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  #1  
Old 30 Apr 2013
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How safe is Venezuela NOW?

Hello,
After lmost 7months riding around South America from Colombia to Ushuaia, following mainly the west coast, I am now in Buenos Aires. My plan is to follow the Atlantic coast (Uruguay and Brazil) and take a ship in Belem to Manaus. I intend to cross into Venezuela via Manaus - Santa Elena de Uairen, and then reach the north coast in Colombia crossing Venezuela.
My main concern is safety in Venezuela...
Many people are saying it may not be safe to cross Venezuela due to social/political as well as some safety issues, but can´t find reliable and updated info...
Any advice?
Thank you in advance!
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  #2  
Old 2 May 2013
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I just came through, southbound on that route. I didn't feel especially threatened anywhere. The police helped me out several times. A major portion of the population has been taught for 14 years that all things gringo are bad. Dont expect a welcome parade but nobody turned that ill will into anything but indifference and poor service. By far the greatest problem is money. ATMs, liscenced Money changers and individuals are forbidden to trade Bolivars for dollars or accept them in payment. That said, some banks might be able to exchange at about 1/5 of the market value. You can use credit cards at some hotels, fancy restaurants and travel agencies. Albeit at the horrible bank rate 5/1. Basically plastic is almost useless.
Coming from Colombia you can trade dollars in Cucuta for great rates 22/1. Cucuta is the only place on earth that will buy or sell Bolivars for US $ s.
Coming fom Brazil you will have to really hide your US $ s. Over $1000 and it gets confiscated, like forever. Bring Brasilian Reais, you can change them in front of a downtown shop In Santa Elena called Cuatro Esquinas legally. Not scary or dangerous at all but you wont get the super-duper rates that the US$ can get in Cucuta. To trade US $s you will need to make a personal contact. Business people and the upper class love collecting dollars but you should be discrete. Offering to change bucks with a party official might not work out. Je je
Santa Elena is a great place from which to explore the Gran Sabana. Although Venezuelanos might be snarky, the indígenas are quite friendly. Plan a week Guayana department and the Gran Sábana. Mérida, supposedly the nicest town in Vzla had rubbish 2 feet deep on the streets, the tramway is shutdown and traffic is at a standstill. The nightlife was excellent however. I know nothing of the beaches or islands. Prices: 90cents US (wimpy), hotel 2** $20, gasoline usually free for motos but could be as high as 3 cents a gallon, Iphone $3000 US.
Very few in Vzla has respect for the law. IF you stop at a yellow light you'll probably get killed. If you stop at a red they'll blow their horn until you run the light (which you should not do).The lawlessnes gets MUCH worse after dark. In other words don't cut it close on arrival times. From NE Brazil GOOD LUCK!
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  #3  
Old 2 May 2013
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Just keep away from parliamentary proceedings and you should be fine!

Clashes break out in Venezuela parliament

BTW if you do go to Venezuela try and get to Merida. Great little city and surrounds in the mountains. Very friendly city with great bars and clubs and lots of beautiful women
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  #4  
Old 2 May 2013
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Did you read the post immediately above yours? A different take on Merida (a place which I liked, but didn't stay long).

I'm impressed that the black market rate has more than doubled since I was there less than 3 years ago. Makes it clear why anyone who can afford it wants to hold dollars; there's no percentage in holding your money in local currency.

Even three years ago, a lot of hotels, tour companies, and others accustomed to dealing with tourists were accepting credit card payments or bank transfers directly to offshore accounts--mostly in Europe, in my experience. That's another way to get around the currency controls if you're doing touristy stuff.

Mark
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  #5  
Old 2 May 2013
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Thanks a LOT for this useful information!!
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  #6  
Old 25 May 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pasomonte View Post
Prices: 90cents US (wimpy), hotel 2** $20, gasoline usually free for motos but could be as high as 3 cents a gallon, Iphone $3000 US.
Are these prices achieved by selling USD to the locals? Or from the official exchange rate?

IPhone goes for $3000 USD? Are those illegal to bring into the country?

Also do you know any more about the $1000 USD limit? I'd like to bring more than that. Also what exchange are you getting for Brazilian reias in comparison to $USD?
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  #7  
Old 25 May 2013
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Hi,

On my trip i was very worryed about Venezuela as well but all these bad storys were wrong. Of course people there went around with big knifes but not to kill me but to cut and offer fresh fruits. Who would offer fruits to a stranger in our country? We would rather call the police...but people in Venezuela were sooo friendly



http://reisemotorrad.eu/?report=en_ecuador-columbien
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  #8  
Old 26 May 2013
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Venezuela is awesome!

We just rode through Venezuela and down to Manaus arriving here yesterday.

As everyone here on the hubb has said Venezuela really is a beautiful country, and as stated official exchange rate is crappy, but black market rates are "good". Most hostels we stayed at were happy for us to transfer money and give us Bolivares. As you're going to Santa Elena, I'd highly recommend staying at "Posada Backpackers" Eric, the owner is German, super friendly, had space for our bikes in the "deposito" in the hostel. He also has another place much nicer, and not much more expensive (but we're out of money.... end of the trip...)

We arrived from Colombia having carried US dollars all the way from Ecuador, and just kept it well hidden. Officials at the border will ask you if you have dollars..... say no, or as I did, keep a tenner in your wallet and say that's the only dollars I have (pretending to be unaware of the money situation), show him your wallet and ask him where the ATM is. We had friends in Venezuela, but it was easy enough to meet people to change money. Taxi drivers (the expensive ones in fancy cars) seem to be the way to go (just don't blurt out.... I wanna change money, start a conversation first). We meet a couple of them in Caracas and Valencia. email me if you want their details. Nice guys.
rate for $ is from 20 to 24 (once we got 26) Bolivares for $1. Depending who you meet. Euro is 26 to 30 Bolivares per Euro depending who you meet.

We didn't feel threatened or unsafe in Venezuela (which is more than I can say for Manaus... this place is horrible!!!)

Have fun. And greet all the wonderful friendly Venezuelans from us!! Beaches, mountains, the plains... everywhere!! Stunning!
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  #9  
Old 27 May 2013
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Going to Venezuela

Hey - I'm in Manaus now, and am leaving to Venezuela in the next few days. interested in meeting up? I would like to hear about your experiences - I can share plenty info on travel in Brasil - 6 months here to date - ferry info to Belem, etc.

jason
www.bodeswell.com
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  #10  
Old 27 May 2013
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I also have plenty of GPS info on camping, etc...
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  #11  
Old 15 Jun 2013
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Thanks for all the good reviews guys!

it's good to hear you had a great time here! we hope more travellers visit us and write reviews like these that will change people's wrong impression about our country. Visit my town Colonia Tovar in the mountains near caracas, I´m not advertising just trying to help offering info on cheap accommodation with 2 meals for $25 u.s. in my posada N 10 24.284 W 67 17.275 also lots of free info in English and nice motorcycle trips on dirt roads down to the beach nearby. thanks and hope to provide useful info on my country for riders wanting to visit. www.posadacoloniatovar.com

Last edited by Venezuela; 15 Jun 2013 at 16:47.
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  #12  
Old 30 Jun 2013
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Gee.... I am always amazed by the misunderstandings and misconceptions about Venezuela.
To put things straight, there is no limit on the amount of foreign currency you can bring into Venezuela BUT if you enter more than USD10,000 you have to register them with Seniat. (same as in the US and other countries)
The $1,000 limit somebody referred to must be a confusion he had with the maximum value of goods Venezuelans and residents are allowed to bring back into the country duty-free at each trip.
As for the price of an unlocked iphone 4S 16Gb today in Venezuela, $600 iphone 5 16Gb $800 ipad mini 16Gb $350
As for the black market exchange rates, you'll have approximately the same rate, about 30 today in Cucuta, Maicao, Santa Elena or Caracas....
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  #13  
Old 18 Aug 2013
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Afternoon fellas and fellesses

We finally arrived in Colombia, getting our feet on the ground and establishing what is what.

Venezuela is on my list but not Ellens, we have three months in Colombia then decide which way we want to go from there, keen to meet the Dakar in Uyuni then probably turn around and head back up to see what we missed but Ellen is so so about Venezuela.

Any good advice in addition to the above is welcomed, obviously we will be keeping our ears on the ground too however we are interested if any "hot spots" turn up.

Rubber side down

Cheers Andi
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  #14  
Old 19 Aug 2013
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Venezuela

Thanks for the info. I'll stop in on my way through.
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  #15  
Old 24 Aug 2013
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Safe. I spend 3 weeks in Venezuela and returned to Colombia a week ago. I crossed the border from Maicao and Cucuta. I felt safe during the trip. I didn't ride nighttime or camp in Venezuela. Especially the police and military were very helpful in Venezuela. But don't expect people to be as friendly as in Colombia. Take plenty of dollars (black market rate 28, you might get more)with you when you go. International creditcards don't always work there...I run into trouble with this. The nature is stunning and the roads ok to ride.



El Burro | a mototravel blog from Latin-America
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