La Guaira

In 1999 heavy rainfall resulted in horrific mud- and landslides that crippled the region between Maigquetía and Naiguata; some reports say that up to 30,000 perished. This swath of land includes the once-charming town of La Guaira. Uprooted trees, broken sidewalks, and buried buildings meant the loss of the colonial charm that once existed here. Though Venezuela is still fairly unprepared for major influxes of tourists, and the political tensions in this country consistently keep mainstream travelers at arm's length, this small town is still on its way to becoming a major cruise port. The town itself doesn't have much to offer in the way of services, so most cruise-ship passengers are loaded immediately onto Caracas-bound buses. The beaches nearby aren't much to look at (being so close to such a major port), so beachgoers will be bused along the coast as well.

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