When choosing a vacation destination, many travelers ask is Venezuela safe enough to visit? While it’s true that the country has one of the highest crime rates in the world, it is very possible to have a fun, safe trip. Prior to embarking on your journey you must learn how to be a savvy tourist and how to protect yourself, your family and your belongings.
Flying into the Country
When asking the question, “is Venezuela safe?” many travelers don’t think twice about the risks they may face at the airport, as this isn’t typically a high crime spot in most places of the world. However, the main airport in the country, Simon Bolivar International Airport, otherwise known as Maiquetía International Airport, isn’t a place to let your guard down. The U.S. Department of State says travel to and from the airport can be dangerous. The U.S. Embassy has received many reports of crimes completed by individuals in what appear to be official looking uniforms or credentials involved in these crimes, which have included “express kidnapping,” extorting money from travelers, or unjust searches for illegal drugs or money.
Places to Avoid
The Canadian government warns any travelers who are wondering “is Venezuela safe?” to stay away from the following areas of the country at all times:
- Near the Columbian Border: Avoid areas 80 miles within the Columbian border, due to a high threat of kidnapping. The most dangerous areas include remote areas, including the states of Zulia, Táchira, Barinas, Bolívar, Apure, Amazonas, Anzoátegui and Sucre.
- Sabana Grande and Plaza Venezuela: These areas in central Caracas are known for violent robberies.
Pickpockets are a huge problem in subway stations and crowded buses, so it’s not advisable to use these methods of transportation. Avoid displaying any signs of wealth, including wearing flashy jewelry or carrying a mobile phone. If you need to go to an ABM (automatic banking machine), only do so during the daytime and in shopping malls or busy residential areas.
Many travelers choose to rent a car upon arrival in Venezuela. If you take this option, it’s important to avoid traveling at night, as it’s not safe for many reasons, including crime, road damage, and wandering livestock. During your journey you may pass through a Bolivarian National Guard or police checkpoint, where you will be required to stop. There have been reports of illegal roadblocks set up by bandits who stop and rob vehicles.
If traveling by taxi, always use a licensed taxi and never an unlicensed one. Although crimes have been reported from both, licensed taxis are generally safe. Criminals often pose as unlicensed taxi drivers, and then rob passengers when they get in the car.
So the answer to the “is Venezuela safe,” question is yes, if proper precautions are taken prior to embarking on your journey.