The Ketchup accident
Keep your eyes open for scammers. Several fellow travelers have told me about this particular scam where they were robbed by a disguised petty thieve. Usually the scam artists’ work in groups: one will dump ketchup or something on you and pretend to help you out while the other one grabs your stuff. Note, this didn't happen to me, but I’ve heard about it happening to other travelers.
As in anywhere in the world, traveling is safe as long as you use your common sense. ace it, We all use them one time or another. As in anywhere in the world, be wary of who you travel with while taking a taxi. Whenever possible, don't ride in a taxi with strangers. The only ones that should be in the cab at any time are you, any friends or people you know, and the cab driver. Exceptions arise of course such as when you have to take a taxi collectivo (shared taxi). These are totally safe most and often the only means of reaching off-the-beaten path destinations. What I would be concern off is of those taxis that stop half-way through the ride to let someone into the car. Just refuse and tell them you're stepping off without paying. Let them know upfront whether you intend to share a taxi or just take it by yourself. Sharing taxis will lower the costs, but will increase the risks of the ride being a scam. With that said, I took plenty of shared cabs and had no problems whatsoever.
Currently, with the political...
Currently, with the political unrest in Venezuela, the US government has issued a warning. The island itself seems to be insulated from the politics of the mainland but since tavelers usually have to travel via Caracas one must be aware and if at all possible. Avoid Caracas. People who travel alot I would imagine, check out local political climates and should heed warnings.
At the beginning, specially if...
At the beginning, specially if you don´t speak spanish or if you look very foreigner (blond hair, blue eyes, tall, etc.) never go out alone to the street. Look for something of your enterily thrust to go out with you.
Never take a taxi in the street. Always ask for one via phone
Do not drive into the countryside, specially during the night
Although , the streets of...
Although , the streets of Maracaibo have traffic lights, cars do not always stop at red lights. If they see no one is coming from opposite direction, the driver continues. Driver stated that htis is to thwart thieves from robbing taxi drivers at red lights. This was a bit scary. A couple of times, I went to local 'panaderia' (bakery) and waited what seemed an eternity to cross a busy intersection. Stray dogs are also a bit of concern, especially after locals told us about several rabies outbreaks. Only if you visit the local barrios do you run into stray dogs, tourist areas are immaculate and well run. Stay dogs are well traiend to avoid people. Dont ask me how , this is what was told to me by the locals. Traffic danger applies everywhere.
Current unrest in the country...
Current unrest in the country would make travel here dangerous. When we visited in Oct 2001, there were warnings about being robbed on the street. Never hail a taxi from the street -- always phone for one, and when it arrives, be sure it asks for you, otherwise it could be a set up for robbery. Don't wear your jewellery on the street either, or it could be torn from you. Stay in safe areas, especially if alone or at night -- the areas to stay away from are well documented elsewhere so I won't list the streets here.
Watch out for your personal...
Watch out for your personal belongings.Because there are muggers there!! So always keep an eye on your stuff.
And also don't eat anything exotic in South America.Because they have a lot of MSG in there foods.
There was mention of certain...
There was mention of certain taxis NOT to take while in the city...make sure your taxi is referred to you by someone local or that works with someone where you are staying and is therefore safe and reliable.
Travel agents and others...
Travel agents and others often warn you about crime on the streets. We were in many cities all over Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Argentina, just two of us, and never had anything that began to resemble a dangerous situation. Even local people would tell us to take off our watches and rings, hide our cameras, but we just did not experience any difficulties at all. And we were in some pretty seedy areas in some of the cities. So I think that after two solid months of travel, we are prepared to say that we felt safter in South America than we did when living in Southern California.
PLEASE CONTINUE YOUR JOURNEY TO MANY SITES IN SOUTH AMERICA. EACH OF THE COUNTRY DESCRIPTIONS ON THIS PAGE HAVE LINKS ~
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