Safety and Security in Venezuela
The city tends to be a safer place to live in Venezuela. Remote villages may have cheaper properties to rent and buy, but they are not always the safest places and have quite a high crime rate. Most expats in Venezuela can be found living in cities such as Caracas, Puerto La Cruz, Maracaibo and Valencia. There, they have access to better healthcare facilities, private schools, places to shop, and good local transportation.
Due to the recent economic and currency crisis Venezuela is going through following the collapse of crude oil prices in 2014/2015, livings costs have skyrocket. Expatriates in Venezuela should be aware that even basic items such as food and personal care products are in shortage and thus extremely expensive.
Also take note that pick-pocketing is not uncommon, especially in cities where it is busy. City workers on high incomes with the latest mobile gadgets are prime targets. Expats need to very vigilant when out and about. Travel in areas located close to the Colombian border is not recommended either, as this region has a lot of drug related crimes and is quite dangerous for foreigners.
911 is the emergency number in Venezuela to call the police, an ambulance or firefighters.
Bottled water is recommended for drinking, but tap water is usually okay for washing salads and brushing teeth. Diarrhea is quite common for expats in their first weeks of living in Venezuela. This is usually due to the heat, and as you would in any foreign country you should probably avoid eating from street food sellers as they typically do not have the refrigeration equipment needed to store the food they are cooking, and in the heat can quickly lead to bacteria spreading.
We strongly recommend that all expats take out a good private healthcare insurance policy when moving to Venezuela. Although there are many public hospitals, the facilities are not what most expats would be used to, due to lack of funding from the government. Whilst there are plenty of qualified doctors, medical practitioners’ equipment and medications are often in short supply. There is a good choice of private hospitals and healthcare in the main cities, which are quite expensive, so the right insurance cover is key.
There are only limited passenger train services in Venezuela, so buses are the main mode of long-distance transport. In cities, trams and local bus services are most common, with metro systems in Caracas, Maracaibo and Valencia. Local public transport services are typically very frequent and inexpensive.
As in most cities in Venezuela, Caracas has buses that depart every 30 minutes. They usually start running from 5am. A short bus journey in Venezuela, say just a few blocks or so will, cost you less than a couple of dollars. If you are planning on taking a longer bus ride, especially through higher altitudes, you should consider bringing some extra clothes and a blanket with you to keep you warm, particularly as most buses are equipped with air conditioning as well. You don’t need to buy a bus pass in advance, but should consider pre-purchasing it to get good deals or if you will be travelling during busy periods.