Venezuela is a long-overlooked paradise for backpackers, adventure travellers and also hikers, climbers, rafters and birders. From horse-trekking in the Andes to choosing a desert island on which to be ‘marooned', travellers will find everything they need in this new edition. Packed with unparalleled information on hotel and restaurant options, Bradt's Venezuela pays particular attention to national parks and wild areas, but includes plenty of hip urban information too.
Russell Maddicks has lived and worked in Venezuela for more than 12 years. Now working as journalist for the UK media he maintains his ties with Venezuela through regular visits.
Table of contents
PART ONE: GENERAL INFORMATION
Chapter 1: Background Information
Geography and climate, History, Government and politics, Economy, People, Language and religion, Culture
Chapter 2: Practical Information
When to visit, Top sights and itineraries, Tour operators, Red tape, Consulates, Getting there and away, Health, Safety, What to take, Money, Getting around, Accommodation, Eating and drinking, Public holidays, Feasts and Fiestas, Shopping, Arts and entertainment, Photography, Media and communications, Maps and information, Business, Cultural dos and don'ts, Giving something back
Chapter 3: National Parks and Special Interests
National parks, Environmental NGOs, Birding and special interest sports
Chapter 4: Jungle and Llanos wildlife guide
Mammals, acquatic mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, insects and spiders
PART TWO: THE GUIDE
Chapter 5: Caracas
Maiquetía airport, Getting around, Exploring Caracas by metro, Where to stay, Where to eat, What to do, Shopping, Money, Security, Communications, Walks in the Avila Mountain, Beyond the city
Chapter 6: Central Coast and Colonia Tovar
The central coast, La Guaira and Macuto, East to Chuspa, Chirimena to Carenero, Colonia Tovar
Chapter 7: Los Roques, Morrocoy,Mochima
The Robinson Crusoe experience, Los Roques Archipelago, Morrocoy, Mochima
Chapter 8: Margarita Island
Caribbean island, Getting there and away, Getting around, Information, What to do, Porlamar, Pampatar,
El Valle del Espíritu Santo, Asunción, Cerro El Copey National Park, East coast beaches, Santa Ana and craft villages, Juangriego and Northwest coast, La Restinga and Macanao Peninsula, Windsurfing in El Yaque, Coche and Cubagua islands
Chapter 9: The Oriente Coast
Anzoátegui State, Sucre State, Araya Peninsula, East Sucre State, Paria National Park
Chapter 10: Monagas and the Orinoco Delta
Caripe and the Guacharo Cave, Around Caripe, Orinoco Delta
Chapter 11: Los Llanos, Wildlife Paradise
Flora and fauna, Wildlife lodges and camps, San Fernando de Apure, Cinaruco-Capanaparo Park, Barinas state
Chapter 12: Bolivar State
Ciudad Bolivar, Gran Sabana and Lost World of the tepuis, Canaima and Angel Falls, Santa Elena, Roraima trek, Caura River and Para Falls
Chapter 13: Amazonas
Puerto Ayacucho, Visiting indigenous groups, Up the Orinoco, Casiquiare and Rio Negro, To and from Brazil, To and from Colombia
Chapter 14: Aragua and Carabobo
Maracay, Choroni and Chuao, Valencia, Carabobo hot Springs and beaches
Chapter 15: Yaracuy and Lara
Yaracuy state and the Cult of Maria Lionza, Barquisimeto, The Quibor handicrafts route
Chapter 16: Merida and the Andes
Páramos and peaks, Merida City, High sierras and mountain walks, Mucuposadas, Mystery of Catatumbo Lightning, Travel to/from Colombia
Chapter 17: Falcón and Zulia
Colonial Coro and the Medanos, Paraguaná Peninsula, Sierra de San Luis, Maracaibo, Western Zulia, The east lake coast 526
Appendix 1: Language
Appendix 2: Further Reading
Venezuela, South America
A boom in adventure tourism in the Andean mountain city of Merida has seen a rapid growth in tour companies offering paragliding, mountain biking and river rafting, as international tourists shun the capital Caracas over crime fears. Bradt's Venezuela gives the lowdown on sporting opportunities in the country.
The feature-length Pixar/Disney cartoon Up! is set in the Lost World region of tabletop Tepui mountains in Venezuela's remote south and has stimulated interest in the accessible tepui Mount Roraima and six-day tours to its summit.
The rise of President Hugo Chavez and his Bolivarian revolution has resulted in growing tensions with the US and a polarization of society in Venezuela that has created a rift between the rich and upper middle class, who oppose the president, and the shanty-dwelling poor, who support him. However, it has also resulted in a new form of tourism for the country as Chavez supporters from Europe and the USA come to the country to see the Bolivarian revolution for themselves.
President Chavez's nationalist stance and love of all things local has also sparked a resurgence of indigenous cultural expressions in music, art and gastronomy. Bradt author Russell Maddicks gives revised and detailed descriptions of restaurants, cafes, clubs, music venues and art galleries.
In 2009, Angel Falls was selected as one of the final 28 candidates - from 261 suggested global landmarks - in a global Internet campaign to find the New Seven Wonders of Nature. The successful seven will be announced in 2011.
The president's recent announcement that he wanted to change the name of the world's highest waterfall, Angel Falls, to its indigenous name Parekupai-Meru, sparked global interest in the site, which is among the country's main tourist attractions.
A new chapter on responsible travel is also included.