Mérida History & Information
The State of Mérida is located in the south western area of the country.
It limits with the states Trujillo , Táchira, Barinas and Zulia and is the one that rises to
greater heights in the country. Politically; the State is divided in 23 municipalities and its capital
is the City of Mérida , which is located at an altitude of 5.380,58 feet above sea level.
This city had an enormous influence in the historical and political unfolding of Venezuela .
An important piece of information is the active participation of this region in the movement for independence,
when in 1813 fully endorsed Simón Bolivar at the time he crossed The Andes during the route of the “Admirable Campaign”.
On May 23rd of that same year, the city of Mérida gave Bolivar for the very first time, the title of Liberator.
CITY OF MÉRIDA
Its full name is “Santiago de los Caballeros de Mérida” and was founded in October 18th of
the year 1558 by Captain Juan Rodriguez Suárez, who found a surprising similarity to his native land -
hence he baptized it with the same name; Mérida de Extremadura (Spain). City of comfortable climate,
fixed at 5.380,58 feet above sea level, between summits of the Andean mountain range and intense cultural activity,
the State Capital is, without a doubt; one of the most privileged tourist location in Venezuela.
Its enchantments are many, its landscape and attributes plentiful. The city of Mérida has an
infrastructure that; beyond its colonial architecture, completely catches the traveler by surprise. Mérida's
extraordinary hotels and Posadas, restaurants specializing in local and international cuisine, nightclubs, bars, pubs
and cafés. If you are a creature of the night and you live an intense nightlife, the city of Mérida is the
right place for you. Daytime also has a lot to offer.
The “Chorros de Milla” park, for example, is Merida 's tourist destination by excellence. This ten hectare park sets itself apart for its varied sample of flora and fauna native to the region (it counts on with a small a Zoo). The waters of the “Milla” river fall in beautiful cascades on a small lagoon within park. It is surrounded by stores offering local crafts, restaurants and hotels.
Mérida also has the highest (15.633,20 feet) and longest cablecar in the world (7.77 miles).
Unquestionably, it is one of the most important tourist attractions in Venezuela. From one of the cablecar stations, one of
the most popular expeditions can be enjoyed, and of most captivating as well; is the one who will take you from
“Loma Redonda” to “Los Nevados”; a 6 hour trek by foot or about 4 hours on a mule. In front of that same cablecar station,
you will find the ever bohemian “Plaza Las Heroinas”, the heart, soul and meeting grounds of travelers and locals, singers,
artists from every walk of life who will transmit all the joy this beautiful city freely gives away. Across the street from
this Plaza sits the Artisan's Market “Antonio Rojas Guillén”, where real, authentic local art and crafts can be acquired.
Visit the bicentennial University of The Andes , a true academic landmark, of recognized national
and international prestige. Also, the tourist will stand in awe before the imposing Metropolitan Cathedral.
Other constructions that conform the historical patrimony of the tempered Andean city are; the Old House
of the Governors, Plaza Bolivar, the Church of Our Lady of Carmen (headquarters of Merida's Pantheon) and the Plaza of the
Five Republics, where the first monument constructed in Venezuela in tribute to the Liberator Simón Bolívar (in 1842).
Mérida counts on 28 parks. Parque La Isla , with its suspension bridges and water mirrors, Parque
Los Artistas, el Rincón de los Poetas, Murachí, Las Madres, are some of them, to name a few. Vitality is the
distinguishing sign of this Andean city. Don't miss the chance to visit and see it for yourself.
PICO EL AGUILA (Eagle's Peak)
Emphasized here; is the bronze statue of a raised Royal Condor as a tribute to the “Admirable Campaign”
undertaken by Simón Bolívar in 1813.
Through this mountain peak, (the highest asphalted place in Venezuela ) passed the Liberator during his
heroic day. Tourists can arrive at this beautiful place by car; where the snow is an inseparable companion and the view is
Pico El Aguila is a refuge where it is possible to take hot chocolate and other drinks; to buy souvenirs,
overcoats, jackets, gloves and scarves, perfect for the occasion.
In there it is possible rent a horse to visit the Lagoon of Mucubají or any other place of the region.
About one hundred yards from the refuge, crossing the road, there is a chapel in the top of a hill,
inside; the serene image of the Virgin of Nuestra Señora de Coromoto can be appreciated, she is the patron
Virgin of Venezuela.
The construction of this chapel granted the town of Mérida the Archbishop, who was then;
Jose Humberto Quintero as memorial to his Episcopal consecration, December 7 th 1953.
SIERRA NEVADA NATIONAL PARK
It occupies a total of 741.316,14 acres and includes the municipalities “Campo Elías”,
“Acarigua” and “Libertador”. This park where still two species in danger of extinction are preserved; the Andean Condor
and the Frontino Bear, it is perhaps; the destination of choice by mountaineers, who organize true expeditions throughout
its steep heights.
The park's highest peaks, and the only ones that always are snowed, are “Pico Bolivar” (16.427,17 feet)
and “Pico Humboldt” (16.213,91 feet). To climb the first peak, the departure point is “Pico Espejo”, which is possible to
reach using the cablecar. A small refuge welcomes in the hikers before the beginning of the day. The professional aid
of an expert is strongly recommended.
The town of “La Mucuy”; that has easy access from the city of Mérida , is the entry point to
“Pico Humboldt”. Other important peaks are “El Toro” (15.666,01 feet) “La Concha” (16.148,29 feet) and “El León”
(15.561,02 feet). This park counts on with many spectacular landscapes (snowed peaks, deserts, lagoons and rivers) which
we recommend the visitor to review meticulously. It is a unique adventure well worth taking.
LAGUNA DE MUCUBAJÍ (Mucubají Lagoon)
A few yards away from the Santo Domingo-Mérida highway, at the height of “Apartaderos”;
lays the largest of all the lagoons in Mérida State . It is of glacial origins, and trout fishing can be practiced
and to even encamp with an official permission of “Imparques” (The Venezuelan National Parks Authority).
LAGUNA NEGRA (The Black Lagoon)
Somewhat more alienated; several miles away from “Laguna Mucubají”, is “Laguna Negra”, an spectacular
lacustrine formation of glacial origin just as the previous one.
In order to reach “Laguna Negra”; a 4x4 vehicle is necessary, another interesting and alternative mode
of transportation, would be renting a horse in “Laguna Mucubají.