• Colombia!

    Colombia: Caribbean Sea coast. Go Now!

    Although most of the people live inland, Colombia also has its share of coastline along the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea (pictured). Go Now!

  • Ecuador!

    Ecuador: Sally Lightfoot Crab. Go Now!

    The Galapagos Islands and Ecuador are home to incredible wildlife, such as the famous Galapagos Turtle and the lesser known, but more common Red Rock or Sally Lightfoot crab (pictured). Begin Your Journey!

  • Chile!

    Chile: Torres del Paine National Park. Go Now!

    The Andes dominate much of Chile, including the breath-taking Torres del Paine National Park (pictured). However, the country also hosts the world's driest desert and a thriving metropolis. Begin Your Journey!

  • Venezuela!

    Venezuela: Los Roques. Go Now!

    Rooted in Europe, Venezuela boasts an impressive history, culture, and beauty, including the Caribbean Coast (pictured). Explore Venezuela!

  • Bolivia!

    Bolivia: Salt flats. Go Now!

    This hidden gem is full of surprises, from the impressive salt flats (pictured) to the migrating flamingos. It also clings to the most historic indigenous culture on the continent. Explore Bolivia!

Architecture of Venezuela

WARNING: Violence is common in Venezeula, please read this travel warning before going!

The pre-Columbian architecture in Venezuela was simple and little to no original architecture from this time period remains. Most of the buildings built at this time were houses made of wood, all of which have since been lost to time.

With the arrival of the Spanish the architectural diversity and complexity greatly expanded. The early settlements began along the Caribbean coast and were generally built in the Spanish style. However these settlements grew slowly and were heavily influenced by the Caribbean and settlers from other countries, meaning there are few places that are fully Spanish in influence.

One of the most impressive architectural cities in Venezuela is Coro, which sits on the Caribbean and was founded in 1527. The historic heart of this city is generally Spanish in style and design, but most houses use local materials, including adobe for their construction. There are also a number of Dutch elements in the designs as the Dutch had much influence in the region during the growth of the city. Almost the entire town center mixes these styles, including some of the most impressive buildings in the city, including the Minor Basilica of Coro, Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco, Casa del Sol, Casa de las Ventanas de Hierro (1765), and others.

The Spanish also had cities that were more authentically Spanish in design, materials, and layout. These cities include Trujillo, Maracaibo, and Caracas, which had fewer outside influences so generally follow a Spanish-styled central square layout centered around a church.

Beyond this the colonial influence is well felt throughout the country, but not always particularly noticeable. Venezuela wasn't a particularly important Spanish colony so received less funding and hence fewer buildings constructed to last over time. Additionally, with the heat and humidity, many colonial buildings have since been destroyed, renovated, or re-built. Even after gaining independence, the architectural growth was slow and didn't truly take off until the 1900s.

With the discovery of oil in the 1900s, Venezuela vastly increased its wealth and ability to build new structures. Much of this money stayed in the capital of Caracas and today the city is filled with modern and post-modern structures, which overshadow the historic heart and architecture of the city. This growth is most noticeable from the 1950s and later. Among the more impressive of the modern buildings in the capital are the Parque Central and the Universidad Central de Venezuela.

This page was last updated: February, 2013