Once you touch down in Venezuela’s edgy, cosmopolitan capital, you soon become familiar with the most famous liberator of them all, Simón Bolívar. Born in Caracas in 1783, the charismatic son of an elite cacao landowner, Bolívar seized political power from Spain and liberated the area that now comprises Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Boliva, Panama, and Ecuador. Caracas’ ‘Bolívar trail’ is well worn but gratifyingly informative. The Casa Natal y Museo Bolívar—the restored birthplace of the independence hero—displays all manner of historical paraphernalia revealing the life, loves, military career, and death of Bolívar.
Despite the city’s bad reputation and glaring economic hardships, Caracas remains one of Latin America’s most cosmopolitan and populous cities. The city’s cultural verve finds expression in a dynamic music scene, bold street art, inventive storefronts, and enough literary angst to keep thoughts and ideas flowing day and night—fueled by some of the finest coffee and rum to be tasted anywhere. Nestled in a valley, in the shadow of the Avila mountain, Caracas’ frenzied downtown grid and the concrete sentries of the business district, El Rosal, belie the leafy, poised neighborhoods that unfurl from its often decrepit core. In Los Palos Grandes, Las Mercedes, Altamira, and El Hatillo, you’ll discover fine food, upscale hotels, parks, and stunning mansions that provide a more stately backdrop for business and leisure travelers.
It’s no small irony that a country so well versed in communist rhetoric should be home to the largest shopping center on the continent: the gargantuan Sambil Mall. Caraqueños unashamedly devote hours to the not so egalitarian cult of conspicuous consumption. From US and European über brands to funky local chain stores and idiosyncratic labels, Sambil is as much a bizarre cultural phenomenon as it is a shopping Mecca.
Executive airports within 15 miles of Caracas:
- Simon Bolívar International Airport
- Oscar Machado Zuloaga Airport
Popular aircraft charters* in the Caracas area:
- Citation II (light jet)
- Hawker 800 XP (midsize)
- Citation III (midsize)
- Learjet 60XR (midsize)
- Gulfstream G450 (heavy)
*This is just a sample. Zephyr provides access to aircraft at every end of the spectrum, from luxurious VIP airliners, to ultra long range business jet, helicopters, and economical turboprops.