Cumana (Venezuela)

Cumana is the capital of the Sucre state. It is located on the Gulf of Cariaco, 400 km northeast of Caracas. The city was founded by the Spaniards in 1521 and soon became one of the largest ports in the Caribbean. Kumana is considered one of the oldest settlements founded by Europeans in the New World. The city was repeatedly destroyed by the Indians and rebuilt, so only buildings that were erected starting from the 17th century have survived in the Old City.

According to, the main attraction of Cumana is the fortress of Castillo de San Antonio. It was built in 1678 in the form of a 4-pointed star to protect the city from pirate attacks. The fortress is located off the coast of Cariaco Bay on a hill. From here you have excellent views of the whole city and its surroundings. At the foot of the hill, the Church of Santa Ynez was erected in the 19th century in honor of the patron saint of the city. Also interesting in Cuman are the city cathedral on Plaza de Bolívar, the Maritime Museum and the Sucre Museum, which tells about the life and struggle of the country’s national hero – Antonio José de Sucre, who was born here, fought for the independence of the Spanish colonies in the 19th century and became the first the President of Bolivia.

A little to the west between Cumana and Puerto La Cruz is the Mochima National Park. The park covers an area of 95 thousand hectares and covers the coastal mountains covered with forests, part of the northeast coast of Venezuela with mangroves and adjacent coral reefs and about 30 islands. It is home to 78 species of mammals, 28 species of reptiles, including 4 species of turtles (green, leatherback, Byss turtle and Caretta turtle), a variety of dolphin species and several hundred species of seabirds. For accommodation in the cities of the mainland of the park, hotels and posadas (small family hotels) are open. The largest city in the park is Mochima.

Mostly tourists go to the Mochima National Park to sunbathe on the snow-white beaches, which are considered among the best in the country, and swim in the calm waters of the Caribbean Sea. The most popular beaches are Playa Colorada, Playa Arapito, Playa Santa Fe and Playa Blanca. However, on weekends they are crowded with vacationers. You can also go to the beaches of nearby islands, where tourists are delivered on fishing boats. The islands of Canoa, Canoita and Chimana Grande are suitable for snorkelers. It is worth remembering that from May to August the beaches of these islands are closed to tourists, as at this time turtles come here to lay their eggs. In addition, Mochima National Park is a great place for diving. During the dives you will see coral reefs, underwater plateaus, sunken boats, anemones (sea anemones), a variety of tropical fish, dolphins, turtles. The best conditions for diving are observed from July to November, at which time underwater visibility reaches 20 m. Tourists are also offered excursions on yachts and walking tours in the mountains and forests of the park.

About 150 km southeast of Cumana, near the city of Caripe, is the Cueva del Guacharo National Park, which guards the eponymous 10-kilometer limestone cave, home to about 15 thousand guajaro birds, and mountains covered with wet forests. In the evening hours (about 6 pm) the birds leave the cave in flocks in search of food. Inside the cave it is always cool (no more than +19 degrees) and humid, so you need to dress warmer. In the vicinity of the cave, there are several hiking trails that pass through forests, mountain rivers and waterfalls. Of the mammals in the park, jaguars, cougars, deer and monkeys live.

Northeast of Kumana is the Araya Peninsula. Araya is the main salt mining site in Venezuela.: here you can see salt fields – small lakes filled with sea water, which evaporates, leaving a layer of salt on the surface. Also on the western tip of the peninsula near the city of Araya is the royal fort of Santiago de Araya, which was built in the early 17th century by the Spaniards to protect the salt fields from pirate attacks. You can get to the peninsula from Cumana, both by land and by sea. The overland route will take several hours, but the boat trip to the peninsula lasts 30 minutes. Further east, the Araya peninsula merges into the Paria Peninsula. Here is one of the most beautiful beaches in Venezuela – Playa Medina (Playa Medina). Playa Medina is a real tropical paradise with many coconut trees surrounding the white sandy beach. There is a hotel near the beach . Nearby is another beach – Pui-Puy (Pui-Puy), known for the fact that turtles come here to lay eggs. In the vicinity of the beaches is the fishing village of Caribe River. Interesting are the local houses built in the late 19th century in the colonial style, the church of the early 17th century and the chapels of El Calvario and San Miguel Arcangel. Caribe River is known as the “city of cocoa masters”, because nearby on Hacienda Agua Santa (Hacienda Agua Santa) produces cocoa, which is considered one of the best not only in the country, but throughout the world. Tours are organized at the hacienda, during which you can look at cocoa plantations and observe the production process of cocoa powder and even chocolate. Another hacienda of the Paria Peninsula – Hacienda Aguasana – is open on the basis of local thermal springs. Visitors are invited to take a dip in natural lakes filled with thermal water or mud, as well as in artificial pools, and undergo a relaxing massage session, which is performed using a mixture of mud and coconut oil.

Cumana (Venezuela)