We traveled in Venezuela for some 5 months in 2015 when the country was on its knees with an unbelievable inflation. When we entered we got 200 Bolívars for 1 US dollar. On our exit it was close to 800. This means that the prices mentioned below have become pretty much worthless.
We found a variety of places to spend the night:
- On a farm of friends & and a hato (ranch).
- Rough camps (Gran Sabana, Lake Maracaibo, Paria Peninsula and Araya Peninsula).
- In parking lots (fire station / police station / friends’s place).
Camping in Venezuela, Safe or Not?
More on (not) feeling safe: Due to the political/economic situation in Venezuela, we were much more careful about where we spent the night than in other countries on this continent. Just camping anywhere along the side of the road was simply not an option. In cities the fire stations and police stations have offered safe parking lots.
By the time you read this, the situation may have changed of course, so ask around and most of all, trust your gut feeling (to read more about trusting your gut and total strangers, see this blog post).
Having said that, we did come across a number of places where we felt it was safe to rough camp.
The most impressive, by large, was the Gran Sabana, in the far southeast of Venezuela. Below we mention a couple of rough camps below, but don’t let that restrict you. In the Gran Sabana you can free camp anywhere. There are also a number of simple campgrounds for which you pay a minimal fee.
In the far northeast of the country lie the Paria Peninsula, where we felt safe to camp at Pui Pui Beach, and the Araya Peninsula. Here we free camped along the shore southeast of Araya (we have been advised not to do so along the northern shore of the peninsula because of smuggling activities).
For the first time in our eight-year journey in South America we stayed in a couple of hotels. The combination of not feeling safe to camp in a street in cities, the heat, and the incredibly low prices for rooms were enough reasons to enjoy them.
Staying with Local People
The friendship and hospitality of people in Venezuela blew us away, in particular the off-road/overland community. To give you an idea of how helpful they are, in every possible way, check out this post.
GPS Waypoints of Hotels, Campgrounds & Rough Camps in Venezuela
Let there be no misunderstanding: no, you don’t have to go to these places. No, these are not by definition the best spots. After having traveled in South America for so long we realize that it’s no problem here to find your own beautiful spots for camping. We decided to continue the page anyway, for travelers who would like some tips about camping spots which we enjoyed or found practical. Please note that this is always our personal experience.
You can also check out iOverlander, where you can see where other overlanders spent the night.
Drinking Water from the Tap
Note that sometimes we write ‘drinking water from the tap’. This means we drank that water because locals told us it was safe and we didn’t get sick from it. Things change, including quality of water, so always ask local people if the water is still safe to drink.
|Piedra Pintada |
Piedra Pintada. Camped under huge mango trees in an indigenous village just before Piedra Pintada. Very welcoming place and beautiful to camp. Drinking water from locals (98 mtrs, Mar '15).
gps: 5.521948, -67.553686
|Puerto Paez |
Puerto Paez. We camped in a field across army camp at the edge of town. Beautiful (move a bit away from all the trash) and quiet. Drinking water from camp (65 mtrs, Mar '15).
gps: 6.231036, -67.450862
|Hato Maricela (former Hato Frío) |
Los Llanos – Hato Maricela (former Hato Frío). Got permission to stay here, were even offered a basic room free of charge because the place wasn't open for tourism yet, so this may change next year or so. Well worth a visit to see huge amounts of wildlife / birds (Mar '15).
gps: 7.81338, -68.900119
Elorza - Finca Jorge Guerrero. During the town's festival around March 19, people camp at the farm of this famous Venezuelan singer, and so we joined the crowd for the event, which was fun. No idea if you can camp here at other times of the year (Mar '15).
gps: 7.0149992, -69.507546
|Santo Domingo |
Santo Domingo. Camped in the parking lot of the police station / fire station. Could use shower. Nothing special but good place to stop between los Llanos and Mérida (Mar '15).
gps: 8.88352, -70.641463
Mérida. Camped in the parking lot of the fire brigade. Quiet, could use toilet and shower (1410 mtrs, Mar '15).
gps: 8.576867, -71.181123
|Parque El Condor / Culata |
Parque La Culata / Parque El Condor. Good place to spend a night even though it's in the parking lot but it was beautiful nevertheless. No other people, just one condor in a cage (3751 mtrs, Mar '15).
gps: 8.842712, -70.861769
|San Antonio |
San Antonio. Camped on the small beach under coconut trees, in front of the lake. People said it was no problem to camp here but that we had to watch out for others (esp. kids) who'd easily snatch "unattached' objects to the car. However, we had no problems at all and felt fine here.
gps: 9.131246, -71.277241
Valera. Took a hotel room at 3-star hotel Camino Real voor 2000 Bolívars/night (for us equivalent of 10 US dollars). High season costs 3000/night. Hot shower, aircon, tv, WIFI (not in room but downstairs) fridge, drinking water available at the reception free of charge (650 mtrs / Apr '15).
gps: 9.314207, -70.602774
Jajo. Camped in the parking lot of a hotel for 200 Bolívars (accessible for trucks as well). Nice landlady called Anna. Could use bathroom and shower (1770 mtrs / Apr '15). Quiet place to spend the night. One block up from the plaza. Drinking water available.
gps: 9.079375, -70.657555
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