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Hiking -- The place to go for hiking around Caracas is Parque Nacional El Avila, located on the northern edge of the city and encompassing some 82 hectares (203 acres) of the coastal mountain range separating the city from the Caribbean Sea. The park has dozens of trails as well as a well-developed network of restrooms, ranger stations, and campsites. The park and its trails get crowded on weekends. You should be able to reach Pico El Avila (2,153m/7,062 ft.) in 2 to 4 hours of semistrenuous hiking, depending on the pace and route you choose. The highest peak here, Pico Naiguatá, rises to 2,765m (9,070 ft.). Be prepared for wide ranges in temperatures and the possibility of late-afternoon rains on the forested slopes of the park. It's best to hike in groups of at least four persons, as some robberies and muggings have been reported in the park. The most popular access to the park is from the northern end of the Altamira district, at the end of Avenida San Juan Bosco, and from all along Avenida Boyacá. You can take the Metro to the Altamira stop, although it's a steep 10-block walk uphill from both the Metro station and from the San Bernardino area to the entrance to the park. Admission to the park is free.

El Teleférico -- Another, much less strenuous, way to reach Pico El Avila is via the teleférico. This cable-car system stretches from the Maripérez station on the northern edge of the city to the top of El Avila mountain. The 3.4km (2-mile) ride to the top takes between 12 and 15 minutes, where you'll find a skating rink, rock-climbing wall, telescopes, simple restaurants, souvenir shops, snack stands, and the dormant 14-story Hotel Humbolt.

When the weather is clear, there are fabulous views over both Caracas and down the coastal mountains to the Caribbean sea. At the summit, you can also hire a taxi to take you to one of the dozen or so restaurants in and near the small mountain village of Galipán. These restaurants range from simple roadside shacks, to fine dining establishments serving everything from Mexican to French cuisine.

The teleférico (tel. 0800/887-4766) is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10am to 8pm. The round-trip cost is BsF25 adults and BsF10 children 4 to 12. A light sweater or windbreaker is recommended, as it can get chilly up top. To get here, just ask a taxi to take you to el terminal Maripérez del teleférico.

Jogging -- Joggers should definitely head to either Parque del Este for more or less flat terrain, or Parque Nacional El Avila for more challenging mountainous terrain.

Parque del Este -- This large urban oasis is a favorite spot for Caraqueños. Joggers, yoga and tai chi enthusiasts, tennis players, and people looking for pickup soccer and basketball games fill this park on most mornings and throughout the weekend. You can take part in any of the aforementioned activities or just stroll the paths, sit on a bench, or visit the tiny zoo. On weekends you can catch one of the shows at the Humbolt Planetarium here. The park is open Tuesday through Sunday from 5am to 5pm, Monday from 5 to 9am. Admission is free. Metro: Parque del Este.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.