- Bring cash, lots of it. Specifically, US dollars. The money situation in Venezuela is an almighty pain in the arse. Firstly, there's two exchange rates, an official one and a black market one. The black market rate is approximately a third to double the official rate, so do that. It hovered around 7.5-8.2 bolivars to the dollar when we were there, but this changes. Most posadas will change US dollars. Just make sure you have enough.
- Complicating this is the fact that ATMs rarely work for foreign cards. Users are required to enter a two-digit security code after the PIN number. Try '00'. This won't work in all ATMs, but does, I'm reliably informed, work in some. You'll get the official exchange rate for ATM transactions which brings me back to my first point: bring cash, lots of it.
- As a general rule Venezuela is cheaper than the US, Australia and Europe, but more expensive than Asia.
- Carrying lots of cash obviously has its risks, especially when you arrive at Caracas airport, so take a look at some security tips, from a previous post.
- As mentioned, we didn't bother going into the centre, and should you choose to do the same thing then Hotel Catimar is close to the airport and offers a free shuttle to avoid you taking those occasionally dodgy airport taxis.
- Alternatively, arrange to go direct to your destination with your guesthouse, who will be able to help you out. In other words, do as I say, not as I do, and be a bit organised.