildings.
Take the usual safety precautions for any major South American city, such as keeping valuables hidden, avoiding walking alone at night (especially on dark streets), and traveling in groups when possible. By being prepared, most travelers can travel without a hitch.
1. Ride a Cable Car in El Ávila National Park
For spectacular views of the city and mountains, take one of the longest cable cars in the world to the top of Cerro El Ávila, approximately a 20-minute drive from Caracas. On clear days, you can see the Caribbean Sea from the top of the mountain. The park's forests are home to many butterflies, birds, and orchids, including the country's national flower, the Easter orchid.
When visiting the park, enjoy a meal at one of the restaurants or shop for handmade souvenirs. If you are looking for something more adventurous, try zip-lining, rock climbing, or camping. Bring a sweater or jacket, as it can get cold where the elevator reaches a height of approximately 2,135 meters (7,005 feet).
2. Immerse Yourself in History at the Panteón Nacional
The National Pantheon, formerly a church, became the resting place of prominent Venezuelans in the 1870s. Located in the northern part of Caracas' old town, the site's ceremonial changing of the guard is worth seeing. The central nave is dedicated to Simón Bolívar, the Venezuelan known as El Libertador, famous for leading the secession of Venezuela, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Panama from the Spanish Empire. You will see paintings that portray his life and his accomplishments.
3. Find Tranquility in Colonial Town El Hatillo
It is only about 30 minutes by car from Caracas to El Hatillo on the southeast side of the city; the relaxing little town with a mild climate is a great haven of peace. Beautiful colonial houses around a plaza have been transformed into bars, craft shops, and restaurants. If you are in the area during the last two weeks of October, you will have the opportunity to attend the El Hatillo Music Festival, where Venezuelan folk musicians perform rock, folk, jazz and other styles.
4. Visit Vibrant Plaza Bolívar
Plaza Bolívar marks the place where Diego de Losada of Spain founded the city in 1567 and serves as the vibrant civic and cultural center of the old town, where residents, visitors, and vendors have converged since 1874. At the corners of the plaza, statues of four women represent the states of the former Gran Colombia: Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia. An equestrian statue of the national hero Bolívar is another highlight of the plaza.
Public buildings such as the National Capitol, the Cathedral of Caracas, and the Municipal Palace of Caracas surround the square.
5. See La Catedral de Caracas and Museo Sacro de Caracas
With its original façade dating from the mid-17th century, the imposing Caracas Cathedral occupies Plaza Bolívar. The cathedral has had an interesting history of various renovations and earthquakes. Its main altar is a magnificent golden baroque creation with more than 136 kilos of gold leaves.
Next to the cathedral in an old cemetery is the Sacred Museum of Caracas. With religious statues, paintings, furniture and colonial costumes, the small museum also sometimes hosts concerts and recitals. The silver canopy made to cover the statue of Our Lady of the Rosary is particularly ornate.
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