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  • Is Venezuela Too Dangerous?

    Posted on March 3rd, 2010 Dan DeLa Cruz 1 comment

    Maracaibo Venezuela City ViewBeing so close to Venezuela, here in Barranquilla Colombia, I’ve thought about traveling to one of the Venezuelan cities that’s closest to the Colombian boarder. The one that made the most sense for me was Maracaibo Venezuela. From Barranquilla, Maracaibo is only about an 8 hour bus ride, but the entire time I’ve remained undecided because of safety concerns.

    There are a few reasons to travel to Venezuela right now. First of all it would be a new adventure. I’ve never been to Maracaibo, and I enjoy exploring new cities and countries. The second would be the high inflation that venezuela experience (25% in 2009), which means the Venezuela is currently at a very steep discount for foreigners with foreign currencies. Finally, I can’t deny that one of the top reasons to go to Venezuela is because of the Venezuelan women.

    The last time I was in Venezuela was about 3 years ago. I remember when I went to Caracas that some people had told me it was a dangerous city. I took the normal safety precautions when I traveled there, but it didn’t seem anymore dangerous than other Latin American cities I had already visited.

    Since then I know for a fact the Economic situation in Venezuela has declined immensely. In 2009, the official inflation rate in Venezuela was 25 percent — the highest official inflation rate in Latin America. The economic hardship in the country has increased the crime and violence across the Capital city of Caracas, but also across other parts of the country.

    One of the benefits of being here in Barranquilla is that there are a lot of people here in Barranquilla who have family in Venezuela, or who have traveled or lived in Venezuela themselves. There are also many Venezuelan people who live in Barranquilla. Anytime I come across someone with ties to Venezuela I ask them if it’s dangerous, and about 60% of the time I’ve gotten reports that it is dangerous.

    However, you have to take into consideration that the majority of the Colombians who move to Venezuela move in order to find work. Most of the these Colombians are working class people, who tend to live in the poorer sections of town. These poorer sections of town are undoubtedly the more dangerous sections, but are not sections of any city which I would consider staying in.

    Overall, I do think things have probably gotten more dangerous then before in Venezuela, as far as crime goes. However, looking for information on the Internet, I’ve seen that there are still many foreign travelers who venture into Venezuela without a problem. I would only consider traveling to Venezuela if you’re fluent in spanish, and are a veteran traveler. Even still, I think a trip to Venezuela should be taken with extra safety precautions and good planning and research. I still plan on doing some more research including making various online contacts before I make my final decision on traveling to Maracaibo.


  • Do the World’s Most Beautiful Women Live in Venezuela?

    Posted on October 28th, 2009 Dan DeLa Cruz 3 comments

    Life.com recently released an article titled “Venezuela’s Most Beautiful Women“. It’s a series of pictures of current and past pageant contestants and winners.

    Miss Venezuela (Dayana Mendoza featured in the picture) most recently won the title of Miss Universe for 2009, bringing the grand total of Venezuela wins to a whooping 6.

    Having been to Venezuela myself, I have to agree that Venezuelan women are amazingly attractive. An afternoon stroll down one of the busy avenues in the center of the city leaves you with more then eyeful of slender, attractive “chamas” (Venezuelan slang for chica or girl).

    Night clubs and in Caracas are no different, and my Venezuelan female friends have confessed to me in the past over some drinks that they have to fight tooth and nail for their men against all the other single ladies.

    If it wasn’t for the reports of violence and increased crime in Venezuela I probably would have gone back already. I may have to go and verify the reports for myself. But there are many other places including Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, and Costa Rica where the women are just as friendly and attractive, and crime isn’t as much of an issue.

    Although there are many pretty women in Venezuela I would say that it’s definitely not a place you want to venture into unless you’re a Veteran traveler, fluent in Spanish, and are a bit more risk averse.

    The one negative about Venezuela at the moment, is that the mismanagement of the Economy by President Hugo Chavez, has resulted in high inflation, increasingly difficult times economically, and shortages of basic necessities like water, and electricity. Rolling black outs are common place, and Chavez recently urged all Venezuelans to take 3 minute showers to conserve water.

    In part due to these reasons, crime and violence has increased dramatically in Venezuela over the past decade, most notably in the city of Caracas, the capital of Venezuela. Although there are no outright “travel warnings” for Venezuela on the government websites, Venezuela and Caracas still remain high up on the list of crime and homicide rates.

    Still having said all of this, I’m reminded of my European friend who told me a story about a team of engineers from his company in Spain who were sent to Venezuela for a six month stint. Out of the team of 11 engineers 7 of them came back from Venezuela married. And no that is not an exaggeration.