Returning To Where I Was Kidnapped & Shot At: Venezuela

I have a fascination with traveling to dangerous places but it’s not because they’re dangerous, it’s because most people don’t travel there. Everyone travels to Europe and Paris, c’est la vie!  I like visiting places that people don’t travel to and since the capital city of Caracas, and Venezuela,  have turned into one of the most dangerous places in the world, there are very few people that are traveling to Venezuela.

There are some highlights, I happened to be born in the small city of  Merida, Venezuela, which happens to be one of the most touristic cities in the country and also one of the safest. The way I can compare Merida to Venezuela is very similar to the way Medellin is to Colombia; many of the people in the small city have a unique culture and it is an incredible beautiful region .  You can find the highest peak in all of Venezuela (Pico Bolivar), the longest cable car in the world, and a very beautiful people.

Merida, Venezuela

A popular tourist attraction in Merida: Venezuela de Antier (from before)

I was born in Venezuela and the last time I visited the country I was kidnapped and shot at in the capital city of Caracas.  I wasn’t scared to return but I know how hectic and chaotic the capital city of Caracas can be, I wanted to avoided it at all costs.

I wouldn’t go as far to say that it is organized chaos like Nairobi, it is just chaos.  I didn’t want to fly into Caracas because the airport delays are unimaginable.  I was over four hours late  when I had the pleasure of getting to know my kidnappers and I still made the flight since it was delayed by over five hours.

In addition to that, the small city of Merida has a very small airport and it has been shut down to large planes due to a catastrophic accident.  In order to get to Merida, I would need to fly into a neighboring city called El Vigia (El Vee-he-ah) and proceed to take a taxi to the city that takes over an hour.

I did mention that there are tunnels that are often blocked because of landslides didn’t I?

Caracas is so dangerous that in one year it claims more deaths than Mexico’s drug war and even Iraq (see NYtimes article).  Just imagine that for a second, it is easily one of the most dangerous cities in the world. I wanted to return to Venezuela because I wanted to see my grandmother as I haven’t seen her for a very long time. She would often ask, “you traveled to Africa but you can’t come to Venezuela to see your grandmother?”

A throwback picture of my grandmother & I

Being a day trader, I am very in tune with the global economy and finances around the world.  I expect the state of the global economy to get worse, not better, which is the reason I wanted to take the opportunity to visit Venezuela now.  The region that I am from is also in a state of tranquility which made for a perfect time to visit.

I moved back Medellin, Colombia, after my stint in Eastern Africa so I was as close as I was going to get to Venezuela. I wanted to spend some time getting caught up with my new day trading project called TheDayTradingAcademy.com where I teach people how to day trade.  Now this bears a very important question,:

How exactly am I going to enter the country without going through Caracas?

I researched a few border towns, spoke to my family in Merida, and found that there was a great border crossing near the Colombian city of Cucuta. The idea was to spend time with my family in Merida, proceed to the Angel Falls, head down to Brazil via Manaus, and eventually end up where I’m currently living in Rio de Janeiro.


The beautiful city of Merida

Due to the chaotic environment in the country I was unable to head down via Manaus so I returned to Medellin, Colombia, and change my plans to spend Carnival on the coastal city of Barranquilla, Colombia. Safe to say we had a great time and I met a great new friend which I plan on doing some business with in Colombia.

Getting in and out of the country was an absolute mess, to make things worse I went to renew my Venezuelan ID and I was traveling with an American passport and one name and Venezuelan documents in a different name.  Nothing like a few military police checkpoints to get through!

The way that I entered the country would be the safest and best way to enter flight do plan on sharing that in future posts. In the meantime, you can start to take a look at my growing Venezuela travel guide why update more information.


  1. Danger is written all over Venezuela. “Don’t go!” is the message I get reading this. I never imagined it to be so. It’s the land of beautiful women and where the happiest people in the world live. But yes, danger makes a destination challenging, and maybe more exciting? I still want to visit it one of these days and Angel Falls is definitely in the itinerary. Keep writing!

    1. It has now become one of the most dangerous places in the world Jun.. after going to Somaliland and South Sudan I figured I could take on Venezuela again!

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