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Top Rated Attractions in Rest of Venezuela

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El Ávila National Park

December marks the start of Caracas' dry season, and it is a good time to escape the city for the mountains. El Ávila range looms north of the city and the park is surprisingly accessible from downtown. Hikers and walkers will find more than 200 kilometers (124.27 miles) of trails, but a cable car, or teleférico, climbs the imposing slopes in a quick 12-minute ride for those desiring a faster ascent. On clear days, El Ávila Peak offers breathtaking views of Caracas and the Caribbean.

Birthplace of Simón Bolívar

Tucked away off one of the streets near Plaza Bolivar, the birthplace of El Libertador Simon Bolivar is no longer the tranquil house it once was due to its current popularity. Known as Casa Natal del Libertador, this quaint 17th Century house will take you back in time to the colonial era. A single story house, the Casa opens up to beautiful courtyards and patios. While its architecture is largely Spanish Colonial, the front facade is built in stone which differs from more characteristic colonial houses. The corridors, antique furniture and chambers depict Bolivar's journey from being a child to becoming Venezuela's most prominent national leader. Artwork by Tito Salas depicting Bolivar's significant life events are displayed inside the house. This house is a labyrinth of memories and a peek into the life of one of the most celebrated heroes of Venezuela.

National Pantheon of Venezuela

An illustrious monument to the national heroes of Venezuela, the National Pantheon is also an exquisite architectural and historical landmark. Built originally in the colonial style in the 1870s, the pantheon was revamped to become one of the first Neo-Gothic buildings in Venezuela. Awash in light pink, the aisles showcase some of the bravest national heroes and significant luminaries in Venezuelan history. The central nave of the interior is dominated by El Libertador Simon Bolivar, the most eminent of Venezuela's national leaders, with his sarcophagus placed at the earlier site of the altar. A magnificent Baccarat chandelier with 4,000 shards and over 200 lights festoons the ceiling. Excellent works of art by Tito Salas hang on the ceilings and are a great draw for art connoisseurs. A symbol of national pride and art, the National Pantheon is a glorious tribute to the greatest personalities of Venezuela.

Galería Acquavella

In Venezuela, Acquavella is synonymous with the concept of art gallery, since it is one of the oldest institutions of this type in the country. Founded in 1954, it makes use of all the technological resources available to project its work worldwide. At its website, you can access the latest exhibition in case you have not been able to see it at the gallery. Acquavella has been the home to and promoter of works by important Venezuelan painters, such as Cabré, Castillo, Golding and Monasterios. It continually presents collective and individual exhibitions. At the web site, information about 14 permanent collections may also be found. Admission is free.

Galería de Arte Nacional (GAN)

This museum was opened in 1976, and is devoted to the preservation and exhibition of works by Venezuelan artists from Colonial times to present day. The Permanent Collection includes relevant names from the 19th Century like Arturo Michelena, Cristobal Rojas, Martin Tovar y Tovar and Tito Salas; among later artists are Francisco Narvaez and Hector Poleo, plus a vast selection of works by Armando Reveron. Present Venezuelan art is represented by Alejandro Otero, Francisco Hung, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Jacobo Borges, Regulo Perez, Meyer Vaisman and other great creators. The museum also presents temporary exhibitions coming from public or private collections.

Museo de Ciencias Naturales

This museum is more oriented towards the spread of knowledge than to mere exhibition. The interested public visits it regularly, since it organizes exhibitions on specific topics, such as biodiversity, petroleum, communications and nutrition. An area that captivates both young and not so young is one that presents a sizeable collection of stuffed mammals of all sizes, including a giraffe, placed in a painstaking recreation of their natural environment.

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