I am going on the Zenith in December. This is my 3rd cruise and I can't wait! I am wondering if anyone has any advice about the shore excursions in Caracas...the choices are an all day trip to Colonia Tovar or 1/2 day sightseeing in Caracas. I thought the all day trip might be better if Caracas isn't safe on one's own, but it is more expensive, so I wanted to see if that trip was worth the money! Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Deb and I went on the Colonia Tovar Tour in April 1997. It was worth it (whatever it cost now). We got a side tour thru Caracas, the business district and the nice residential area, then on into the interior. "Tovar" is something to see. It looks like the Austrian Alps, with the cute "chalets" in a diverse setting of a tropical mountainside. The dichotomy is that you have blond haired, blue eyed Germanic folks speaking fluent Spanish. (whoa) You see grandeuer and poverty in the trip. Take it. It's on a 15 passenger bus/van with the couple of rest stops, shopping and a lunch, if I remember correctly. Keep an eye out for the "homes" on the moutainside returning to the ship. Now...You'll be safe on this tour, so don't worry. When you get off the ship you'll go thru a duty free shopping area. Don't stop, waste of time and $$, unless there's something you really need. You will see armed "militia" with the ever popular M-16 machine guns and you will see this on the way to the "hinterland" at police checkpoints and national guard armories, along the way. Again, don't fret! it's a way of life in South America. You Are Safe! I found it to be a rather unique diversion from what we, in the good ol' US of A, are used to. I'm sure you will enjoy it. It's a different perspective on life and it will really cause you to apprecite what we have. I'll post our photos when I find them.
Debbie and Robert
The all day trip to Caracas is remarkable. A great opportunity to visit a major South American capital city, surrounded by mountains. It is one of the... if not THE best shore excursions in the Caribbean. Also, they generally include a stop at the Murano Glass factory and showroom (the same firm as in Venice, Italy). Their stuff is gorgeous and a bit less expensive in Caracas than in Venice, too boot!
I have to disagree with Ernie and favor the tour Traveler mentioned. I was so anxious to tour the capital city of Caracas and did a similar tour that Ernie mentioned for apx. a half day, but the numerous armed law enforcement groups that were quite visable (at least 6 different heavily armed groups) walking within the city limits really put a scare into me. We did not have a visit to the Glass Factory, but certainly had a grand overview of the mountain side homes (if you can call them that) and stopped at a beautiful monument and park. I too was on the Zenith for this trip and will never be able to recommend Caracas as a tourist destination. Enjoy yourself and do stay with an organized tour. The port is quite far from the City.