chavez1Parallel to the fascinating economic landscape of Venezuela are physical beauty, friendly people, and delicious food. However, State Department travel warnings about the prevalence of kidnappings and violent crime gave us second thoughts prior to our departure.

Even though our itinerary concentrated mostly on remote, untraveled areas of the Andes and avoided Caracas, reactions from my wife’s colleagues—particularly those from Latin America—not only gave us pause but precipitated a phone call to our tour operator about the trip’s safety. She assured us that she had seen no problems in twenty years of running trips and that we were in good hands with our experienced guide and our veteran driver. The risks seemed minimal.