Choroni is a hopping little beach town and one of the more accessible for harried Caraqueños trying to escape the big city. That being said, we left for Choroni on Monday morning. Using public transportation to arrive is an adventure. The bus from Caracas to Maracay is no big deal, $2.50 and an hour and a half ride. On the other hand, the bus from Maracay to Choroni has to go up and over some pretty steep mountain passes. The road is so curvy that the bus has to back up and make a three point turn to get around the switchbacks. These buses are old Bluebird school buses that have been outfitted with new custom paint jobs, stickers galore, neon lights and a sound system that leaves your ears ringing. Their fearless drivers also lay on the air horn around each blind curve as you try to stay in your seat. For those who suffer from motion sickness (or a fear of heights) this could be a deadly combination. At the peak you are literally in the clouds among dense bamboo groves.
We arrived around dusk, so we were quick to check out a few posadas and settle on one for about $20 for the night. Dinner was grilled fish and fried calamari, along with a few well-deserved beers, down by the waterfront. The next morning we set out to have a better look for a new posada (not that the one we were in was bad, but you´d be suprised at the options you have if you spend five more dollars). Possible amenities include hot water, air conditioning, TV and an included cooked breakfast. The posada we chose was a rustic, homey place called Tom Carel, where Tom himself showed us to our room. His posada included everything above except the cooked breakfast, but the room came with the bonus of a hammock inside, strung above the bed! The details were artistic and eclectic, with lots of dark wood and tiles.
The town of Choroni is Spanish Colonial, with lots of brightly-colored houses on narrow streets, and a distinctively Caribbean feel. Tourism and fishing keep things going, and there are a wide variety of activities to keep visitors busy. The main beach is a short walk from town. Playa Grande is a pictureque crescent of white sand about a half-kilometer long. While you sit and watch the sparkling waves, vendors pass by now and then with cold beer, snacks, local-made jewelry and a potent mix of seafood in a jar, loosely translated as “break the bed,” which is supposed to greatly enhance one´s manliness.
One day we went to the nearby beach, Cepe, reached only by small boats that leave from the waterfront. It was a paradise: calm water, palm trees, not too many people. There we enjoyed almost too much of the local guarapita, a strong mix of aguardiente and, in this case, passion fruit juice. This made for an early night. Donny ventured out by himself to get take out chicken sandwiches and some non-alcoholic drinks for us to enjoy in the room!
We spent the next couple of days relaxing by the beach and enjoying our vacation from our vacation. We decided to head back Friday for two reasons: half of Caracas would be arriving that day, and we also had a big birthday party to attend.
On our return trip, we took a taxi from Choroni to Maracay because the bus wouldn´t be leaving anytime soon (it was mid-day, everyone was arriving rather than leaving, and the bus doesn´t leave until it´s full). Our taxi driver was ¨the new guy¨ which meant he was a little younger than the other taxi drivers we had seen around. This also meant our taxi traveled at a LOT faster pace! We got back to Maracay in record time and caught the bus back to Caracas. We even spent an extra fifty cents and use the bus with air conditioning.
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