- Places to Explore
- Fodor's Choice
- Spanish Phrases
Getting Here & Around
If you've taken a flight to Mérida, the best way to explore the surrounding areas is by car (rented or hired for the day). If you are driving from Caracas to Mérida, Mucuchíes is one of the first small Andean towns you'll pass through. The roads here are quite twisty, though, so only consider a car rental if you're comfortable driving on this kind of road.
The Route to Mérida from the Lowlands
From Barinas, you'll start ascending into the cooler, crisper Andes. The following are the major towns and villages you'll pass on Carretera Andina en route to Mérida.
Barinitas: This is a good gasoline stop on your way up the mountain (though there are gas stations all along this route).
Santo Domingo: A large town with lots of trout restaurants.
Pico el Aguila: Take a moment to breathe in deep—this is the highest point on this road.
Apartaderos: Stop for a moment to enjoy this cute little colonial town with some fun craft shops and small restaurants.
San Rafael de Mucuchíes: Though it's tiny, and crisscrossed by a very treacherous road filled with fast-moving vehicles, San Rafael is a real gem, with one of the most famous capillas, (chapels) in all of Venezuela—that of Jean Félix Sánchez.
Mucuchíes: This charming, if overflowing, Andean town has lots of hotels and posadas to choose from, along with a great criollo (traditional Venezuelan) restaurant at Posada Restaurant Los Andes.
Musui: Hike up to hot springs or just stop for a hot coffee in this small, welcoming village.
Tabay: Turn left off the highway toward Cabañas de Xinia & Peter and discover a thriving mountainside community of woodworkers and artisans. Lovely magenta flowers and wild mountain scenery make it one of our favorite stops.
Free Fodor's Newsletter
Subscribe today for weekly travel inspiration, tips, and special offers.
Fodor's Trip Planning Ideas
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Go List: Fodor's Top 25 Places to Go in 2013
- Hotel Awards 2012: Fodor's 100 Top Hotels
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Best of Europe: Fodor's Picks the Best Places to Visit in Europe
- $650* & up -- Fly to Quito, Ecuador from U.S., R/T LAN Airlines
- $334 -- Luxe Brazil Beach Resort w/Breakfast, 35% Off Sheraton Rio Hotel & Resort
- $99 -- Colombia: Modern Bogota Hotel w/Breakfast, 35% Off Aloft Bogota Airport
- $1222 & up -- Ecuador: 5-Nt. Amazon Rain Forest Tour w/Air LatinEscapes.com
- Belize Family IExplore