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Topics include Dining Scene, Venezuela: For Foreign Visitors & more!
Simon Bolivar International Airport (Aeropuerto Internacional de Maiquetia Simon Bolivar) is a full service, major airport for Venezuela. It is outfitted with American chain restaurants like TGI Firday's, Church's Chicken, and Subway. Several banks (agencias banacarias) and cash machines (cajeros automaticos) intersperse the national terminal for immediate money exchange.
The airport has an international and a national terminal which are connected by an indoor passage, connecting the gate area of the national terminal with the arrivals area of the international terminal. This airconditioned passage is to be preferred compared to going on the public area outside of the airport. On all departing flights there is a departure tax (Bs 22,00 on national flights and Bs 137,50 on international flights) which is to be paid in cash before being allowed into the departure area. There is a barcode on the receipt which is used to access the departure area.
Hotel Eduard, Hotel Ole Caribe, and Hotel Eurobuilding Express are closest to the airport. Caracas is 16 miles south of the airport. International travelers preferably should hire a taxi cab from the airport to their hotel stay.
The yellow color of taxi booths are quite recognizable and permit travelers to pay the fare in advance. A hotel-supplied shuttle makes for an even more convenient and safe airport exchange.
A gypsy cab or unofficial taxi is not advisable by any means. They can cost up to 25 dollars depending on the driver and visitors have a greater chance of compromising their safety.
Also, the mini-buses from airport are equally unsafe and uncomfortable. Individuals who cannot afford the taxi should wait to take the trip until they have saved more money. Emergency cash should always be on-hand in Caracas for a secure vacation or cultural immersion.
Many of the airport staff members do not speak English. Therefore, keep a translator handy and review those rudimentary Spanish phrases during the flight.
Repeat: "Yo necesito un taxi, por favor. Mi hotel estå en la ciudåd de Caracas. La direccion es <INSERT ADDRESS HERE>"