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Puerto La Cruz & Barcelona, Venezuela - Slept On A Park Bench

Venezuela travel blog by Mark Berman - Jan 2011 May 2013   » View Photoset (50 Photos)

Mark Berman, South America backpacker for 10yrs!

Slept in the Park in Puerto La Cruz

After a 5 hour bus journey from Caracas I arrived at around 11pm in Puerto La Cruz and shared a taxi into the town center
Venezuela Photo - Locals relaxing in Plaza Bolivar in Barcelona.
Locals relaxing in Plaza Bolivar in Barcelona.
with some trustworthy people I met on the bus. I walked around the center for a while looking for a place to stay. I found a hotel and offered to pay half price to stay until about 7am in the morning but the manager said I had to pay full price which was over $15USD, so in the end I said no and decided I would go sleep in the park instead. I walked down to Plaza Bolivar, the police had a tent station at one corner, one of them asked for a cigarette and I sat down with them for a while and they asked me questions about my travels and my country. I asked if I could leave my backpack and guitar with them while I slept on a park bench nearby and that was ok with them. The park bench was of a reasonable standard and I slept for several hours. I awoke early on the morning and collected my things.
THE BENCH

To the Conferry Terminal

I walked
Venezuela Photo - People playing soccer on the half sized pitch at the western end of the beach at Puerto La Cruz.
People playing soccer on the half sized pitch at the western end of the beach at Puerto La Cruz.
for 20 minutes to the ferry terminal to catch the Conferry to Isla Margarita, the ticket price was $40 Bolivares each way. When I returned to Puerto La Cruz after Isla Margarita I spent the remaining day and evening taking photos before catching a bus at 10pm south to Ciudad Guayana.

Paseo Colon

The boulevard in front of the sea is called Paseo Colon, the area is 10 blocks wide and is full of activity at the end of each day and into the evening. There are stalls and all kinds of things to buy including jewelery, child size puppets, clothing, toys
Venezuela Photo - Theater Teatro Cajigal in Barcelona built between 1894-95.
Theater Teatro Cajigal in Barcelona built between 1894-95.
and food. There are musicians playing and cool things for kids to do like drive around in little motorized cars and play on bouncy castles, down the road a bit is a fairground with all the usual attractions and bright lights. There is a huge cross monument with lights that change color from red to blue to green, there are palm trees above. There is a park with a monument to Jose Tadeo Monagas (1784-1868), he was president of Venezuela twice in the mid 1800's. The town of Puerto La Cruz itself is a busy little place and fun to explore, there are many restaurants and tourist agencies along the boulevard. It's worth spending a night here to enjoy the activity taking place down on Paseo Colon.
Venezuela Photo - Puerto La Cruz beach with it's many palm trees, a boat marina at the eastern end.
Puerto La Cruz beach with it's many palm trees, a boat marina at the eastern end.

Barcelona

I came to Barcelona from the east where I had spent a night in Mochima watching cock fighting and mingling with the locals, the bus connected in Puerto La Cruz. Barcelona is a city founded way back in 1671. I was interested in discovering some of the historical sites around the city. I enjoyed my day in Barcelona and stayed the night at a budget hotel in the center.

Casa Fuerte (Fort)

In the center of town are the ruins of Casa Fuerte (the fortress) which is a national historical monument originally the Convent of San Francisco. In 1811 it was converted into a fort for the city's defense and in 1817 was destroyed. In one corner of the fort adorns a
Venezuela Photo - The white Anzoategui Museum building in Barcelona.
The white Anzoategui Museum building in Barcelona.
statue of General Pedro Maria Freites (1790-1817) who was one of many who died in the battle that day including women, children and elderly.

The Plazas

Across the road is Plaza Bolivar with its many trees and monument in the middle of Simon Bolivar on his horse. Across the road from here is Plaza Miranda named after Venezuelan revolutionary Francisco de Miranda (1750-1816). Closeby is another plaza called Plaza de la Raza but there is nothing really there.

Historical Center

I now went street wandering and exploring, looking for old houses, buildings and things. I saw several before coming to the theater Teatro Cajigal with its neoclassical style, it has 6 arched wooden doors - 3 with balconies and was built between 1894-95. It
Venezuela Photo - Streetlamps and colored buildings on a street in Barcelona.
Streetlamps and colored buildings on a street in Barcelona.
is named after Juan Manuel Cajigal (1802-1856), a mathematician. Beside the theater is Plaza Rolando and church Iglesia La Ermita del Carmen.

The River

I saw more colonial streets and houses as I walked in the direction of the river Rio Neveri and crossed the bridge. From here you can see the Bolivar monument - 2 men shaking hands. The area around here is not the most attractive, kind of has a market feel.

Street Wandering

Nearby I found the historical Plaza San Felipe and the ruins of its church which was destroyed by an earthquake in 1812. Beside the plaza is a new church called Iglesia Nuestra Senora de Lourdes (1962). 2 blocks south from here I found Plaza Boyaca. This is an attractive park with lots of trees, nice
Venezuela Photo - A woman walks past a mural of Bolivar in Barcelona.
A woman walks past a mural of Bolivar in Barcelona.
surroundings and a central statue of Brigadier General Jose Antonio Anzoategui (1789-1819) - a leader in the Battle of Boyaca and born in Barcelona. On one side of the plaza is the Mayors building, on another side is the Cathedral of San Cristobal built in 1748 and due to an earthquake not finished until 1773. On another side is the Anzoategui Museum. There are some quite nice and well kept colonial streets around this area branching off.

Boulevard 5 de Julio

In the center of the city is Boulevard 5 de Julio where many 100's of people were walking along the long walkway with shops on both sides, yummy food and cold frappe to drink! At the far southern end of the boulevard is a huge statue that I saw from about 1km away called the Statue of San Celestino - looks like a roman in armour.
Venezuela Photo - Venezuelan revolutionary Francisco de Miranda (1750-1816) statue in Barcelona.
Venezuelan revolutionary Francisco de Miranda (1750-1816) statue in Barcelona.

Bus West Towards Caracas & Colonia Tovar

I had the next day (Sunday) planned well. Leave early to Caracas (5hrs) and take a further bus in the early afternoon to Colonia Tovar. Unfortunately it didn't turn out as I had planned. From Barcelona I took a local bus 20mins back to Puerto La Cruz and bought a ticket on a bus to Caracas with a company called Expresso Sol y Mar. The bus broke down and we stopped a couple of times, there was no aircon and it was as hot as hell. In the end it took 8hrs to get to Caracas and was too late for buses to Colonia Tovar. I wasn't going to stay in Caracas that's for sure - too dangerous. So I had to pay a taxi a lot of money to drive me the 2hrs to Colonia Tovar - I ended up arriving there at around 8:30pm.

     

View all photos in the Puerto La Cruz & Barcelona Photoset


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Distances & times (if available) from Puerto La Cruz & Barcelona (Venezuela) to:


Map location: Puerto La Cruz & Barcelona, Venezuela. I came to Puerto La Cruz the first time to get to Isla Margarita on the ferry! Barcelona is a city founded way back in 1671 - I was interested in discovering some of the historical sites around the city!
 A : Isla Margarita - La Restinga - Venezuela 115 kms 115 kms straight distance | 2hrs 48mins 2hrs 48mins by car (141 kms) | 3hrs 21mins 3hrs 21mins by bus (141 kms) (141 kms)
 B : Isla Margarita - Boca de Rio - Venezuela 111 kms 111 kms straight distance | 2hrs 54mins 2hrs 54mins by car (147 kms) | 3hrs 28mins 3hrs 28mins by bus (147 kms) (147 kms)
 C : Isla Margarita - Porlamar - Venezuela 126 kms 126 kms straight distance | 2hrs 53mins 2hrs 53mins by car (147 kms) | 3hrs 27mins 3hrs 27mins by bus (147 kms) (147 kms)
 D : Isla Margarita - Juan Griego - Venezuela 135 kms 135 kms straight distance | 3hrs 8mins 3hrs 8mins by car (158 kms) | 3hrs 45mins 3hrs 45mins by bus (158 kms) (158 kms)
 E : Isla Margarita - La Asuncion - Venezuela 137 kms 137 kms straight distance | 3hrs 16mins 3hrs 16mins by car (160 kms) | 3hrs 55mins 3hrs 55mins by bus (160 kms) (160 kms)
 F : Isla Margarita - Pampatar - Venezuela 139 kms 139 kms straight distance | 3hrs 9mins 3hrs 9mins by car (161 kms) | 3hrs 46mins 3hrs 46mins by bus (161 kms) (161 kms)
 G : Ciudad Bolivar - Venezuela 258 kms 258 kms straight distance | 3hrs 20mins 3hrs 20mins by car (290 kms) | 4hrs 4hrs by bus (290 kms) (290 kms)
 H : Ciudad Guayana - Venezuela 289 kms 289 kms straight distance | 4hrs 5mins 4hrs 5mins by car (363 kms) | 4hrs 54mins 4hrs 54mins by bus (363 kms) (363 kms)
 I : Colonia Tovar - Venezuela 283 kms 283 kms straight distance | 5hrs 43mins 5hrs 43mins by car (393 kms) | 6hrs 51mins 6hrs 51mins by bus (393 kms) (393 kms)
 J : Puerto Colombia - Venezuela 318 kms 318 kms straight distance | 6hrs 54mins 6hrs 54mins by car (443 kms) | 8hrs 16mins 8hrs 16mins by bus (443 kms) (443 kms)
 K : Puerto Cabello - Venezuela 366 kms 366 kms straight distance | 6hrs 9mins 6hrs 9mins by car (480 kms) | 7hrs 22mins 7hrs 22mins by bus (480 kms) (480 kms)
 L : Morrocoy National Park - Venezuela 404 kms 404 kms straight distance | 6hrs 51mins 6hrs 51mins by car (537 kms) | 8hrs 13mins 8hrs 13mins by bus (537 kms) (537 kms)
 M : San Felipe - Venezuela 443 kms 443 kms straight distance | 7hrs 7hrs by car (562 kms) | 8hrs 24mins 8hrs 24mins by bus (562 kms) (562 kms)
 N : Coro to Puerto Cabello - Venezuela 452 kms 452 kms straight distance | 7hrs 32mins 7hrs 32mins by car (595 kms) | 9hrs 2mins 9hrs 2mins by bus (595 kms) (595 kms)
Driving times are accurate but approximate and are listed in the order of driving distance! Drive times are always affected by weather conditions, the terrain, time of day, altitude, dinner and bathroom stops, animals on the road, protests, a fast or slow bus driver, police checkpoints, border and river crossings, dropping off and picking up passengers etc. These drive times are obtained from Google Maps and are meant as a guide. Note however, times quoted in the main text of this page are exactly as the author experienced it.


My Hostel & Hotel Reviews for Puerto La Cruz & Barcelona, Venezuela:

Hotel Don Luis, Barcelona, Venezuela - Large Photo
Hotel Don Luis, Barcelona, Venezuela (May 2013 - 1 night) - Well-priced budget hotel in the very center of town with 100's of shops all around. The room was simple but had a bathroom and tv.
Park Bench in Plaza Bolivar, Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela - Large Photo
Park Bench in Plaza Bolivar, Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela (January 2011 - 1 night) - The park bench at Plaza Bolivar was quite fine for getting 4 or 5hrs sleep on after arriving in town late at night, it was the bench closest to the police and they looked after my backpack and things in their tent. It is close to everything in the center of the city. Good price, free.

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Puerto La Cruz & Barcelona, Venezuela - Slept On A Park Bench. I came to Puerto La Cruz the first time to get to Isla Margarita on the ferry! Barcelona is a city founded way back in 1671 - I was interested in discovering some of the historical sites around the city!

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