Staying at the Hotel Floresta in Caracas, Venezuela

Staying at the Hotel Floresta in Caracas, Venezuela

If you ever are passing through or visiting #Venezuela, you have to have your wits about's you. There is a major difference in the #culture and the way about life. Don't let the scenic views blind you from your own awareness.


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – be very careful if you go backpacking through Venezuela. The country doesn’t stand well with me – I hate it, and put it at the bottom of the list of places I have been. From the moment I stepped into the country (at the San Antonio del Tachira border crossing from Colombia) to the moment I left (I flew out of Caracas, I didn’t particularly enjoy myself, nor did I feel safe, nor did I want to stay any longer and part with my hard earned cash to drug barons and corrupt regimes. 

I still haven’t written enough of my backpacking stories and believe me if I stopped travelling right now, I’d have enough material to keep this blog going for 20 plus years (one post a day). I’ve a list of about 3,000 posts to write, so little by little I am backtracking through my travels to bring DSL up to date!

My bus from San Cristobal to Caracas, Venezuela
My bus from San Cristobal to Caracas, Venezuela

I arrived in Caracas by night bus from San Cristobal and the bus dumped me off in a ridiculous part of town. A dodgy walk for about 20 minutes to the Metro at La Bandera (the flag) and I got the Metro to Altamira (I had to change once). I had searched badly in a rush for backpacker’s hostels in Caracas but didn’t find one back then in 2011, so I ended up in a hotel for a few nights. I chose the Hotel La Floresta in Altamira and for 2 reasons. 

from  $134

Hotel La Floresta

 Avda Avila Sur, Plaza Altamira, Caracas, Venezuela

1. It is allegedly in a safe area

and

2. It is close to the Suriname Embassy for me to get my visa.

What I didn’t bargain for was that I had arrived in the middle of the black market crash. Oops. My US Dollars were turning to liquid water rather than gold and with ATMs rejecting my cash cards, I was forced to part with my US Dollars to pay for the hotel room. There were no other backpackers or travellers on my buses or border crossings to share with.

My US Dollars were turning to liquid water rather than gold

Black Market Crash arrival in Venezuela. SHIT!
Black Market Crash arrival in Venezuela. SHIT!
Getting ripped off and feeling worthless having to part with this money in Caracas
Getting ripped off and feeling worthless having to part with this money in Caracas

I had the safety of a locked door, internet and a hot shower. Because I have no love lost (or ever to be gained) with Venezuela, here are five things I didn’t hate about the Hotel La Floresta in Caracas. Yes, not things I liked, just things I didn’t hate.

Arrival in Venezuela at San Antonio del Tachira
Arrival in Venezuela at San Antonio del Tachira

1. Safety

Outside was a lunatic wannabe war zone where I saw guns swapped for cocaine in a downtown pawn shop, a guy brandishes a gun at a bank, I was almost mugged at knifepoint on the dodgy streets, but once I closed my hotel room door I could breathe a sigh of relief. Is Venezuela really a dangerous shit hole? From my experience, Yes! Close your door, sleep well and type up some blogs!

sleep well and type up some blogs

View from my hotel bedroom in Caracas, Venezuela
View from my hotel bedroom in Caracas, Venezuela
The ensuite
The ensuite
My bedroom in Caracas, Venezuela
My bedroom in Caracas, Venezuela

2. Decent Staff and bar

The downstairs bar, I’d come back into at night with my laptop and notebooks and get some blogging and travel planning done. The bar was safe and I was always chatting with Ramon, one of the staff. The chef also helped me out when needing to swap money for my Suriname Visa struggle. He was a young lad from Ecuador – never caught his name or got a photo with him.

The bar was safe and I was always chatting with Ramon

A beer in Caracas, Venezuela
A beer in Caracas, Venezuela
The bar at Hotel La Floresta
The bar at Hotel La Floresta

3. Altamira and Location

Despite the fact I was ripped off and almost mugged in Altamira, this remains one of the safest parts of Venezuela. I even found myself a local in the Little Rock Cafe when I was here. Altamira has a nice backdrop behind it into the mountains.

this remains one of the safest parts of Venezuela

Altamira district, Caracas, Venezuela
Altamira district, Caracas, Venezuela

4. Decent Hotel Room

I was in room 67 and it was decent. Everything worked and I had a balcony. For $70 a night out of my backpacking budget, I’d like to think so. I had a decent viewpoint too.

My room 67 at Hotel La Floresta in Caracas, Venezuela
My room 67 at Hotel La Floresta in Caracas, Venezuela
My balcony view over Altamira, Caracas – not all bad right?
My balcony view over Altamira, Caracas – not all bad right?

5. Breakfast

Breakfast was included of course but was totally average. Due to the fact I had been ripped off a lot, I ended up taking lots of bread, jam etc. and using it for my lunch and dinner. It still wouldn’t equate to me getting my money back though!

Basic breakfast in Caracas
Basic breakfast in Caracas
Lounge and bar
Lounge and bar

So if you do end up in Caracas, apparently Altamira is a nice area (despite my attempted mugging) and is safer than most. This place blew my backpacking budget, so maybe stick to Couchsurfing or trying to find a hostel somewhere and if I ever go back to Caracas, I’ll be trying to get some of my money’s worth back from the few hundred dollars I spent in just 4 days here. Ouch.

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