Valencia is one of the main cities of Venezuela. Among the attractions of this city it’s worth mentioning that it has an airport, small but functional, from which not only it’s possible to fly to virtually anywhere in the country (one of the most popular destinations Margarita Island), but also to Aruba and Panama City, and once there you can make air connections with the rest of the world.
On the other hand, if you want to travel by car, Valencia is strategically located two hours from Caracas, Venezuela’s capital. This separation is not only geographical: Valencia is as developed as Caracas but less populated and therefore much quieter -and safer than the latter. In addition, Valencia is close to some of the most beautiful beaches in Venezuela: the national parks of San Esteban, Morrocoy and Henri Pittier. Moreover, Valencia, Naguanagua and San Diego, its neighboring towns, have more than seven places of interest. Get to know them below:
El Casupo Municipal Park
Mostly known as Cerro El Casupo. This mountain is one of the vegetable lungs of the city. It has several trails and the most popular one is located at the northern end of “Las Cuatro Avenidas” of El Parral neighborhood.
La Cima (the Top)
First, it has a dirt trail and then stony one that lead to two small houses to which the Valencians call respectively ” la Primera y la Segunda casita” (the First and the Second house), the latter of which is located at a point called La Cima (the Top), which is usually the end of the trail for most walkers.
However, La Cima is just half-way for some walkers, who continue from there your adventure, after which they have multiple options: they may make their descent along a path that is located around La Viña and Guaparo neighborhood. In change, others prefer to go from La Cima to the Refugio La Paz, which is Casupo’s highest peak.
Refugio La Paz (La Paz Refuge)
On the way to the Refugio La Paz, it’s possible to choose to go to another mountain, the majestic Cerro El Café, located in the municipality Naguanagua, or crown at El Refugio. Once there, you’ll find “la Tercera casita” (“the third house”) and a viewpoint from which you can see all Valencia -including Guataparo and its dam, the “Dique de Guataparo”-, Naguanagua, the Cerro del Trigal (which has a cross at the top named “the Cross of Valencia”) and even Valencia Lake at the distance.
Río 1 and Río 2 (River 1 and River 2)
Then you can make the descent by any of these paths, continue along the row of hills that are among the developments El Parral and La Manguita or go down the two rivers: Río 1 and Río 2.
Choosing the latter will probably let you experience the most beautiful sightseeing that can be enjoyed in Casupo, because it has spectacular views of the mountains and steep paths traversed by small waterfalls, pure water wells which are fit for consumption and also to bathe in them. There’s even a cave! It’s noted that for security reasons it’s recommended going to the park in groups and during the days and hours that the most people go, namely: from 3:00 to 5:00 pm on weekdays and weekends at the same time but also from 7:00 to 10:00 a.m.
Negra Hipolita park
Also called Fernando Peñalver park, it is also located in the northern part of the city about three blocks from one of its major roads: North Bolivar Avenue. It has a forest that combines trees with large trunks, shading much of the park, and bamboos located on the banks of the River Cabriales, which divides into two this beautiful park, but there are several bridges to join both ends.
The Negra Hipolita park has an area of 7,100 hectares that are constantly patrolled by police, civil protection, and park staff. It is an ideal place for walking, jogging, cycling, practicing Tai Chi in the Zen garden, play football or throw a frisbee in the open field, indoor soccer or basketball in the respective courts or recreate the kids in the playground. By the way, in this park, there are often many squirrels which approach people in search of food and it’s possible to feed them with peanuts -sold in the cafeterias of the park. Children love it.
Located on the Avenida Fernando Figueredo, in the same place of the former headquarters city aqueduct, also known as Caja de Agua (water box) -which was built in 1886 by President Antonio Guzman Blanco-, and more than forty years under his belt, the Aquarium of Valencia presents an option for a morning or afternoon scatter in the city of Valencia, for just a few dollars (in fact, the entrance costs only cents).
Originally, it had a terrarium and a piebald dolphin’s show. According to the staff of the institution, these areas will be rehabilitated, but as this article is being written the only functional areas are the aquarium, a zoo that includes a petting farm, and a 5D simulator (access to the latter is not included in general admission, but it’s really cheap: it costs about thirty cents per person).
Upon entering, the first thing that you see at left hand is the 5D simulator, which has four types of rides suitable for all ages. Right next to the simulator you’ll find the petting farm, where you can touch and even feed (only with food that is sold by the Aquarium’s staff) to cattle, sheep, goats, pig, and horses. Then, there is a cage with guacamayas (parrots), then a kiosk that sells trinkets and right beside a ‘pintacaritas ” (a woman who paints kids faces) which is the worship of children.
From there stretches a path where you can see dozens of animals of all kinds, among which are macaws, toucans, ducks, parrots, vultures, peacocks, harpies, monkeys of various species, tortoises, ocelots and crocodiles. It takes about 45 minutes to walk throught the zoo and then you can visit the aquarium, which is quite modest (it can be walked in about fifteen minutes) but has its charm. Finally, right beside the aquarium’s entrance there is a playground.
Over the last twenty years, recent governments have endeavored to rehabilitate the squares and public spaces in general.
Plaza Fabián de Jesús (Fabián de Jesús Square)
Among these include the Plaza Fabián de Jesús (Fabián de Jesús square), located in the Prebo neighborhood, which features an art gallery, roads, playground and exercise area with machines for disabled. In this same area, they are also worthy of being mentioned Naguanagua’s Botanical Garden and San Diego’s Metropolitan and Skate Park.
Naguanagua’s Botanical Garden
The Naguanagua’s Botanical Garden, has more than 200 mature trees in an area of 15 hectares.
San Diego’s Metropolitan and Skate Park
It is ideal for contact with nature and breathe fresh air, like San Diego’s Metropolitan Park (Parque Metropolitano de San Diego), which also has a forest but also roads with pond and streams, playground, exercise area and bathroom service. Finally, the Skate Park is located in the La Esmeralda San Diego Municipality. As follows from its name, it features a track for skating and biking, as well as a playground and a spectacular view of San Diego’s municipality.
in Valencia and its neighboring municipalities there are hotels that offer Pool Day service: for a reasonable fee, you can access each hotel pool and eat at their restaurant. This option is ideal for those who prefer a more exclusive and secure place in the city of Valencia. It’s offered by Venetur -in which, incidentally, there is an iguanas reserve, and includes access to the hotel gym- and Embassy Hotel. Also, in Naguanagua, Hesperia and Lidotel offer this service as well.
Shopping malls and theme parks
Oddly enough, the most known places for recreation in Valencia are located outside its boundaries. Currently, the most renowned shopping malls are Sambil, El Cristal, and Metropolis, the first two located in Naguanagua and the last one in San Diego. All have shops, food fair, and cinemas.
Same goes for theme parks: the two that exist today are located in Naguanagua. That is Dunas‘case, a theme park that has attractions for children and adults, as well as a water park. And Dito Park, which has rides mostly for infants and toddlers, but has a Ferris wheel and a roller coaster.