Bring USD cash for all your expenses.
If you use ATM, credit card or exchange money at the banks, you get the unfavourable rate of BsF 4.30 for one USD. On the black market you get double that amount.
Theo was reminded of his visits to the Sovyet Union in the sixties, when the official rate was 1Ruble = 1.10 USD, yet on the black market they gave four Rubles for a dollar.
It is like that now (2012) in Venezuela. When Venezuelan citizens want to travel abroad, they are only allowed to take USD 500 in foreign currency. So naturally they are keen to obtain more unofficially, and they readily paid us BsF 8.50 for one USD. That made our trip to Angel falls a lot cheaper!
Of course such a deal needs trust from both sides. We sold our dollars to friends of friends. If you don't have such connections, perhaps you should deal while with a group.
There are two exchange rates in Venezuela the official and the unoffical. These rates will change a travelers cost while in Venezuela. Please remember that ATMs are not available everywhere and you can't always cash travelers checks here.
There are currently stories (I don't know if they are true) that the costs in Venezuela has skyrocked and the black market rate is now close to the official rate (due to $ dumping by the Ven govt) am trying to figure out what is true....and the economic impact on me and my travel plans...i.e. how much $ to bring (I'm a lonely planet backpacker like traveler who will be gone for 3 weeks)
+++For other travelers with similar questions here are some interesting websites
+ Venezuela govt dumping dollars on the black market (which affects currency rate etc) http://news.morningstar.com/newsnet/ViewNews.aspx?article=/DJ/200811111637DOWJONESDJONLINE000523_univ.xml
+++ I was told that this website will give the unoffical rate...doesn't look like it though....http://liberal-venezolano.net/blog/dolar
Luggage and bags:
I wear contacts/glasses and was very happy to have a small bag with a cord, which I could fasten to the hammock - so I always could reach my glasses, earplugs or whatever you want to have nearby.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Bring a rain poncho. Not only for the rain - it will keep you warmer in the hammock, and it's excellent for use in these cold overland busses.
It can be very cold sleeping in hammocks - the cold is sneaking up from the ground to your back. Bring clothes/carpet.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: A face cloth can be helpful in quite a lot situations. Like when you sweat like hell climbing up to the Para Falls.
Photo Equipment: You might bring extra batteries for your camera... there's no way to charge it for 5 days...
Miscellaneous: Bring your own water bottles!! Even though water/softdrinks are included on the tours, you never know WHEN you get some. Bring at least one small bottle pr. person and fill it with water whenever you can. Hiking up to the falls e.g., noone will carry refreshments for you.
Luggage and bags:
A bag that has wheels, that way you don't have to lug it through the air ports
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Shorts, shorts, shorts, Venezuela is hot, also bring a swim suit and of course nice close to go out on the town!
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: I think you know what to take when it come to that!
Photo Equipment: Always have a camera with you, there are so many pretty sites....you will be angry with yourself if you forget your camera
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: I really didn't do camping, but make sure you have your swimsuit!!!
Luggage and bags:
I packed light while i was in Venezuela, I had one large duffle bag and one carry on bag. I suggest that when traveling make sure that you get luggage with wheels! It saves you time and energy!
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Don't forget to pack sunscreen! You don't want to be like me and come home fried like a lobster! Also pack shorts and a nice swim suit!
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Bring what you need.....i am sure you all know to bring shampoo, conditioner, soap.....
Photo Equipment: Do not forget you camera....there are so many pretty places to go and see....You must bring lots of film. Its a trip you won't want to forget!
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: I went to the Gulf of Venezuela....its a lovely beach and a really nice place to visit!
Miscellaneous: Always remember to have fun and where sun screen...also make sure you have someone with you that can speak spanish!
Luggage and bags:
Definately a rucksack... and a money belt!
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: We managed the entire holiday in a pair of walking sandals (Teva's, Merelle's that kind of thing) and a pair of walking boots.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Decent Mosquito repellent ESSENTIAL!!! Tea Tree oil to put on mossie bites that you get! (you will egt them!) Blister kit (if you do any mountain climbing) Dioralite or rehydration salts... lovely... :) Sun screen...
Photo Equipment: Erm, take lots of film... basically so you don't have to buget for it... We just took normal cameras... share if there's a group of you 'cos you'll want the same piccies probably... we took two, just in case one messed up... see below... Don't drop your camera into the bottom of a water filled boat... you break your camera and get lovely pink slodges all over your pictures when you get the developed!
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Raincoat.... especially if going to Angel Falls for the boat ride, and if the falls were as full as when we saw them, to look at them as well! Sleeping bag... wonderful thing, not that it gets that cold at night, ore for use on the buses or to lie on. Inner bag... this is what we slept inside most nights... great for inside hammocks... If mountain climbing... some warm stuff, but you can hire clothing at Guamanchi Expeditions or most places that you go with if it's a spur of the moment thing.
Miscellaneous: Soph and Trace will love to hear me say this... don't take too much! I know everybody says this, but remember you have to carry it all! Long linen trousers came in wonderfully handy as you can roll them up... we took one pair of thick and thin trousers, two t-shirts, a pair of shorts, fleece, and random bits and bobs, you really don't need to take a lot... pyjamas are a good idea as you can just sleep in them at night and don't need much more...
Just pack a few shorts and a bikini and a lot of suncream !! It's really hot.
Drink a lot of water. The inhabitants are used to drink a lot of alcohol. But during the trips be aware !!!! Just drink water of bottles !!
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: I got Salmonella........so don't eat raw egs !! I was stupid !!
Be aware of raw hamburgers and egs.
In general lightweight clothing. Venezuela is HOT. Exeptions are:- Long pants are useful when trekking, to keep off the insects (especially the Roraima trek). Also for the cooler climate of Mérida. Also for going out to clubs.
Thongs/Flip flops are great for the heat when in the cities.
Shoes or boots for trekking
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Hammock - very useful for relaxing at the beaches. Also because at some places there is no accomodation so you need either a hammock or matress.
Try and buy a lightweight cotton or nylon hammock. They take up little room in the backpack and don't weigh a tonne.
Luggage and bags:
any good bag will do
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Warm weather gear , very casual, Bring some slacks to go to dinner in ,or some loose dresses
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: bring plenty of sun block it gets hot , and if your not used to it , its trouble.
Photo Equipment: any decent camera will do according to your expertise. even a disposable .
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: marguerita is an island with a steady breeze, very little insects, but always bring repelent, they have things there you ve never seen before
Miscellaneous: Pack smart , you dont want to carry more than you need. leave room to take back things you bought. make sure your cosmetic bag has a small first aid kit you can buy almost any thing there if you forget.
It's really hot all year round so take mainly dresses which let the breeze pass through. For men I recomend cotton shirts instead of t-shirts, white or cream chinos or even shorts.
I went in November and it was really sticky, very hot 32º most days. I love it anyway humid, dry, sticky, light wind, as long as it is over 25º.
Don't take any shoes if you plan to visit San Felix, the centre is full of shoe shops... It's shoe shop galore there.
Luggage and bags:
No mosquitos....greath!!!! light bag with sandals and a swiming suit...I will not stay more than three days....but maybe becouse I was traveling with my brother.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Eco-Tourism
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