Venezuela in a nutshellJune 3, 2017 in Venezuela ⋅ 🌬 32 °C
After 3 months in this incredible country, today I finally left Venezuela and crossed the border into Colombia to begin another long adventure.
Volunteering, travelling, couchsurfing and living with locals in Venezuela has been incredible, and I've learnt a lot through my experiences. In this single country I have seen everything, both good and bad. I've experienced life in a politically unstable, socialist society with a record inflation rate (above 1000%) and shortages of everything. I've had to carry kilo wads of worthless cash everywhere, and even had my money weighed (instead of counted) when buying food. I've waited in queues for everything; hours for bread, all morning for petrol (which costs 20p for 100 litres), and seen people queue all day to get cash. I've seen the hunger and desperation of once middle-class people as they rummage through bins for food, alongside many homeless in the streets of favelas. I've seen and heard guns in cities where crime is an epidemic, and we've even been robbed at gunpoint by the men supposedly protecting the people; the corrupt national guard. And of course, i have passed through hundreds of protests and demonstrations in this tense time in Venezuela. Over 40 people have died (in as many days) as a result of widespread violent protests against the government; large fires, street-blockades, tear gas, explosions and people running are all common sites.
Admittedly, I have experienced most of these things in the city (and mainly the chaotic capital of Caracas), but it's clear that this country has its problems, and is currently fucked up. However, Venezuela is one of the most biodiverse and naturally incredible places i have ever been. I've climbed the oldest rock on the planet (The table-top mount Roraima), worked a month in the deep jungle of the Orinoco river-delta, paraglided above desert valleys in the Andes, snorkelled in the clear blue waters of tropical carribean islands, rode the world's highest, longest, and fastest cable-car, surfed down the 100ft dunes of a vast saharah-like desert, showered in and jumped off ferocious waterfalls, climbed mountain-peaks close to 5,000m in the snow, driven miles through vast plains home to hundreds of cattle ranches, watched the world-unique eternal electric storm of the Catatumbo at night, took a road-trip through the 'Gran Sabana' to Brazil and back, bathed in an incredible natural hot-spring in the mountains, explored dramatic caves home to ancient indian carvings, kayaked through narrow jungle waterways, slept in a hammock over the largest lake in south America, and I didn't even get chance to visit the tallest waterfall in the world, or the famous Los Roques archipelago...
There is too much to see and do, this country is truly incredible, and the people I've met are kind and welcoming. It saddens me that tourism no longer exists in Venezuela, because it has everything to offer, you don't need a visa, and it's unbelievably cheap... In my 12 weeks here I've spent less than $900, and I've splashed out a bit! If you want a beer for 10p, a hotel for a pound, or a bus-ride the length of the country for 2 quid then this is the place. It's easy to get around, you'll pick up the language fast, and people here often go out of their way to help you.
For people who have shallow pockets, and seek an unconventional adventure in an extraordinary country, you have to be fearless and a little crazy, but you HAVE to travel and experience Venezuela...Read more