Santiago de León de Caracas is the capital and largest city of Venezuela. The city is located in the north of Venezuela at a height of 760-920 m in the Valley of Caracas which belongs to the coastal mountain range (Cordillera de la Costa central). The valley is separated by the more than 2000 m high Àvila-Massif (Cerro El Ávila) at a distance of about 15 km from the Caribbean coast. This feature gives Caracas a comfortable tropical climate, which is described as “never cold, seldom too hot”. Most rainfall occurs during the period from May to November.
Founded in 1567, Caracas was spared by frequent pirate attacks in the 17th century because of its geographical safer location and it became the principal city in the region. Due to earthquakes in 1755 and 1812 the city has rather few historical buildings from the colonial era. The evolving oil industry in the early 20th century led to an explosion in population. Today about 2 to 3 millions Caraqueños (natives or residents) live in the Distrito Capital, and 6 to 7 millions in the Distrito Metropolitano.
Tourism in Caracas
Although Caracas is reported to be one of the most dangerous cities in the World with a high level of crime it is also a cosmopolitan city and the cultural and economical center of Venezuela. Its gastronomy influenced by immigration waves in the 20th century is famous. Many museums, theatres and parks invite the international tourist to stay a few days and enjoy the rich cultural life or spend some money in one of the big shopping centers.
You can also visit the small village Galipán in the north of the Ávila mountain with its famous cultivation of flowers, fresh air, opulent restaurants, nice posadas and a great view down to the city. The village is accessible through the MetroCable (Caracas Cable Car). Another popular route to the Ávila mountain leads from Altamira to the Sabas Nieves entrance by bus.
From Maiquetía's international Simón Bolívar Airport you can reach the center of Caracas by taxi in about 40 to 70 minutes. The integrated ticket system between Metro and Metrobús covers great parts of the city. In addition several companies run the traditional bus system with various types of vehicles. On many main roads you will also find por puestos, minibuses that connect locations not accessible by metro.