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Brazil / Venezuela border to Ciudad Bolivar

The share taxi from Boa Vista, Brazil dropped me off at the Venezuela border on the Brazil side, I was the only one there and was stamped out without any problems.  I then walked over to the Venezuelan side where there was no real place to get a stamp.  I walked into a new building and asked about a stamp before being taken into an office and stamped into Venezuela without any problems.  It seemed like I was the only person arriving in Venezuela.

After getting my Venezuelan stamp, I was still far from the next town of Santa Elena.  There were no taxis or buses on the border so I stood at the side of the road thinking about what I was going to do.  As I was stood thinking, a Venezuelan in his car offered to take me to the bus station in Santa Elena for a few reais.  He later told me he thought I was Brazilian and that I had to be very careful in Venezuela.

Brazil / Venezuela borderBrazil / Venezuela border

At the bus station, I changed a few dollars into Bolivars at the black market exchange rate.  In Venezuela there is an official government exchange rate for dollars and a black market rate.  The black market rate is very favorable so most tourists in Venezuela bring US dollars and change them in the street or with people who want dollars (your hotel is a good place to start looking).

I found an overnight service to Ciudad Bolívar which is the stop off point for visiting the Angel Falls, the highest waterfalls in the world.

Overnight bus from Santa Elena to Ciudad Bolívar, 12 hours, 20 ReaisOvernight bus from Santa Elena to Ciudad Bolívar, 12 hours, 20 Reais

After about 12 hours on the road and a good sleep, the bus was arriving in Ciudad Bolívar and the police stopped the bus at a police checkpoint.  When the officer saw my passport was European, he immediately took me to the police station whilst everyone else stayed on the bus.  I had to take my bag and he knew I would have US Dollars cash as I was arriving from Brazil.  I did read that you are allowed up to $10,000 and I was way under that so I was not worried.  He was just looking for money, I could’ve had anything in my bag and he wouldn’t have cared.  After he tried to take all my cash I ended up giving him a 20 euro bill that I still had from French Guiana, then I was on my way.

I decided that if Venezuela is like this then I would just go see Angel Falls before taking the next bus to Colombia.

Ciudad Bolivar to Bucaramanga