Venezuela is an exciting place in which to experience expat life. From the breathtaking Andes to the Great Plains, grasslands and tropical Amazon basin, there are plenty of reasons for expats to be captivated by this geographically varied country.
Venezuela is home to a large expat community, with many foreigners working in the country's oil industry. Most expats settle in Venezuela’s capital, Caracas, or cities such as Maracaibo, Puerto La Cruz, Anaco and Valencia. Expats working in Venezuela often find the business environment to be more informal and relaxed than in North America or Europe, but are likely to find more corruption in the workplace as well.
Major Venezuelan cities are well equipped to serve the needs of expat families with several international schools that allow students to continue studying under the curriculum of their home country.
For those who can afford it, the standard of private healthcare in Venezuela is good. There are many reputable private hospitals in Caracas. However, medical treatment is expensive, and as such expats should always have a comprehensive health insurance package.
Venezuela has its fair share of crime. Expats should be vigilant in crowded places as pickpocketing is common. It is also advisable to avoid travelling to rural areas, as these regions are particularly dangerous.
Public transport in Caracas and Maracaibo is fairly extensive. Expats who choose to drive in Venezuela should be warned that road conditions are not always of a high standard. Expat drivers should be especially careful when driving at night. Locals in Venezuela drive erratically so expats should drive defensively.
Moving to Venezuela will be an exciting opportunity for even the most seasoned expat. Those with an open mind and a desire to embrace the vibrant culture of this country are sure to have an unforgettable expat experience.
Population: 31 million
Capital city: Caracas
Neighbouring countries: Venezuela is bordered by Colombia to the west, Brazil to the south, Guyana to the east and a Carribean coast to the north.
Geography: The country's landscape is varied with Andes mountains to the west, the Amazon basin rainforest in the south, the Llanos plains in the centre, and the Orinoco River Delta in the east.
Political system: Federal presidential republic
Major religion: Catholicism
Main language: Spanish
Money: The Venezuelan Bolívar (VEF) is divided into 100 céntimos. ATMs are widely available but are often targets for card cloning, thefts and muggings. It isn't difficult to open a bank account as long as expats make sure they provide the bank with all the required documentation.
Tipping: Five to 10 percent
Electricity: 120 volts, 60 Hz. Plugs have two flat blades and some have an additional round prong.
Internet domain: .ve
International dialing code: +58
Emergency number: 171
Transport and driving: Driving is on the right-hand side of the road. Expat drivers should be aware of the prevalence of car-related crimes such as hijackings and theft. Venezuela has a limited national rail and bus system.