Although it is often skipped over by tourists, there are lots of things to do in Caracas, Venezuela if given a chance. Caracas sometimes gets a bad rap for its poverty and crime, but if you’re willing to exercise some caution while you’re there, Caracas offers rewards for those who are interested in Venezuela’s rich culture, history, and natural beauty.
1. La Plaza Bolivar
Simon Bolivar is a South American hero. During the time of Spanish rule, Bolivar helped liberate much of the continent from their colonial overlords. Now you know why the Venezuelan currency is the bolivar! Venezuela’s government designed La Plaza Bolivar as a commemoration of his heroics. Statues of the man himself surround some of the country’s government buildings. The plaza is also a great place to get a good look at colonial architecture.
2. La Casa Natal de Simon Bolivar
You thought the Bolivar fun ended here? Many of the best things to do in Caracas revolve around its history. For fans of the 17th century hero, Caracas is the mothership of all Bolivarian tourist destinations. La Casa Natal de Simon Bolivar is the birthplace of Venezuela’s national hero, and because of his national importance this museum is free of charge. (Note: You can also check out the place that stores his remains: Panteon Nacional)The house features a permanent exhibition of paintings and artifacts depicting Bolivar’s life, and is a must-see for anyone interested in Latin America’s history.
3. PDVSA La Estancia
Feeling overloaded on history? Take a break at La Estancia, a former coffee plantation that now serves as a large park for the city’s residents. The park also features a photography museum in one of its buildings. The park takes its name from Venezuela’s powerful state-owned oil company, which owns the park and much else in the nation’s capitol.
4. Paseo de Los Proceres
One of the city’s best areas to walk and people watch, Paseo de Los Proceres is Caracas’ Champs Elysses. A wide avenue lined with trees and monuments of Venezuelan heroes, this is the place to be if you want to bask in the flow of humanity or just take a long evening stroll.
5. Centro Sambil
An attraction all in itself, Centro Sambil is the fourth-largest shopping mall in South America. Although Venezuela is generally regarded as a socialist country, consumerism is alive and well here, and Centro Sambil offers the perfect looking glass into the wealthy end of the spectrum in a country known for its extremely high inequality.
Caracas offers a lot for those with a little courage and travel experience. Although many decide to skip it on their way to the country’s many other destinations, there are plenty of things to do in Caracas, Venezuela, especially for those who want to get under the crust of this very unique South American country.