Destination guide: Caracas, Venezuela

Caracas is the capital of Venezuela and is on the shore of the Caribbean. Strolling through its streets, you can see its beautiful colonial architecture, especially in its historic center.

Fly to Caracas and discover its boulevards, the El Avila National Park, the birthplace of Simon Bolivar, the Miraflores, Municipal and Federal palaces and the village of El Hatillo, which reflects the traditional way of life of the Venezuelan people.

  • Caracas - Things to do

    Sights

    El Hatillo

    Set in the rolling hills of Caracas’ heterogeneous southern suburbs, the 16th-century town of El Hatillo lived its own life for centuries until it was eventually absorbed by the burgeoning city. Its narrow streets and pretty plaza still retain many of their colonial buildings, now painted in sugary, bright colors and filled with art galleries, craft shops and restaurants. It remains a lovely and convenient nearby getaway for caraqueños, worlds away from the chaotic city. The only bummer is there are no accommodation options in the small pueblo (town).

    Latitude: 10.4243601192059 / Longitude: -66.8265724182129
    Sub-Type: Village
    Address: El Hatillo.
    Website: www.elhatillo.com.ve

    Museo Bolivariano

    Just a few paces north of the Casa Natal de Bolívar, this museum has successfully preserved its colonial style and displays a variety of independence memorabilia, from muskets to medals and shaving sets to swords. It also has some fascinating documents and letters written by the man himself, and numerous portraits. More on the morbid side are the coffin in which the remains of Bolívar were brought from Santa Marta in Colombia and the arca cineraria (funeral ark) that conveyed his ashes to the Panteón Nacional.

    Latitude: 10.5046912274123 / Longitude: -66.9133581063601
    Telephone Number: +58 1212 545 3396
    Opening Hours: 9am-4:30pm Tue-Fri, 10am-4pm Sat & Sun.
    Pricing: admission free.
    Address: btwn cnrs San Jacinto & Traposos.

    Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas

    Occupying the eastern end of the Parque Central complex, the Museum of Contemporary Art is by far the best in the country, if not on the continent. In a dozen halls on five levels, you’ll find big, bold and sometimes shocking works by many prominent Venezuelan artists, including Jesús Soto, famous for his kinetic pieces.

    Sub-Type: Gallery.
    Telephone Number: +58 1212 573 8289
    Opening Hours: 9am-5pm.
    Pricing: admission free.
    Address: El Conde. Extras: Parque Central.
    Website: www.fmn.gob.ve

    Plaza Bolívar

    This leafy square is the nucleus of the old town. It's always alive with huddled groups of caraqueños engaged in conversation and children feeding freshly popped corn to the black squirrels in the trees, while vendors hawk lemonade and cepilladas (shaved ices) on the sidelines, the whole scene shaded by African tulip trees and jacarandas. Golden cherubs gather round the fountains at each corner of the square. In the center is the obligatory monument to Bolívar - the equestrian statue was cast in Munich, shipped in pieces, and eventually unveiled in 1874 after the ship carrying it foundered on the Archipiélago de los Roques. The plaza is a favorite stage for political visionaries and religious messiahs, who deliver their passionate speeches to a casual audience.

    Latitude: 10.5058406168674 / Longitude: -66.9145596027374
    Sub-Type: Square, Plaza.
    Transportation Type: underground rail.
    Details
    : Capitolio/El Silencio metro.

    Eat

    Arepera Doña Petrica

    This arepa restaurant, serving healthy-sized, inexpensive portions to beer-drinking locals, makes a casual introduction to the basics of Venezuelan cuisine.

    Latitude: 10.4931499317841 / Longitude: -66.8780601024628
    Sub-Type: South American.
    Telephone Number: +58 212 763 1304
    Opening Hours: 24hr.
    Price Range: Low
    Address: Av Casanova, Sabana Grande
    Transportation Type: underground rail.
    Details: Sabana Grande.

    Kafta

    This Middle Eastern eatery situated above a busy street market serves fresh and filling platters, including great veggie combos.

    Latitude: 10.5054608533055 / Longitude: -66.9134438037872
    Sub-Type: Middle Eastern
    Telephone Number: +58 212 860 4230
    Opening Hours: 07:00-16:30 Mon-Sat.
    Price Range: Moderate
    Address: Esq San Jacinto, The Center.
    Transportation Type: underground rail
    Details: La Hoyada.

    Restaurant Vegetariano Sabas Nieves

    Lunch menus change daily at this homely vegetarian spot: Monday is comida criolla day, Thursday there's Peruvian fare.

    Latitude: 10.4967156132942 / Longitude: -66.8796586990356
    Sub-Type
    : Vegetarian
    Telephone Number: +58 212 763 6712
    Opening Hours: 07:00-17:00 Mon-Fri, 08:00-16:00 Sat.
    Price Range: Moderate.
    Address
    : Calle Pascual Navarro 12, Sabana Grande.
    Transportation Type: underground rail.
    Details
    : Plaza Venezuela.

    Entertainment

    Gran Pizzería El León

    In Caracas nightlife terms, this famous beer-guzzling spot is known as a predespacho (pre-party), the first stop on a bender that can go until sunrise. It’s an open-air affair on a vast terrace below towering buildings. At the weekend, you’ll find masses of college-age drinkers and beyond jovially debating over row upon row of beer bottles, but it swells on most any night.

    Latitude: 10.4968633033577 / Longitude: -66.8512594699860
    Sub-Type: Bar
    Telephone Number: +58 1212 263 6014
    Address: Plaza La Castellana.
    Transportation Type: underground rail.
    Details: Altamira.

    Barra Bar

    Tucked in a pedestrian alley next to the SENIAT building, this intimate lounge has futuristic decor, a few couches for making out, and electronica, jazz and salsa at conversation-friendly levels.

    Latitude: 10.4967250345793 / Longitude: -66.8582071819851
    Telephone Number: +58 1212 264 5019
    Address: Centro Comercial Mata de Coco, Av San Marino.
    Transportation
    Type: underground rail
    Details: Chacao.

    Centro Cultural Corp Group

    A multipurpose cultural center at the bottom of a bank building, staging an eclectic program of chamber music and jazz (theoretically listed under the 'Centro Cultural' button of their website).

    Latitude: 10.4973380209412 / Longitude: -66.8523001670837
    Sub-Type: Blues, Jazz
    Telephone Number: +58 212 206 1149
    Pricing: admission free-US$25.
    Address: Torre Corp Banca, Plaza La Castellana, La Castellana.
    Transportation Type: underground rail
    Details: Altamira.

    Events Overview

    The biggest religious feast in Caracas is the Semana Santa (Holy Week) celebration in Chacao, which begins with the Bajada de Palmeras (literally, ‘taking down of the palms’) on the Friday before Palm Sunday, when hundreds of young men ascend Mt Ávila to collect royal palm fronds for the procession, a tradition that dates back over two centuries. Holy Week culminates with solemn processions on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, concluding with the Quema de Judas (Burning of Judas) on Easter Sunday.

    The week around July 25 witnesses an increase in concerts, exhibitions and theater performances, organized to celebrate the anniversary of Caracas’ foundation on July 25, 1567. The Temporada de Danza runs for several weeks in July and August, bringing together some of the leading national dance groups, plus international guests. In late October and early November, the El Hatillo Jazz Festival highlights major figures from across the Latin jazz spectrum.