Travel / Venezuela

The Barrios Of Caracas, Venezuela

I didn’t quite know what to expect out in the barrios of Caracas, but I knew I wanted to visit them.  I did know that the crime statistics in Venezuela are astronomical, and especially so out in the barrios.  And I knew that most of the supporters of Chavez come from these neighborhoods.  But, that’s about all I knew and that isn’t much.  So, that was enough to convince me that the barrios merited an investigative visit.  And what nobler cause can there be than dispelling one’s own ignorance?

Robert Young Pelton is currently soliciting input on places to visit for DPTV (Dangerous Places TV) and, upon our return, I noticed that the barrios of Caracas had been suggested.  Shortly after, I read elsewhere that the Caracas barrios are considered one of the most dangerous places on the planet.

Hmmmm, I just took my wife there… I didn’t know it was that bad.

They are certainly interesting neighborhoods.  And, yeah, I did feel the “I need to get the fuck out of here” vibe a couple of times – particularly after snapping a picture of some local drug dealers that really didn’t appreciate having their portrait taken.

By the way, if you have any suggestions for Mr. Pelton, he is still actively soliciting ideas

Inside the Caracas barrios:

The barrio neighborhoods of Caracas

Inside the barrios of Caracas

A scene from the Caracas barrios

The Caracas barrio

The barrio in Caracas

But, as with everywhere else I have visited that has a bad reputation, you’ll find that most people are friendly…

A fruit vendor in the barrios of Caracas

A poor neighborhood in Caracas

…and that it is mostly business as usual.

Business as usual

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16 thoughts on “The Barrios Of Caracas, Venezuela

  1. “Intense” business as usual, I would say…
    The barrios, to be honest, were my favourite part of Caracas. At least, the most interesting.

  2. Pingback: Caracas, Venezuela « The Velvet Rocket

  3. I’m very intrigued as to what you were expecting when you went to one of the ‘most dangerous places on earth” as you described Venezuelan barrios in your post.

    I’m from Valencia, one of the big cities in Venezuela, and have been to Caracas barrios several times as I had a girlfriend who lived in oone of them and most of my family is from Caracas. Fortunately, she was in it because the barrio simply grew bigger and bigger and eventually they were surrounded by it; and even though we weren’t in the middle of it, I could feel the atmosphere. You definitely were in areas where you shouldn’t be on your own.

    Eleonora, I am very surprised with your response! I have to say, Venezuela is a beautiful country, especially the coast where sandy crystal water beaches and keys surround us, the Amazons host millions of species, and the Andes stand tall and cold; hearing that barrios were your favourite part of Caracas is -forgive my perception, very out of this world. I am glad you had a positive impression by them and none of you were ever in danger.

    As a Venezuelan is sad for me to say, but this could definitely be a good topic for Robert’s TV show. If it is ever or was already featured, I would be interested in looking at it.

    May I recommend a couple of movies: “Secuestro Express” and “Hermano” which are situated in Venezuela. Hope you like them!

  4. I am from there and I was 11 and fighting with a gun ! It was certainly bad! But the people are the best in the world

  5. Hi… I am not Venezuelan but lived in Caracas for a period of 12 years (actually the most wonderful years of my entire life – and I am now 55). When I arrived at the airport of Maiquetia on May 6, 1978 I literally felt like I was finally getting home. Don’t ask me why but I always felt and continue feeling that I belong there. I’ve been in USA for 24 years now and still miss everything about Venezuela; the warm people, the food, the weather, the “friendliness” that you do not find anywhere else! … etc…etc…. Caracas is such a beautiful and modern city – as well as other cities in the country. Now, the “barrios”, especially Catia, Petare and San Agustin del Sur, are a totally different story. They are over crowded, not safe to live and dangerous to visit. I was there a couple of times but we went (my ex-husband, my brother and I) accompanied by employees we had at the construction company. They were good people, hard working people, but very poor! They knew all the “malandros”. At the top of the barrios not even the police would enter there! These construction workers had been born and raised there so they knew every one of the residents… I remember the first day I was so scared as they approached us but as our friends said to them -”Tranquilos, son amigos, son gente buena” (It’s OK, they are our friends, they are good people), they did not do anything – of course, if you bring cigarettes and/or beer for them they can even protect you. Most of those people work and have cars and TVs – others just live out of robberies and assassinations! The most amazing thing is that when I was there Caracas had maybe 2 million inhabitants and now it doubled in less than 20 years; and most of the people live in those barrios. Inside the city itself you can find literally everything as in all big cities in the world! It is beautiful and it has the most modern Shopping Centers. The whole country is beautiful, colorful, amazing weather, beautiful birds and trees, not to mention the most gorgeous beaches and coasts in the world… It is unbelievable that with all the money from the petroleum the government does not do anything to eliminate this. They could build millions of homes outside of the cities and start cleaning up those mountains. Look at what the petroleum money does in Dubai – and they do not have as much as they do in Venezuela… Well, I would still do anything to go back if the government changes, I dream of retiring there! Maybe I am wrong, but to me, it is the most beautiful country on earth (Even with the Barrios). :)

      • It is a great production; it shows the bad side of the country, definitely worth the 45 minutes.
        Sad to be reminded of what my country is going through, but I really hope this helps show the world what the reality is and pray it helps us in any way possible.

  6. Im from Turumo, a Caraca;s barrio, and now im living in Florida trying to play profesional baseball…
    Barrios are not my favourite place, i would like to have lived at a middle class apartment during my chilhood than in that hell…my cousin, another baseball player like me, die in a barrio just for nothing…he was 15 years old and while he was walking home, some guys start shoot at some rival gang, and u-know…
    Everytime I hear that the barrios are interesting places, believe me, its from people that never had to live there, weird tourist that enjoy porno-misery, U-know what im saying…

    • A subjective opinion, really, jeffren… And I would gently remind you that “interesting” is a very nuanced word.

      • His opinion will have more gravitas than yours Justin, I bet you didn’t grow up in a place as dangerous. ‘Misery-Porn’ sums it up nicely.

      • Nah, you’re missing the point completely… Visiting the barrio in Caracas was driven by being curious about an environment that is so different than my normal one.

        I guess you and Jeffren aren’t very curious individuals.

      • Hi Justin, a nice little article with some great pics, but how can you say that Jeffren’s opinion is subjective when the guy was actually born there and experienced such atrocities?! Clearly the barrios are a dangerous place for those living there on a permanent basis and your ‘snapshot’ of live there does not reflect the reality. Curiosity is good but it doesn’t make you an expert.

      • Thank you, Matt.

        An opinion, by its very definition, is subjective. Aside from mentioning that the barrios are dangerous, a fact supported by the crime statistics for Caracas, the rest of Jeffren’s comments are rooted in opinion rather than fact. Therefore, they are subjective.

        Please show me where I claimed to be an expert on life in the barrios… I’m sharing MY subjective opinion and impressions on the barrios of Caracas, not claiming that everyone will have the same experience.

        But, that said, how do you personally know that what I posted does not reflect the reality? Have you been to the barrios? Are you suggesting that the smiles were fake? Are you suggesting that the people we saw just going about their lives and making the most of them were just pretending? Are you suggesting that the kids we saw playing baseball and having a good time were paid actors meant to impress us with how life is fairly normal in the barrios? Don’t ignore the comment above from “GANSTER VENEZOLANO” about the people in the barrios…

        Most places that have a bad reputation are not really as bad as their reputation would lead one to believe. Interestingly, the reverse is often true as well…

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