Some tips for Venezuela (Vzl), Brirish Guyana (BG), Suriname (Sur),

OverlandSphere

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Originally posted by: http://www.a2aexpedition.com/

Here are some tips for Venezuela (Vzl), Brirish Guyana (BG), Suriname (Sur), French Guyana (FG) and Brasil (Br). I will work from Vzl to Br through the Guyanas.

1) Vzl.
We never really felt threatened but were constantly hassled by the cops looking for bribes. Never drive at night and be careful of hold ups on small roads. Changing money can be difficult but we learned to ask security guards (not cops!!) at malls where we can change money. If they show you the official cambio, say thank you and move on. If he takes you to a shop selling silk shirts and ties or polo clothing, thank and tip him. To negotiate ask the proprietor if he would like to buy dollars, if he proposes a rate above the official rate then he has introduced the “crime”. We were getting between 60 and 75 Bs per $US. Camping is only really possible in the Roraima area and in the southern mountain areas near Merida (we have a farmer/overlander friend there who will treat you guys very very well). There are thousands of road toll gates in Vzl but we only ever paid at one, the rest are deserted and vandalised or occupied by cops seeking shade.

The roads are OK in Vzl and we stuck to the coastal route from the Northwest to east of Caracas and then south to Boa Vista. So on that route:
- The far northwest border was hell but worth the pain to reach northern Colombia.
- Maracaibo has a few new neighbourhoods and old 70´s mall. We stayed at the Venetur 5 star hotel (the hotel is more like a 3 star and is favoured by the military and government, do not try and change money at the hotel).
- Coro has a nice colonial area and a few cheap pousadas near the airport. The peninsula to the north is sandy and wind swept and has a few malls offering limited shopping though I did fall in love with a curvy girl at an electronics shop and tried to liberate her but Luisa shot me down. You can camp in the more remote areas of the peninsula but we were not tempted.
- In Chichiriviche visit David Casas at Pousada Arena Mar. He is a great guy. The town is a littered shit hole and you are better off visiting the Morrocoy national park if you want to see beautiful islands. Stay at the little un signposted pousada opposite the pousada Esmeralda and to the right of a small ship yard. The owner is a park ranger and for 1000 Bs he will take you to Isla Sombrero and you will be in heaven. Just don’t go during the weekend, then they have sex parties on yachts, or maybe go during the weekend when they have sex parties on yachts.
- There is not much to see and do between Tutucas and Caracas but east of Caracas you will find Puerto la Cruz which is the gateway to the over rated Isla Margarita unless you love wind and sand and wind related sports in which case the island is rated as one of the best windsurfing spots in the world.
- Heading south past Guayana City there is a nice town called Caprice which has large bird bat inhabited caves nearby.
- South of Caprice the road deteriorates then drops into a jungle where gold mining Land Cruisers crowd the muddy roads, you climb up onto an escarpment, pass through a police checkpoint and then drop down into the roraima.
- Roraima is the outdoor highlight of Vzl. Take a fishing rod. You can explore freely and camp almost anywhere, there are thousands of water falls and rivers and many Tepui (flat top mountains). You could spend weeks just exploring this area.
- St Elena is the border town and there is not much available but there are some cool people and pousadas. We stayed at Los Pinos, very nice.
- The road from the Brasilian border to Boa Vista is long, dry and boring.

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