Central North Attractions
The Central North or "El Centro" comprises less than 3% of the country's land but is home to approximately 45% of the population. Almost half of these people live in Caracas.Some of the highlights in this region include Henri Pittier National Park, known for it's excellent birding and beaches, the offshore islands of Los Roques with their white sand beaches, and El Avila National Park, a refreshing mountainous area just outside of Caracas.The major cities in the Central North are Caracas, Maracay, and Valencia.
Caracas was finally founded in 1567, following a number of previous attempts which were thwarted by Toromaima Indians. Ten years later the township was declared the administrative seat of the colony.Today Caracas boasts a population of almost 5 million people and is a modern and busy city. Complete with a metro system, freeways, high rise towers, wealth and poverty, the city offers a variety of experiences for travelers.Museums, parks, nightlife, shopping, and fine hotels are just some of the finer points in Caracas. Less attractive sights are traffic jams, pollution, and crime, which where are also part of daily life in this city.
Aeropuerto Internacional de Maiquetía Simon Bolívar
Aeropuerto Internacional de Maiquetía "Simon Bolívar" is located in Maiquetía, north of Caracas, along the coast. It is about a 45 minute drive from Caracas to the airport. There is an offical taxi booth in the airport where people can find the offical rates for rides to area towns and pre-pay for a taxi.
Constructed in the late 1600s, this building is where the Venezuelan Declaration of Independence was signed on July 5 1811. The building was also used to house the Universidad Central de Venezuela before its current use as the seat of the Municipal council.
Casa Natal de Liberator
This adobe house is a recreation of the house in which Bolívar was born in 1783. The original home was destroyed in an earthquake. The interior has been decorated with Tito Salas paintings of Bolívar's life.
The Cathedral, near Plaza Bolivar, was built following the destruction of the former church in the 1641 earthquake. It contains the Bolivar family chapel which displays a sculpture of Bolivar mourning his family.
Ciudad Universitaria de Caracas (Universidad Central de Venezuela)
The University, with approximately 70,000 students, was designed by Carlos Raúl Villanueva and is considered a masterpiece of modern city planning. It was built in the 1950s and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Holy Chapel is built on the site of a former chapel where the first mass was said after the town was founded. The Chapel features stained-glass windows, a stone high altar, and the Arturo Michelena painting, "Multiplication of the Bread".
Iglesia de San Francisco
Originally built in the 1570s, and rebuilt in 1641, the San Francisco church has been remodeled several times. Still the interior retains much of its colonial style. Of particular note in the church are the baroque altars.
The museum offers displays related to the history of Venezuela, including items concerning independence, documents, weapons, as well as the coffin in which Bolívar was transported in from Santa Marta.
Museo Fundación John Boulton
The museum contains historical items collected by the family of John Boulton, a British merchant in the 1800s. On display are Arturo Michelena paintings, Bolívar memorabilia, a small library, and other miscellaneous items.
The building was constructed after the 1812 earthquake when the original church on this site was destroyed. Today it is the country's most sacred shrine and houses the remains of prominent Venezuelans, including those of Simon Bolívar.
Plaza Bolívar, with it's Simon Bolívar statue, is the main square in the old town. It offers a shady area to rest and relax while walking around the historic quarter.
This was the summer home of the Bolivars. It is a country estate with gardens, stables, and personal items of the family.