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Is Venezuela a Safe or Dangerous Country?
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) released a map (below) with zones that should be avoided due to the drug activity and the high risk of kidnapping. There’s a high rate of crime in Venezuela, but as long as you use common sense and apply standard safety precautions as you would in any other country, you can enjoy your stay.
Crime and ScamsMost of the crimes and scams against foreigners are crimes of opportunity. These semi-professional thieves target unaware travelers in tourist areas and restaurants. Bag snatching is common, so make sure you carry your bag facing away from the street and preferably always close to you. Bus terminals are common places where thieves take advantage of distracted travelers and use their pickpocketing skills. “Accidental” spills are a way to distract you and pickpocket you, so always be vigilant. There are reports of carjacking and robberies by organized criminal groups around the regions of Coroico and Carnavi in Yungas. Other area to avoid due to crime are Coronilla Hill in Cochabamba. Criminals may sometimes pretend to be police officers with false police ID cards, uniforms, and even fake police stations. They may ask for your passport and ask you to get in a taxi where you are robbed or taken to an ATM to withdraw money. Official policemen will be okay with a copy of your documents and won’t ask you to get in a taxi. “Express kidnappings” can occur, especially in La Paz. Victims are grabbed and force to take out as much money as possible from ATMs. The criminals can also contact the victim’s family or friends and ask them to bring all the cash they have in a couple of hours. Once the ransom is paid, the victim is usually released unharmed.
Transportation SafetyBuses are reliable and affordable, and they are an easy way to travel around the country. However, the terminals are very busy and crowded, so always pay close attention to your belongings. Choose a bus line that uses metal detectors and check bags; there have been robberies on buses, so by choosing a line with security, you’ll know that none of the passengers are carrying weapons of any kind. A good option is Aeroexpresos Ejecutivos. Smaller towns don’t have a reliable bus system. You can use cars-for-hire (“por puestos”), which are usually old vehicles and are more expensive than buses. They may be more reliable, but the wait can be a bit long as they usually don’t leave until they have a full car (4-5 passengers). Never travel alone on a Por Puesto, and avoid unofficial taxis. Traveling within the city is easier by taxi. Be aware that taxis do not have meters, and the rates go up after dark. Negotiate the fare before getting in the vehicle. Official taxis have yellow plates, or you can also download Easytaxi (the equivalent of Uber). Always carry any form of identification with you as there are military/police/National Guard checkpoints on many roads.
Natural DangersVenezuela is a country exposed to many natural disasters like hurricanes, flooding, and earthquakes. The hurricane season runs from June to November, and can affect the northern part of the country. The rainy season runs from May to November, which may cause flooding in low-lying areas and valleys in the Andes. Monitor media reports and follow the advice of local authorities.
Political SituationThere are frequent protests throughout the country, especially in Caracas. They tend to be due to political issues and/or economic issues like electricity, water, and food shortages. Protests can turn violent with little warning. Authorities may use tear gas and buckshot. Avoid large crowds and do not cross police lines or civilian-run barricades.
Warnings & Dangers
OVERALL RISK : HIGH
Taking normal safety precautions are recommended in Venezuela. Exercise common sense and remain vigilant for suspicious behaviour as you would in any other country. Watch out for pickpockets in tourist areas and protect your valuables. Avoid using your mobile phone or displaying any electronic device or valuable on the street or in a vehicle.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH
Pickpocket and bag and purse snatching are common in tourist locations and public transportation. Remain vigilant for thieves that use different strategies to rob you.
MUGGING RISK : HIGH
There have been reports of muggings throughout the country. Though most victims are not physically injured, criminals usually do not hesitate to use force if the target does not cooperate; in case of being robbed, do not resist and hand over your valuables. Avoid walking alone after dark. Although kidnapping is not common, express kidnapping involving tourists have occurred in Venezuela. Victims are abducted for a few hours and forced to withdraw money from ATMs in order to be released.
SCAMS RISK : HIGH
As in any other country, taxi drivers will try to take advantage of travelers by overcharging them. Bag snatching is common, so make sure you carry your bag facing away from the street and preferably always close to you.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : HIGH
There are unlicensed taxis in Venezuela, so make sure you pre-arrange a ride or use radio taxis from places like a hotel when possible. There have been reports of taxi drivers exploiting visitors, especially from the airport to Caracas.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : HIGH
Expect floods, earthquakes, and hurricanes. Rainy season runs from May to November, and the hurricane season runs from June to November.
TERRORISM RISK : HIGH
Terrorist attacks are unlikely in Venezuela. However, they cannot be ruled out. Remain vigilant and take advice from authorities, hotels and tour operators.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : HIGH
Many women travel safely without any issues. However, if you are traveling alone, it is important to exercise particular care in crowds, on public transportation, in rural areas, and in isolated sections. Avoid traveling alone after dark. Women may get some unwanted attention from men. En savoir plus sur https://safearound.com/americas/venezuela/#xyTCPmjYYAuTgiBL.99