Venezuela, the kidnap-capital of the world. Spiralling inflation armed gangs of protestors and police with a reputation to shoot first and ask questions later. A powder-keg waiting to explode. A destination for only the suicidal or the foolish Or at least that is what I had been expecting…
The Broke Backpacker shares his reasons to visit Venezuela from a 2015 trip to the country. The article has not been updated since 2015 and information may have changed.
Why Go To Venezuela?
Everybody I had met had told me that to visit Venezuela was point-blank stupid. I had been travelling for six months, winding my way down Central America and into Colombia, getting ever closer. The whole time I had been on the lookout for someone, anyone, who had actually been to Venezuela and lived to tell the tale. I had yet to meet a soul who had successfully backpacked around Venezuela.
That didn’t stop people giving me advice, when it came to Venezuela, everybody had an opinion
- “It’s impossible to visit Venezuela without getting robbed”
- “Do you have a death wish man!?”
- “I heard they forcibly evicted all foreigners?”
- “Isn’t it unbelievably expensive there?”
- “Your going to die… I hear the girls are hot though”
5 Reasons To Visit Venezuela
Despite all of the rumours and half-truths that were thrown at me, it turned out that there was five crucial things nobody seemed to know about this truly incredible country…and these are the reasons to visit Venezuela.
1. Venezuela Is Unbelievably Cheap
Venezuela was without a doubt the cheapest country I have ever been to, I changed money on the black market, which is pretty much the norm for anybody lucky enough to have US dollars, and was absolutely amazed at what I could afford. For one dollar I could get twelve beers. For four bucks I could stay in a five star hotel room, for six bucks I could catch a flight, for eighty bucks I could go on all inclusive, truly amazing, four day wildlife tour. Venezuela is a country where you can easily get by on just fifty bucks a week, with a budget of $100 a week, I lived like a king.
2. The People Of Venezuela Are Friendly
Everywhere I went, people seemed somewhat bewildered to see me. I met only a handful of other backpackers whilst in Venezuela, all of whom spoke better Spanish than me. Locals never seemed to sure what to think of a tattooed gringo with a scraggly pack and terrible Spanish attempting to hitch a ride or make new friends whilst out on the town.
Ultimately, most people were incredibly kind to me, possibly out of a sense of responsibility, and nothing bad ever happened to me. I found the Couchsurfing community in Venezuela to be thriving and I made some great friends throughout the country, despite my terrible Spanish! I found the local people to be really concerned for my wellbeing and to be incredibly helpful when I was sorting out buses or trying to find somewhere to stay.
3. You Can Fill Up A Car For 1 Cent In Venezuela
I knew Venezuela was going to be cheap, although just how cheap it was truly shocked me. What I didn’t know was that I could fill up a car with gas for less than 1 US cent. That is not a typo. Venezuela has more oil reserves than any other country in the world and you can buy a full tank of gas for less than it costs to buy a bottle of water.
4. The rum and food are amazing!
Rum… I’ve always quite liked the idea of becoming some sort of rum aficionado. Once I started a foreign rums collection, then I had a party and that was kind of the end of that dream. Venezuelan rum is without a doubt some of the best in the world and buying a bottle of the absolute best stuff, Santa Teresa, is comparatively expensive – as in, it will cost you about $4 for the bottle.
This is a rum that costs $6 a shot back home. I spent a fair bit of my time in Venezuela sipping on rum… Don’t even get me started on the food, because it was so cheap I was eating in the kind of places I could never even dream of entering under normal circumstances. For less than $10 you can expect a three-course dinner in a truly classy establishment with a couple of cocktails to wash it all down…
5. It Is So Worth The Risk
It took me a few days to get my head around Venezuela, I spoke to lots of people and tried to get a better understanding of the very complicated economical and social issues in the country. It’s no wonder people had been telling me not to go; Venezuela can be a scary place, especially if you’re living there.
Saying that, for a wandering backpacker, it is so worth the risk. With some truly stunning sites, the table-top mountain of Roraima being my favourite, dirt cheap adventures and a welcoming people; Venezuela is prime adventure territory – just play your cards right and play it safe.
I personally would love to go back to Venezuela and would recommend it to anyone who has some decent backpacking experience under their belts. This is not a destination for newbies. For the more experienced backpackers, with some time in The Middle East or Western Africa under their belts, this is the next big thing…
Will blogs over at The Broke Backpacker about his adventures around the world, you can follow him on Facebook and on Twitter or, if your really friendly, hunt him down on the road for a cheeky pint. Writer and photographer. Adventurer and vagabond.
Master of the handstand pushup. Conqueror of mountains, a survivor of deserts, and crusader for cheap escapades. Will is an avid hitch-hiker, couch-surfer and bargain-seeker. He is a devout follower of the High Temple of Backpackistan and the proud inventor of the man-hug.
19 thoughts on “5 Unexpected Reasons to Visit Venezuela”
I really had fun reading this. I’m Venezuelan and if you want to go you just have to be organized. I loved the idea being part of couchsurfing and will be great if you go with somebody from Venezuela.
Don’t forget to eat empanadas, cachapas, tropical fruits, and the soups.
One day Venezuela will be in peace again.
Venezuela has never been on my radar, but after reading this, i think it will have to be included on my south america itinerary!!
Thanks for the read!
I’ve heard a lot about Venezuela. Its beautiful landscape and the cist of traveling which seems affordable are the best reason to visit this country. It is on my bucket list.
My absolute reason to put Venezuela on my TO GO LIST is the panoramic mount Roraima. The trek must be fully rewarding especially if having chance to do rock climbing.
This is a great list! We’ve been throwing around the idea of heading to South America, sooner rather than later, but we weren’t sure which countries we’d want to visit (and which were safe enough to do so). We’ll definitely be looking to see Venezuela now, especially if there are classy $10 three-course meals waiting!
Gotta love affordable meals!
I’ve seen this article somewhere else – really good post on an interesting place. I almost went there a few years ago when exploring Colombia. But we have a couple of Venezuelan friends and they’re the first to tell us that it’s not a place to go right now – just too darn dangerous. I honestly don’t know how Chavez turned one of the world highest producers of oil into an economic basket case. Sad.
It is perfect time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I’ve read this post and if I could I want to suggest you some interesting things or tips. Maybe you can write next articles referring to this article. I want to read more things about it!|
Venezuela is undoubtedly among the must visit places of the world.The true beauty of the city lies in its friendly locals.
Not all of these are unexpected reasons… friendly locals, nice food are common to most places I mean the reasons to visit places. But what was really unexpected is how cheap things are in Venezuela…..
Venezuela is a great place to go most of the people don’t like to go to Venezuela because all the situation with the government
Thanks for the comment. Have you been?
wow awesome article and very beautiful pictures.
Thank you for this article. I am from Venezuela, and we are going through hard economical and political times, adding up the insecurity. For people living here, it is horribly expensive; for foreigners with dollars or euros, you are going to be amazingly rich. Despite the risks, Venezuela has a lot of beautiful places and natural landscapes, warm people and delicious food (you cannot miss trying arepas at an “arepera”!). It saddens me that the touristic potential of Venezuela is being lost due to all its problems. If you decide to go, be careful to where you go, do not show to everybody that you have expensive things (cellphones or cameras) or a lot of money, and you can have a good experience!
Hi Luisa, Glad you enjoyed it. We look forward to coming ourselves one day soon. Thanks also for the words of caution, it’s great to visit a place but it’s important to keep safe and be aware of possible problems that may arise.
Thanks for sharing that. I have been living and traveling for 10 months in Latin America now and haven’t met a single person who has been in Venezuela. I had no clue it is that cheap and it seems like you had a very special experience as there are so few backpackers.
Thanks Stef. That’s amazing that you haven’t come across anyone in 10 months! Glad we could share something new with you!
As an American the visa processes is extremely complicated and takes a long time. They ask for employment information, bank accounts, hotel reservations for the entire trip, itinerary, additionally it takes over 1 week for them to approve a 1 year visa.
For Americans the nearest embassy is Mexico, or Trinidad.