Colonia Tovar is a small mountain town about two hours from Valencia…unless you are on a medium sized tour bus, its dark, its rainy, and you don’t have a confident driver. It took us 6.5 hours to get back to Valencia!
A bunch of us new teachers wanted to explore Valencia and any nearby places, so someone at the school kindly helped organize something for us. Something we thought would be a short day trip turned into a really loooooonnnnnggggg ride.
So, was it worth it?
I love mountain towns. If there is a mountain town that is only an hour drive from a tropical beach, I want to know about it! I spend most of my time living and working in a hot and humid environment, so I really appreciate the cooler, less humid air found in Colonia Tovar. The views are also quite nice.
I also really like to cook and eat good food. Since there are not many big farms outside of Colonia Tovar and Merida (or so I’ve been told by locals), the produce is not very fresh in the city. I was very happy to find beautiful heads of lettuce, bright orange carrots, succulent strawberries (more on that later), and real lemons! This town also styles itself as a German town so there are sausages, pretzels, and German speaking townsfolk to enjoy during your stay. I left the town with four bags bursting at the seems full of great produce and other food items!
The strawberries! I grew up in Portland, Oregon where we have access to amazing strawberries, but I can still appreciate them in other places. The strawberries in Colonia Tovar are sweet and ready to eat. Everywhere you go in that town you see signs for strawberries and cream (fresas y crema). I bought a plastic cup full of freshly whipped cream and strawberries for less than a dollar and a strawberry tart for about the same price. Sadly, I ate them before I could take a picture to share.
This is probably the most touristic place I’ve visited in Venezuela (Merida is a close second). I actually heard people who weren’t with us speaking English on the street (a first in my two years here). So if you are looking for souvenirs you can find them in this town. It was also very clean and safe. People actually had their DSLR cameras around their necks and smart phones in hand (not recommended anywhere else I’ve been in Venezuela).
My colleague told me they will even be having an Oktoberfest in a couple months, which I might attend (despite my loathing for beer).
So, yes, for me it was worth it…this one time. I would love to go again in a car or SUV so we can access the more direct/steep route there and back, but I will NEVER go again in a bus!