puerto la cruz

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The following pictures and information are available to help employees who are considering an assignment in Puerto la Cruz, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, to see what it is like to live and work there.
Venezuela is located in the northern extreme of the South American continent and borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, Brazil to the south, and the Caribbean Sea to the north. It is the sixth-largest country in South America and enjoys countless beautiful beaches.

Puerto la Cruz is a coastal city in the state of Anzoátegui located in eastern Venezuela, and has one of the largest natural bays in the country. The bays, which were converted into shipping ports for the export of refined petroleum, were a catalyst for much of the economic growth in the region.

Puerto la Cruz has a population of 370,000 – over 1,000,000 people, is next to the city of Lechería and Barcelona, which is the capital of Anzoátegui state.

The city is also the entry point to Mochima National Park, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country for its beaches.
Venezuela boasts a wide range of geography, which affects its temperature and environmental characteristics. The islands and coastal area are generally arid. The western plains have the highest average temperature, but get enough rainfall to provide some of the best soil and growing conditions. The southern central grassy plains (called llanos) are dry to the point of drought much of the year, but also experience flooding during the rainy season.

Because of its proximity to the equator, Venezuela experiences few climatic changes. There are only two seasons: dry and rainy. The dry season lasts from December to April, and the rainy season from May to November. The average temperature across the country is about 27° C (80° F).

Since Puerto La Cruz is close to sea level, its average temperature is warmer than that of cities at a higher altitude. Average temperatures can vary between 25° C (77° F) and 32° C (89.6 °F), but can feel warmer with humidity.
The Caracas Maiquetía International Airport (Simón Bolívar) is the principle point of entry into Venezuela, and the largest airport in the country. It has a domestic and an international terminal and has many flights with direct connection to the United States, Europe and other South American countries.

Expatriates flying to Puerto la Cruz will depart from Caracas by company charter and arrive at the auxiliary terminal of the airport in Barcelona. The flight takes approximately 45 minutes, and the charter leaves Caracas on a set weekly schedule.

work environment

Although called the Puerto la Cruz office, Chevron's facility is actually located in Barcelona. The office serves as the headquarters for the Eastern Venezuela organization, which oversees the existing and future operations in the Orinoco Heavy Oil Belt (Faja), one of the world's largest heavy oil deposits. It is also the headquarters for the Venezuela Offshore Trinidad & Tobago (VOTT) organization, which is responsible for Chevron's offshore gas exploration and production activities in both countries.

In addition to office space, the Chevron facility in Puerto la Cruz has meeting rooms with projector capabilities, and two lunch rooms. Lunch rooms are equipped with coffee machines, microwaves, refrigerators, and a sink to wash dishes.

Regular working hours are Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Access to the office is permitted on weekends and national holidays. In the past, there have been national electricity shortages, in which case some services (such as water and air-conditioning) have been restricted. Regular working hours have also been adjusted accordingly. There is a fitness center in front of the building, but it is not operated by Chevron.

Venezuelan law requires expatriates working in the country to hold a working visa and a Cédula de Identidad - the Venezuelan ID card. The process for obtaining these required documents depends on Venezuelan governmental authorities, and can be lengthy. More information about obtaining required documents to work in Venezuela is available through Expatriate Services.


Housing in Puerto la Cruz is limited due to market conditions and safety/security requirements. As in all locations, Chevron Venezuela is committed to providing safe living conditions conducive to raising children and maintaining a quality family life. Therefore, management has set specific guidelines for expatriates living in Puerto la Cruz for security reasons. Chevron has an inventory of houses that will be allocated to incoming expatriates, if they are available. If they are not, expatriates can chose from the houses/properties available on the market, which vary in size and can be furnished or unfurnished. The housing policy for Puerto la Cruz can be found on the Venezuela Human Resources web page on the Chevron intranet.

Most employees reside in Lechería, which, depending on traffic, is five to 20 minutes from the Chevron office. Newer apartment buildings often have swimming pools as well as assigned and visitors parking areas. Houses have yards, private pools and some have garage space.

Chevron provides housing for employees on expatriate assignment in Venezuela and takes a housing and utilities deduction from the employee, based on average home-country costs. Expatriate services can provide more information on housing deductions.
All expatriate employees and spouses/registered domestic partners are provided a mobile phone upon arrival in Puerto la Cruz. These mobile phones include long-distance service in Venezuela, but do not have service in other international locations. Message services and access to international call features are not automatically activated.

Three companies offer mobile phone service in Venezuela: Digitel, Movistar, and Movilnet. Calling procedures inside or outside the networks vary according to the company. Chevron issued phones are through Movistar.
Depending on the terms of the expatriate contract and the housing selected, certain utilities are paid by the landlord, some are paid by Chevron, and others may be the employee's responsibility. In general, employees are responsible for telephone, Internet service and cable.

Electricity: Electrical outlets in Venezuela are generally 110 Volts. The plugs and sockets are the same as in the United States. Puerto la Cruz has experienced frequent electricity rationing/shortages in the past. Many of the houses have power generators, apartments have whatever is available in the apartment complex.

Telephone: Compañía Anónima Nacional Teléfonos de Venezuela (CANTV) is the Venezuelan state-owned telephone company that provides landline phone service. It is local policy that employees are responsible for setting up their own telephone service. To establish service, employees need to provide their address, passport number, and landlord's name. All expatriates are required to have a landline phone, as landline service is required for the residential security alarm to operate.

CANTV has several different rate plans from which to choose. Charges are based on the amount of time spent on the phone. Billing is monthly and payment can be made at any bank (partial payments are not accepted). Payments can also be linked to a credit card, with an automatic charge each month.

Employees are responsible for telephone costs. Rate plan information and promotions are available by visiting the CANTV website.

Internet: In general, apartments and homes have Internet service capabilities. Internet service is available through a number of providers, such as CANTV, Movistar, Intercable and Supercable and is fairly reliable with good bandwidth. Expatriates are generally able to connect to the company's intranet from home. Employees establish and pay for their own Internet service. Payments can be linked to a credit card, with an automatic charge each month.

Cable: Cable television offers a range of international channels, including HBO, Fox, CNN and many others. Cable service is available through a number of providers, such as DirecTV, Intercable and Supercable. Some providers have very few channels in English, so it is important to confirm programming before signing up for service. Some companies offer packages that include cable, high-speed Internet and telephone service. Payments can be linked to a credit card, with an automatic charge each month. To establish service, employees need to provide a credit card and a copy of their passport.


Chevron has one designated school in Puerto la Cruz, Colegio Internacional Puerto la Cruz (CIPLC), which offers fully accredited academic activities from pre-kindergarten through the twelfth grade; after-school activities are available for children in first grade through twelfth grade.

  • Colegio Internacional Puerto la Cruz (CIPLC) follows the American curriculum, with opportunities for students to explore a wide range of interests from advanced placement courses in English and Spanish, to advanced sciences, math, drama, music and art. The school's curriculum prepares students for entrance into U.S. colleges and universities. 

Both expatriate children and local children attend CIPLC. Class size ranges from 12-18 students, depending on the grade level. Some of the school's full-time teachers and administrators were educated in the United States and Canada. Teachers for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten are mostly Venezuelan. The student population is made up of 66 percent Venezuelan nationals and 34 percent non-Venezuelan expatriates (as of 2010). English speakers make up 23 percent of the population.

CIPLC students are very active at school and in the community, with student councils organizing many activities, such as movie nights, dances and fundraisers. A list of sports and extracurricular activities is available on the school's website.

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A variety of local and imported food, clothing, furniture and household items are available in Puerto la Cruz. In general, clothing in Venezuela is more expensive than in the United States, and larger clothing sizes are not widely stocked and available. Employees are encouraged to shop for clothing while vacationing in their home country.

Supermarkets in Puerto la Cruz carry many familiar brands and products, even though the packaging may look different compared to other countries. Fresh fruit (particularly tropical) and seafood are always available and reasonably priced. Sporadic shortages of certain items, such as dairy and sugar, are common.

Below is a list of supermarkets in Puerto la Cruz. Expatriates commonly use word of mouth from other expatriates to learn which supermarkets carry specific products perhaps not found in other stores. Puerto la Cruz also has many bakeries and delicatessens carrying a variety of foods.

  • Unicasa: Clean, well organized grocery store. Meats are precut and/or cut to order. The deli has a selection of cured meats and cheeses. Carries fresh fish, fruits, vegetables, staple items and liquor. Hot foods are available "to go." Some imported items are available.
  • Makro: Large discount store with bulk shopping for many items. Sells everything from groceries to small appliances, housewares and office supplies. Also has a large pharmacy with good prices. Must have a Makro card to shop here, or go with a friend who already has a membership. No purses are allowed into the store, so consider a fanny pack or wallet.
  • Fiorca: Delicatessen that has meats (prepackaged or cut to order), deli counter, fruits and vegetables, fresh fish, staple items (see an Italian influence), liquor, beauty items, and kitchenware. Imported items available.
  • Sigo: Collection of shops that includes a grocery store, which carries many imported, hard-to-find items at times. Prices typically lower than at Makro.
  • La Cava: Butcher located in Lechería. Deli with cured meats and cheeses. Staple items and a good selection of imported items. Orders can be prepared immediately or can be frozen and picked up later. Take a number by the door when it's crowded.
  • Le Marche: Hypermarket with butcher section, deli counter, fruits and vegetables, liquor, fresh fish, cured meats and selection of cheeses. Selection of imported goods.
  • La Baguette: Across from the Caribbean Mall. Good selection of breads, with some specialty items such as sticky buns and bagels. Deli counter, imported items, and a café that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.


fruits and vegetables (fruterías)


  • El Guacal Frutería: Market that carries good quality fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Los Hatillanos: Fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh juices and specialty juice combinations. Also sells empanadas and yogurt.
  • La Frutería de Tato: Wide selection of fruit, vegetables, yogurt and some additional grocery items. Ask about additional items in back storeroom.
  • Frutería Jose: Nice selection of fruit, vegetables, yogurt and some additional grocery items.

    specialty foods

  • Maniceria Dana: Chocolate chips, nuts (including pine nuts) and olives by the kilo. Specialty items like tahini paste also available.
  • Sinbad's Bodegon: Deli/sandwich counter and some imported goods, also recommended simply for the experience. Bakeries and Delicatessens
  • Gourmezza: Specialty shop for fresh pasta, pasta sauces and handmade chocolates. Handmade fresh pasta noodles, sauces, biscotti, stuffed pastas, and a coffee and tea menu (even rose petal tea). Nice outside seating area.
  • Exquisiteces Principal: Freshly baked breads, pizza crusts, deli counter, dairy products and many imported goods. Also sells empanadas, pastelitos, sandwiches, fresh fruit juice and coffee.
  • Fragola Café: Ice cream, pastries, cakes for all occasions and coffee. Many café tables set up outside the store.
  • La Cascada del Pan: Bakery with a good selection of breads, dairy products, bakery items, fruits and coffee.
  • City Mansion: Baked goods and desserts, fresh fruit juices, deli counter, sandwiches, pastelitos, pizzas.
  • Fiorpan: Fresh-baked goods, imported items, deli section, dairy products and coffee.

Below are the popular shopping malls in Puerto la Cruz visited by expatriates and their families.

  • Plaza Mayor: Is a large mall in the Lechería area with a movie theater and bowling alley. Accessible by car or by boat from any of the city's marinas. A favorite among Chevron employees and has a large Unicasa (grocery store), the Siciliano Bakery and several waterfront restaurants with French, Chinese and Italian cuisine, among others. The mall's pier offers boat rides to nearby islands - El Saco and Puinare. The cost of the ticket to either island is around U.S. $10 per person. Trips to the exclusive island of La Tortuga can also be arranged for small groups.
  • Caribbean Mall: Located near the residential area of Lechería, the Maremares Hotel (recommended by Chevron for visitors) and the Chevron office, this shopping mall has an exclusive gym with the quality equipment and good instructors.

support services

In Venezuela, expatriates are required to pay for medical care out-of-pocket (either with cash or a credit card) and then request reimbursement from their company-provided insurance provider. Home country or expatriate plans' insurance cards are not accepted in clinics and hospitals in Venezuela. However, life-threatening labor-related emergencies are fully paid by Chevron.

Chevron has a medical retainer agreement with a bilingual local physician who can:

  • Provide telephone medical advice, including referrals, to employees and visitors.
  • Assist Chevron with emergency response planning.
  • Assist Chevron with medical evacuations.
  • Coordinate admission and care of expatriates and their family members into hospitals and clinics in emergency situations.

All other expenses related to routine medical checkups, hospitalization in emergency situations, other treatments provided must be paid directly by the expatriate and can later be claimed under the employee's home country or expatriate medical care plan, if appropriate.

Dental services are available in private practices around the city, though it is common for expatriates and their families to visit the dentist on trips to their home country. Puerto la Cruz also has pharmacies but some prescriptions may not be available or may be in limited supply.
Visitors and expatriates are assigned drivers to avoid the risk of getting lost or having to deal with language challenges. All expatriates are assigned a company vehicle and a driver, and must use a company provided driver at all times. Expatriates may not drive company vehicles at any time under any condition or place, not even in gated residential communities. Drivers are not security staff, but do receive driving safety, basic security and crime prevention information/training. All drivers have cell phones and radios for communication.
One of the advantages of living in Venezuela is having affordable domestic help. Expatriates can choose from a live-in housekeeper or someone that comes in during the day a few times a week (referred to as daily maids). Expatriates determine the schedule of the daily maid according to their family's needs.

The "Domestic Help" section of Chevron Venezuela's policy handbook includes information regarding labor laws and domestic employees' rights.

In Puerto la Cruz, some housekeepers wear uniforms, which are provided by the expatriate (not by Chevron). Also, most daily maids are provided their main meal on the job. Housekeeping services are available at reasonable prices.

Some families prefer to draw up informal agreements between the two parties, starting salaries, schedules, and bonuses. Such agreements must always be in compliance with labor law. The most common and perhaps safest way of finding household help is through word of mouth from other expatriates. Always request and verify references before hiring domestic help. Background checks for household help are provided by the Chevron Security department upon request at no personal cost to the employee.
Banks in Puerto la Cruz include Banco Venezolano de Crédito, Banesco, Banco Provincial, Banco Mercantíl, and Citibank among others. Expatriates are strongly recommended to open a local bank account with Banco Venezolano de Crédito because Chevron has an agreement with the bank, and because requirements for opening a new bank account are minimal. The company will assist the expatriate in setting up a personal bank account to facilitate local transactions.

Expatriates must exercise great caution when using ATMs located outside of the Chevron office. More information on ATM safety is included in the security briefing provided to those who travel to Venezuela (visitors, expatriates, family members and so forth) upon arrival.
Most employees use the Chevron interoffice mail for their postal needs. The mail room has daily or weekly pouch service to the United States, depending on the quantity of mail delivered. Some restrictions may apply to packages that can be sent or received; Venezuelan security staff can provide more information. Puerto la Cruz also has several courier services around the city (for example, DHL and FedEx).
Like in all Chevron locations, personal safety and security in Puerto la Cruz is taken very seriously. Violence and crime are serious problems in Venezuela; kidnappings, street assaults and robberies occur frequently throughout the country. Like many other large cities, crime is a major issue in the Puerto la Cruz/Barcelona area. Expatriates and their families should always maintain a high level of awareness for possible threats and practice common sense regarding their security at all times. For example, avoid wearing expensive or imitation jewelry and watches. Do not carry excessive amounts of cash. Avoid walking on the streets after dark.

All visitors are given pre-travel security information, it is important to read it. Visitors are also required to attend a security information briefing. Newly arrived expatriates and their families are given a thorough overview on security, including company guidelines, necessary precautions, as well as other important topics applicable to the location. The orientation includes an explanation of which areas of the city are considered safe, and which parts of the city are off-limits for security reasons.

Also, to keep employees and their families safe while living and working in Puerto la Cruz, Chevron provides bilingual emergency response services 24/7 through the company's security department. Two company sponsored 24/7 patrol units operate in the residence and work areas of the city.

Specific precautions regarding home safety are described in greater detail in the "Housing" section of the local expatriate policy. All expatriates must have a landline phone, as landline service is required for the residential security alarm to operate. All residences are inspected and approved for security before rental. Required upgrades must be installed before occupancy.

In general, Lechería, where most employees live and near where the Chevron office is located, are considered a safer area, but remember crime can occur at anytime and anywhere in Venezuela.

More information on security in Venezuela, and other LABU locations can be accessed via the Chevron Venezuela intranet, or directly with local security staff.


As with any growing city, traffic in Puerto la Cruz can be heavy during rush hour and must be factored in when determining commute times. Even so, most commutes are between five to 30 minutes, depending on the distance from the Chevron office.

The use of public transportation in and around Puerto la Cruz is not permitted. Employees must use their company-provided drivers at all times. Expatriates may not drive company vehicles at any time under any condition or place, not even in gated residential communities.

For security reasons, expatriates and their families must ride in their company provided vehicle with the windows up at all times. Furthermore, the use of electronic devices (cell phone, iPhones, iPods and Blackberry) while riding in vehicles at speeds below 40 kph is not recommended.

Conferry is the one of the two ferry lines that takes passengers and cars to the popular vacation destination, Isla de Margarita. Schedules vary according to the day of the week. Gran Cacique Express is the other ferry line.

use of personal boats

The use of personal boats in Puerto la Cruz is ruled by Maritime authorities and Law Enforcement. Some of Chevron's recommendations are that:

  • Personal boats should be registered with the INEA (Harbor Master Office) and have a registration number.
  • To be able to operate a boat you should have a 'Sport Captain License' of the INEA.
  • No minors (Under 18) are allowed to operate boats.
  • Boats should not be operated in the water channel after 6 pm.

Other rules or regulations may apply.

recreation and entertainment

Movies, bowling, and entertainment can be found in shopping malls in and around Puerto la Cruz. See "Shopping Malls" above. Moviegoers will find that films targeting a young audience are dubbed to Spanish. Films for an adult audience are usually shown in their original language with Spanish subtitles. The Cinex Plaza Mayor Lechería movie theater has four screens and is located above the Unicasa grocery store. Mondays are half price and Thursdays are two for one. Movies and show times are available at Cines Unidos .

Many of Puerto la Cruz's best upscale restaurants are on Lechería's Av. Americo Vespucio, close to the Caribbean Mall and also in Plaza Mayor. These areas overlook the beach and canal and are active at night. There are also several less expensive fast-food options available.

Some popular restaurants in Lechería and Nueva Barcelona include:

  • Akelarre
  • L'Ancora
  • Balahou
  • La Tagliatela
  • Bambuda Bar
  • McDonald's
  • CasaBlanca Gourmet
  • Mango's Cafe
  • Burger King
  • Tony Roma's
  • Chiringuito
  • Mediterraneo
  • Ciao Pasta
  • Subway
  • El Patio Restaurant
  • Wahari
  • Guasa
  • Wendy's
  • El Amir
Puerto la Cruz has both an amusement park and a water park. The amusement park Luna Park is located at Plaza Mayor mall, and the water park, Agua Kariña, is located in Barcelona.
Dancing is a popular form of entertainment for many in Venezuela. Ballet, meringue, salsa and other dance lessons are available in the area.
Puerto la Cruz has many salons available to provide hair-cuts, coloring, and styling. Most salons also offer manicures and pedicures. Dunia Spa offers facials, massage therapy and other relaxation and beauty treatments.

additional information

The official language in Venezuela is Spanish. English is not widely spoken across the country; however, it is part of the curriculum at the elementary, high school and university levels at the majority of educational institutions in the country. With the exception of upper-level personnel and executives and some of the key front office personnel in five-star hotels (and new inns or posadas appearing across the country), very few people speak anything but Spanish. English is widely spoken in the Chevron office.

Venezuelans are generally friendly and helpful to tourists and foreigners, particularly to those willing to attempt to speak their language. Because not many locals are fluent in English, it is always helpful to have some basic vocabulary upon arrival. Language training is provided for employee and all family members who are moving with the employee at the IFISA language institute.
In recognition that pets are often an integral part of the family structure, Chevron will pay to have one household pet (such as a dog, cat or parrot) shipped to Venezuela. In addition, the company reimburses expatriates for up to seven days of kenneling charges plus the legally required quarantine expenses. Expatriates are responsible for any additional charges, such as airport delivery charges, medical certificates and vaccinations.

The documents required for taking pets abroad include vaccination certificates, the international health certificate and an export permit. More information regarding these documents and importing and exporting animals to and from Venezuela in general is provided in the onboarding guide given to incoming expatriates.

Roman Catholicism is the overwhelmingly dominant religion in Venezuela; however, other religions are practiced. Below is a list of some the various places of worship in the Puerto la Cruz area. More information on places of worship, including addresses and contact information can be provided by expatriate services in Venezuela.


  • Iglesia Cristiana Luterana Jesus El Buen Pastor
  • Iglesia Bautista Memorial
  • Iglesia Evangélica Betania


  • Iglesia Maria Auxiliadora
  • Iglesia Santo Domingo de Guzman