• Venezuela Travel Tips

    July 22, 2014 by Stuart | Category: Travel Etiquette by Country

    Sunset Margarita Island Las Guevaras VenezuelaVenezuela is a country on the North Coast of South America that is known for crisp blue waters, scenic waterfalls and even sand dunes. Whilst visitors are enjoying the scenery of such there are a few basic rules of etiquette to make your stay more enjoyable – not just for you, but for the locals.

    The OK finger symbol is actually not OK.

    This hand gesture is considered offensive in Venezuela. Use the thumbs up instead.

    Learn a few conversational phrases in Spanish.

    Whilst there are several different dialects in Venezuela and your Spanish might be a bit rusty – the locals will definitely appreciate the effort.

    Communication styles.

    In general, people in Venezuela tend to be very direct and blunt during conversation. They tend to stand quite close during conversation and may use their hands or facial expressions to further make a point. Eye contact is important – a wandering eye suggests that you are really not interested in the person whom you are speaking to.

    Appreciate the relaxed attitude towards timekeeping.

    If you are at a café or restaurant and notice that the service isn't fast – enjoy the slower pace and relax. Venezuelans have an easy going attitude towards punctuality. This also involves social engagements – turning up fifteen to thirty minutes late is seen as very common.

    Dining etiquette.

    Table manners in Venezuela are continental. A knife and fork is used for most foods – including fruit. The host will advise you where to sit. Do not eat or drink until they have made a toast. Hands should always be visible and a napkin should always be sitting on your lap. Leave a small amount of food on your plate when you have finished. When in doubt follow suit.

    Appreciate their hospitality.

    Venezuelans are known for the welcoming attitudes and love for hosting. If invited to a dinner, it's a good idea to send flowers beforehand as a thank you. Also bring a gift from your home country for the host. Other gift ideas include wine, chocolates or candy or even a decorative item for their home (something again from your home country is a good idea).

    Venezuelans point with their lips and chin.

    Pointing with your finger is considered rude. So many people in Venezuela point to objects by pouting their lips and lifting their chin.

    Bring some fancy clothes.

    Smart casual is generally acceptable attire in Venezuela, however the locals love to dress fancy and it's a good idea to bring at least one set of elegant clothes.

    Meals are for socialising.

    Therefore you should avoid discussing business, politics, human rights, etc and stick to light hearted and social conversations. Only discuss such things if the host brings it up. Eating and walking is often frowned upon – food is meant to be enjoyed seated.

    Maintain good posture.

    When you are in social settings and are seen in social settings do not slouch – good posture is a sign of good manners.

    The locals don't use the beach to relax.

    Venezuelans love to use the beach as a party location. During the holiday season if you are invited to the beach by a local it is more likely for a beach party and not for sunbaking!

    Find out more by visiting smartraveller.gov.au's page on Venezuela.