Maracay Tourist Attractions and Sightseeing
(Maracay, Aragua, Venezuela)
The city is set between a huge natural lake and the oldest and most unique national park in the country - the Henri Pittier National Park
(Parque Nacional de Henri Pittier), and both of these leading tourist attractions have greatly contributed to Maracay's development and overall appeal.
Maracay was founded more than 300 years ago, and owes much of its success in later years to Venezuelan dictator General Juan Vicente Gomez, who lived here and ruled between 1908 and 1935, shaping the city accordingly and establishing a number of today's leading attractions. Tourists will discover that the remains of this father of the city are housed within the Mausoleo de Gomez, where he remains much-loved by Maracay's population.
Gomez Mausoleum / Pantheon (Mausoleo de Gomez / Panteon Gomez)
Address: Calle Marino, Maracay, Venezuela, VE
The building of the Pantheon began in 1919, being planned to be the final resting place of the founder of the concept of Maracay Garden City, and following his death in 1935, General Gomez was laid to rest here. The huge triumphal arch leading to the mausoleum celebrates his achievements, both in the country and in his favourite city. The mausoleum features prominently on almost every tour of the city, and other members of the family are also interred here.
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 08:00 to 15:00, Saturday - 08:00 to 12:00
Address: Plaza Bolivar, Avenida Bolivar, Maracay, Venezuela, VE
This magnificent square cum park was inaugurated in 1930 and is the largest of its kind in Venezuela
, encompassing some three blocks. Surrounded by many of the glorious buildings founded by General Gomez and home to several city monuments, the Plaza Bolivar is named after national hero Simon Bolivar, who has a monument here. This is a favourite recreation and meeting place for locals, especially on weekends. Nearby attractions include both the Teatro de la Opera
and the Palacio de Gobierno.
Open hours: daily
Plaza Girardot / Obelisk
Address: Plaza Girardot, Avenida Bolivar, Maracay, Venezuela, VE
This symbolic square is home to the city's beautiful cathedral and is famous locally as the place where General Gomez used to sit and talk with his people nightly. Very much an integral part of the colonial heart of the city, the square boasts several fine buildings. The great annual Catholic religious festivals take place here at the Plaza Girardot, while sightseers should look out for the towering obelisk. This memorial honours the North American volunteer fighters who arrived to join the rebels in their successful fight for independence under Francisco Miranda. Erected in 1897, the tall marble column is crowned with a bronze eagle and commemorates those freedom fighters who were captured and hanged by the Spanish in the early 19th century.
Open hours: daily
Garden of Delights (Jardin de las Delicias)
Address: Avenida de las Delicias, Maracay, Venezuela, VE
Inaugurated by General Gomez as part of his plan for a garden city, the aptly named 'Garden of Delights' is indeed a delightful place to stroll. Shady trees, a fountain and many diverse flowering plants are set along its winding paths. The noise of the busy city seems to fade in this charming retreat. Children and families always enjoy paying a visit to the onsite zoo - see below.
Open hours: daily
Zoological Garden (Parque Zoologico de Las Delicias)
Address: Jardin de las Delicias, Avenida de las Delicias, Maracay, Venezuela, VE
Yet another of General Gomez's delightful fantasies, the Maracay Zoological Garden has its origins in 1915 and is a well-kept and managed facility, covering an area of approximately 5 acres / 2 hectares. Home to an interesting variety of species and animal attractions, visitors to the zoo can view elephants, big cats, hippos, crocodiles, snakes, monkeys, many bird species and much more. The zoo is set in the Jardin de las Delicias along the Avenida de las Delicias, on the north-easterly outskirts of the city.
Open hours: Tuesday to Sunday - 09:30 to 16:30