If one spends time down at the waterfront, many freighters and oil tankers will float by. But, I also found a strange vessel dredging the lake bottom. Later, I learned that asphalt from the lake bottom is dredged and process for it's petroleum value.
Unlike other Venezuelan cities, Maracaiblo has a clean modern feel in many quarters. We drove around and were told about various buildings. There are many corporate logos familiar to North Americans, but we also came across the headquarters for CorpoZulia, the oil company in "control" of the reserves in the area. I believe though that under Chavez, CorpoZulia has been integrated into a unified Venezuelan oil company, which of course has the power center in Caracas. At the time we saw the building in Maracaibo, the Zulia flag, but not the Venezuelan flag, was found on the building.
The colonial part of town is so-named and provides a pleasant place to stroll and admire the quite colorful architecture of days gone by. The district is very near the shoreline of Lake Maracaibo. This is the oldest existing part of Maracaibo.
The 5.4 mile long bridge is located just south of Maracaibo at the narrowest part of Lake Maracaibo at the point where it enters the Gulf of Venezuela and the Caribbean Sea. The pre-stressed concrete and steel bridge has 6 towers that support 5 spans with a cable system. At the time of it's construction in 1962, it was hailed as an engineering feat, and brought the art of pre-stressed concrete construction to Venezuela's engineers. The bridge is for vehicle traffic only. In 1964, part of the bridge collapsed after an oil tanker collided with it. There are proposals to build a second bridge, but at the time of our visit, the traffic was not all that terrible. However, in the small traffic jam on the way traveling east, I was able to get out of the car and shoot one more image of the city over the bridge railing.
In front of the picture you can see the rather cheesy (and new) monument to the Virgin of Chiquinquira, the 'patronne' of Maracaibo. In the back you can see the Iglesia de Santa Barbara painted in blue and white
The area around the Paseo de las Ciencias has the only things worthwhile visiting when in the Center of Maracaibo. There are several churches and museums as well as public buildings and some colorful buildings that are reminiscent of Maracaibo's colonial past.
O my gosh ya'll! You have got to try Chinotto! Nothing else compares, it is better than Sprite, Mellow Yellow, 7up, and Sun Drop! You absolutly have to eat mamon's and the pinapple, and you must try the double big mac's at McDonalds. And go see the bridge, and visit the FOUNTAIN OF LOVE baptist church.
Maracaibo has the BEST, i mean the best fruit EVER! Their grapes are the size of your fist man! Wow! The pinapple is to die for.
'Palafitos' They are houses build in the Maracaibo Lake, the name of VENEZUELA is because when the spanish came and saw those hoses they said that remind them VENICE an that is why VENEZUELA is called like that Little venice in spanish)
Médanos de Coro is the only desert in Venezuela and was declared a national park in 1974. It lies on the Isthmus of Médanos and covers 91,280ha of desert and coastal habitat, including salt marshes. Massive sand dunes, known as Médanos can reach 40m in height and are constantly transformed by the unrelenting wind. Rainfall is rare, thus flora consists of little more than thorny shrubs. Likewise, fauna is scarce, and the park is home mainly to lizards, rabbits, anteaters, foxes, pigeons and kestrels. Visitors can wander amongst the dunes by camel, and the park is easily reached by bus or taxi from Coro.
On the way to Sinamaica, an indigenous village on the water, we stopped by a Bolivar square and church in a suburb of Maracaibo. I can't recall the name of this place though.
Down near the old part of town, we passed a clearly dated structure with interesting features. This building is a maternity hospital.
As we drove around we passed Zulia university and various government buildings of interest, often notible for the artwork that adorns them.
This is the most important park in the city with outdoor concerts, rides for the kids, great views of the lake, and many open trails and roads for cyclists and walkers.
At the Western end of the Paseo de las Ciencias, you have the Basilica de la Chiquinquira, which is beautifully decorated inside.