Travel Postcard: 48 hours in Caracas

Mon Apr 5, 2010 9:08am EDT
 
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By Walker Simon

CARACAS (Reuters Life!) - Caribbean heat mingles with Andean cool in Caracas, which is nestled against a verdant mountain range, cresting at over 9,000 feet (2,765 meters.).

Languidly tropical by day, the Venezuelan capital's climate turns brisk after sundown. The perfume of the lush greenery infuses the evening breeze, encouraging outdoor dining.

Bold modern architecture studs Caracas' narrow valley, lined by the El Avila mountain. A national park, El Avila divides Caracas from the Caribbean Sea. Layered in multiple forest habitats, it has about five percent of the world's bird species.

Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help visitors get the most of out of a 48-hour visit.

FRIDAY

5 p.m. - Upon arriving in Caracas, which is one of the world's most crime-ridden capitals, visitors should take hotel taxis, go to cab stands or call a taxi service. The Metro, which carries 1.8 million passengers a day, is also a good way to get around.

Enter the national park in Sabas Nieves in the heavily policed Altamira district. Hike 1,000 feet up to a clearing for bird watching. No binoculars are required.

Spot the Inca Jay, one of the Avila's estimated 500 avian species. Known here as querrequerre, the bird has a powder-blue tuft and nape. Its tail is apple green and sunflower yellow.   Continued...