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Things to know about Venezuela


Capital: Caracas.


Religion: Most of the population confess Catholicism.


Language: Official language is Spanish, but you can also find Indian dialects. Inhabitants understand English, German and French.


Climate of the flatland Venezuela is subtropical, with alternation of rainy (from April to October) and dry (from November to March) seasons. The temperature varies slightly during the year. For example, in Caracas it changes from +18°C to +20°C, while in Maracaibo – from +27°C to +29ºC. In mountain areas, the temperature ranges from +4°C to +9°C in January; in summer it can reach up to +23°C.


Currency: Venezuelan Bolivar – VEF. It is subdivided into 100 centimos. One American dollar is equal 4.29 bolivar, one euro – 5.86 bolivar. Circulated banknotes are in denominations of 100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 2 bolivar, as well as coins of 50, 25, 12.5, 10, 5 and 1 centimos.


Means of payment: Credit cards are acceptable in the capital and in large cities. In Venezuela, currency transactions are controlled by the country, that’s why you’re advised to use credit cards more often than cash. ATMs are widely spread, but their note reserve is often limited. You can withdraw traveller’s cheques only in large banks.


Currency exchange: Banks work from Monday till Friday from 8:30am to 3:30pm. You can convert your currency at exchange offices, airports, banks, hotels and shops. Exchange offices convert only cash. You’d better change a small amount of money.


Telephone communication: You can make international or domestic calls both from a phone box and a phone company office. Phone cards are sold at kiosks and news stalls. Phone code is +58.
In Venezuela, mobile communications is well-developed, although mobile network mostly covers the northern part of the country, and large cities. The country has such mobile companies as Corporacion Digitel (GSM 900), Digital Celular Gsm CA, Infonet Redes de Informacion CA. SIM cards and top up cards are sold at post offices, shops, news stalls, and tobacco kiosks.


Calls to Venezuela from other countries: 00 – 58 – phone number.


Calls from Venezuela to other countries: to call from Venezuela to other country, you should dial: 00 – country code – phone number.


Useful phone numbers in Venezuela:
Police – 169
Ambulance – 171
Fire Department – 161


Time zone: UTC−04:30. Venezuela doesn’t have daylight saving time.


You can bring into country duty-free:
- up to 200 cigarettes or 25 cigars,
- up to 2 litres of alcohol beverage,
- up to 4 bottles of perfume,
- packaged goods worth not more than 1000 American dollars.
The amount of currency you can bring in and out of Venezuela is unlimited.


Shopping: Most shops are open from 8:00am to 6:00pm in the capital city. Outside of Caracas, most shops start working from 2:00-3:00pm. Shopping centres are open until 9:00-10:00pm.


Transport in Venezuela


a) Public transport


1. Buses and minibuses. 90% of passenger and cargo transportations are made by buses. But in outlying regions of Venezuela it’s difficult to plan your trip due to changeable schedule of auto transportations. During rainy season many roads are washed away, so traffic may stop for a few days or weeks.

2. Subway is located in the capital city. It has 35 stations.

3. Taxis of large companies are equipped with taxi meters, but drivers don’t always use them. That’s why you’re advised to discuss fare before a trip. After 8:00pm you should expect a double rate.


b) Long-distance transport


1. Water transport connects the main country harbours such as La Salina, Puerto Cabello, Maracaibo, Amuay and Punta Cardon. Ferries run between the city of Puerto la Cruz and Margarita Island.
2. Railway. Venezuela has only one railway. Its length is 366 km. It connects Barquisimeto and Puerto Cabello.
3. Aircraft. Venezuela has six domestic airlines. Simon Bolivar International Airport located in Caracas is the largest in the country. Domestic flights are quite cheap. There is a discount system for students and people, who travel with family members. You’d better book your tickets in advance, because most directions are in great demand.


Car rental in Venezuela
Car rental service in Venezuela is expensive. A day of renting an A-class car starts from 70 U.S. dollars. In addition, you’ll have to pay for mileage. To rent a car, you must be at least 21 years old with driving experience at least three years, have an international driving license and a credit card.


Some traffic rules:
1. Children must travel on a child safety seat, which should be appropriate to the age and growth.
2. Allowable level of alcohol in blood is 0.5 per millilitre,
3. Venezuela determines such speed limits:
- in the city: 60 km/h (at night – 50 km/h);
- out of the city: 80 km/h;
4. You should remember that foot-passengers don't enjoy privileges. So if you brake or stop at the pedestrian crossing, letting people pass, you can cause an accident because motorcyclists and motorists behind you won’t expect your stop. The main traffic rule, according to locals, says: the privilege at the crossroad belongs the person who enters it first, who has bigger car, and louder “beep”.


Hotels: All hotels are classified by the international five-star system.


Tipping: The usual deal is to tip 10% of the total amount.


Electricity in Venezuela: 110V/60Gr. Two-pin plugs are used in the country.


National holidays:
1 January – New Year
1 May – Labor Day
24 June – Battle of Lake Maracaibo
5 July – Independence Day
24 July – Birthday of Simón Bolívar
12 October – Day of Indigenous Resistance
24 December – Christmas


Visa is not required for citizens of such countries as Andorra, the Netherlands, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, South Korea, Costa Rica, Chile, Cyprus, Croatia, Denmark, Slovenia, Spain, the USA, Estonia, Finland, France, Great Britain, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Norway, the New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Uruguay.


Behaviour rules in Venezuela
- Expensive goods or jewellery can attract attention of thieves, that’s why you are not advised to take them in your trip to Venezuela.
- You’re advised to make a laminated copy of your passport, and print all e-tickets and hotel vouchers.
- Don’t leave your luggage unattended whether at the airport or in the street.
- Choosing a hotel, decide in favour of one with a lock box. If you choose a private cottage, make sure it is well protected. If it isn’t, you should look for another place for living.
- Never buy suspicious products or medicine from dealers on the beaches.
- Try not to speak on mobile phone while walking along Venezuela’s streets, because the phone can become a loot of a robber.
- You’re advised to walk at day. Walking at night can be dangerous.
- Use only official taxi service.


You should know:
- The best period for visiting Venezuela is from November till May. However, some world-famous sights, for example Angel Falls, are more attractive in rainy season.
- You should avoid swimming in local water reservoirs. You’d better use boiled or bottled water for drinking and personal hygiene.
- Vegetables should be thoroughly washed and processed, and fruit should be peeled.
- You should always have insect repellent with, and stay only in those hotels, where rooms are equipped with mosquito nets.
- Before going to Venezuela, you shouldn’t have vaccinations.
- Rum is the best souvenir from Venezuela. You can also buy such original local products as clay dolls, colorful capes and openwork baskets, as well as fragrant local coffee and chocolate.
- There is a special police crew in the country. They must help tourists in case problems with local lawbreakers occur. Such officers are required to wear red berets, so you can easily indicate them. Their responsibility is to solve all problems relating to the safety of foreign citizens. That’s why, if you have some questions, they will always help. Such officers are obliged to escort tourists through the city.
- Venezuela stands against smoking. May 31 is the World No Tobacco Day. Venezuela has a ban on smoking in restaurants, bars and canteens.
- Tourists must always have documents, which prove their identity, with.
- Venezuela has very cheap gasoline. To fill in, you’re advised to say «cinco» at a gas station, which means "Premium" The tank is always filled to the end in Venezuela. 70 liters cost here approximately one American dollar. 

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