Venezuela has received quite a bit of press lately, so we had to jump on the bandwagon with a road trip to Caracas, capital city of this oil-rich and controversial country.

If you want to learn more about the history that has brought Caracas into the center of world politics today, plan some time to explore the the historical documents housed in Biblioteca Nacional, or the national library. Adjacent to the library is the Panteon Nacional, where famous Venezuelans found their final resting place. Among those entombed inside is Simon Bolivar, the famous crusader for South American independence.

After visiting Bolivar’s tomb, swing by his namesake, Plaza Bolivar, which lies at the cultural heart of the city. Adjacent to the plaza is Concejo Municipal, the town hall of Caracas where Venezuela’s declaration of independence was signed in 1811.

Basilica Santa Capilla is just a short walk from the plaza. This national monument is known for its treasure-trove of artwork, including the last painting completed by Arturo Michelena. Art lovers will also want to visit Museo de Arte Contemporaneo to view the work of modern artists from Picasso to celebrated Venezuelan artist Jesus Soto.

For a view of the city and the sea that is truly above it all, visitors and locals alike take the teleferico tramway into the cloud forest of El Avila National Park. At the top, some 6,700 feet above sea level, Hotel Humboldt houses several attractions overlooking Caracas and the Caribbean.

A rich history has evolved Caracas into a South American cultural center. Since there are travel warnings in place for the city, save your plane tickets for another day and, in the meantime, explore the city in this desktop getaway.