Ciudad Guayana is a city in the state of Bolívar in Venezuela. It is constituted by Puerto Ordaz and San Félix, two originally independent tows that have sprawled and merged into one single city. The city's economy is based on heavy industry, including huge aluminum and steel export plants.
Ciudad Guayana was founded in 1961 by merging two towns on both of the riversides of the Orinoco, San Félix and Puerto Ordaz as a single city. The (BR-174) which connects the Orinoco towns of Ciudad Bolivar and Ciudad Guayana (or Puerto Ordaz) to Brazil. Buses run this route regularly. Puerto Ordaz is Venezuela's fastest growing town and is known for some spectacular waterfall parks within the city itself. The visitor infrastructure is still young but the university has long provided a good audience for interesting restaurants and nightspots. San Felix is the colonial town but has no historic building of note and contains the poorer sections of the sprawling urban area. Puerto Ordaz was founded in 1952 as an iron ore port.
Many industries have settled in it, since its geographical position gives it many advantages, but the mining and particularly iron being its main industry. The iron ore is transformed into high grade iron ore pellets in local factories. The bulk of the areas production is exported. The state of Bolivar is also rich in bauxite, gold, diamonds and various kinds of clays for brick production.
Since its foundation it has grown from two fledgling towns into the Guayana region's most important industrial center, and a hub of growth in a typically under populated region of Venezuela. The city stretches 40 kilometers along the south bank of the Orinoco. With approximately 1,300,000 people, it is a large city by Venezuelan standards. It is also the country's fastest-growing city, due to its important iron industry. It is also one of Venezuela's five most important ports, since most goods produced in Bolívar are shipped through it into the Atlantic Ocean, via the Orinoco river.
The Caroní River is a major river of the Orinoco basin in South America, having its source in South Eastern Venezuela, in the Guiana Highlands. It is a blackwater river, with the dark color of the water due to leaching from decomposed plant sediments, not from the amount of iron around the riverbed as is often suggested. The Caroní river meets with the Orinoco river and merges into it for approximately 13 km. The two rivers meet where Ciudad Guayana (city of Guiana) now exists. This city was created by the fusion of old cities of San Felix and Puerto Ordaz, on either side of the river.
There are several flights per day that link Puerto Ordaz with the capital Caracas (airlines Aserca, Aeropostal, Rutaca) with an estimated duration of 50 minutes. Flights everyday to Margarita island with Conviasa airlines with a duration of 45 min. Flights to Canaima (Gran Sabana) with small planes and airlines can be found in travel agencies and the airport.
The main bus terminal is 1 Terminal de Pasajeros de San Felix. There are daily bus services from the capital Caracas, taking just over 13 hours. Regional buses also connect frequently with neighbooring Ciudad Bolivar. Express buses run from Santa Elena de Uairen, Maracay, Valencia and Caracas to the Puerto Ordaz bus terminal, which is somewhat out of town.
The main routes are served by buses and porpuestos. Some of the main sights are only accessible by taxi.
- Parque La Llovizna. A spectacularly beautiful island in the Rio Caroni with many streams and waterfalls.
- Parque Punta Vista. See the Rio Caroni join the Rio Orinoco
- Parque Loefling. A small zoo of endemic animals
- Parque Cachamay. Spectacular rapids of the Rio Caroni
- Guri Dam and Reservoir - Hydroelectricity provides some two thirds of Venezuela's energy needs, most of which comes from Guri. You can take a tour round the facilities.
- Casa de Lobo, Calle Zambia 2, Manzana 39, Villa Africana (near Castello). Apparently the cheapest accommodation in town, not so easy to find, free coffee, kitchen use and Internet.
The city has a Brazilian consul, on the way down to the Gran Sabana. This is the second last place before reaching the border where you can ask for a Brazilian visa (necessary for US, Canada, ...). The last place is at Santa Elena de Uairén, 12 km from the border. Getting the visa takes usually 1-3 days.