Barquisimeto and around

The arid, fruit-growing area around the city of Barquisimeto leads to the lush Andean foothills of Trujillo state. Venezuela's fourth largest city was largely destroyed by an earthquake in 1812, but is a nice enough place to spend a few days when visiting the area. For information:
División de Turismo y Recreación
, www.cortulara.gob.ve and www.barquisimeto.com.

Many fascinating corners have been preserved and a law prohibiting demolition of older buildings means more are being restored. The
Museo de Barquisimeto
, displays the town's history and contemporary art. More historic buildings line
Plaza Jacinto Lara
. The
San Francisco church
faces the plaza. On the opposite side is the small
Ateneo cultural centre
, with exhibitions in an 18th-century house. It also has a restaurant and occasional evening concerts. The
cathedral
 is a modern structure of reinforced concrete and glass. At the heart of the old city is
Plaza Bolívar
, with a statue of the Liberator, the white-painted
Iglesia Concepción
and the
Palacio Municipal
, an attractive modern building.
Parque Ayacucho
, has lush vegetation, fountains and a bronze statue of Mariscal Sucre.

About 24 km southwest of Barquisimeto is the busy agricultural centre of
Quíbor). Festivals on 18 January (NS de Altagracia) and 12 June (San Antonio de Padua). The
Centro Antropológico de Quíbor
exhibits work of the
indígenas
who used to live in the region. South of Quíbor and 40 minutes from Barquisimeto is
Sanaré
(1,360 m), on the edge of the
Parque Nacional Yacambú
, where you can hike through tropical forest up the Fumerola, a sleeping volcano. About 60 km east of Barquisimeto is
Chivacoa
. South of the town is the sacred mountain of the María-Lionza cult, practised throughout Venezuela. Celebrations are held there at weekends with 12 October (Día de la Raza) being the most important day. There is a Catholic festival, La Inmaculada Concepción, from 8-14 December.

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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