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Brazil / Venezuela borderBrazil / Venezuela border

The share taxi dropped me off at the 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, there was no real place to get a stamp.  I walked into a new building and asked, then I was taken to an office and stamped in, again without any problems.  I was the only person there.

After getting my Venezuelan stamp, I was still far from the next town of Santa Elena.  There were no taxis or buses here, but as I was stood at the side of the road thinking about what to do a Venezuelan in his car offered to take me to the bus station in Santa Elena for a few reais.

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).

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

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

The bus was arriving in Ciudad Bolívar, and the police stopped the bus for a random check.  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 noticed.  After he tried to take all my cash, I ended up giving him a 5 euro bill I still had from French Guiana, then I was on my way.

I decided that if I had to tolerate this, then I would just go see Angel Falls, then take the next bus to Colombia.

Ciudad Bolivar to Bucaramanga