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Safety in Venezuela

High Wycombe
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17 posts
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Safety in Venezuela

We have booked a tour in Venezuela, due to start on 19th June, but are becoming increasingly concerned about the safety aspects of travelling there, especially given the FCO advice. Caracas airport itself seems to be unsafe. Has anyone travelled there recently and had any experiences they can relate? It seems to have got worse in the last 6 months. Should we cancel or go ahead anyway?

Caracas, Venezuela
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1. Re: Safety in Venezuela

The FCO advice is aimed at the most novice of travellers. Common sense is needed when travelling anywhere in Latin America. Don't wear expensive looking watches or jewellry, don't talk on blackberrys openly in public, don't walk around at night - take licensed cabs, etc etc.

The Caracas airport is perfectly safe, just ignore the people that offer to change your money and the pirate cab drivers. I fly in and out of Caracas several times a year and have never had a problem, do not worry at all you will have a great holiday!

Vancouver
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12 posts
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2. Re: Safety in Venezuela

Hi Ian,

I´ve been in Venezuela for 2 years. And heck yes it is dangerous. I was once in a restaurant and some thugs walked in and shoot a guy almost point blank and shoot his wife or GF in the restaurant. And they just walked away like nothing, and we all just took off. My colleages tells me that since noone got rob, this was a ¨revenge¨ murder... in any event, I think it is not safe for turist and not even locals if that is the case. About more than a half of people I know something happened to them in the past from simple robberies for your black berry or even, kidnappings.

Should you come??? Well yes why not, but keep in mind this is not your regular North American city. If you don't know where to go or where you are, it is best not to venture since you might just end up in troubble. So dont take expensive watches woth you, all jewlery off! No even the locals dare to wear the jewlery these days. And do not venture walking around or taking a stroll as we say... or god to your neiborhood pub for a chat and a ale... that is a big NO.

Now, the nature in this country is great, so if you come make sure you know where you go, who will pick you up, and how long you will be there. Meaning just book before hand your hotel, or posadas, to great place like Los Roques, Morrocoy, Angel Falls, etc. That way is the safest, you know where you go and once they take you where you want to go. Some posadas even go to the airport to pick you up, that is the best. So yes you can come but book everything in advance! And donot just venture around on your own!

Jersey, United...
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3. Re: Safety in Venezuela

I travelled alone in Caracas and was fine....problems can occur, but it's like that in all south american cities....tourists that get in problems, do so because they don't take simple precautions- leave all your valuables at home, hide your money, carry small bills, get advice about going out at night, be wary of where you are going, act confident!

-if you have studied a caracas map, and orientated yourself before going, then you have a bit more sense of confidence,etc!

- ALSO remember that you can have some great fun in Caracas also!!- it's highly unlikely that you're gonna get shot in a revenge killing,etc- but tish happens!!

Caracas, Venezuela
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515 posts
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4. Re: Safety in Venezuela

Caracas, and Venezuela in general is safe for those who have the right information. That restaurant where the revenge shooting happened, I can just imagine the type of restaurant it was. I'm sure it was not at http://www.restaurantalto.com , or http://www.cctolon.com/piso5.asp or not even at an Arepa place in the safe areas of town. I will gladly send you my guidesheet of where it's safe to go and get a feel for the city. Coincidentally, most of the places of interest are safe, even the colonial downtown, as long as you dress like the locals. Remember that the prime target of crime here is not tourists, it's the rich locals, with their SUVs, Blackberries, USD bricks at home, USD bank accounts, gold coin collections, laptops, high rise luxury condos, etc.

Edited: 28 May 2011, 23:16
5. Re: Safety in Venezuela

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Toronto, Canada
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6. Re: Safety in Venezuela

Hi guys, I love Venezuela and have been coming for the last ten years. If you have booked a tour there is nothing to worry about. The FCO advice about the airport is for independent travellers who have never beeen in South America before and might fall into the trap of walking off with a stranger to change money in some out of the way place in the airport, or who take an illegal taxi (known as "pirata" or pirate taxis). You should have none of these problems.

The best advice I can give anybody is to read a recent guide to the country. On my last trip I took the new Bradt Guide to Venezuela (2011), which was excellent and has all the advice you need to get round safely, as well as good language tips and background to the country. Safe travels!

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7. Re: Safety in Venezuela

I am a 48 year woman (us) planning to travel to Venezuela to meet up with and old friend. I wil be travelling alone to Caracus and he should be meeting me at the airport there. He lives in Guanare and is a Venezuelan national.

Would I be safe in the airport and travelling with him? Thanks.

Caracas, Venezuela
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8. Re: Safety in Venezuela

Yes you should have no worries at all, especially if your friend is greeting you at the airport. Just ignore the people that offer money change and taxis as you come out, I am sure your friend will tell them where to go anyhow!

You will get a lot more out of your trip staying with a Venezuelan and he can take you places the tourists don't get to see. You will have a great time I am sure.

Just remember to leave the expensive jewelry and watches at home, and put your valuables in your hand luggage when flying in and out of Venezuela. Take a photocopy of your passport and keep that on you during your trip as sometimes the police do identification checks, but this is normally only for the driver but you never know.

Toronto, Canada
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9. Re: Safety in Venezuela

A photocopy of your passport is not considered a valid ID document in Venezuela.

You MUST take your passport with you at all times, unless you arer lounging by the pool in your hotel or strolling along the beach in front of the hotel.

If you are asked for ID by the National Guard or the police and only have a photocopy of your passport you will be held until your passport can be produced.

This is the law in Venezuela and applies as much to Venezuelans, who must always carry a valid ID document with them, as it does to visitors to the country.

I would also carry a couple of photocopies of my passport in separate places - luggage, etc - in case my passport is lost and stolen, so I can take it to the embassy or consulate to get a replacement.

If you get hold of a decent guidebook, like the new Bradt Guide to Venezuela, it has a list of do's and dont's and things you need to know before you travel. Venezuela is a great country to visit but people need to know the facts.

Caracas, Venezuela
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10. Re: Safety in Venezuela

I use to always show a passport photocopy and it was always accepted, but these days just use my cedula. Maybe I was just lucky!