Venezuela: The Forgotten Side of South America – 15 Impressive Destinations You Should See
Updated On: August 01, 2023
When it comes to South America, many countries have been taking the hype for years, including Brazil and Argentina. Yet, this magnificent continent embraces several beautiful countries that happen to be a little forgotten in the tourism world. Today, we’re spotting the lights on the great South American country that is Venezuela.
Although it is not the protagonist of many travel tales, Venezuela is home to some of the world’s natural grandeurs. It holds the largest waterfall in the world as well as the largest lake in the continent. Not only that, but it’s also home to delightful jungles, enormous mountains capped with snow, and a huge natural diversity.
Let’s not forget about its spacious coastline on the Caribbean that makes for a fantastic getaway, Bottomline, Venezuela is a beauty spot on Earth that needs to be discovered, promising to give you wondrous landscapes and breathtaking sights.
If you think you’re ready for this adventure, we’ve got your back with an itinerary of the destinations you shouldn’t miss. It includes the hottest tourist destinations in the country as well as some hidden gems. There are some off the beaten path spots because, at the end, the best places are not easily reachable. We promise it’s worth the time and effort!
1. See the Angel Falls
Haven’t we already mentioned that Venezuela is home to the world’s highest waterfall? Well, we were actually referring to the renowned Angel Falls. Situated in the heart of the country, this streaming waterfall is capable of taking your breath away. It’s a delightful sight where the waters cascade from the top of beautifully rising mountains, traveling 979 meters down.
No wonder the Angel Falls happens to be one of the prominent features of South America. It’s advised to visit anywhere between May and November. During the colder seasons, the falls kind of hide behind a mist. However, all tourists are welcomed to watch the falls at any time through the year.
Usually, tourists get to see the Angel Falls from the Canaima National Park. However, the sight can be a little remote or even difficult to observe. During those times, many flights can be easily arranged to take the visitors on a nice ride above the beautiful waters.
2. Visit the Canaima National Park and La Gran Sabana
The Canaima National Park is one of the highlights of Venezuela and a top-rated tourist destination. That is because it is more often associated with the renowned Angel Falls as it provides great sightseeing of the falls. However, there is so much more to this national park than just that.
First of all, this park is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s quite vast as it stretches over three million hectares of land. Thus, it must be offering a handful of spots that are equally fascinating. One of the most prominent features of the park is La Gran Sabana; it extends to as far as to the borders of Brazil and Guyana.
La Gran Sabana provides its visitors with unprecedented landscapes, where vast landscapes beautifully blend with coursing rivers and cascading waterfalls. It’s also home to some thick jungles and savanna, where the rarest species of plants are found.
Again, waterfalls are prominent highlights of all of South America. Also, the park is home to the impressive El Sapo Waterfall, where many tourists enjoy hiking to. There is also the Canaima Lagoon at which you can relax and banish the stress while listening to the mixed sounds of nature.
3. Wander Around Medanos de Coro National Park
Well, Venezuela seems to be full of surprises. It may be home to spacious greenery landscapes and delightful waterfalls, but it’s also home to the vast desert that is Medanos. The latter is the name that the locals use to refer to sand dunes. This beautiful Medanos de Coro National Park encompasses fascinating sights of rolling sand dunes.
Many visitors enjoy the wind of this area and spend their time having fun by sliding down the dunes. The surprise here is that these splendid dunes isn’t the only impressive thing about this park. In fact, you can head into the hills and find more than few lagoons covering the area. They were formed during the floods of many decades.
4. Ride the Cable Car in Mérida
The Cable Cars may be a thing in Europe, but did you know that they made their way to Venezuela? Well, many people are unaware of this fact. Mérida is a fascinating Venezuelan city with pristine nature and breathtaking views. It also happens to be home to the popular cable cars; rather known as Telerifico de Mérida.
When you ride in one of those flying vehicles, you get to see 12.5 kilometers of untouched landscapes and dramatic sightseeings. And, what is really better than observing the splendor of Venezuela from a bird’s eye view?
Visitors are usually accompanied by guides that direct you to the best spots to view. They also take some time to tell you the history of the cable cars constructions. You can also stop and take a walk around the glorifying area. Also, don’t forget to grab your camera and capture Instagram-worthy photos that will make your followers swoon.
5. Explore El Guacharo Park National Reserve Park
Venezuela embraces plentiful parks where natural landscapes give the beholders an unprecedented euphoria. If you’re planning to embark on an adventurous journey around Venezuela, you shouldn’t miss El Guacharo National Reserve Park. This park is located a few kilometers away from the Venezuelan town of Caripe in Monagas. Thus, it’s not really hard to reach.
The park has two different parts to explore, the Black Mountains, being the upper part, and the Media Caripe River, being the lower one. Both sections hold many attractions with beautiful sceneries. However, the Guacharo Cave remains the highlight of this area. The good news is, it’s accessible to visitors, so enthusiastic explorers can feed their curiosity.
This cave is made up of several corridors which are covered by stalagmites and stalactites. Not only that, but it’s also home to the nocturnal creatures known as the guajaro, or wonder birds, hence the name. These birds fly out during the night to search for food and come back to their shelters.
6. Hike to the Caribbean Andes
The Andes are known to be the longest mountain range where it stretches over several countries in South America. They are also one of the prominent highlights of Venezuela that attracts visitors every year. Most importantly, the mountain range extends along the west coast, allowing you to see the Colombian borders while in Venezuela.
This area is a famous hiking spot that suits energetic adventurers. There are many hiking trails that pave the way for a long hike and it is suitable for different fitness levels. Once you reach the peak, you will be able to overlook the historical towns of Venezuela from up there. Great views of historical buildings, museums, churches, and parks are in sight from the peak of the Andes.
7. Explore the Floating Island (Mount Roraima)
Mount Roraima is a significant spot that includes Venezuela, Guyana, and Brazil. It’s also the highest point in Guyana. This mountain is rather a tepui, which means a flat-topped mountain, and it’s commonly known as the Floating Island. The name goes to the fact that the flat peak of this mountain is surrounded by clouds, feeling like it’s floating.
Mount Roraima is popular among hikers, for the abundance of its challenging hiking trails. It overlooks beautiful landscapes and fascinating sights. You may also explore the plant life found on the mountain. It’s home to different forms of plant life and unique fauna. Most of them are native to the region and rare to be found anywhere else around the globe.
8. Watch the Unique Birdlife in Henri Pittier National Park
Here comes the oldest national park all over Venezuela, Henri Pittier National park. It’s located in the Cordillera de la Costa and named after the founder, Henri François Pittier. The latter was a Swiss botanist who arrived in Venezuela in the early 20th century, classifying over 30,000 plants.
Most tourists visit this park to observe the rare species of birdlife that live there. There are almost over 500 bird species to see and wonder. Moreover, the park offers more activities, thanks to being situated near mountains, beaches, and bays. Many people spend their time in the park engaging in activities like diving or swimming.
9. Relax at Margarita Island (The Pearl of Venezuela)
This impressive island has earned the title of the Pearl of Venezuela for being the abundance of pearls within the land. The discovery goes way back to when Christopher Columbus landed in South America in 1498. He landed specifically on the Margarita Island in Venezuela. It’s situated off the northeastern coast of the country.
Its location on the Caribbean Sea has made a popular destination for relaxing and chilling among tourists. It has over 50 beaches to choose from and enjoy your vacation at. Moreover, you can visit the surrounding cities and explore the culinary world and the nightlife. Many people also enjoy shopping at the duty free found on the port.
10. Take A Day Trip to Kavak Cave (Cuevas de Kavac)
Caves always have this special ambiance and feels. They give you this adventurous experience where you get to explore a side of the world totally ambiguous to you. Luckily, South America is full of them, and Venezuela is no exception. If you are looking for a brand new experience, you should really head to the magnificent Kavak Cave.
In order to reach Kavak Cave, you’ll need to take a 15-minute flight. The best part is getting to observe the Canaima National Park from a really high perspective. You will be fascinating by the sight of the splendid lagoon of Canaima and other natural landscapes.
Once you land, you’ll meet a small community of people who live around this serene area. The guides will take you through some trails along a river that lead to the mysterious cave. It will take you half an hour to get to the Kavak Cave. Meanwhile, you’ll be enjoying a wide array of rare plant species, stairs made up of nature, and wells with crystalizing waters.
11. See the Drowned Church of Potosi
One of the most unusual attraction you may ever see in your life is in Venezuela. And, that would be the Church of Potosi. This church has drowned several years ago, resulting in an eerie sight in a river in Táchira. Fishermen had reported seeing a cross hauntingly rising out of the water, leading to an investigation.
In fact, this church sits on the deep bottom of the waters. The act of receding that took place in 2008 helped in revealing parts of a worn-out church. It turns out it’s actually a massive gothic-style structure that drowned during a flood. It’s one of the weirdest attractions in Venezuela that many visitors like to give it a shot. If you want to see something spooky from a bygone time, this one is totally for you.
12. Experience Bizarre Flavors at Cromoto Ice Cream Shop
Merida may be best known for its cable car rides, but its one-of-the-kind Cromoto Ice Cream Shop is another thing not to be missed. This shop is not like any other regular ice cream shop you will find across Venezuela, or anywhere else in the world for that matter. It offers the largest variety of ice cream flavors in the world, and ones you may not even expect.
Some of those flavors include mushrooms in wine, hot dog, and spaghetti with cheese. Yes, these are flavors for an ice cream! And these are only a few among other 900 flavors. However, only 60 flavors can be offered to visitors at any given time. Other flavors may only be available during specific seasons.
The founder of this peculiar idea was Manuel Da Silva Oliveira. He was a Portuguese immigrant who worked for several ice cream companies, including large ones, before starting his own business. That guy has taken the world of ice cream by storm when he offered exotic flavors that the world was never accustomed to. Make sure you grab your own scoop while in Merida.
13. Observe the Amazonian Parrots of Las Mercedes
Parrots are beautiful creatures that fascinate the beholders with their great colors. And, while they are not rare kinds of birds, we still don’t see them everyday. Well, this is not the case in the beautiful capital city of Venezuela, Caracas. The Amazonian parrots dominate the skies of Caracas, creating a splendid spectacle.
To be more precise, this fascinating scene can be observed in Las Mercedes, the largest shopping region in South America. During the day, they disappear into the mountains, looking for their meals. On the other hand, they wait for the night to take over and return back to the palm trees of Las Mercedes area.
14. Discern the Countryside Charm of El Hatillo Village
The countrysides usually possess unprecedented beauty that you won’t find in the urban cities. Venezuela has its own magnificent El Hatillo village; it sits 20 kilometers outside of Caracas. The village is a quite old-fashioned ambiance despite witnessing several developments. However, the maintenance of the quaint style is what makes El Hatillo pretty attractive.
There are great landscapes and picturesque scenes to indulge. Morover, the buildings scattered over the village have bright colors that please the beholders. Besides the houses, there are several restaurants and pizzerias that offer delicious meals. Moreover, the Hannsi is a huge barn, where people get to buy souvenirs and other handicrafts.
15. Check Out the National Pantheon of Venezuela
The Pantheon is one of the most prominent attractions in Caracas. It’s also an archaic structure that dates back to 1874; it became the final grave of the national heroes. The purpose of this monument was to honor Simón Bolívar, a Venezuelan military and political leader. Tourists are permitted to check out the remains of Bolívar while touring the building.
Interestingly, you will find the central hub devoted to the bronze sarcophagus of Simón Bolívar. Visitors tour around and observe the remains of Bolívar along with those of some other heroes. There are also beautiful paintings depicting the lives of national heroes.