Caracas, Venezuela, South America

Founded: July 25, 1567
Location: North-central Venezuela, South America
Flag: Coat of arms on a deep red field.
Time Zone: 8 AM = noon Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)
Ethnic Composition: 80% mestizos (of mixed European, Indian and African ancestry), 20% white, 8% black, and 2% Indian
Latitude and Longitude: 10° 30′N, 66° 56′W
Coastline: On the coast, approximately 25 km from the port of La Guaira
Climate: Subtropical
Annual Mean Temperature: From 10° to 25° C (50° to 70° F)
Government: Federal Republic. Caracas is ruled as a federal district; it is the center of all government in Venezuela and hosts the executive, judicial and legislative branches of government.
Weights and Measures: Metric system
Monetary Units: The bolivar, a paper currency of 100 centimos
Telephone Area Codes: 58 (Venezuela country code); 02 (Caracas city code)
Postal Codes: None

2. Getting There

Most people entering Venezuela do so via Caracas.


Few foreigners arrive in Caracas by bus, but buses run daily from most Venezuelan cities and cover the entire country. The inexpensive buses arrive at the noisy, dirty and dangerous terminal of Nuevo Circo, located in the Caracas city center.


The Simón Bolívar International Airport of Maiquetía is located near the port of La Guiara on the Caribbean coast, approximately 25 kilometers (16 miles) from the Caracas city center. A highway connects the airport with the city. The airport has two terminals: one for national flights (daily to Maracaibo, Mérida, and other major Venezuelan cities), and another for international flights. There are daily flights from Miami (approximately a two-and-a-half-hour flight) and New York (approximately a six-and-a-half-hour flight) and many major European cities. The most common U.S. airline with the most routes to Caracas is American Airlines, and the Venezuelan national airlines of Avensa and Aeropostal also offer direct service from Miami. The Maiquetía airport also offers service to most Latin American capitals. There is a frequent bus service from the airport to the city center; travelers may also take taxis or arrange for hotel pick-ups.


The port of La Guiara is one of the busiest ports in the country, but passenger service is not available. However, several Caribbean cruise lines do make common one-day stops in the Caracas area.

3. Getting Around

Bus and Commuter Rail Service

The French-built Caracas metro, completed in 1983, is clean, efficient, and safe. It is by far the best way to get around the city and is organized into two lines. Line 1 travels east-west, and Line 2 travels from the city center southwest toward the zoo and the suburb of Caricuao. A Metrobus is also available for the suburbs not covered by the metro lines. The metro is open from 5:30 AM to 11:00 PM. and fare is typically a maximum of 50 cents (in US currency).

Caracas Population Profile

Population: 3,153,000
Area: 1,930 sq km (740 sq mi)
Ethnic composition: 80% mestizos (of mixed European, Indian and African ancestry); 20% white, 8% black, and 2% Indian
World population rank1: 92
Percentage of national population2: 13.1%
Average yearly growth rate: 1.0%
Nicknames: The City of Eternal Spring


  1. The Caracas metropolitan area's rank among the world's urban areas.
  2. The percent of Venezuela's total population living in the Caracas metropolitan area.

For routes not covered by the metro, the Caracas bus network is extensive in the city and surrounding areas. Most buses in the city are smaller buses, known as carritos. Inexpensive though they may be, the buses are often a difficult way to travel as they are overcrowded and frequently get caught in daily traffic jams, making them a slow means of transport.


The city offers a variety of good museums, excellent restaurants, and a lively night life. Sightseers may begin their tour of the city at Plaza Bolivar, the heart of the city center. The Catedral, Palacio de Gobierno and Palacio Municipal are located on the sides of the plaza. In the city center is the Capitolio Nacional and the Casa Natal de Bolívar, where the famous liberator Simón Bolívar was born.

21. Famous Citizens

Simón Bolívar (1783–1830), Caracas's most famous citizen, known as "El Libertador," the liberator of what is today Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia.

Francisco Miranda (b. 1750), largely credited for paving the way to the independence movement, the mentor under whom Simón Bolívar began his military career.

22. For Further Study


CIA World Factbook. [Online] Available (Accessed January 10, 2000.)

Library of Congress Country Study-Venezuela. [Online] Available (Accessed January 10, 2000.)

Lonely Planet Guides. [Online] Available (Accessed January 10, 2000.)

Government Offices

United States Embassy in Venezuela
Avenida Francisco de Miranda, La Floresta
(58 02) 285–2222

Embassy of Venezuela-United States
1099 30th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 342–2214

Tourist and Convention Bureaus

Corporación de Turismo (Corporturismo)
Torre Oeste, Parque Central
Piso 37
(58 02) 507–8815/507–8829

Fairmont International
Plaza Venezuela, Sabana Grande
(58 02) 782–8433/781–7091

South American Explorers Club
126 Indian Creek Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
(607) 277–0488

Venezuelan Tourist Association (VTA)
PO Box 3010
Sausalito, VA 94966
(415) 332–2720


El Universal (newspaper)
El Nacional (newspaper)
The Daily Journal (English-language newspaper)


Dempsey, Mary; and Ann Kelosh. Insight Guides Venezuela. APA Publications, 1995.

Fisher, Wenzel, and Willy Haas. Impressions of Venezuela. Caracas, Venezuela: Distribuidora Santiage C.A., 1992.

Grayson, Richard. I Survived Caracas Traffic: Stories from the Me Decades. Avisson Press, Inc., 1996.

Lombardi, John. Venezuela: the Search for Order, the Dream of Progress. New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982.

Marquez, Patricia. The Street is My Home. Stanford University Press, 1999.