Maracay Tourist Information and Tourism

(Maracay, Aragua, Venezuela)

Set on the eastern side of Lake Valencia (Lago de Valencia), close to El Limon, the vast conurbation of Maracay in Central Venezuela's Aragua state is basically an industrial and commercial city strongly influenced by the presence of the Venezuelan military. Unsurprisingly, mass tourism has passed Maracay by until now.

Although there's not a great swathe of cultural attractions in the city itself, its location close to a mountain range and lushly rain-forested national park makes it a fine destination for outdoor activities. Several beach resort towns are within a comfortable drive of Maracay, known in Venezuela as the 'Garden City' for its high concentration of parks, leafy plazas and green spaces. Tourist information about Maracay and the neighbouring Henri Pittier National Park is best obtained at the Instituto Autonomo de Turismo de Aragua, which resides roughly 2 km / 1.5 miles to the north of the city centre, on the Avenida de las Delicias.

Maracay Tourist Information and Tourism: Top Sights

Maracay is often described as being the gateway to the Maracay Henri Pittier National Park (Parque Nacional de Henri Pittier), since this park is so close to the city's northern suburbs. This vast park is famed for its high concentration of wildlife attractions and recreational activities, and comes with an appealing mixture of colonial towns, scenic beaches, woodland trails, mangroves and dense rainforest areas. Puerto Colombia is an important tourist destination within the park and this former port town now functions as a favourite spot for backpackers and holiday makers. More information about Maracay Henri Pittier National Park.

The very heart of Maracay is marked by the Plaza Girardot, a spacious and leafy public square centred around a tall obelisk memorial, crowned by a bronze eagle. Roughly six blocks to the east is the Plaza Bolivar, a usual sight in most sizeable Venezuelan cities, with many popular attractions located close by. A similar distance to the south of the Plaza Girardot and just past the Estadio Jose Bracho baseball stadium is the Gomez Mausoleum (Mausoleo de Gomez), while on the Avenida de las Delicias, families on holiday in Maracay may well like to hang out at the pleasant Garden of Delights (Jardin de las Delicias), before spending an afternoon at its onsite Zoological Garden (Parque Zoologico de Las Delicias).

If sport is more your thing, then the north-western side of the city is home to a number of sporting attractions based between the Parque Santos Michelena and the Universidad Central de Venezuela university campus. Here you will find the Estadio Jose Perez Colmenares baseball stadium (home ground of the Tigres de Aragua team), the oval-shaped Velodromo cycle velodrome and the Polideportivo David Concepcion sports centre. More information about Maracay Tourist Attractions.

Founded in the middle of the 16th century, Maracay is an old city with many notable Venezuelan landmarks to admire. The Government Palace of Aragua State (Palacio de Gobierno del Estado Aragua) dominates the Plaza Bolivar with its gleaming white architecture and this landmark now ranks as a national historic monument. Nearby and also at the plaza is a bronze statue of a horseback Simon Bolivar (a much-loved Venezuelan hero and leader), entitled El Libertador. Separated from the palace by the Calle Brion, the Opera Theatre (Teatro de la Opera) will certainly appeal to tourists looking for an evening of Venezuelan culture.

Located on the Plaza Giradot, Maracay Cathedral (Catedral) is another eye-catching white landmark, close to the Shrine of Mother Maria de San Jose (Santuario de Madre Maria de San Jose). For traditional entertainment, the city's stylish Bullring (Plaza de Toros Maestranza) is to hand, although its Venezuelan bullfights may not be to everyone's taste. More information about Maracay Landmarks and Monuments.

Known as the cradle of aviation in Venezuela, the city of Maracay is home to two huge Air Force bases, an army division, a paratroop training camp and the government's ammunition and weapons factory. As befits its aviation heritage, the city boasts a fine Aeronautical Museum (Museo Aeronautico) with many impressive aviation-related exhibits, such as planes and helicopters.

The Plaza Girardot is where tourists will find the arcaded Anthropology Museum (Museo de Anthropologie) and its pre-Hispanic artefacts and related information, and at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Museo de Arte Contemporaneo) on the Avenida Sucre, modern Latin American masterpieces are the order of the day. With Simon Bolivar playing such an integral part in the history of Venezuela, a visit to his birthplace house - the Casa Natal de Bolivar, is a real must, and the adjacent Bolivar Museum (Museo Bolivariano) fills in the pieces. More information about Maracay Museums.

Based towards the north of Aragua, the state capital of Maracay makes for a convenient base for excursions into the bounding states of Carabobo (west), Guarico (south-west) and Miranda (east). Directly to the north, the Caribbean Sea (Mar Caribe) is another good reason for an outing, with the beaches around Puerto Colombia beckoning, along with those of the Archipelago los Roques, a short boat trip from the coast.

Lying to the north-east and just past the Macarao National Park (Parque Nacional Macarao) is the Venezuelan capital of Caracas, reachable by road in roughly 90 minutes and packed with sightseeing opportunities, museums and restaurants. Somewhat closer to Maracay is the small town of San Mateo, where the Bolivar Hacienda is a massive tourist magnet. San Francisco de Yare is another engaging town, approximately two hours to the east, while a little further to the east is the Guatopo National Park (Parque Nacional Guatopo), where exotic birds and creatures abound. More information about Maracay Attractions Nearby.

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