Attractions Nearby Maracay, Day Trips and Excursions
(Maracay, Aragua, Venezuela)
There are many interesting and varied attractions to visit within a comfortable drive of Maracay. From attractive towns and villages set along the lake shore and the more isolated destinations in the mountains, to the beach resort towns on the coast, there is plenty of choice when it comes to day trips.
Even the Venezuelan capital of Caracas
is less than two hours' drive away, with its historic buildings, dining and shopping treats, and many museums. Further possible excursions from Maracay include the attractions of the Archipelago los Roques, the Bolivar Hacienda in San Mateo, Puerto Colombia and San Francisco de Yare, as well as the rainforest trails within the Guatopo National Park.
Caracas is the capital of Venezuela
, an incredibly vibrant city with a long history and the heritage attractions to prove it. Just over an hour from Maracas, being roughly 72 km / 45 miles to the north-east, the city of Caracas comes with fine buildings, interesting museums (such as the Museo de Arte Colonial and the Museo Bolivariano), great shopping and dining options, huge markets and lots of people-watching opportunities, particularly around the leafy Plaza Bolivar and its grand cathedral. However, care should be taken on the streets, especially at night.
Address: San Mateo, Venezuela, VE
The small town of San Mateo, some 20 km / 12 miles from Maracay, is home to the Bolivar Hacienda, granted to the family in 1593 when they arrived in the New World from Spain. It houses two small museums, one of which was the family's sugar mill. Simon Bolivar used the hacienda as a base during the war of independence, which left it badly damaged following royalist attacks. Fully restored in the 1980s and now home to an imposing state of army captain Antonio Ricaurte, it is well worth a visit today.
Open hours: daily
An appealing and well-known coastal town located within the Parque Nacional de Henri Pittier
, Puerto Colombia was once a thriving local port. It is pleasant enough to attract crowds of young people to its two beaches, guaranteeing a lively nightlife scene. The beaches are small, with no accommodation, but it is a backpacker's dream right now. Closest to Puerto Colombia is the Playa Grande beach, which is connected by a pedestrian bridge and stretches for just over 0.5 km / 0.3 miles, being lined with tropical coconut palm trees. Many of the attractions are based along the coastal 'Malecon' promenade, where plentiful eateries and bars provide much to choose between, while for something quite different, consider climbing up the easterly Cristo Mirador and admiring the views.
Guatopo National Park (Parque Nacional Guatopo)
Address: Parque Nacional Guatopo, Miranda State, Venezuela, VE
An important biological enclave in the region, backing the conurbation of Caracas, the Parque Nacional Guatopo was established in the late 1950s and has various eco-systems based on elevation. Lush rainforest hides many mammalian attractions, such as pumas and jaguars, tapirs, sloths and armadillos, while birdlife here is spectacular. Poisonous snakes, however, are quite common and can cause problems for the uninitiated.
Open hours: daily
Admission: charge for guide
San Francisco de Yare
Address: San Francisco de Yare, Miranda State, Venezuela, VE
This sleepy little town's cobbled colonial streets are the venue for one of the most chaotic festivals in the Venezuelan calendar, that of the Dancing Devils (Festival de los Diablos Danzantes). This famous festival is accompanied by hypnotic and non-stop drums and maracas. The town of San Francisco de Yare began its life in 1714 and has attractive architecture, as well as a good selection of craft shops. One particular sight worth looking out for is the Casa de los Diablos Danzantes, where lots of traditional papier-mache masks are displayed.
Archipelago los Roques
Gran Roque is the largest island in its archipelago and has just one village with many posadas (guest houses). Exotic corals, teeming marine life, exquisite beaches and seafood to die for make Gran Roque the ideal place to relax and just hang out. Other notable islands within the Archipelago los Roques include the Cayo Pirata, Crasqui, Francisqui, Madrizqui and Rasqui.