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Merida and the Andes: Fact file

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When to go

The drier, sunny season extends from Dec-Mar. Because of the altitude (Mérida is at 1,625m) it is cooler than the rest of the country, with average temperatures of around 19°C all year round. The area is busy with visitors at Christmas, Carnival, Easter and from Jul-Sep.

Language

Spanish

Getting local currency

Bolívar Fuerte. Banks will offer advances on a credit card.  Money exchange offices and larger hotels will happily buy US dollars cash (very few accept euros or sterling and the rate will be poor).

Time difference

GMT -5.5 hours (yes, really).

Getting there

There are regular short domestic flights between Caracas and Mérida.

Combines with

A visit to the llanos wildlife prairies and wetlands, Barinas is 4hrs by road from Mérida; warming up on a Caribbean beach wind-down, accessible from Caracas (1hr away by air).

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