Ciudad Bolívar is located on the banks of the Orinoco River. It is named after Simon Bolívar, Venezuela's Independence hero.
It is a frequent stopoff point on visit to Angel Falls and is a good place to find tour companies to take you there. Its previous name Angostura (thin ribbon) represents the river's last navigable port.
- Tomás de Heres Airport. From Maiquetia/Caracas there are regular flights with Rutaca Airlines
There are buses from several cities including Caracas, Maracay, and Barinas (15 hours). Most buses go through Caracas. From the bus station there you can get buses anywhere and also walk to taxi for airport. Ciudad Bolivar to Caracas is 8 hours. Ciudad Bolivar to Santa Elena (border with Brazil) is also about 8 hours.
If walking is not an option the best way to get around in the city is by taxi. Taxis are cheap in Venezuela. At night call for a taxi as it can be hard to find one on the streets.
A fairly decent colonial town center, worth a wander.
- 1 Casa San Isidro. This is the house where Simon Bolivar stayed during the Congress of Angostura. With a lush tropical garden. Entrance free.
- 2 Fortín El Zamuro. A small 18th century fort with good views over the town.
- 3 Jesús Soto Modern Art Museum, Avenida Germania, Ciudad Bolivar (Between the old and new town centers), ☏ . Tu-F 9:30AM-5:30PM; Sa Su and holidays 10AM-5PM, closed M. World-renowned Venezuelan plastic art sculptor Soto has some of his best works on display alongside other modern artists in a fine museum and garden setting laid out by Venezuela's top architect, Carlos Raúl Villanueva, designer of the Central University in Caracas which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- 4 St. Thomas Cathedral (Catedral de Santo Tomás) (Plaza Bolívar). The impressive colonial era cathedral is on the northeastern side of Plaza Bolívar. The construction dates from 1771 but was not completed until 1840. The cathedral is now fully restored to its original glory.
- 'El Fogon de La Madama: - Really nice soups, Guyanese dishes, local favorites, very special homemade hot sauces and salsas for sale and uniquely preserved all natural sundried desert fruit sweets (sun dried papaya 'lechoza' is a favorite that is unsurpassed anywhere else). By reservation Orinoco Basin minestrone, fried and croquette fish dishes, Creole Caribbean and English curry specialties are all available at El Fogon de La Madama in a beautiful market overlooking the river. Ask for Patrick and Carla at the fish market. They are well known there and reviewed in tony Caracas magazines and newspapers. This place is famous for its fish dishes. They also have beer.
Posada Don Carlos in the town center 'casco viejo' is spectacular. Really special architecture, service, appointment. Very nice rooms, elegant atmosphere, good food. Also has dormitory hammocks and bunks. You can use them to get excellent tours to jungles, on rivers, to Angel Falls, Roiraima, Tepuis and more. German owner has 20 years experience in this region of Venezuela. They have connections throughout Venezuela to Colombia and beyond.
After 7PM everything closes down in the city center.
- [dead link] Posada Don Carlos, Calle Boyacá (con Amor Patrio), ☏ , (cel), email@example.com. In an old colonial mansion. All rooms have en suite bathrooms. Shared kitchen. Breakfast, lunch and dinner served also. Pleasant double patio and common parts. honour bar. Free WiFi internet. Laundry service. Money exchange. Car parking. Tours to all venezuelan destinations can be arranged here. Double room US$19, and a hammock/bunk US$6.
- [dead link] Posada Doña Carol, Calle Libertad 28, Casco Historico, ☏ . A slightly more basic option but still with comfortable rooms. US$20 for a double room, and US$6 for a hammock.
- Posada La Casita, firstname.lastname@example.org. They offer free shuttles from/to the city.
- Posada Amor Patrio (Behind the cathedral). Five tastefully decorated rooms with fan, shared bathroom and small shared kitchen.
- Universo Gran Hotel, Av República and Paseo Gáspari (Near the bus terminal), ☏ , .
- 1 Hotel Laja Real, Ave Andres Bello, Con Calle Jesus Soti (Right opposite the airport). An upmarket option with a lovely swimming pool, but the rooms can be noisy, especially at weekends.
After sunset the city center turns deserted. Try to avoid moving around after 8PM. The Paseo Orinoco is said to be infamous for muggings at night.
- Ciudad Bolivar is the departure point for tours to Canaima and Angel Falls.
- Tours up the Rio Caura, a tributary of the Orinoco, can also be arranged from here, where you can see some impressive wildlife and waterfalls. A 5-day tour with Soana Travel (office at Calle Bolivar and Calle Dalla Costa) costs US$300.