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Venezuela Guide

Driving

Venezuela boasts everything from Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean coastlines to mountainous regions and bustling metropolitan hubs. Additionally, it borders numerous surrounding South American countries such as Colombia, Brazil and Guyana. When not exploring cities such as the capital, Caracas, tourists can usually be found at natural wonders such as Angel Falls or relaxing on Caribbean islands.

Driving Tips for Venezuela

The quality of the roads varies. While roads to and around Caracas and central cities are good, potholes are common on rural roads, which is why four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended for those who intend to travel extensively around the country. Signage is plentiful.

Driving licences: UK drivers may drive here for up to 12 months with their British driving licence.

Which side does Venezuela drive on: the right.

Speed limits:
Motorways: 100mph (160kph)
Rural areas: 50mph (80kph)
Built-up areas: 37mph (60kph)

Alcohol limits: 0.05 per cent compared to the UK limit of 0.08 per cent; alcohol levels above this limit often result in severe penalties.

Driving age: 18 years; 21 years to rent a vehicle.

Seatbelts: compulsory for every passenger in a vehicle. Children under 10 years are required to sit in the rear of the vehicle and infants must be seated in child seats or restraints.

Mobile phones and GPS: numerous municipalities have outlawed the use of mobile phones while driving. Using GPS isn't illegal, but some devices might not function here.

Cost of fuel in Venezuela: almost half of the cost it is in the UK.

Car hire and fuel payment: credit card payments are accepted at the majority of petrol stations and car hire companies near cities. Holders of UK cards must notify their supplier of their plans to travel before leaving home.

Insurance: third-party insurance is included with car hire; however, the dangers on the roads here mean excess insurance is recommended.

Traffic and parking: Caracas is notorious for its traffic and scarce parking. Delays are common when travelling to other cities and laws are often flouted by local drivers. Violating parking regulations may result in a heavy fine.


Transport

Taxis
Taxis aren't the cheapest way to travel around cities but are affordable when measured against rates offered in Europe or North America. Taxis don't have meters, so a fee has to be agreed upon prior to travel. Tourists are advised to avoid unofficial vehicles. For travel between towns, por puestos are available at fares of around £6 for journeys of up to two hours, while inner-city taxi fares range between £3 and £18.

Buses
Long-distance buses to Venezuela are possible from the Brazilian city of Manaus. Aside from self-driving, buses are considered to be the best and safest way to travel around the country and are supplied by companies including Aerobuses de Venezuela and Aeroexpresos Ejecutivos. Domestic bus rides of less than two hours cost about £4, while long-distance services of up to nine hours cost around £20.

Ferries
Ferries to Margarita Island are available from the mainland port cities of Cumana and Puerto La Cruz. They take two hours from either point and are supplied by Conferry.

Airports
Simon Bolivar International Airport, a 30-minute (13 mile) drive from Caracas and locally known as Maiquetia Airport, is the main gateway. It has direct connections with the European cities of Rome, Madrid and Paris. Buses make the trip into the city for £2.60, while taxis charge £20. There is an international departures tax of £20 and a domestic departures tax of £3.40. Domestic services connect Caracas with the colonial city of Coro, Ciudad Bolivar for access to Angel Falls, Ciudad Guayana for the Orinoco Delta, Maracaibo, Valencia and Los Roques, a chain of islands in the Caribbean.

Explore

Exploring Venezuela

Most visitors begin their time in Venezuela by first flying to the capital, Caracas. Although the city isn't as tourist-oriented as many other South American cultural hubs, it is often highly praised for its nightlife and gastronomy. Trips to the Museum of Colonial Art and Bolivar Plaza are popular.

The most popular tourist destination is, without question, Canaima National Park in the southeast. Although it has plenty of waterfalls and lagoons, the crown in its natural wonder glory is without doubt the iconic Angel Falls.

Those with an enthusiasm for the outdoors should make sure they have time for the picturesque Andes area in the northwestern part of the country. Towns and cities in the Merida and Tachira regions provide great access to local mountains.

As the country has over 600 Caribbean islands, those that love relaxing at the beach are spoilt for choice. Among the most frequented of the options are Los Roques, Las Aves and Margarita.

Visitors who have enjoyed the Museum of Colonial Art in Caracas will get a kick from a trip to the western city of Coro, or Santa Ana de Coro, the country's original capital and one of its oldest cities. Its downtown area is most noted for being a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Weather

Venezuela's location near the equator means it enjoys a tropical climate. Average temperatures hit 35°C most of the year round, although the glaciers and highlands are chilly at just 8°C. To avoid the rain, arrive from November to April or from August to October, the busiest travel periods.

All cities in Venezuela

We compare car rental suppliers in each of the following cities: