Caracas, a city of great diversity, offers visitors a wide range of scenery. The different areas of the city make it an exciting and interesting metropolis where tradition and modernism become one. Caracas has an excellent transport system: there is an intricate network of roads that cross the city from east to west and north to south; an exceptional underground transportation system known as El Metro de Caracas , which is considered one of the world's tidiest and most modern, with many stations all over the city; and bus routes known as Metrobus, which connect the metro stations with some of the more remote neighborhoods.
El Silencio (Downtown)
History at a glance! El Silencio proudly showcases Venezuela's rich history, with architectural gems from the 17th and 18th Centuries. This part of Caracas is well worth a visit. Places such as Plaza Bolívar , the Catedral Metropolitana de Caracas , dating from 1665, the Casa Natal El Libertador , the house where Simón Bolívar, the Liberator, was born; the 17th century La Casa Amarilla , once a prison, but now used by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; El Capitolio Nacional , seat of the legislative council; the Teatro Nacional , El Panteón Nacional , the resting place for prominent Venezuelans; the Basílica de Santa Teresa ; El Palacio de Miraflores , the presidential palace, and the Museo Arturo Michelena , should not be forgotten.
Innovation, architecture, art and culture, and the country's two highest towers - if there is any place that shows how modern Caracas is, it is El Parque Central . Located less than a mile to the southeast of La Plaza Bolívar , the park contains a concrete structure with two 53-floor octagonal towers and residential buildings. However, if it is not architecture and structural designs, but rather culture that takes your interest, you will be pleasantly surprised to find a great number of art centers here. In the Complejo Cultural Teresa Carreño , the arts reach their utmost expression, through theater, dance, concerts and ballet performances among others.
The most important museums of the city include: Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas Sofía Imber , Museo de los Niños where adults as well as children will find enjoyment, Museo de Ciencias Naturales , Fundación Museo de Bella Artes , and the Galería de Arte Nacional which possesses a permanent collection of more than 3,500 works of art. The immense Botanical Garden and the Ateneo de Caracas , where you will find a cinema, theaters, an art gallery, a cafeteria and a bookstore. To the south of the Botanical Gardens, you will find the largest university in Caracas, the Universidad Central de Venezuela.
Sabana Grande & Las Mercedes
Even though this is not quite a tourist mecca, here we will find the famous Sabana Grande Boulevard , more than three-quarters of a mile and surrounded by shops, hotels and restaurants. The neighborhood of Las Mercedes is one of the most busy and popular areas in the city. It is characterized by being the center of fashion and Caracas nightlife. Here you will be able to enjoy yourself, go to a good restaurant or to a classy nightclub, all in the same area.
Altamira, Chacao & El Hatillo
Altamira is one of the most pleasant neighborhoods in the city, which normally includes some smaller districts such as La Castellana, Los Palos Grandes, Bello Campo and La Floresta. It is an important business area and is the location of the Plaza Francia which has a large obelisk, a monumental trademark of Caracas. Chacao is a district that was made famous by Irene Sáez, ex Miss Universe from 1986, that as mayor changed the area into a yuppie enclave, so today it is populous and modern, filled with large buildings and shopping centers. El Hatillo is ideal for those that may want to escape the hustle and bustle from the city. It is a small village filled with old houses, artisanal shops, cafes and restaurants.
In Venezuela many ancient gastronomic traditions are combined to please the guest with a delicious variety of dishes. Between the 16th and 19th Centuries, Venezuelan society was made up of families descending from three different backgrounds—European, African and Venezuelan Amerindian. However, today's society does not necessarily reflect that situation anymore. Modern Venezuelan society shows a kind of symbiosis of human races, growing Asian and Middle Eastern influences have created a dynamic international environment. This same combination can be found in the local cuisine.
Because of the huge variety of restaurants offering the most exotic national and international cuisine, Caracas is considered the gastronomic capital of Latin America. This does not mean, however, that the Venezuelans and their food have lost their true culinary identity. In fact, typical Venezuelan food is characterized by its simplicity and pleasant taste. Head to Casa Urrutia for some authentic Basque cuisine.
Las Mercedes & La Castellana
Selecting one of the hundreds of restaurants in Caracas can be a challenge; that being, we offer some tips to help you make your decision. Many of the best restaurants can be found in la Mercedes and la Castellana of which the most recommended are, Damasco , which is traditional Middle Eastern food and has a ballet show every Friday, El Tinajero de los Helechos and Maute Grill , for all those who like grilled meats. For Italian, there is Il Romanaccio — with strictly Italian cooks, this is a place where good dining is always guaranteed. Aventino is considered as the best restaurant in the city with more than 35 years of tradition. The main dish is Caneton a la Presse, which dates back to 1892. Misia Jacinta has Venezuelan food that includes Arepas, and Cachapas. Racó specializes in Catalan food as well as traditional Spanish dishes.
When night falls, Caracas is transformed into another city. The tropical evening warms the city's musical soul, inspiring salsa and meringue rhythms. Bars and restaurants open and the parties begin. Discotheques such as El Maní es Así and Staño offer the hottest Latin rhythms for all-night dancing, while enjoying the best tropical food and cocktails. If you are looking for something more mellow with cosmopolitan music the following might interest you, clubs such as Las Tapas de Madrid , Tiffany's and Greenwich Pub .
Having a good meal in Caracas can be more than just an enjoyable experience; it can be an unforgettable adventure. In the neighborhood of Altamira, the immense variety of national and international meals is promising: from the Pabellón Criollo—Venezuela's traditional dish consisting of shredded meat, black beans on rice and fried plantain—to an exquisite Foie Gras on over-sweet mango, or smoked salmon with ginger and spring onion. For a taste of something different, head over to Chez Wong & Grill to enjoy some Chinese food. Vizio Restaurant is a family owned and operated establishment serving up traditional Italian cuisine. After dinner, head to Yogen Früz for delicious frozen yogurt.