Information for Travelers Looking to Go to Venezuela
Visa and Itinerary
As an American, I was required to obtain a visa before traveling to Venezuela. A letter of invitation was not necessary. I applied in September 2018 at the embassy in San Francisco and waited until the Consular had time for me to explain why I really wanted to go to Venezuela. The visa was approved two weeks later.
Miami is the easiest place to fly to Caracas. My plan was to make it to Angel Falls and spend a few days with some friends in Lecheria afterwards. I stayed at the Eurobuilding airport hotel in Caracas to catch the flight to Puerto Ordaz the following morning. I was met by my travel agent Pablo in Puerto Ordaz and stayed one night there before taking a small charter flight to Canaima. We stayed 1 night in a guesthouse in Canaima then spent a full day traveling by boat to Angel Falls. We camped out in hammocks beneath the falls and spent the next day hiking and swimming under Angel Falls. We spent one last night in Canaima afterwards before flying back to Puerto Ordaz. We drove with friends to Lecheria (Barcelona) and also to Caracas. We were stopped and searched one time at a checkpoint which wasn’t a big deal, nothing along the way felt unsafe (we mainly traveled during the day). I spent some time in Caracas on the back end of the trip and beyond a few inconvenient power outages, had a great experience without any issues. In total I spent 8 days traveling throughout the country by air and by car and I felt safe the entire time I was there. Arranging the trip ahead of time made everything so much easier. If I had more time in Venezuela, I would have spent time in Los Roques and Margarita Island.
Dealing with money in Venezuela was a bit complicated. I changed USD for bolívares soberanos in the Caracas airport which ended up being the best option because it was difficult to find other currency exchanges throughout the country. Make sure to pay for as much as you can (flights, tours, etc.) before you go. For the most part, locals rely on bank transfers for everyday expenses. A money transfer app called Zelle is also recommended although it didn’t work for me.
If you are planning a trip to Venezuela I highly recommend Pablo Martínez from FLYHIGHPM. His contact information is +58(424)899-5637 on WhatsApp and firstname.lastname@example.org.