Budget Travel Ideas in Caracas

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With Caracas catapulting to 15th in Mercer's ranking of world's most expensive cities, you may think budget travel in the Venezuelan capital has completely flown out the window. But opportunities still abound to experience the oh-so-alive city in non-bank-busting style. You can survey the arts, learn the history, soak in some serious scenery, dine delectably, and salsa the night away. 

Art lovers prepare: not only are the majority of Caracas museums completely free of charge, public art teams on the walls and building-sides of the great capital. First-rate free museums include the Museo de Arte Comtemporaneo, Galaria de Arte Nacional and Museo de Bellas Artes. Perhaps the city's most significant piece of outdoor art, the mural depicting the Battle of Caraboo can be seen on the side of the Salon Eliptico. Aside from legit, commissioned murals, guerilla street are can be discovered all over the city, offering fascinating insights into the contemporary political and cultural landscape.

Get grounded in a little Venezuelan history, with a heavy dose of Bolivar, at historical hotspots Museo Bolivariano and Panteon Nacional, similarly free-of-charge. The looming Plaza Bolivar Cathedral on the city's main plaza provides for glimpses into Caracas' religious fervor and colonial past.

For breath-taking panoramic views, most pay the hefty fee to ride the city's Teleferico to its El Avila summit. You can skip that at man-made vista point Mirador de la Torre Este. On the 52nd floor of the Torre Este building, rides up are free of charge; guards will want to check your passport though. 

Escape the bustling urbanity without a big price tag at lovely Jardin Botanico in Parque del Este, offering a peaceful oasis of greenery for a remarkably low admission cost. You can also grab a cheap carrito bus to once-suburb El Hatillo. Though now absorbed into the greater city of Caracas, El Hatilla retains its quaint, small-town vibe, and boasts excellent craft stores.

Your single biggest expense in Caracas will be accommodation, and skimping here is difficult, as many budget hotels double as "love hotels." Avoid the seediness and head to Hotel Plaza Cathedral; its location and cute balconies can't be beat. Sabana Grande is home to many budget options, the better among them being Nuestro Hotel. 

Aside from sumptuous arepa stalls, budget dining options include Venezuelan Patricia in the Sabana Grande district, and La Cocina de Francy, featuring tasca-style fare. You can celebrate your low-cost success at salsa hotspot El Mani Es Asi.

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