Venezuela Quick Guide

Venezuela is a South American country that has the Caribbean to the north, Guyana to the east and Brazil to the south. With a population of over 30 million people, it is the sixth largest country in the Americas. Venezuela used to be one of the wealthiest countries in the world, but since the oil price has fallen, it has had great difficulty in mainaining its infrastructure, which is in need of repair.

The country has a diverse climate, with the hottest temperatures found in the plains of the Guiana Highlands, where temperatures of more than 100F (more than 40C) are not uncommon. The highest point of Venezuela is Pico Bolivar, a 19,300ft (5,846m) mountain that is part of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range, in the Bolivar state.

The best time to visit Venezuela is between May and August, when temperatures are bearable and it is not raining. If you are planning to visit between September and April, it is recommended to take some warm clothes.


Venezuela is experiencing hard times financially, so it is advisable to take foreign currency with you to avoid problems. Euros are accepted almost everywhere, as are US dollars, but it is best to check that they are accepted in the specific location you are going to.


The population is made up of a mix of people from indigenous tribes, Europeans and Afro-Venezuelans. Spanish is the official language, but there are a number of indigenous languages, including Wayuu, Warao, Pemon, Terena, Yanomami, Chaima, Pemón, Kariña, Guajibo, Piaroa, Yekuana, Cumaná, Arawak, Carib, Cumanagoto, Galibi, Yanomam, Nivaclé, Caquetio, and Guahibo.

The capital city is Caracas, but the largest city is Maracaibo.


Venezuela was first discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1498, who named it the 'Little Venice' because of the many rivers. It was colonised by Spain in the 16th century, but the Spanish were ousted by the French between 1810 and 1813, who were in turn ousted by the British between 1815 and 1821.

In 1831, Venezuela became part of Gran Colombia, which was made up of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Panama. Venezuela was the only country left in Gran Colombia when it dissolved in 1830. Venezuela declared independence in 1811, but it was not recognised until 1830.

What vaccinations do I need?

Up to date information for vaccinations before you travel to Venezuela are available from the NHS Fit for Travel website.

Is it safe to travel?

Best time to visit?

The best time to visit Venezuela is during the dry season, from November to April. During this period, there is the least amount of rainfall and warm, sunny weather. Additionally, with lower humidity overall, this time of the year is perfect for comfortable exploration of Venezuela's nature.

Do I need a Visa?

If you're arriving by air, you can enter for up to 90 days on a tourist card issued on arrival. You must have a valid return ticket. If you're arriving overland or by sea, you must get a visa in advance from your nearest Venezuelan Embassy or Consulate.

See which forms you may need for entry into Venezuela.

What currency do i need?

The official currency of Venezuela is the Venezuelan Bolívar (VEF). If you're looking to transfer or spend money in Venezuela you can grab amazing Venezuelan Bolívar deals via (GBP to VEF).

What about the wildlife?

Some of the more unique mammals endemic to Venezuela include the howler monkey, capybara, giant anteater, giant otter, white-bellied spider monkey, crab-eating fox, sloths and jaguars.

What is the traditional food?

Spanish food? Pabellon is the national dish of Venezuela. A plate filled with tender, flavorful beef, black beans, and rice is sure to satisfy. The dish is often served with fried plantains and occasionally with a fried egg on top.

What Languages are spoken?

Spanish is the language spoken by the majority of Venezuelans. Chinese (400,000), Portuguese (254,000) and Italian (200,000), are the most spoken languages in Venezuela after the official language of Spanish. You can learn some basic Spanish before you travel to Venezuela and really impress the locals!

How much do you tip?

The currency in Venezuela is the Venezuelan Bolívar (In Venezuela tips are widely accepted and appreciated. Most restaurants already add a 10% service charge but you would still be expected to tip an additional 5-10% extra if the service is good. Cabs drivers don't expect tips but won't turn them down either. Bell boys and sky cabs expect around the equivalent to US$1 per piece of luggage and maybe a little extra if it's heavy. Tour guides and drivers expect tips as well.).

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Useful Numbers

  • Police: 911 and 171
  • Ambulance: 911 and 171
  • Fire: 911 and 171
  • UK Embassy: +58 (212) 3195800

Time Difference

The GMT time difference is -5 hours

Travel Apps

Grab a travel app or two

Learn Spanish

Learn some Spanish before your trip to Venezuela

Venezuela Guidebook

Stay informed before, during and after your trip to Venezuela by buying a guidebook.