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South America Destination Guide

Caracas

Caracas

Caracas is located in northern Venezuela, near the Caribbean. It is Venezuela's capital, and largest city of Venezuela. Caracas is one of the most developed cities in Latin America. It was founded in 1567 by Diego de Losada; in 1595 it was sacked by the English. It is the birthplace of SIMON BOLIVAR (1783), under whose leadership it became the first colony to revolt against Spain (c. 1810). Caracas his become the country's primary centre of industry, commerce, education, and culture.

More than five hundred years ago, the area was populated by peaceful local ethnic tribes and Caracas did not exist. Years went by, and Francisco Fajardo, a Spanish colonizer founded a plantation there in 1562. Fajardo's stay in the valley did not last long, and he was expelled by the locals who returned to their flower-filled freedom. This wast the last rebellion on the part of the aborigines, for on July 25, 1567, the Spanish captain Diego de Losada laid the foundations of the city of Santiago de León de Caracas, and the ethnic settlement of Catuchacao became transformed under the influence of the colonizers into the new city of Caracas. In the name of progress, colonial architecture, save a handful of buildings, was effectively eradicated and replaced by commercial malls and steel and glass towers. In 1985, the city inaugurated the last important achievement of its urban planning scheme: the metro. Growth has slowed considerably over the past decade as a result of the country's economic crisis.

As the economy of oil-rich Venezuela grew steadily during the first part of the 20th century, Caracas became one of Latin America's economic centers, and was also known as the preferred hub between Europe and South America. It cannot be denied that Caracas has some impressive modern architecture and a web of motorways not often seen in South American cities. Yet unbalanced expansion has created vast shantytowns that creep up the hillsides all around the central districts. The city's spectacular setting in a valley amid rolling hills only highlights the contrast between wealth and poverty. Its size and capital status make Caracas the dominant center of the country's political, scientific, cultural and educational life, Caracas also offers Venezuela's best choice of plush hotels, fine restaurants, theaters, museums, nightfife and shopping. Set at an altitude of about 900m, Caracas enjoys an agreeable, relatively dry and sunny climate with a mean temperature of about 22'C (72'F). The rain), season lasts June to October.


Caracas Hotels
Caracas has many hotels but no youth hostels as one might expect to find in other South American countries.
Waldorf Hotel Avenida La Industria San Bernadino, Caracas Phone: +58 (0) 21257 14166
Caracas Cumberland Hotel - Segunda Avenida De Las Delicitas De Sabana Grande, Caracas Phone: +58 (0) 21276 29961
Ejecutivo Denu Montalban Hotel - 1-2 2da Avenida Montalban, Caracas Phone: +58 (0) 21244 20336
Las Quince Letras Hotel - Avda La Playa, Caracas Phone: +58 (0) 2124 61430
Melia Caribe Hotel - Urbanizacion Caribe-caraballeda, Caracas Phone: +58 (0) 319 45555
Paseo Las Mercedes Hotel - Avenida Principal De Las Mercedes, Caracas Phone: +58 (0) 2129 10033
Las Americas Hotel - Calle Los Cerritos, Caracas Phone: +58 (0) 21295 17155
Continental Hotel - Avda S. Juan Bosco, Caracas Phone: +58 (0) 21226 16019
Coliseo Hotel - Avda Casanova, Caracas Phone: +58 (0) 21276 27916
Plaza Venezuela Hotel - Avda La Salle Los Cabos, Caracas Phone: +58 (0) 21278 17344
El Condor Hotel - 3 Avenue Las Delicias, Caracas Phone: +58 (0) 21276 29911
El Marques Hotel - Avenida El Saman, Caracas Phone: +58 (0) 21224 20011
President Hotel - Caracas, 1054 Phone: +58 (0) 21270 88111
Inter Continental Hotel - Avenue Principal De Las Mercedes, Caracas Phone: +58 (0) 21290 97111

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