Traveling in Venezuela

Airplane: According to andyeducation, Venezuela has several airlines and a fairly good network of flight connections. Caracas (more precisely, Maiquetia, where theairportfrom Caracas) is the main Venezuelan air hub with flights to most airports across the country. Cities that are most frequently approached from Caracas are Porlamar, Puerto Ordaz (Ciudad Guayana) and Maracaibo. The most popular destinations for tourists are Ciudad Bolívar, Merida, Porlamar and Canaima.

The tariffs vary between each airlines sometimes considerable, so compare prices before buying a ticket.
Some airlines offer discounted fares for students and / or seniors, but this changes frequently and is sometimes only valid for Venezuelan citizens. Confirm your flight at least 72 hours in advance departure.

Airlines in Venezuela
Venezuela has around six major airlines that fly major domestic routes and around ten smaller regional airlines that fly to individual areas or remote regions on a scheduled or charter basis. The big cities are mostly served by large modern aircraft, while smaller destinations are served by light aircraft. Flight safety in Venezuela is good.
The situation in Venezuelan air transport changes frequently. Companies are new to the market or they are disappearing. So check beforehand how the airline is doing and what the current flight plan is.

Venezuela’s airlines include:

  • Aeropostal: the largest airline in the country with flights to most of the major national destinations including Barquisimeto, Barcelona, ​​Porlamar, Maracaibo, Maturin, San Antonio del Tachira, Valencia and Puerto Ordaz (Ciudad Guayana).
  • Avior: new airline that uses propeller planes to fly to many airports across the country, including Barinas, Caracas, Barcelona, ​​Canaima, Barquisimeto, Coro, Ciudad Bolívar, Porlamar, Cumana, Valera, Maturin and Merida.
  • Santa Bárbara: a young but already established airline that flies to Caracas, Cumana, Maracaibo, Las Piedras, San Antonio del Tachira, Merida and Puerto Ayacucho.
  • Avensa
  • Aserca: Flights between several major cities including Caracas, San Antonoa del Tachira, Barcelona, ​​Porlamar and Maracaibo.
  • Rutaca: small but growing airline, the destinations include Caracas, Ciudad Bolivar, Canaima, San Antonio del Tachira, Porlamar and Santa Elena de Uairen.
  • LAI
  • Laser: focuses on some big cities like Caracas, Porlamar and Maracaibo.

Ship: Venezuela has many islands off its Caribbean coast, but only Isla de Margarita is regularly connected to the mainland by ships and ferries (especially from Puerto La Cruz, travel time about 2 hours 45 minutes).

The Rio Orinoco is the most important river for inland navigation in Venezuela. It is navigable from the estuary to Puerto Ayacucho, but there is no regular passenger traffic on any part of the river.

Rail: Rail traffic in Venezuela has hardly been expanded so far, and rail is not an option for travelers.

Bus: As there are no passenger trains in Venezuela, the bus is the main form of transport for the people of Venezuela. The buses are usually fast and they run between the main centers of the country day and night. The prices for bus travel are not very high in Venezuela.

There are numerous bus companies in the country with very differently preserved bus models. All large companies offer a “servicio ejecutivo” in air-conditioned buses on almost all important long-distance routes. The “bus-cama” is even better, where the seats can be folded back and almost converted into beds. These buses are the most convenient means of transport – they are equipped with air conditioning, TV and often a toilet. Note that the air conditioning can often make it quite cool in the bus and pack enough warm clothing for the bus rides.

When different companies serve the same route, prices are usually similar too.

All intercity buses start and arrive at the Terminal de pasajeros (bus station). Every city has a bus station, usually outside the city center but always accessible by local transport. Caracas is the most important transport hub, from here buses go to almost every corner of the country. Usually you do not need to buy tickets in advance for the main routes, exceptions are Christmas, Carnival and Easter.

Many regional routes are used by the por puesto(Shared taxis). Por puestos are usually large US cars (less often minibuses) from the 60s and 70s that serve fixed routes and leave when all the seats are occupied. They cost around 40% to 80% more than buses, but are usually faster and more comfortable. On some routes they are the most common or even the only means of transport. The shared taxis are a strong competitor to the public buses. In the big cities they have already become the most important means of transport.

Automobile:Traveling by car is a convenient and fun way to see Venezuela. The country is relatively safe, the road network is extensive, the connections between the cities are very good and the road conditions are usually acceptable. There are many gas stations and the fuel here is some of the cheapest in the world – $ 0.03 to $ 0.06 per liter.
However, traffic in Venezuela, especially Caracas, is wild, chaotic and noisy.

To bring a car to Venezuela (like everywhere in South America) you need a lot of money and time, the paperwork is tedious. Few travelers therefore bring their own vehicle to Venezuela. It is much more convenient and cheaper to rent a car locally.

Car rental
A number of international and local car rental companies have vehicles in Venezuela, including Budget, Hertz, and Avis. They have their branches in the main airports and city centers, often also in upscale hotels. SUVs are significantly more expensive and harder to come by than smaller cars (which start at $ 40- $ 60 a day).
To rent a car, you will need your ID or passport, a credit card and your national driver’s license. You must be at least 21 years old, some companies require a minimum age of 23-25 ​​years, especially for off-road vehicles and more expensive models. Some companies set a maximum age of 65 years.

Read the rental agreement carefully before signing it (most contracts are only written in Spanish). Examine the car closely and draw up a list of defects (including scratches). The spare tire must be OK, there should be a jack in the vehicle.

It is a good idea to contact an international rental company before your trip and ask what they can offer in Venezuela. It is probably more convenient and cheaper to book at home rather than in Venezuela.

Tours: Large parts of the country are practically inaccessible by public transport (e.g. the Orinoco delta or the Amazon basin) or individual sights are scattered over a large area (Gran Sabana). However, one can take part in organized tours, due to the aforementioned obstacles to individual travel, these tours are quite common in Venezuela. Usually the cheapest way to book tours is in the regional center of the area you plan to visit.

Some agencies in Caracas (called mayoristas or wholesalers) sell tours for other companies. Many agencies use the services of certain regional operators and provide their own guides and means of transport. However, some companies in Caracas organize all of their trips themselves, with their own guides, camps and transportation. Some companies can also offer tailor-made tours, but the cost is significantly higher than standard tours. The prices are also heavily dependent on the number of participants.

Urban Transportation Systems: Most of the larger cities in Venezuela have their own urban transportation system, mostly consisting of small buses or minibuses. Depending on the region, these are called busetas, carros, carritos, micros or camionetas and prices are usually no higher than US $ 0.20. In many larger cities there are also urban por puestos, which get through the chaotic traffic faster than buses.

Metro: Caracas is the only city in Venezuela with a metro system. The subway here is a quick and convenient means of transport. Another metro is currently under construction in Valencia.

Taxis are inexpensive in Venezuela and are particularly useful for transport between the bus station and the city center. There are no taximeters, so negotiate the fare with the driver before departure. You should inquire about the usual tariffs in the hotel or from an employee in the bus station, at the airport there are notices with the current taxi prices. A surcharge is required after 8 p.m.

Bicycle:Venezuela is not the best country for cyclists. There are almost no bike lanes, bike rental companies or bike shops. Motorists are not particularly considerate of cyclists. Locals rarely cycle and foreign tourists are not allowed to ride their own bicycles. Mérida is currently one of the few places in Venezuela that offers mountain bike tours and bikes for rent.

Traveling in Venezuela