Though often overlooked in favor of the beaches of the Caribbean Islands or the jungles of the Gran Sabana region, Caracas is a fun-loving and cosmopolitan city that deserves more than just stopover status. As the capital of Venezuela, hotels in Caracas have long been used as a transitional point on their way elsewhere, though the city has much to recommend it for longer stays.
One of the world's most stunning capitals, Caracas is nestled in a valley of the Cordillera de la Costa. Separated from the Caribbean coastline by mountains, Caracas is a hilly city, limited in urban growth by the terrain. The Cerro Avila mountain range creates a beautiful backdrop – a view that many highrise hotels in Caracas city center capitalize on.
Leisure pursuits in Caracas focus mainly on shopping, eating and drinking. Venezuelans are known for their warmth and their love of partying, and many nightclubs in Caracas routinely stay open until dawn. Food in Caracas is influenced by a number of different ethnicities and a diverse range of cuisines are offered, locally farmed beef steak being one gastronomic highlight of the region.
The old quarter gives travelers a glimpse of the city's heritage, the Plaza Bolivar and National Pantheon offering a historic counterpoint to the modern skyscrapers and big hotels in Caracas' city center. Theatre is another form of cultural exchange for visitors. Concerts, ballets and symphonies rank highly in Caracas' social calendar, the Teresa Carreno Theatre a popular venue for major performances. Museums, art galleries and libraries also add to Caracas's rich cultural make-up.
Lovers of the outdoors have the surrounding mountains at their disposal. El Avila National Park features a cable car that ascends to the summit of Mount Avila – a height of 6000 feet. At the foot of the mountain, the expansive Parque Los Chorros offers 4.5 hectares of forest with walking trails, streams, a waterfall and thick vegetation. In town, the manicured East Park provides a green space for travelers needing some time out from the city.
For more information on hotels and landmarks in the different areas of Caracas, click on the interactive Caracas map on the left-hand side of the page.