Capital of the state of Anzoátegui, Barcelona was founded more than 300 years ago by Spanish settlers. Today it is Puerto La Cruz's gritty next-door neighbor, and, most important, the site of the region's largest airport. Barcelona's colonial-era vibe makes it a pleasant day trip from the resort-town style of its neighbors. Go to the corner of Plaza Boyacá, the city's tree-lined main square, where you can visit and photograph the Iglesia de San Cristóbal, a stunning
church built in 1748.
Perhaps more impressive is the adjacent Palacio del Gobierno (Government Palace), built in 1671. Today it houses the Museo de la Tradición, which has rotating exhibits of colonial and religious art. Plaza Boyacá, Puerto La Cruz. 0281/277–3481. Free. Daily 9–12:30 and 3–5.