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Cam & Suz’s Travel Diary

Monday, 21 Mar 2005

Location: Venezuela

MapIn San Jose we digressed from the trusty Lonely Planet guide and stayed in a hotel 50m further down the road. We were sure it wasn´t mentioned in any guide books as we were the only tourists in what closely resemble a funny farm or some very strange movie set where rooms are rented out by the hour 24hrs! What was even worse was that we were stuck there after 8pm as it was too dangerous to walk the streets at night.
Our flight from Costa Rica to Venezuela was a mixture of both bad and good luck. American Airlines confiscated our gas bottle and attachment for our cooker - a major blow as it will be very difficult to replace and is one of our prized possessions for cooking our own meals. We met a Venezuelan chico - Daniel on the place who lives in Caracas. He gave us a lot of advice, put us up for the night and not to mention showed us around Caracas and was incredibly generous. Muchas gracias and buenos suete Daniel!
Caracas is an incredibly dangerous city and didn´t really impress us, so we moved on quickly and headed back to the Caribbean coast - a very cute place called Puerto Colombia. A couple of days of sun and surf sorted us out and we were on a very lengthy day of travel bound for Merida, the adventure capital of Venezuela. Set amongst beautiful mountains, Merida has a nice relaxed feel. We took the teleferico to 4775m. It is the highest and longest cable car in the world and certainly had views to support its claim.
From there we hiked to a tiny village set in the mountains. A 4 and a half hour decent and our knees feeling stuffed, we decided that a mule would be a good option for the return trip. After 4 hours of sitting on a mule we could hardly walk!! Worse than the walk. Certainly an experience as the mules often competed with each other to lead.
Another solid bus ride tonight (plus 15 hours) and we should be in Colombia on the Caribbean again.... assuming we don´t get kidnapped on the way!