Maracay

Maracay is the capital of Aragua state in Venezuela.

Get in

By plane

Maracay doesn't have its own commercial airport (although it has two air military bases), but the visitor can approach it by plane using the Maiquetía's Simón Bolívar Airport and the nearer Valencia's International Airport Arturo Michelena. From both airports the traveler can take a licensed taxi to Maracay (the most expensive although the safest option), or make his way through the unorganized Venezuelan public transport system to the main buses terminals in Caracas or Valencia (La Bandera and The Big Low Center, respectively), and then take a bus to Maracay (the cheapest option). Be advised to take official authorized taxis, there are some reports of tourists that have been gun-pointed robbed by unlicensed taxi drivers, that usually charge cheaper than their official counterparts.

By car

From Caracas to Maracay you should drive 108 km west on the ARC highway (Autopista Regional del Centro), this trip usually may take you about 60 to 80 minutes, but at rush-hour (5-8pm) you can take that long just trying to exit Caracas. Usually after passing the Charallave-Santa Teresa exit (Caracas' suburbs at 32 km distance) the traffic tends to go easier. Try to avoid driving in the Caracas-Maracay direction on Fridays' afternoon, because this is the period where the highway tends to be more crowded by people trying to leave Caracas for the weekends.

From Valencia to Maracay you should drive about 40 km east on the same ARC highway. This trip usually may take you about 30 to 40 minutes, but at rush-hour (5-8pm) it make take you two hours to reach Maracay. Usually after passing the Guacara toll post the traffic tends to go easier.

To enter Maracay from the ARC highway you should take one of the three exits: La Encrucijada (which takes you to the Maracay's suburbs: Cagua, Turmero, Villa de Cura, etc.), Palo Negro (Maracay east) and Tapa Tapa (Maracay west). If you're coming from Caracas, you will find La Encrucija exit first, and the Tapa Tapa exit last; if you're coming from Valencia, the order is inverse.

Get around

Just about one or two hours from Maracay you can find several beautiful tropical beaches, including Cata, Choroni, Cuyagua, El Playon, etc. The roads to these beaches wind through the dense mountainous cloudforest of the Henri Pittier National Park. The roads, especially to Choroni, are very narrow and windy and extreme caution should be taken if driving your own vehicle. Public transportation is easily available although can be nerve-racking: buses leave from Maracay's bus terminal and taxis can also be hired. The beaches are generally very busy on weekends.

See

Do

Usually the tourists don't spend much time in Maracay, just using it as point to buy supplies before traveling north to the attractive beaches of Cata, Choroní, Cuyagua, etc. (collectively called the Aragua beaches). You can travel to these beaches taking a bus in the terminal located at Ave. Constitucion with Ave. Fuerza Aereas. Try to avoid traveling during the Venezuelan high seasons: Carnival, the Holy Week and the Christmas season (from December 23th to January 2nd), as you may find hard to find a bus or a hotel. During workdays these beaches tend to be empty.

There are some great shopping centers if you love shopping:

Eat

Many good restaurants can be found along the Las Delicias avenue. Some cheap eats are found in the area of the market near Plaza Bicentenario.

Sleep

Budget

Business

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, September 02, 2014. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.