Sunday, January 13, 2013

Merida, Venezuela

My trip to Merida, Venezuela came about when I was talking with a cruiser friend of mine who was in the same marina at Puerto La Cruz a few years ago.   We were both having work done to our boats and decided we needed a break.  So we did some research about how to plan the trip.
The easiest (and most reasonable) way to get to Merida is to get a taxi to downtown Puerto la Cruz to the bus station.  It's best to get a ticket a day or so in advance, so you can be sure to get a seat.  Be sure to wear heavy clothing - never mind that it's 90 degrees out, trust me, you'll need them.  Also, you might want to bring a little pillow and a blanket, the bus ride is 18 hours.  The air conditioning is so cold that everyone looks like they're in cocoons during the trip.  Apparently, the air conditioning units are engine driven and there is no way to regulate the temperature - so it comes out COLD.  They stop every few hours so you can have some food or a bathroom break.  There is a head on the bus, but if you use it, go early.  Toward the end of the trip, it seems to get very unpleasant in there.  Wherever you go, take your own roll of toilet paper, or tissues.  My friend laughed at me when she saw me pack the roll, but during the trip, my roll turned into "our" roll and she never laughed at me about that again.  Even at the "truck stop" places you stop for food, you will need it.  The bus has movies, some are American ones, with Spanish subtitles, but there were a couple Spanish ones that didn't have subtitles.   Actually, none of them were worth watching. 
It was an adventure, but certainly a trip never to forget, the teleferico was an amazing trip in itself.  It felt like a bus ride, but you look down and there is no road, only a valley far below.  There wasn't much of a noticeable sound and the car is moving slowly, so it was an eerie feeling floating along.  At the top of the mountain, 32 degrees, there was so little oxygen up there, we were stumbling around, giggling and feeling drunk.  It was all I could do to take a few pictures of the area.  It was a real shock to people who have lived at sea level for years.
If anyone ever gets the chance to be in the neighborhood, I'd recommend this trip.
Betty Karl
You Tube video of Merida, Venezuela -
Island Fever book  -

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