Venezuela at a Glance

"Venezuela"Nowadays, Venezuela is becoming most known because of its eccentric and news-generating President, Hugo Chavez. But there is much more to this Caribbean nation than one man, of course. On the crossroads between the romanticized Spanish Main and the impenetrable vastness of the Amazon, there is a feast of activities and sites to see throughout Venezuela.

There are several well-known romantic vacation spots, such as Maracaibo and Curaçao (the latter being the namesake of a special spirit that is popular throughout South America). Most of the Venezuelan attractions are along the Atlantic coast, which is part of the Caribbean, and they are almost all stunning white beaches with palms waving in the breeze, hammocks swaying lazily with a travel snoozing under a straw hat. Across a small stretch of water are the Carabbean islands, with Trinidad and Tobago being the closest.

Venezuela is one of the largest countries in South America in terms of population, and it’s capital has the headquarters of many multinational corporations. Venezuela is also famous for it’s television programs, mostly soap operas which are rebroadcast throughout Latin America. Many of those series feature Venezuelan models, which are famous for their beauty. Venezuela is the South American country with the most Miss World and Miss Universe winners, and you can see why when you stroll along the beaches or avenues.

Stepping away from the tourist hotspots, you become aware of a sudden change in the landscape. While there is a modern core to the country, evidently more rural areas have a lot of catching up to do. That, and the civil war in Colombia which as spilt over the border make Venezuela one of the most dangerous places to travel in South America. Tourists –especially Americans and Europeans- are routinely kidnapped for ransom, and the police are notoriously corrupt.

That having been said, Venezuela is a fantastic place to visit, especially if you are looking for a Caribbean vacation but don’t want to pay Caribbean prices. However, when traveling through the country, it’s important to stick to the official channels. That shouldn’t deter you, however, because most of the interesting attractions are available and safe to most travelers. Even if you venture into the deep south and the Amazon region, there’s lots to see and plenty of activities to keep you occupied.

And increasingly popular activity is to learn Spanish in Venezuela. Venezuelans –and Colombians- are known throughout Latin America as being exceptionally well-spoken, and easy to understand. So if learning is the purpose of your visit, then you definitely should check out Venezuela.

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