Cost of life and everyday life in Caracas


I'm a 29 yo female teacher moving to Caracas on my own in August and wondered two things.

Firstly, what is the monthly amount in Bolivares that sounds right to need monthly, aside from rent (not including rent). A rough idea would be great.

Secondly, I will live in Altamira but I am keen to go out and do things like practice dance, etc. Provided I watch the areas I go to, is it usually okay for single females to go about or is it entirely crazy to walk alone at night?

Despite reading about Venezuela, it's hard to picture which restrictions are compulsory or just standard caution one would exercice anywhere.

Thanks for your tips,


Hi Emilie!

Welcome to ;)


Hello everybody!
I was thinking to post the same thing! So , if its ok I would like to add myself too here!
I am Maria from Athens and I am considering in moving to Caracas in afew months, and yes I was thinking for Altamira area, because from what I have read on the internet seems the most secure area.
But the cost of life is something I would like to know in addition with the salaries there and the rent.

Thank you in advance!:)

Emily and airamhag
I am naturaly for Caracas, at the moment not living there but still go there for vacations and my family still live there. I would like to advice you not to try to walk alone at any time of the day. Be also caraefull with the taxis there are many pirate ones and they kidnap and do bad things.
It is entirely crazy to walk alone at nightis in a not a safe city.  Why don`t you try to find a roommate? In the other hand are you sure about your country election?
Best regards and best of lucks

+Hi Nigusi,

Thank you for your post. I am lucky because my accomodation will be provided, and I don't intend to take a roommate because it is a one persone apartment and having flatshared for years I;m glad to have some privacy.  However I am concerned when you say one cannot walk alone at any one time, I suppose Altamira is an exception, I can't fathom living somewhere if I need a chaperone all the time, unthinkable - thank yuo for your warning, I was quite sure that the alone at night walking might be a problem!


I do not walk when I am in Venezuela, I scare from doing it.


That sounds crazy, if I ever end up in a place that I really cannot walk in, I don't think i'll be able to live there - anyway will check this out myself when there!

Really not walking alone at anytime of the day ???
wow..that really put me into thoughts...
i ve been looking for a job abroad for yeeears and finally i got a job offer somewhere, cant beleive that i should not take it because of it !!

the office i will work is in Chacao this a good area?
Im really terrified now... I didnt know it was that bad...
what about the cost of living ?

Hi Emilyevyeline,

I live in Caracas since 15 month.

I understand your question regarding costs of living since you maybe are to decide how large share of your salary you are to receive in local currency (BsF) and how large share you are to receive in your home currency (Euro maybe).
If this is the case you should go for as little BsF as possible, since your employer pays you a Euro equivalent at the official exchange rate of 4.3 Bsf/USD. The black market ("real") rate of the BsF vs USD in 8.5 today. That means that it is better to receive as much as possible of your salary in foreign currency and then exchange at the black market. Most venezuelans are very interested in buying your foreign currency since the government limts their access to a certain amount per year. A venezuelan citizen must at the government agency Cadivi apply to exchange his Bsf to USD or whatever, and since the amount is limited there is always a high demand. The very high inflation of 30% also makes it less interesting to hold on to BsF any longer than nescessary.
So, by exchanging at the black market rate you  will reduce your costs of living by 50% (compare 4.3 vs 8.5).

Most easily this is done by getting into contact with a venezuelan who has a bank account in the U.S. Then you transfer whatever amount from your French(?) account to this U.S account, and the venezuelan counterpart transfers the agreed amount (at agreed rate) to your local venezuelan bank account. Hereby you avoid cash handling. Of course you can also bring cash USD and that would work too. USD is more known that Euro, even though that would work too.

The goods you buy with your locally earned salary will have a relative price twice as high as the goods you buy for the money you have aquired through the black market (mercado paralelo).

So go for a low amount paid in BsF - lowest possible.

Now to your basic question. How much BsF do you need monthly to get around. I would say maybe 6000 BsF. You could manage with less to, absolutely. Initially you may have higher costs because of the relocation, but once you are settled it will be enough.

Bring USD cash at arrival as a backup if you can.

Walking the streets: Daytime in Altamira and Chacao it should go fine. Depends on your appearance. Dress down and behave cool and avoid dark alleys...of course. Women here has all kind of looks and as long as you are not very tall and platinum blonde, nobody will notice you, but take you for a venezuelan woman.

The streets are crowded during daytime, just blend in. No problems I would say. DonŽt wear jewellery or fancy looking watches. Inside the numerous shooping malls you can however relax and wear whatever. This is where the middleclass go. There is no street shopping like in other cities. This is because of safety issues.
In the evening (it gets dark at 6 pm) you should not walk the streets. Nobody does and you become a target. If you are being robbed, just hand over what you got and donŽt argue. Then youŽll be fine. Otherwise shoot...

Certain areas of the city you should always avoid: All shanty towns ("Barrios"), Centro, Sabana Grande. You will learn. Eastern Caracas where you will live is the safest area of the city.

There is a french community in Caracas that can help you out. They arrange parties and activites and through them you will get to know fellow frenchmen.

About language: nobody understands english but a few words, you need to speak some spanish. My spanish sucks but it still works fine (autodidact as I am).

Finally, go ahead to Caracas. It will be an interesting experience and you should not hesitate. The people are nice, the climate is perfect. On the bad side you have the trafic and the security issues.

Rgs A

Swede123 wrote:

Most easily this is done by getting into contact with a venezuelan who has a bank account in the U.S. Then you transfer whatever amount from your French(?) account to this U.S account, and the venezuelan counterpart transfers the agreed amount (at agreed rate) to your local venezuelan bank account. Hereby you avoid cash handling. Of course you can also bring cash USD and that would work too. USD is more known that Euro, even though that would work too.


a great post, what i personnaly needed.
I have a question about that.
this transfer reffers to an official exchange market ?
Black market works only with cash ?

From what I have seen and experienced, granted I am a male,and I work in Las Mercedes and live nearby in El Rosal, I find this part of Caracas and really, all parts of Caracas I visit, as entirely civilized.  I note a LOT of women walking at night by themselves, going about thier business, no one bothering them.

how it happends opinions to be so opposite?
a few say that is totally dangerous and some others that there is no problem...

I can only tell you what I see.  I see plenty of people walking out at night, plenty of police pressence as well. Ladies in my neighborhood walk their dogs at night alone. (To be fair, there are ALSO other ladies walking about in some streets, but even they don't hassle old bald men walking past them).
I have not gone walking down every Caracas street, ALL big cities have their danger, I have no doubt Caracas is the same in that regard. The great boulevards in Caracas all seem to teem with people until 10, 10:30 at night.  Do I wear gold chains around my neck?  Carry a wad of cash?  carry all my credit cards?  Answers are no.
Caracas as most other places in the world is full of people trying to get on with their life, do the best they can.  No different from your hometown, really.

It depends how well travelled and confident you are - how well you think you fit, and how easily people freak out. Some people have a very low threshold to violence or maybe have experienced agressions and others are more adventurous or have never had any issues.
I do not intend to stay locked up in an expat community and even if there is a risk to get in trouble, so could it be in London or anywhere. Make up your own mind I think.


"I do not intend to stay locked up in an expat community"

Sage words those.  After a life time being an expat, I have always searched and gotten local friends.  I have a sister who lives in Rome.  Her friends?  Expats from work, Her news?  The BBC, her Sports? SKY.  Essentially she lives in London..... kind of weird if you ask me.

Thank you for the replies.
this discussion really helps me  to make a picture of the life over there.
certainly , in order to have a clear view of the subject I have to move there first.



I live in Caracas, I would like to make friend to practice my english in exchaged my Spanish, if you like we can keep in touch and i will give you more advises and what to do on weekend here.

good luck

Please let me ad my 2 cents....I live in America. A very high rent district in Atlanta Ga. Upscale is a better word for it. I went to the police station and had them pull up a crime report on my neighborhood and WHALLA...This crime report was covering a two year time span and I was shocked to find that in my UPSCALE community the crime report was worse than the whole Country of Venezuela as well as all the other South American Countries with exception to Brazil.

Often folks try and claim crime is so bad south of the border yet its actually very safe. If you cruised the red light district and sought out drugs then yes you are going to experience crime...

You sound like my neighbor here in Atlanta. She is a single white female who jogs everyday at dusk. I observe her returning after dark. She has never been accosted and by her having a normal routine its not uncommon for her neighbors (self included) to look out for her.

So trust me when I tell you that you are probably safer in Venezuela than most places. If you do get in a pirated taxi chances are you wouldn't know it because he just wants money for transporting you. Pirated Taxi drivers are just taxis that have no license. There are hundreds here in Atlanta. LOL

do you think i can find a room with 100 dollar per month?

100 dollars being aproximatively 3100 bs on the black market, it's possible. I have found a room along those price lines, but from my experience it can be complicated because they can have crazy demands beforeso. If you're willing to pay in dollars though, you might have higher chances to find something. You can start looking here

Also if you're iranian, don't hesitate to contact the iranian community here, there are some around and word-to-mouth is the best way to find a room in Caracas...

Hey guys,

I'm new to this, but would love your input.  I am thinking of moving to Caracas(Las Mercedes area), and wanted to know how dangerous it really is.  I keep hearing different views, but would love to hear a perspective from someone who's been there recently.  Thanks

I live in Las Mercedes, I'm from Venezuela (Maracaibo) and I have been living in Caracas (Las Mercedes) during the last 9 months..  It is one of the safest areas in Caracas...

I walk around the area every day to and from work.  I also venture around until about 8-9 PM during weekdays to buy bread or a quick snack, but I rather not walk around after 10 PM.  It is not really bad but you are still in Caracas/Venezuela, which means you are open to being mugged anywhere.

During the weekends there a hell of a lot of night activity, so it is "somewhat" safe to walk around until 12- 1 am... and even a bit later.  For example you go to the CC Tolon and watch at 10 PM movie, you can safely walk to your place if it is only a few blocks away.  Still what I as a Venezuelan consider "safe" is not the same as what you would call "safe" in most USA cities.

A few more pointers about Las Mercedes:
- Public transportation and taxi's are plentyful
- People talk on their expensive cellphones in the bus (I wouldn't do it in the Metro or in many other areas).
- Horrible traffic from 4:30 to 6:00 PM traffic.  Just horrible.
- Lots of people walking everywhere and lots of events occuring during the daytime.
- Doesn't have a subway station but it is very easy to reach one by taking a bus  (short route, 5 min without traffic-30 mins with heavy traffic).

Thanks.  This is very helpful!

BTW, If you need some personal assistance let me know.  I know it is not easy to trust strangers on the web, but if you would like more detailed adviced just send me a private with contact information (email/whatsapp/bbm or whatever)

Hello Emily

Are you still in Venezuela? How did you find it? Please let me know?

My friend ! You are dead wrong about the pirated taxis .I have traveled the world.Pirated taxis have robbed me and my clients in several countries.One even tried to kill one of my clients . I also own a taxi business in Texas and they have tried to do the same thing here.Except the legal cab drivers and  cities shut them down fast !  Have you been to Venezuela recently ? There is a reason why in ever country people are told to never take these type of taxis.As it could cost someone their life.! You might want to to think twice about telling people it's ok to do this!  Good luck !