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Easy Arrival In South America

Arriving at Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela - A major hub for trips in the Guyana Region (Orinoco Delta, Canaima & Angels Falls, Gran Sabana)

Arriving at Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela – A major hub for trips in the Guyana Region (Orinoco Delta, Canaima & Angels Falls, Gran Sabana)

While preparing the travel, we were surprised how many warning we would read or hear about traveling in South America. It has been sometimes so bad that we might have turned a little paranoiac! What a surprise considering how easy everything has been until now …

The evening in Madrid was delightful, a city we have to visit again, but definitely not in the summer: the heat was purely unbearable! Jose-Luis & Carmen took us for a very nice walk in the city center and of course for tapas. We both really enjoyed the time there. Why Madrid? Because it is undoubtedly THE hub for traveling to South America: from there airfares are far cheaper than in any other European city. And the flight with Air Europe was ok, considering they are a low-cost carrier. Of course the food was not terrific, but we had enough leg-room, which is actually most important on such a long haul flight.

Arriving in Caracas Maiquetía was simply smooth: as soon as we left the restricted area, we were taken care of by the “tourist police”, which by the way changed us USD into Bolivaros. It was not the best rate you can get (3.000 Bolivaros for 1 USD against 2.150 official rate, but we have been told it is no problem to get 3.700 and even sometimes 4.000). But it was the first evening, we were jetlagged and not knowing how the Bolivaros bills looks like, we enjoyed “the security” and considered the extra price as a fair compensation for security.

The choice of the Hotel Catimar near the airport was an excellent one. The pick-up service, even though a bit pricey for 7.50 USD per way, definitely made things easier after a transatlantic flight. The evening in the hotel bar, surprisingly frequented by locals, was really enchanting, enabling us to our first chance to practice our Spanish. Eventually we opted for a one-hour flight to Ciudad Bolivar against an eight-hour bus ride.

That way we avoided the madness of Caracas and got a bit of a view of the Orinoco River when descending onto Ciudad Bolivar. Soon we discovered that we had chosen the “hottest city of Venezuela” as first base with temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius. Presently we are hiding in our room waiting for the cool down and being finally able to explore the historic center of Ciudad Bolivar. It reminds us a lot of the old colonial town of Trinidad in Cuba, with its colourful houses and tall window behind beautiful iron-works.

Tomorrow we will leave for Tucupita, where we will start our first tour into the Orinoco Delta …

The only point we have to take more care of is our budget, we currently have not succeeded to stay within our travelling budget … But this is surely a question of a few days to get used to our new kind of life …


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