Destination Information for Venezuela
Venezuela is on the North coast of South America, and is home to some of the most spectacular wildlife and stunning natural landscapes on the continent. With a Caribbean Sea shoreline, pristine beaches offer unrivalled opportunities for sunbathing and diving. Venezuela’s prime tourist attraction is Angel Falls, in the Guiana Highlands, which is the world’s highest waterfall. The country also includes the second-longest river in South America, the Orinoco. Rich in the natural resources of gas and oil, this is a country with lots to offer.
Around 40% of the country is given over to national parks and reserves, and there’s an impressive variety of wildlife to be seen, especially in the rainforests of Amazonas in Guayana, the least visited region of Venezuela, which is largely uninhabited. From beaches and caves to jungles, waterfalls, rapids and breathtaking mountains, the diversity and vastness of the landscape is incredible. The capital and largest city is Caracas, offering plenty in the way of tourist attractions, museums, parks, colonial architecture, restaurants and bars.
The currency system is complex and visitors are advised to seek help from a local to avoid being significantly short changed! Carnival season in Venezuela is February to March, but this is a good choice of South American destination all year round, with fabulously flowing waterfalls during the rainy season of May to November and deserted sandy beaches in time for Christmas.
Malaria in Venezuela
The media has reported on a 66.9% increase in the number of malaria cases in Venezuela. Nationally, a total of 31,696 malaria cases have been reported.
During the week 29 Mar-4 Apr 2015, 1,677 new cases were reported, the majority of which were located in the states of Bolivar and Amazonas. Seventeen were imported cases from Brazil, Colombia and Guyana.
The worst affected area is Sifontes municipality in Bolivar state where mine workers account for many of the cases. The miners work in the open air and live in poor camp conditions without bed nets or other bite avoidance measures.
The Ministry of Health reports that 76% of new malaria cases are due to the milder form (vivax) and 23.53% are due to the serious form (falciparum).
Advice for Travellers
The states of Bolivar and Amazonas are well recognised as high risk areas for falciparum malaria and antimalarial medication is recommended.
Malaria and regions within country:
There is a high risk of P.Falciparum malaria in Bolivar and Amazon regions including Angel falls. There is a variable risk of P.Vivax malaria in the areas of Apure, Anzoategui, Delta Amacuro, Monagas, Sucre and Zulia. There is low to no risk of malaria in many coastal areas, the city of Caracas and Margarita island. (See map above).
Malaria chemoprophylaxis for high risk zones:
Doxycycline or Atovaquone/Proguanil or Mefloquine
Chloroquine plus Proguanil should only be used if other anti-malarials cannot be tolerated as it is less effective in these regions.
Malaria chemoprophylaxis for variable risk zones:
Chloroquine (Proguanil can also be used if Chloroquine is not deemed suitable).