Travel Facts

City Codes
BLA: Barcelona (Puerto la Cruz area)
CAJ: Canaima (Angel Falls)
CCS: Caracas
>PMV: Porlamar (Margarita Island)
MAR: Maracaibo
MRD: Mérida
VLN: Valencia
Entry requirements: Valid U.S. passport.
Taxes/Surcharges: International departure tax: $21
Hotel taxes & service charges: Included in price of most tour packages.
Tipping: Restaurants add 10% service charge, and it is customary to leave additional 5 - 10% if food and service was good. Taxi drivers do not expect a tip unless they have helped with baggage.
Currency: Bolívar. ATMs convenient, and major credit cards widely accepted. Banking hours 8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday - Friday.
Shopping: In downtown Caracas the Sabana Grande Complex and the convenient Centro Comercial Beco both offer excellent shopping. In addition there are many fashionable boutiques throughout the city. Manufactured fashion articles, especially designer name clothes and leather goods, are exceptionally good buys. The distinctive yellow Chocano gold is an excellent buy. Popular souvenirs are gold cacique coins, onyx, semi-precious stones, and brightly embroidered native shoes called alpargatas. Margarita Island is famous for its pearls, and they represent one of Venezuela's best buys. In addition the island is a freeport, and goods from around the world are available at bargain prices.
Food and Drink: While each region of Venezuela has its own specialties, several native dishes are available throughout the country. These national favorites include: hallacas (seasoned bits of chicken, pork or beef smothered in corn dough and then steamed in banana leaves); pabellón criollo (savory dish of shredded beef, black beans, rice, avocado and vegetables); sancocho (chicken, beef or fish with vegetables in a hearty soup); and everywhere there are arepas, which are a type of soft corn tortilla that often substitutes for bread. Rum is the favorite drink, and mixed with exotic fruit juices offers a variety of possibilities. Beer is also excellent.

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