Caracas, which is arguably the first city many people think of when they hear of Venezuela, is a city that has seems to have a lot of cultural points of interest – however, it has made some press over the years as a result of its economic struggles and its crime rates. In fact, statistics show that it may still be one of the most dangerous cities to visit, as well as to live in. Take a look below for 30 interesting and fun facts about Caracas.
1. Caracas is the capital city of Venezuela. It is situated on the River Guaire, just nine miles from the Caribbean Sea.
2. Caracas was founded by Diego de Losada in 1567. His founding words were ‘I take possession of this land in the name of God and the King.’
3. The headquarters of the Venezuelan National Police are in Caracas.
4. In July 2020, the US assessed Caracas as being a ‘Critical Threat Location’.
5. Caracas has a three track subway. Commuters can travel between 5:30am and 10pm each day.
6. Caracas can expect an annual average temperature of 25 degrees Celsius.
7. The largest oil reserves on the planet are in Venezuela. Pilar Navarro is an economist based in Caracas. In 2020 he advised that ‘a decade ago, the country was the largest producer in Latin America’ and ‘earning $90 billion per annum from oil exports’!
8. Navarro went on to say that by the end of 2020, that figure was estimated to drop to $2.3 billion.
9. Caracas is known for its Central University, which is the oldest organisation of its kind in the country. It’s also thought to be the 18th best-ranked university in the whole of Latin America.
10. Caracas is widely known as one of the most dangerous cities on Earth – which explains the US’ classification.
11. The Caricuao Zoological Park opened in Caracas in 1977. In 2018, due to serious financial situations in Venezuela, animals in this zoo, as in others, suffered due to a lack of visitors and revenue.
12. Many people have migrated to Caracas from elsewhere in the world. It’s said to have a population of citizens from Portugal, Spain, Germany, China and even the Middle East.
13. This, as you can imagine, has led to the culinary landscape of the city to take on a bit of a unique shape over the years!
14. It’s not unheard of for you to dine on capybara in a Caracas restaurant – it’s the world’s biggest rodent and is native to Venezuela.
15. It’s not unheard of for families and friends to skate to church at Christmas – roller skating, that is! It’s become such a tradition that roads are prepared in advance for swathes of skaters.
16. Caracas is known for its Miss World winners – as winners from 1979 and 1981’s contests were born here.
17. Caracas is well-known for its nightlife and entertainment scenes. It’s even the host of an international jazz festival which takes place in the city each year.
18. There are around two million people living in the city of Caracas – officially. However, it is thought that there are millions more living in slums, who may not be accounted for in the official census.
19. The city’s full name is Santiago De Leon de Caracas – but it’s widely called Caracas for short.
20. The city’s inflation has led to average pay in the area to stall at around $50 per month, maximum.
21. Caracas is well-known for its unique culinary choices. It’s said to be the origin point of the arepas. This is a meat or cheese based pancake.
22. The city generally follows a light tascas style dining experience, which you’ll find across mainly Latin countries.
23. Caracas has its own UNESCO Heritage Site. This belongs to the Central University of Venezuela, which is regarded as a piece of architectural art all on its own.
24. Believe it or not, you have around 0.2% chance of dying violently in Caracas – it is not somewhere you can safely walk around unprotected.
25. Congestion in the city centre increased to the point where, in 2009, plans unfurled for bans on specific number plates driving into Caracas!
26. Caracas mainly celebrates two seasons – wet and dry – as the weather tends to all drift into two halves! It can feel like that in Britain sometimes!
27. Caracas’ main metro line is actually of French construction!
28. The city has had its fair share of earthquake activity. There were at least three major quakes recorded here, across 1755, 1812 and 1967. These are no small tremors – as it has led to a lot of rebuilding.
29. Much of the city’s original economy was built around the oil discovery made in nearby Maracaibo in 1914. It’s thought this helped to boost Venezuela financially, too.
30. Believe it or not, the subway in Caracas is free to ride. This, sadly enough, is because there was not enough money available to afford the printing of tickets for riders.