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Top Tours

 
Half-Day Historical Tour of Caracas
"Start your tour in the historic center from Plaza Bolívar originally called Plaza de Armas. It adopted its current name in 1883 on the hundredth’s birthday of Simón Bolívar. The four corners that surround the plaza are occupied by important buildings of big historic relevance as the Caracas Cathedral the government Palace the City Hall the Yellow House and The Capitol (Congress of Venezuela). Simón Bolívar birthplace is next a colonial house enriched by precious pieces of that period and paintings by famous artists such as Tito Salas who captured the most important highlights of El Libertador’s life. Visit to the Capitolio
From $67.00
 
El Hatillo Day Trip from Caracas
"The tour stars in the historic center from Plaza Bolivar originally called Plaza de Armas. The four corners that surround the plaza are occupied by imposing buildings of great historic relevance as the Caracas Cathedral the government Palace the City Hall the Yellow House and The Capitol (Congress of Venezuela). See the Simon Bolivar’s birthplace which is a colonial house next to Bolivar Square
From $93.00
 
Caracas Sightseeing Tour Including Cable Car Ride and Lunch
"Starting in the historic center from Plaza Bolívar originally called Plaza de Armas. It adopted its current name in 1883 on the hundredth birthday of Simón Bolívar. The four corners that surround the plaza are occupied by importsnt buildings of big historic relevance; Caracas Cathedral the government Palace the City Hall the Yellow House and The Capitol (Congress of Venezuela). Simón Bolívar birthplace is next on the list a colonial house enriched by precious pieces of that period and paintings by famous artists such as Tito Salas who captured the most important highlights of El Libertador’s life. Visit to the Capitolio
From $100.00

Cultural Tips Tips (48)

Do you want to become President of Venezuela?

Allow me to quote myself (hhhaHAHhahahaAh) in Spanish: "Ha quedado ampliamente demostrado que para ser Presidente de Venezuela lo único que se necesita tener son signos vitales". That is...it has been proved tha in order to become President of Venezuela, the only thing you need are vital signs (to be alive).

That was the answer I gave to the people of Discovery Channel France, a couple of years ago, during an interview on the Miss Venezuela Beauty Paggent.

In all of the following pictures is Irene Saez, Miss Venezuela and Miss Universe1981. After a year of beeing the most beautifull girl in the world, she studied "Estudios Internacionales", graduated, became the first mayor of the Chacao District, ran for President (lost), but became the governor of Margarita's island. Then, she married and had a baby. Later she divorced and very reacently got married to a very wealthy man in Miami.

I was ask If I thought she could have been president. And I gave my answer, but I wasnt refering to her, but to most of the venezuelan presidents we have had over the years. You got pulse... your heart is beatting... you are breathing... YOU CAN BE PRESIDENT OF VENEZUELA!!!

(This also applies to the presidents of other countries)

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carolinaEspada
Aug 24, 2006

You must see a telenovela

A telenovela is like a soap opera, but is much more than a soap opera (and for a foreiner could be really fun). This is something you will have to see at 9:00 p.m. (prime time) either in channel 2 Radio Caracas Television or in channel 4 Venevision. Televen channel 10 shows brasilian soaps, but those are not the ones I'm suggesting. Venezuelan ones are funnier and crazier and unpredictable.

Try to see at least 15 minutes of one telenovela (they last an hour long). Even though their are in Spanish, within minutes you will be able to understand what is going on: this blind girl is the main character, this young and rich man is in love with her, but his mother is the villain and she doesnt approves this love relationship with the poor blind girl who is also poor. then is this beautiful and evil rich girl that wants to seduce the young guy. Her brother, who is a villain too, kidnaps the blind girl, who cries and prays to this little virgin she has in a necklace that belonged to her mother who desapeared 20 years ago under very misterious circumstances. Do yo get the idea? Well, you must see a bit of one telenovela. Major t.v. enterteinement in Venezuela. Major. It comes from the sentimental English novel from the XVIII century; passes and enriches with the roman-feuilleton in France (XIX, with the news papers "La Presse" and "Le siecle" in which Balzac and Dumas used to write their daily stories and charge 3 francs per line; then these and other stories where adapted for radio and finally, at the 50's, they make their way in television. Telenovela: important part of the venezuelan culture. And I know that you will be able to follow it and laugh.

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carolinaEspada
Aug 20, 2006

CHOCOLATE PRIDE

Our "cacao" (cocoa?) is one of the finest in the world (if not the finest!!!)

This is said since the begining of times by french, swiss and italian chocolate especiallists. The "Cacao de Chuao" has a history of excelence and tradition and has been imported to the main chocolate factories around the world.

I suggest that you eat venezuelan chocolate. It can be found everywhere: candy stores, supermarkets, newspaper stands, coffee shops, almost anywhere. Try them all!!!

Now, my favorite to take to other countries as a present is Chocolate de El Rey. They have a collection that goes from a white bar of chocolate, to a milk chocolate, to a variety that has more and more and more % of cacao (cocoa) in it and it gets darker and darker. Less % more eatable. More % great for cooking or making hot chocolate to drink. Each type has the name of a venezuelan tree: Apamate, Saman, Burace, Caobo, Icoa, etc.

You can buy them separately, but there is a box of 6 (or is it 8?), containing the whole variety. That's the box I buy and take for presents. NOW BEWARE: you must buy them in Caracas, at the airport, at the duty free shop, they cost twice as much.

-WHY?!?!?!?! - I asked.
-Because this is a product for export...

(What a nonsense. I told them: In Caracas, the box of six (or 8) bars is about 8 US $, and here: 15 $. This is a robbery and I'm going to tell everyone about it!)

These chocolates are a bit more expensive than the rest. Try them all. Dont fogget to buy one called TORONTO that does not belongs to El Rey chocolate company.

You can get them in almost all of the big SUPERMERCADOS, groceries stores, such a Excelsior Gama. And also in a chain of pharmacies called LOCATEL. They make excelent presents to take back home.

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carolinaEspada
Aug 20, 2006

¡¡¡PIÑA!!! ("ananas") PINEAPPLE!!!

Besides beeing one of the most delicious fruits in the whole wide world, the piña ("ñ": try to say "jalapegna", and then say "pigna" = piña) has therapeutic, curative, healling properties. In Venezuela, after we have surgery (any kind, from a tooth removed to a general laparotomy or whatever...) we eat piña or drink natural piña juice (with all the fiber). Why? The piña is a natural "desinflamatory" (does that word exists in English?). Piña helps the inflamation of the body tissues to heal...to go away. Besides, it tastes sooo good!!!

Dont over eat piña, because you can get an allergic reaction (itchy). No more than half a piña per day, per person.

You can buy piñas at the huge groceries stores, markets, tiny street markets or plain piña trucks that park anywhere. In Venezuela we have different varieties of piñas, the ones from Mérida State (at Los Andes mountain range) are the sweetest ones. But I like them all.

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carolinaEspada
Aug 01, 2006
 
 
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Letter "Ñ": our favorite letter in the alphabet

We, Spanish speakers, are proud of our letter "Ñ": "eñe".

E as in Elephant
Ñ as in jalapeGNo
E as in another Elephant that comes behind

With out that letter we just couldent write:
ñame (like a potato)
ñandú (a bird)
niquiñaque (a person or a thing not relevant at all)
ñoñería (stupid thing)

There is also a bad word (I hope that VT censor do not forbid, cause this is a cultural issue) that comes with an ñ in the middle: "coño". The meaning of the word is related with the female sexual organ, but most of the time, when we say it, it is equivalent to "sh...t".

"Kñ, I forgot my brief case!!!"
"Kñññññ... I'm tired of talking with your answering machine!!! Pick up the phone, kñ!!!"

If you come to Venezuela you are not supposed to say this word out loud. I only use it in extreme cases and always with people I really know.

UPDATE: march 2005

En el idioma español,
la eñe es muy importante,
y en todo computador
debe ser una consonante.

Tan importante es la eñe
que sin ella yo no sueño,
y aunque te parezca extraño
no me estriño ni me baño.

Aunque sin eñe no hay daño
resultaria dañino,
que nos faltara el empeño
y no existiera el cariño.

Para mi linda limeña
no habria una piel de armiño
tampoco habria cabañas
para albergar a los niños.

Sin eñe yo no te riño,
y aunque tampoco regaño,
me sentiria muy triste
sin decirte que te extraño.

Sin sonido de zampoñas
sin beber un vino añejo
en una peña criolla
¿Que gracia tiene el festejo?

¿Acaso habria buñuelos
o chuño para la niña
como lo hacía el abuelo
con sus trocitos de piña?.

No existiria el otoño
sin la eñe en nuestras letras .
Y tampoco habria moño,
donde prender las peinetas.

Me parece muy extraño
que Bill Gates no la pusiera,
quedando como un tacaño
y como si tan caro fuera!

Bueno, basta de regaños.
Porque ya me vino el sueño
y aunque pongo mucho empeño
los ojos me hacen extraños.

Termino pidiendo a todos
los que hablan el español,
Defiendan la EÑE ¡Coño!
que asi el idioma es mejor!!!!

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carolinaEspada
Mar 12, 2005

CARNAVAL (mardi grass) IN CARACAS

This "aint" Río de Janeiro... for BIG carnaval celebration you have to fly further down. Brasil is the place.

Although...

In Caracas we used to have WONDERFULL carnavales on the XX century. Not any more. Now, in this 4 days and a half celebration: starting on a Friday afternoon, then Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, almost everybody goes to the beach. Any beach. Urgent! Lets get out of here!

I dont go anywhere. I suffer from agoraphobia (fear to open spaces packed with people; "agora", in greek, was the market place; "phobia" = fear) so I rather stay home.

But beaches are lots of fun, specially those of the East coast of Venezuela. But also in Isla de Margarita. And in El Callao. But I insist: this is not brasilian mardi grass... ok?

In warnings and dangers in Caracas (and all over the country) I must write about "bombitas de agua", little water balloons. This is the most ridiculous tradition we have in Carnaval and I must find out where it comes from.

The picture if from the good ol'days. Those were my parents carnavales, I wasnt born yet!

http://64.77.89.39/ccs/carnaval1953..JPG

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carolinaEspada
Jan 20, 2005

Fashion

Venezuelan women really care about fashion... Just let me mention the world famous Carolina Herrera. All of the most elegant and wealthy women in the last 20 years of the XX century, and now in the XXI, have a "creation" of Santa Carolina Herrera (as she is called by her admirers).

Then, with have this passion with the Miss Venezuela beauty pageant, and that is the best place for our local and most famous fashion designers to exhibit their last gowns and styles.

It all started with a french "couturier" Guy Meliet, who came to Venezuela and did the best of his fashion career here, designing and dressing the most beautiful and elegant venezuelans. He passed away and is remembered with love and admiration. Others came. Angel Sánchez, also an international one, is one of the best. But we have excelent designers.

I dont dress like a normal venezuelan lady should. My cousin, the writer José Ignacio Cabrujas, used to call me a "gringa honoraria", because he said I dress like the woman of the U.S. He was wrong, though, I've always tried to dress like an elf.

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carolinaEspada
Jan 04, 2005

Lets make a toast!!!

I dont mean a piece of bread... I mean two (or more) glasses of wine (or any other alcoholic beverage).

In English you say "Cheers!", in French: "A ta santé" or "A votre santé". "Santé" means "health"... To your health... In Spanish "santé", "health" is "salud".

And that is what we say in a normal, regular, elegant or not, toast: "¡Salud!" and we go "clink" with our glasses, making eye contact with the other person who is toasting with you and taking a sip of your drink almost inmediately.

Now, there is a fun, non-formal, friendly venezuelan way to toast (you do this only among really good friends and in a fun celebration, a not formal at all one).

It says:

¡¡¡Parriba
Pabajo
Pal centro
y padentro!!!

that would be (following the instructions with the glass in your hand)

Going up
going down
going to the middle (clink)
going inside!!!

and then you drink a lot, and laugh...

Do you know why you have to go "clink" with your glass? To fullfill all of your 5 senses: You are seeing the drink, you are smeling it, you are touching the glass, and soon you are going to taste the wine. The sound was missing, so CLINK!!!

carolinaEspada's Profile Photo
carolinaEspada
Dec 28, 2004
carolinaEspada's Profile Photo

carolinaEspada

"THIS IS MY HOMETOWN"
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Saringuis

"Caracas"
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travelife

"Stopover in Caracas"
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ezaguryk

"Caracas"
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MalenaN

"Caracas"
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We are not punctual!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We the Venezuelan….have a bad custom we are not punctual……..

For example if you are invited to a party at 8:00 pm that mean that that people will start to arrive at 10:00 pm….yes believe it . Even if you arrive at 8:00 pm the people of the house will be not ready, and we have a expression “I arrive to fried the tequenos” that means that you were early ja ja ja ja

And if you have appointment you can expect that the person arrive 30 min late, it is very usual but is not with all the Venezuelan………..

I have a lot international friend and they have get used to it ….and when we are going to meet they ask if it is Venezuelan time Ja ja ja ja ja ja ja ja

The night club starts people arriving at 11:00 pm and the good time it is at 12:00 pm

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ezaguryk
Dec 22, 2004

CELEBRATING A BRAND NEW TRADITION

It was on August 31st, this year, the day after my birthday. We met in an italian coffee shop, ordered "petit fours", little pastries and I placed a little candle in each one of these pastries. Like in "Alice in Wonderland" we celebrated our not-birthdays. We all sang out loud and made our secret wishes right before blowing our candles. (Everybody around was either giggling or laughing out loud. I bet this new tradition will be soon followed).

We sang it in Spanish.
But this is the way to sing it in English:

Happy non birthday to me
happy non birthday to me
happy non birthday my dear myself
happy non birthday to meeee!!!

Ready to start a tradition ANY TIME!!!

(in the picture, from left to right, Nicolás Bracho, myself, Alejandra Sambrano, Margarita Barbato and H.R.H, Nosrat... yes, a real princess, the only one I know).

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carolinaEspada
Oct 09, 2004

Shall we dance???

OF COURSE!!! WE MUST DO IT!!! Come to Venezuela and be prepared for dancing "salsa", caribbean music, a bunch of different rythms: merengue, guaracha, guaguancó, danzón, danzonete, perico ripiao, bachata, bugalú, etc...

English speaking dancers have a particular problem dancing one of these caribbean rythms: the chachachá.Why? because they call it "Chacha"... and they are missing one step.

It is one two cha cha chá
one two cha cha chá

that is:
one two... one two three
one two... one two three

But then comes an English speaking dancer and tries

one two cha cha
one two one two

WRONG!!! You are missing the third step!!! Come and dance, we venezuelans are great dancers and we will be happy to teach you.

Uno dos... cha-cha-chá!!!

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carolinaEspada
Sep 16, 2004

Rear end watching...

If you are a woman, and you come to Venezuela, be prepared, men will see, watch, stare at and coment your rear end. Sexual harrasment... hmmm, no... is a traditional cultural stuff. Some women like it. Some others dont. But we all learn to live with this constant and daily "exposure". At least no one touches nor pinches us (as they do in Italy and in some regions of France).

That is the way it is...

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carolinaEspada
Sep 16, 2004

Things to Do Near Caracas

Things to Do

Avila National Park

Once in Caracas, you must go to Mariperez, where Avila M?gica (cable car station) its located. Go Up must take around 15 minutes, Will enjoy the view from the city while the car its going up. Dont...
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Things to Do

Old Caracas (Centro)

CARACAS IS A VERY UNSAFE AND DANGEROUS PLACE TO VISIT. AFTER 8PM YOU CANT GO OUTSIDE UNLESS YOU WANNA BE DEATH. I FLOWN FROM CANADA TO VENEZUELA. AND LET ME TELL YOU. IN JUST ONE WEEK I WAS STOLEN...
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Things to Do

Museums

The Museum of Modern Art is one of the best of its kind in Latin America. It was inaugurated in 1973 and on 16 000 sq metres there are both permanent and temporary exhibitions. In the permanent...
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Things to Do

El Hatillo

If you want to buy some authentic venezuelan craft, El Hatillo is the place to be. There are a lot of different stores, selling different things. There is one store that has it all. It's so big you...
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Things to Do

Urban Parks & Plazas

The entrance to the Botanical Garden is just next to the entrance to the University. On 70 hectare there are over 2200 species and all together 150 000 plants. There are a few greenhouses and there...
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Things to Do

Teresa Carreno performing arts center

This is a cultural centre between Parque Central and the Natural Science Museum. The large, grey building has a retro-feel and is not particularly attractive. But if you have nothing planned for the...
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