Caracas is a progressive city backed by more than four centuries of rich history. Cosmopolitan and fast-paced, the Venezuelan capital is home to an impressive array of cultural activity. During the day, visitors can explore world-class museums, hike the wooded slopes of the national park and savor strong coffee at terraced cafes. At night, the city comes alive in salsa clubs, crowded bars and eclectic restaurants. This exhilarating energy makes Caracas one of the most appealing capitals in Latin America.
The Plaza Bolivar is the heart of the city. Leafy trees provide shade to huddled groups of locals, children feeding treats to the squirrels and vendors selling refreshing shaved ices and lemonades. Each corner is marked with a golden fountain, and a statue of Simon Bolivar stands in the center. On most days, visitors can hear rousing speeches by religious preachers and political visionaries in front of the statue.
Near the square is the Casa Natal de Bolivar, where the military and political leader was born in 1783. Colorful frescoes by Tito Salas depict scenes from Bolivar's life and his heroic battles, and many of his personal objects are on display.
North of the house lies the Museo Bolivariano, a well-preserved colonial building that showcases a wide range of artifacts from the independence movement. Portraits of Bolivar line the walls, and visitors can see his muskets, medals, handwritten letters, swords, shaving sets and more. The collection also includes the coffin that transported Bolivar's body from Colombia back home to Venezuela.
One of the finest museums in Latin America, the Museo de Arte Colonial is housed in the Quinta de Anauco, a charming country mansion. Lush, shady gardens envelope the museum, surrounding it with spectacular flowers, winding stone paths and refreshing fountains. Inside, visitors are treated to an incredible collection of colonial art from Venezuela and other countries in the region, including furniture, paintings, statues and more. The kitchen is one of the most interesting galleries, filled with authentic colonial tools like bronze pitchers, porcelain dishes, mud plates and metal pots.
In 2000, the Central University of Venezuela was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Designed by celebrated local architect Carlos Raul Villanueva, the site is a cultural hub that regularly showcases artwork, theater performances, concerts and dance recitals.
The National Botanical Gardens sit next door to the university, offering a blissful escape from the chaos of the city. Draped vines, intertwining trees and colorful blossoms greet visitors, and birdsongs take over the sound of traffic in the distance. The extensive gardens contain plants from around the world, and exploring them is a refreshing way to spend an afternoon.
Visitors can also escape at the Parque del Este, where kids play among the rock gardens, soccer teams compete on the fields, religious groups worship under the shade of trees and joggers race down the extensive trails. The 82-hectares are a botanical odyssey, and many of the flora is labeled. There is also a cactus garden, snake house, aviary and planetarium.
Mount Avila provides an incredible backdrop to the city, and adventurous travelers can hike to the peak to get the best views of Caracas. Those not inclined to make the trek can still reach the top by cable car. Visit early in the day before the afternoon haze clouds the peak.
Caracas Geographical Location
Caracas is located on the northern tip of Venezuela and is only 15km away from the Caribbean Sea.
The population of Caracas is about 4,200,000.
Spanish is the official language of Venezuela although there are numerous dialects throughout the country.
Caracas Predominant Religion
96% Roman Catholic
There are small Jewish and Muslim communities that comprise the last 2% of the population and Caracas does have a large Mosque.
The Bolivar is the official currency of Venezuela.
Caracas is relatively rainy with February and March experiencing the least amount of rainfall. The temperature is mildly hot year-round without much fluctuation between months.
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