Nelson's place is the name international travelers and students have given to a cozy 50 meter apartment I have in a small family building in the heart of mid-town Caracas, Venezuela, the commercial-business-tourist area of Sabana Grande.
BUDGET TOURS & TRAVELS
MOST CONVENIENT LOCATION
The apartment consists of a bedroom (one double-bed), bathroom with shower, living/dining room (sofabed with drawer bed), and kitchen. The furniture is vintage Italian and rustic Venezuelan. It has hot/cold running water, iron and ironing board, microwave oven, toaster, washing machine, coffee maker, gas stove and oven, refrigerator, LAN cable free internet connection, portable AC system plus movable fan and a ceiling fan, TV, radio/cd player, telephone, pots & pans, plates & cutlery, Ozone water purifier, linens, and more. In all, my place offers the size of a hotel suite, but with the feel of a private apartment where you can read a book, or do whatever you wish to make yourself at home. Your belongings are safe at my place because the only people that have access to it are my mom and I. My place is non-smoking, so it won't smell. But don't worry if you smoke, there are many pleasant places to do so in the area. Nelson's Place is ideal for long stays.
I CAN OFFER YOU JUST MY SAFE AIRPORT PICK-UP AND CURRENCY EXCHANGE SERVICE IF YOU ALREADY HAVE YOUR HOTEL BOOKED
I CAN OFFER YOU JUST MY SWEET AND SAFE 3Day/2Night CANAIMA/ANGEL FALLS TOUR
AIRPORT PICK-UP and DROP-OFF
My academic preparation in photography, psychology, broadcasting, law, teaching, and counseling, together with my many years in entertainment, recreation and tourism make me arguably Caracas' most qualified English-speaking guide. Not only do I know how to get around my city better than anyone (people here stick to their parts of town and don't know the others. I know them all) but I also know how to enjoy it SAFELY which is the big issue in Caracas. Caracas is a dynamic and interesting city, and it gives you traveler bragging-rights that not too many other cities can give you. With me, you can conquer Caracas and its outskirts if you wish (such as Colonia Tovar). I'll show you Caracas attractions but especially, what we locals do (which is the best part) and that you NEVER would get to do on your own even with a car.
The arepas are on me!
Things around Nelson's Place
CENTRO COMERCIAL EL RECREO (www.elrecreo.com.ve) - Across the street from my place is a very convenient shopping mall with over 200 stores, movie theaters, food court, restaurants, and hundreds of happy Venezuelans buzzing about. It has a central plaza great for people-watching and getting a feel of Venezuela. It's also safe and fit for all budgets.
SABANA GRANDE BOULEVARD - one block up from my place is a long and pleasant promenade full of stores and sidewalk cafes. It's a must-see tourist area because it reflects Venezuelan culture very well. After being one of the most chic places in the world in the 60s and 70s, it had fallen into street vendor chaos and crime issues over the past decade, but starting 2008, the local government finally cleaned it up, booted the vendors, installed bright lamp posts, rebuilt it and put police officers all along the way. Now, it's a nice place for a casual stroll, architecture and people watching, and/or shopping.
OTHER GREAT THINGS TO HAVE AROUNDWithin a block/street from my place you find a grocery store, taxi line, restaurant/lunch places, news/magazine stand, subway station, tourist spots, cyber-cafes, salsa night clubs, rock/reggae pubs, post office, movie theaters, bus stops, pharmacy/drug store, and practically everything else that you need.
WHAT GUESTS SAY
click HERE to read the reviews on TRIP ADVISOR for Nelson's Place
Nelson's Place/Room is not suggested for the following:
(All this may sound funny and it may make me seem like quite the "character," but it all comes from experience...and some very bad ones. I hope you understand)
1- People that are rude, unfriendly, cocky, arrogant, fussy, demanding, complicated, high-maintenance, problematic, etc.
Complicated means people that send dozens of emails asking things that are common sense or already explained elsewhere, that instead of cautious are paranoid, that can't do things on their own (such as discover the key to a door), and people that need to reconfirm things over and over to "make sure everything is ok". I have found that many times that being "complicated" has to do more with the cultures people come from than the individuals themselves.About rudeness, most people that are rude have no idea that they are rude. Rudeness also has to do with cultures. There are some cultures in which my personal experience shows that 7 out of 10 individuals are simply rude by western standards. So if you suspect you may be a little rude, it's probably a lot.About cockyness, maybe it's not that they are truly cocky in their home countries, but there are simply some people that have the wrong impression of Latin-America and expect the people here, including me, to be like the uneducated illegal immigrants that work in their countries. Those illegal Mexicans or Philipinos working abroad bow their heads because they need the money. Venezuelans are a very different case.In all, I'm a nice and helpfull guy...because I feel like it. I don't live off Nelson's Place, my parents do; and it's a good way to make interesting acquaintances and friends. So, my place is for those that enjoy friendly local treatment, from the heart, more than "service."
For "I am your humble servant" type service, the 5-star Gran Melia Caracas (click HERE to see it) is right across the street from my place, but you honestly won't get that service there either, just a luxurious and expensive room.
2 - People that only need a place to sleep for a few hours before another flight. If you fly in at night and need to leave Venezuela in the morning (or even noon), it is impractical to travel 80 kilometers from the airport to Caracas and back. Instead, you should stay at a hotel in Catia La Mar or Playa Grande, near the airport (they have free shuttle service.) Come up to Caracas only if you have at least 8 hours of daylight to spare and you want to get to know the city.
3 - People that are looking for the cheapest place in town. My place is the BEST VALUE because it's the most helpful accomodation for ANY price. Anyway, for those of you that sacrifice everything to save a dolar, there are cheaper places, even a "whopping" 10 less, but of course they are generally dimly-lit love motels in sketchy areas, with foam mattresses, bed bugs, drunk people fighting, where no one speaks english, and no one cares about you. They also have no webpages (of course), so you have to move around with your luggage and find them. Then again, there are bridges under which you can sleep for free if you don't mind fighting the crackheads for space ;) So, if beyond budget, you are simply "cheap", Nelson's Place is not the place for you...and good luck finding that cheaper option.
4 - People that don't understand English, because my place is not open to Spanish speakers (they don't need me) and everything written on this very informative page and on the guidesheet that I send to people once they reserve, is in English. The misunderstandings that have happened in the past (for example, that airport drop-off is separate from pick-up) have happened because people have not read or understood clearly everything here. If we can't communicate clearly, we are sure to have some headaches. Spanish speakers don't need any help, so my mission is to help the rest of the world to navigate my tricky city, but people have to make the effort to speak the international travel language which is English.
5 - People that have strong body odor, such as hippies, rastas, punks, etc. or from cultures that do not practice a daily bath (in Venezuela you need to shower daily). I'm really embarrased to be asking this and I'm very sorry for this cultural clash, but this is a family building with slow classic elevators. I can't ask my neighbors to hold their breath for too long.
6 - People that wish to bring random local people over to my place, or hire prostitutes to bring them to my place, or guys that wish to pick up "easy" girls and bring them back for some fun. These "easy" girls are usually undereducated marginal-class (ghetto) girls from the slum areas of the city, that dress up and look nice, but that are just looking for a way out of their poor life by getting pregnant from a nice British medical student, or at least, getting some money out of the guy. This is a family building; My wife and I live here and so do my parents. I must protect you and my family. So for safety measures, I will approve of bringing local friends over only if they pass Nelson's socio-educational screening (with name, profession, how you met, and where they live, I can screen any local person). My place is very low profile (that's why it's safe) and I must keep it that way, unknown to "those" Venezuelans that can put you or my family at risk. A ghetto girl can easily tip a gang of thugs on this "easy place to rob where there are stupid tourists with dollars." Get it?
7 - Chain smokers, alcoholics, drug addicts, or people that have "issues" (manias, phobias, anxiety disorders, social disorders, obsessive compulsive disorders, etc.). I'm a host and a friend, not a dealer, baby-sitter, psychiatrist, handy-man, nor your mom.
8 - People for post-plastic surgery recovery. For that you don't need a clean place, you need a sterile place.
HALL OF SHAME
(worst guests cases - click on title)
I charge per room/night, NOT per person.
ONE-TIME RESERVATION FEE
(rest paid on arrival)
Nelson's Place: SEND ME AN EMAIL (for up to 4 guests)
Reservation fee includes one night and AIRPORT PICK-UP
Nelson's Room: SEND ME AN EMAIL (for up to 2 guests)
Reservation fee includes one night and AIRPORT PICK-UP
Airport Pick-Up Service/Currency Exchange (without stay): SEND ME AN EMAIL
Ask me for availability FIRST (by email) briefly letting me know your name, nationality, length of stay and reason for coming (PhD, travel, business, etc.), and once I confirm availability, then RESERVE using the PayPal button below
To reserve, write the amount (in numbers) in the box below and click the "Pay Now" button (the paypal fee will be included in the total)
THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT CARACAS BUSTLING CITY: Being Nelson's Place in midtown in a city of 5 million, you get a good ammount of city noises such as trucks, people talking, motorcyles, car alarms and car horns. Daytime is very noisy because Venezuelans love to honk their horns. At night it quiets down except when the midnight trash truck comes to pick up the trash. If you are not used to these noises or you like to sleep late, I recommend bringing your earplugs along.
CLEANLINESS: You will find much of the city (not all of course) to be littered by first-world standards. In many areas (such as a side street behind my place), the government established the trash collection street for the neighborhood, so it gets messy between dump time and pick-up time.
SAFETY: Most of Venezuela is perfectly safe for the street-smart and those that don't stand out. Venezuelans come in all skin-tones thanks to immigration from Europe, the Middle East, and lately China, so blending in is not hard. If you look Mediterranean white (Italian, Spanish, Greek, Portuguese), you're already a white Venezuelan. If you look nordic white (German, Dutch, Danish), after tanning a bit, you will look like an upper-class Venezuelan. Hundreds of lawyers, executives, business owners, office workers, employees, and everyone else, of all skin tones, that work in the thousands of businesses and offices along the Sabana Grande boulevard, walk the streets everyday and with no problems. The biggest safety problem for tourists is pick-pockets in the subway/metro system. They are very fast, opening even zipped pockets. They come in with you when the crowd boards the train, bumping against you and taking whatever is in your pocket without you noticing it. I was a victim of this in Mexico City once. Just watch out for them, and you'll be fine.
VENEZUELAN "FRIENDS" ON SAFETY: Some people have well-wishing and educated Venezuelan friends that make recommendations on where to go and not to go. However, you must know that these typically upper-middle class Venezuelans tend to exagerate. They travel to New York and use the subway all over, but in their own city they don't know how to use it, and they never go to the nice Colonial Downtown. If you ask these Venezuelans about where to go or stay in the city, they will recommend only the upscale neighborhoods and shopping malls. They disdain as ugly or dangerous precisely the places a tourist wants to see, giving you a false impression of Venezuela, similar to the upper class Parisians that tell you to avoid the "dangerous" Champs Elysees. I tell you all this not to put your well-wishing local friends down, but just to let you know their mentality, so you can understand how limiting their “helpfulness” can be to you as a traveler. My guests, from lovely blonde English girls to Swedish artists, love visiting the Colonial Downtown and the Belle Arts area (Bellas Artes), and they tell me it is extremely interesting. Ask your Venezuelan friends what they think about going to these places and you’ll see what I mean. Unless you wish to walk around in shorts, sandals, flowered shirt, straw hat and sporting a $2000 Nikon, you should be safe in such a transited area as Sabana Grande, and in all of the tourist areas of Caracas. So don’t buy into the local exaggerated paranoia. You’re a traveler, like I am. You'll be OK.
I normally answer my emails (give me time). Email is the only sure way to reach me and to ask me for availability. Since I am very busy throughout the day, I cannot answer calls, that's why my phone is not listed. Please send me an email.