17 Best Things to Do in Caracas, Venezuela

Caracas, Venezuela

apomares / Getty Images

Many people pass through Caracas, Venezuela, on their way to other destinations in the country, such as Angel Falls, Margarita Island, or Los Roques National Park. However, it is well worth adding some days in Caracas to your itinerary. You'll have a chance to see beautiful landscapes, whether you ride a cable car into the mountains, swim in a waterfall, or stroll around beloved historic cathedrals and buildings.

Take the usual safety precautions for any large city in South America, such as keeping valuables hidden, avoiding walking alone at night (particularly on dark streets), and traveling in groups when possible. By being prepared, most travelers have hassle-free trips.

01 of 17

Visit the Contemporary Art Museum

Sculptor and painter Jesus Soto in Venezeula October 1999

Yves Forestier / Getty Images

Zona Cultural de Parque Central. Nivel Lecuna, F4X2+C56, Av. Bolívar, Caracas 1015, Distrito Capital, Venezuela
Phone +58 212-5738289

The Caracas Museum of Contemporary Art, also known as MACC, is a world-class museum located in Parque Central. It has over 5,000 works of art in its collection, which includes pieces by Picasso, Monet, Warhol, and Bacon. Admission is free and there are 13 halls in the museum, plus auditoriums, a garden courtyard, and a grand library. The must-see pieces in the museum are the works by Venezuelan artist Jesus Soto, who is famous for his dazzling kinetic sculptures. You can look for one of his most famous pieces found elsewhere in the city: the Caracas Sphere. Made from orange aluminum rods, the sphere is set alongside the Francisco Fajardo Highway.

02 of 17

Paseo de Los Proceres

Fountain At Paseo Los Proceres

Hugo Trejo / Getty Images

P.º Los Próceres, Caracas 1090, Distrito Capital, Venezuela

The Paseo de Los Proceres, or the Walkway of Heroes in English, is a promenade with many notable monuments dedicated to the heroes of the Venezuelan War of Independence. It features numerous statues, squares, steps, and walls and is particularly popular with bikers and joggers, thanks to the many trees that provide shade and greenery in the center of the city. You'll find references to Greek mythology in the many fountains and other decorative pieces, but the main attraction is the Monument to the Heroes which is formed by four 300-ton marble slabs and statues commemorating important figures like Simón Bolivar.

03 of 17

Ride a Cable Car in El Ávila National Park

El Avila National Park

Thierry Monasse / Getty Images

G477+4CP, Final Av. Principal de Maripérez, Caracas 1050, Distrito Capital, Venezuela
Phone +58 212-9015555

For spectacular views of the city and the mountains, ride one of the world's longest telefericos (cable cars) to the top of Cerro El Ávila, an approximately 20-minute drive from Caracas. On clear days, you can see the Caribbean Sea from the mountaintop. The park's forests are home to many butterflies, birds, and orchids, including the country's national flower, the Easter orchid.

While visiting the park, enjoy a meal at one of the restaurants or shop for handcrafted souvenirs. If you seek something more adventurous, try zip-lining, rock climbing, or camping. Take a sweater or a jacket, for it can be cool where the cable car reaches a height of about 7,005 feet (2,135 meters).

04 of 17

Trek to the Top of Pico Naiguatá

Mountain landscape in the Avila National Park

Rodolfo Antonio Gil Rivas / Getty Images

Pico Naiguatá, 1073, Miranda, Venezuela

The highest peak of the Venezuelan Coastal Range, the hike to Pico Naiguatá is a challenging journey that takes you above the clouds at an altitude of 9,072 feet (2,765 meters). The trail is 10 miles (16 kilometers) out and back and it is common for most hikers to camp 15 minutes from the peak. Located in Ávila National Park, seven miles (11 kilometers) from downtown Caracas, the trail starts at the Marques Cotamil Entrance and passes through beautiful viewpoints and unique landmarks like petroglyphs and ruins.

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05 of 17

Immerse Yourself in History at the Panteón Nacional

Panteón Nacional in Caracas, Venezuela

SergioBrazn / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

G37P+7WH, Caracas 1010, Capital District, Venezuela
Phone +58 212-5061145

The Panteón Nacional, formerly a church, became the resting place for prominent Venezuelans in the 1870s. Located in the northern part of the old town in Caracas, the site's ceremonial changing of the guard is worth seeing. The central nave is dedicated to Simón Bolívar, the Venezuelan known as El Libertador (The Liberator), famous for directing the secession of Venezuela, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Panama from the Spanish Empire. You'll see paintings depicting his life and accomplishments.

06 of 17

Visit Vibrant Plaza Bolívar

Plaza Bolivar de Caracas

Courtesy of Plaza Bolivar de Caracas

Plaza Bolívar, Caracas 1012, Distrito Capital, Venezuela

Plaza Bolívar marks the spot where Diego de Losada of Spain founded the city in 1567 and serves as the vibrant civic and cultural hub of the old town, where locals, visitors, and vendors have all converged since 1874. In the plaza's corners, statues of four women represent the states of the previous Gran Colombia: Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia. An equestrian statue of national hero Bolívar is another prominent plaza feature. Public buildings like El Capitolio Nacional, La Catedral de Caracas, and the Palacio Municipal de Caracas surround the square.

07 of 17

Relax at Parque de Recreacion Los Chorros

Cascada Parque Los Chorros

Alexander fc / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

G54F+WWX, Avenida Principal de Los Chorros, Caracas 1071, Miranda, Venezuela
Phone +58 212-2732840

Located at the foot of Caracas' Cerro El Ávila, Parque de Recreacion Los Chorros consists of about 9 acres (3.8 hectares) of exuberant scenery, including a natural waterfall to swim in—a rare find in a capital city park. The lush landscape spans several levels with tunnels, bridges, large trees, and benches from which to contemplate. You might encounter a variety of wildlife, including sloths, vocal guacharaca birds, squirrels, and fish.

08 of 17

Soak Up Culture at Centro de Arte Los Galpones

Centro de Arte Los Galpones

Courtesy of Centro de Arte Los Galpones 

Centro de Arte Los Galpones in eastern Caracas is a favorite place to visit; numerous mango trees and an outdoor terrace create a tropical getaway in the middle of an urban environment. There are about 15 spaces in which to soak up the local culture, including art galleries and eateries like Hache Bistro—try Venezuela's renowned arepas, round corn patties topped or filled with meat, eggs, tomatoes, or various other ingredients. The center also features book stores and everything from tango and yoga classes to outdoor movies and concerts.

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09 of 17

Delve Into the Past at Casa Natal and Museo Bolívar

Casa Natal and Museo Bolívar

Casa Natal and Museo Bolívar

esquinas de San Jacinto a Traposos, Caracas, Distrito Capital, G33P+RJJ, Avenida Universidad, Caracas 1012, Distrito Capital, Venezuela

In a city that abundantly honors the national hero, it’s no surprise that great care is taken over the maintenance of Simón Bolívar's birthplace: a 17th century colonial central Caracas house built by his great-grandfather. The visitor can feel the past in the family portraits, antique furniture, and overall decor in the home, which was listed as a National Monument in 2002. There are several epic paintings by Venezuelan artist Tito Salas. The Museo Bolívar onsite features a big collection of personal items and documents, plus military uniforms and weapons, and more.

10 of 17

View La Casa Amarilla de Caracas

Casa Amarilla, Caracas, Venezuela

Guillermo Ramos Flamerich / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Esquina de Principal, lado Oeste de la Plaza Bolívar, G34M+GRJ, Av. Este 0, Caracas 1010, Distrito Capital, Venezuela
Phone +58 212-8064311

To enrich your visit to the historical center of Caracas, include the Casa Amarilla (Yellow House), a building that became a National Historic Monument in 1979. The structure was the city's prison in 1696, then the City Council, the government palace, and the official residence of some Venezuelan presidents. Visitors enjoy the traditional style in the construction and furniture, plus seeing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, housed in the building since 1912.

11 of 17

Enjoy Creativity at La Galería de Arte Nacional

La Galería de Arte Nacional

La Galería de Arte Nacional

Avenida México, entre las estaciones Bellas Artes y Parque Carabobo del Metro de Caracas, frente a Puente Brión, G32X+H34, Caracas 1014, Distrito Capital, Venezuela
Phone +58 212-5768707

Known around town as the "GAN," the La Galería de Arte Nacional opened in 1976 and is one of the most interesting things to do in Caracas. Located near the circular Plaza Morelos in front of Puente Brión, the gallery has more than 10 rooms with displays of more than 4,000 works of art by famed artists, including colonial, pre-Hispanic, sculptures, and modern art.

12 of 17

Get Your Veggies at Mercado Municipal de Chacao

Mercado Municipal de Chacao

Mercado Municipal de Chacao

Strolling around a local public market is an ideal way to do some people-watching and familiarize yourself with both the local culture and the region's fresh fruits and vegetables, crafts, and more. At Mercado Municipal de Chacao in Caracas, you'll also have fun perusing all the teas, snacks, meat and dairy products, home decor items, and beyond. The market, which is open Wednesday through Sunday, is located on Avenida Mohedano between Calle Avila and Avenida Urdaneta.

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13 of 17

Shop for Local Crafts and Souvenirs

Folkart handicrafts of Venezuela

Will & Deni McIntyre / Getty Images

Craft lovers and those seeking souvenirs will want to head to Centro Artesanal Los Goajiros, open daily and found west of Plaza Chacaíto, where a bounty of items like musical instruments, hammocks, wallets, bags, and clothing are for sale. Various vendors are located underneath the street level selling Orinoco crafts—the Orinoco River is one of the most significant and longest rivers in South America, and it primarily runs through Venezuela.

14 of 17

Retreat to a Historic City Park

Parque Los Caobos

Venezuala la Tuya 

Leave the urban jungle behind and head to Parque Los Caobos, within walking distance of local museums and galleries like Galería de Arte Nacional. In one of the city's most historic parks, you'll have a chance to see lovely old trees and statues, and the famous Fuente Venezuela fountain displaying many human figures from around the country. Plus it's fun to watch locals walking their dogs and playing sports.

15 of 17

Play at the Children's Museum

Museo de los Niños de Caracas

SomosEN123 / Flickr / CC

Bring the little ones to the Museo de Los Niños de Caracas for an interactive experience in biology, communication, space, medicine, and more. The whole family can enjoy exhibits like one that explores colors and their uses in daily life, and another on the relationship between humans and their environment. The museum, located between the two towers of Parque Central, is open daily.

16 of 17

Catch a Movie and Find Rare Books at Trasnocho Cultural

Trasnocho Cultural

Trasnocho Cultural / Facebook

Trasnocho Cultural, located inside the shopping center Paseo Las Mercedes, offers a plethora of artistic and cultural experiences for people of all ages. Locals and tourists can have fun by enjoying the four movie theaters, hunting for old and rare finds in the bookstore called El Buscón Librería, watching plays, and more. Soma Café is great for homemade Venezuelan dishes; to satiate your sweet tooth, stop in the Kakao chocolate shop and factory.

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17 of 17

Find Tranquility in Colonial Town El Hatillo

The Catholic church of El Hatillo in Caracas, Venezuela

Enriquerodben / Getty Images

It's only about a 30-minute drive from Caracas to El Hatillo on the southeast side of the city; the relaxing small town with a mild climate makes for a great tranquil getaway. Gorgeous colonial houses centered around a plaza have been made into bars, handicraft shops, and restaurants. If you are in the area during the last two weeks of October, you'll have a chance to see the El Hatillo Music Festival at which Venezuela’s popular musicians play rock, folk, jazz, and other styles.

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17 Best Things to Do in Caracas, Venezuela