"Independent Oil Capitol of South America" Top 5 Page for this destination Maracaibo by atufft

Maracaibo Travel Guide: 33 reviews and 121 photos

The Isolated 2nd City of Venezuela is Unlike...

Whereas Caracas is a congested city in a mountain valley, Maracaibo is an open city on a low plateau that drops down to sea-level at the waterfront. The weather is hot and sticky much of the year, except for cooling breezes that may blow from the lake. Named after the lake, which geographically speaking is a bay, Maracaibo is a comparatively wealthy and independently minded city. If it weren't for the petroleum produced by the Maracuchos, Venezuela would be just another banana republic on the shore of the Caribbean. We traveled by car from Valencia, some 10 hours to the east (and Valencia is some 2 hours west of Caracas), to visit my wife's cousins. I learned that the Maracuchos are very historically and traditionally very independent and proud, and that since the exploitation of oil, they have emulated the North American lifestyle. Yet, Estado Zulia, where Maracaibo is the capitol, is also a state with reminant vestiges of native American influence, particulary by the Guajiros, and that the music, the Gaitas, are well-known and appreciated throughout Venezuela and Colombia. Maracaibo is Venezuela's second largest city with some 2 million inhabitants and has plenty to do.

Entrance to the city from the east is over the...

General Rafael Urdaneta Bridge, which is named after the Maracaibo born fighter for independence. At the time of its construction in 1962, this bridge was the longest prestressed concrete span in the world. The city was first established in 1529 at a point where the bay narrows and enters the Gulf of Venezuela, for which the nation was eventually named. The name Venezuela roughly means "little Venice", based on the observation of indigenous fishing villages in the swampy landscape by Christopher Columbus and other early explorers. For a long time, Maracaibo was simply a seaport with little to export until the discovery of oil in the basin beginning in 1914.

  • Intro Updated Mar 6, 2008
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Reviews (12)

Comments (4)

  • starship's Profile Photo
    Mar 6, 2008 at 6:27 PM

    Great info! The pictures of the Saladillo District remind me of some tableau-type, terra cotta art pieces we bought on Isla de Margarita and near Caracas. I love the colors!

  • calcaf38's Profile Photo
    Dec 16, 2007 at 5:32 PM

    I like this page a lot. It gives me a very definite impression of a place I'd like to visit. Your photos are great too.

  • Ekahau's Profile Photo
    Jul 1, 2007 at 11:49 AM

    another very nice page great details and i love the color in you photos

  • Vulindlela's Profile Photo
    Jun 13, 2007 at 4:47 PM

    Great page! I had known about the lake and the oil but not much else. Thanks for the insight!

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