Caracas, a city of great diversity, offers visitors a wide range of scenery. The different areas of the city make it an exciting and interesting metropolis where tradition and modernism become one. Caracas has an excellent transport system: there is an intricate network of roads that cross the city from east to west and north to south; an exceptional underground transportation system known as
El Silencio (Downtown)
History at a glance!
Innovation, architecture, art and culture, and the country's two highest towers - if there is any place that shows how modern Caracas is, it is
The most important museums of the city include:
Sabana Grande & Las Mercedes
Even though this is not quite a tourist mecca, here we will find the famous
Altamira, Chacao & El Hatillo
Altamira is one of the most pleasant neighborhoods in the city, which normally includes some smaller districts such as La Castellana, Los Palos Grandes, Bello Campo and La Floresta. It is an important business area and is the location of the Plaza Francia which has a large obelisk, a monumental trademark of Caracas. Chacao is a district that was made famous by Irene Sáez, ex Miss Universe from 1986, that as mayor changed the area into a yuppie enclave, so today it is populous and modern, filled with large buildings and shopping centers. El Hatillo is ideal for those that may want to escape the hustle and bustle from the city. It is a small village filled with old houses, artisanal shops, cafes and restaurants.
Whatever your reason for coming to Caracas - business, tourism, congresses, conventions or art - you will always find a good place to stay. The type of accommodation you want will always depend on the cost, location and services that you are looking for. But because of the enormous number of hotels all over the city, it should not be difficult for anybody to find exactly what they seek. There are very luxurious and not so luxurious places, there are apartment hotels and there are very cost-effective hotels. In short: a big variety to meet all demands. Whether you're staying at an expensive hotel, or otherwise, you'll usually want to book your room well in advance.
The Hotel Hilton has almost 750 rooms and the Hotel Caracas Hilton is located right in the heart of the financial and artistic center of the city and near the Metro Bellas Artes train station. The hotel has two restaurants, two bars, a sushi bar, swimming pools, gymnasium, sauna, tennis courts and 36 well-equipped conference rooms. The advantage of staying here is that you will have everything at your reach, the best museums and cultural institutions within the city. Also the Metro and Botanical Gardens are within reach among many others. The Residencias Anauco Hilton located in front of the hotel Caracas Hilton is a complex with more than 334 apartments and has two restaurants, a bar and seven conference rooms. The swimming pool and the gym, among other amenities are available for the guest in the Caracas Hilton.
The Sabana Grande is a big commercial area, featuring numerous hotels. Apart from having a wing with very luxurious rooms, the Gran Meliá Caracas offers accommodation in fully equipped flats for those who wish to stay for a month or more. There are five restaurants, three bars, a huge convention center, and a business center fully equipped with fax and Internet services, e-mail and secretarial services. There are two swimming pools, a big adult pool and a smaller one for children. For those who want to keep fit there are gym and sauna facilities. The three star Hotel Kursaal is a modern and convenient option with plenty of services at a reasonable price. The inexpensive Hotel Beethoven offers all the basic conveniences for travelers on a budget. The Plaza Palace Hotel is a great option for business travelers and tourists alike due to its comprehensive guest services and convenient location in a beautiful old building. The Hotel Savoy is another three star hotel with exquisite customer service and location close to plenty of action.
Located in a rather exclusive part of the city, with 445 single rooms, 79 double rooms and 46 suites, the Tamanaco Inter-Continental is one of the most preferred by demanding travelers, artists and businessmen. Facilities include a bar, restaurant, parking, non-smoking rooms, children's club, tennis court, swimming pools, conference rooms and office services. Every room comes with its own mini-bar, telephone, air-conditioning and satellite TV. The Hotel Paseo Las Mercedes has the privilege of being located in the eponymous mall, Centro Comercial Paseo Las Mercedes. It is a luxurious hotel with elegance, and the quality of service is excellent. The Hotel Centro Lido is a luxurious hotel with all kinds of services and facilities, including its delicious restaurant, the Nouveau Grill. Altamira
On the first avenue of Los Palos Grandes is Altamira Suites, just a block away from the metro station Altamira. This five-star hotel offers a restaurant, bar, beauty salon, swimming pool, tennis court and parking garage. Also located in Altamira is the Hotel Continental Altamira, complete with gardens, balconies, and convenient location.
In Venezuela many ancient gastronomic traditions are combined to please the guest with a delicious variety of dishes. Between the 16th and 19th Centuries, Venezuelan society was made up of families descending from three different backgrounds—European, African and Venezuelan Amerindian. However, today's society does not necessarily reflect that situation anymore. Modern Venezuelan society shows a kind of symbiosis of human races, growing Asian and Middle Eastern influences have created a dynamic international environment. This same combination can be found in the local cuisine.
Because of the huge variety of restaurants offering the most exotic national and international cuisine, Caracas is considered the gastronomic capital of Latin America. This does not mean, however, that the Venezuelans and their food have lost their true culinary identity. In fact, typical Venezuelan food is characterized by its simplicity and pleasant taste. However, one restaurant in the Sabana Grande neighborhood that should not be missed is Al Vecchio Mulino, which means "Old Windmill" in Italian, it is a local favorite and is actually housed in an old windmill. After dinner, you can head to Poma for something sweet. Café Matisse serves delicate, French inspired cuisine in warm, comfortable surroundings and La Caleta offers Spanish dishes and lively atmosphere.
Las Mercedes & La Castellana
Selecting one of the hundreds of restaurants in Caracas can be a challenge; that being, we offer some tips to help you make your decision. Many of the best restaurants can be found in la Mercedes and la Castellana of which the most recommended are, Damasco, which is traditional Middle Eastern food and has a ballet show every Friday, Toninos, Café & Bistro, specialist in Mediterranean food, salads and risotto, El Tinajero de los Helechos and Maute Grill, for all those who like grilled meats. For Italian, there is Il Romanaccio — with strictly Italian cooks, this is a place where good dining is always guaranteed. Aventino is considered as the best restaurant in the city with more than 35 years of tradition. The main dish is Caneton a la Presse, which dates back to 1892. Misia Jacinta has Venezuelan food that includes Arepas, and Cachapas. Racó specializes in Catalan food as well as traditional Spanish dishes.
When night falls, Caracas is transformed into another city. The tropical evening warms the city's musical soul, inspiring salsa and meringue rhythms. Bars and restaurants open and the parties begin. Discotheques such as Latinos, El Maní es Así and Staño offer the hottest Latin rhythms for all-night dancing, while enjoying the best tropical food and cocktails. If you are looking for something more mellow with cosmopolitan music the following might interest you, clubs such as Las Tapas de Madrid, Tiffany's, Flyer's and Greenwich Pub.
Having a good meal in Caracas can be more than just an enjoyable experience; it can be an unforgettable adventure. In the neighborhood of Altamira, the immense variety of national and international meals is promising: from the Pabellón Criollo—Venezuela's traditional dish consisting of shredded meat, black beans on rice and fried plantain—to an exquisite Foie Gras on over-sweet mango, or smoked salmon with ginger and spring onion. One such restaurant is La Estancia, a place to enjoy the finest beef from Argentina alongside traditional dishes. For a taste of something different, head over to Chez Wong & Grill to enjoy some Chinese food. For an after dinner cocktail, the Taverna del Cubo is open late and has an extensive wine collection. Vizio Restaurant is a family owned and operated establishment serving up traditional Italian cuisine. After dinner, head to Yogen Früz for delicious frozen yogurt.
When it comes to culture, art and recreation, Caracas is the place to be. Always full of life and with new things to discover each day, visitors to this Caribbean capital will never be bored.
Owing to the city's cosmopolitan character, the Caracas art scene is fascinating and worthwhile. Every day you can find some sort of cultural activity and, particularly at the weekend, Caracas' talented artists show off their creativity, to the many Caraqueños and travelers who are out and about. There are always a number of cultural centers with something on. Some of the places where you can get a good idea of what Venezuelan art has to offer are the Complejo Cultural Teresa Carreño; the National Art Gallery; the Ateneo de Caracas, and the Quinta Anauco are some of the places that display a tremendous amount of Venezuelan art.
The museums of Caracas are distinguished by their beauty and magnificence, not only in architecture, but also the art exhibited inside. The Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas Sofía Imber, in Parque Central, is one example of such excellence. Another is the Fine Arts Museum, and there is the Children's Museum, which not only children, but also parents can enjoy. Remember, there is also the Natural Science Museum, the Audiovisual Museum, the Piano Museum and the Museo Bolíviariano. All together, Caracas has a total of around 50 art galleries and museums, and whatever your field of interest, you will find something to your liking. Other include the Caracas Museum, the Transport Museum and the Arturo Michelena Museum amongst many others.
When it comes to theaters there also is a great variety to choose from. Some open their doors from Wednesday to Sunday, while others are only opened on the weekends. One of the most famous theater groups is Sala Rajatabla, which stages its plays at the Ateneo de Caracas. Other theaters well worth a visit are the National Theater, the Foundación Celarg, El Teatro Municipal, the Tilingo Theater and the Teatro Jorge Palacios. At the end of April the Festival Internacional de Teatro is held. It takes place every two years and offers theater from around the world.
The two best places to enjoy classical, lyric chants, chamber music, latin, jazz and Venezuelan music are the Complejo Cultural Teresa Carreño, the Centro de Cultura Corp Banca and the Aula Magna Concert Hall. Every month each presents a recital from symphonic orchestras and guests from abroad.
The best nightclubs are to the east of the city. Clubs such as Tiffany´s, in Altamira are ideal for those who love house or techno music; Flanagan's Pub, in the Centro Comercial Paseo Las Mercedes, is the place to go for salsa, meringue and pop. The Fly Pub, in El Rosal, for rock or heavy metal lovers, they also have a lot of unknown rock bands. Primer Piso in Las Mercedes offers live salsa shows on "Latin Thursdays" and on Friday and Saturday, meringue, African rhythms and techno. However, this is not the only place where you will find salsa and meringue because it is played at most of the discos and nightclubs, such as Latino's, El Maní es así and Pal's, among others.
Caracas has more than 40 cinemas. The most recommended are, of course, in the east of the city. For lovers of the alternative circuit there are a good number of art cinemas, for example, at the El Ateneo and the National Art Gallery.