El Avila: Caraquenos’ Magical Mountain

by Borderstan.com September 22, 2009 at 5:10 am 2,831 2 Comments

El Avila Mountain separates the Venezuelan capital of Caracas from the Caribbean, just 17 miles on the other side.

El Avila Mountain separates the Venezuelan capital of Caracas from the Caribbean Sea, just 8 miles away by car on the other side.

This view of Caracas, and the lush green of the hillsides, is one of those things you have to experience in person. It is impossible to understand how magnificent a view it is through a photo.

One of Luis’ friends in Caracas took this photo from her office window. The mountain in the background is El Avila, which has an almost magical quality for Caraquenos, the term of Caracas residents. On the other side of El Avila–and about 8 miles from downtown Caracas–is the Caribbean Sea and of great beaches.

The city sprawls for miles through the Caracas Valley and onto the hillsides. There are wealthy neighborhoods, large middle-class enclaves and poor neighborhoods–in close proximity. The city’s development, whether private or public, is fueled by Venezuela’s immense oil revenues.

Caracas, the capital, sits inside a bowl and has a climate that varies little during the year. In addition, the humidity levels are relatively low and it cools down quite a bit at night. Think Los Angeles, but with fewer temperature swings; never gets as chilly and never gets as hot.

When I went to Venezuela two years ago with Luis, we stayed in his mom’s high-rise apartment. No air conditioning, just a fan (for me) and the windows wide open. I slept incredibly well.

One day we took a lift up El Avila to the National Park at the top. The mountain also have many walking and hiking trails and Caraquenos use them a lot. I remember that mist and fog at the top.

The political situation in Venezuela has deteriorated since our visit two years ago. In addition, violent crime ( including kidnappings for ransom) is quite bad now. I’m hoping we can go back without having to wait too many more years. It’s a bad situation.


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