Getting around

Air

Most big places are served by
Aeropostal
 www.aeropostal.com
,
Aserca
 www.asercaairlines .com
, in alliance with
SBA
 www.sb airlines.com
(formerly Santa Bárbara),
Avior
 www.avior.com.ve
,
Conviasa
 www.conviasa.aero
,
Sol América
,
Láser
 www.laser.com.ve
,
Rutaca
 www.rutaca.com.ve
,
Transaven
www.transaven.com
and
Venezolana
 http://ravsa.com.ve
.
Aereotuy/LTA
 www.tuy.com
, connects the coast, the Orinoco Delta and their camp in Canaima National Park, Arekuna. Apart from
Aserca
, which is marginally better than the rest, none is great. Lost luggage is a frequent problem. Delays and cancellations without compensation are common. Beware of overbooking during holidays, especially at Caracas airport; check in at least two hours before departure. If you book a ticket online with a credit card, you may be told at check-in that your tickets is 'reserved but not purchased'. Check with your card company that you have not been charged twice.


Bus and taxi

Buses on most long-distance routes come in four standards,
normal
,
semi-ejecutivo
,
ejecutivo
and
bus-cama
. Fares are set by the authorities and you should see them posted on bus office windows. There are numerous services between the major cities and many services bypass Caracas, so you don't have to change buses in the capital. Buses stop frequently, but there may not always be a toilet at the stop. For journeys in a/c buses take a sleeping bag or similar because the temperature is set to freezing. This is most important on night journeys, which otherwise are fine. Also take earplugs and eyemask to protect against the loud stereo and violent Hollywood screenings. The colectivo taxis and minibuses, known as
por puesto
, seem to monopolize transport to and from smaller towns and villages. For longer journeys they are normally twice as expensive as buses, but faster. They are mostly 1980s US gas-guzzlers, in all states of repair (a shortage of original spare parts and brakeneck driving speeds make
por puestos
a dangerous mode of transport). They are, however, great places to meet the locals, learn about the area and discuss politics. If first on board, wait for other passengers to arrive, do not take a
por puesto
on your own unless you want to pay for the whole vehicle. They may be reluctant to take luggage, but for a bit of comfort you can pay for two front seats and place your luggage between you and the driver. Outside Caracas, town taxis are relatively expensive.


Hitchhiking

Hitchhiking (
cola
) is not recommended as it is unsafe. It is illegal on toll roads and, theoretically, for non-family members in the back of pick up trucks. Specifically avoid hitchhiking around Guardia Nacional posts, where foreign travellers, even if travelling on regular buses or
por puestos
, have been subject to harassment).
This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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