Venezuela travel advice
Few tourists visit Venezuela - that is a key part of its appeal - but this does make travel occasionally challenging.
English is rarely spoken, distances are often great, and many parts of the country have few hotels of any sort. For this reason it is necessary to plan your trip well, and well in advance.
Planning your trip through Audley
Our representatives know the country intimately, and can plan an itinerary that will enable you to see the parts of the country that best match your interests in the maximum comfort. They also keep abreast of current developments and will advise of any foreseeable developments.
At the time of going to press the political situation in Venezuela is somewhat volatile, and even though tourist areas are rarely affected, up-to-date information is certainly vital.
Visas are not required to visit Venezuela.
The official language of Venezuela is Spanish. There are around 25 indigenous tongues spoken by remote tribes. English is spoken by some people in urban centres.
The currency of Venezuela is the Bolivar. Change is often in short supply so it is best to break into the higher denomination notes asap. It can be difficult to cash traveller's cheque's. Our general recommendation is therefore to take cash in US$ up to a value that you are happy to carry. Visa and Mastercard are accepted in most good hotels and restaurants (again you will only receive the official exchange rate on these transactions).
Food and drink
Seafood is a speciality in the coastal areas, especially langoustine and lobster. The Venezuelan national dish is the pabellon criollo which consists of shredded beef, avocado, sliced plantain, cheese, rice and beans. Meat is often served with guasacaca, a spicy green sauce made of avocado, peppers, onions and spices. Local specialities include empanadas which are deep-fried cornmeal turnovers with fillings of ground meet, cheese, beans or baby shark. The coffee is good along with merengada, (a mixture of fruit pulp, ice, milk and sugar) and Batido (similar but with water and no milk).
Tipping for good service is an accepted fact. A 10% service charge is usually added to restaurant bills, and you are advised to leave another 10% behind. Taxi drivers do not require a tip but it is customary to give baggage handlers a tip of US$1 per bag. Petrol pump attendants should be tipped.
Social, ethical and environmental issues
Venezuela is a developing country with associated problems of poverty and social injustice. Petty crime can be a problem, so use common sense and do not wear expensive jewellery etc, and take care of cameras. Beware of pickpockets in bus and underground stations. Carry your passport at all times. If you are found travelling without it, you could expect to find yourself at the police station. Stay away from poor shantytowns. Do not take pictures of people without asking permission.
Our certified country specialists can advise on any safety concerns you may have. For current information, please refer to the Department of Travel Affairs and Trade website.
When to go to Venezuela
You'll find temperature and rainfall information, together with a month-by-month guide on visiting, on our guide for when to go to Venezuela.