Venezuela is celebrating its national holiday of Carnaval this week, with millions of Venezuelans traveling to the country's 3,844 authorised sites of natural beauty to enjoy a brief respite from the difficult day-to-day life.
Local authorities staged public concerts in nearly every municipality of the country.
Public parades were well attended, although some areas reported lower attendance than in past years. Families, especially children, put a lot of effort into their costumes. Traditional activities such as water fights, paint fights, dancing competitions, beauty pageants, horse and donkey rides, and other activities all played their part in celebrations.
Government efforts to guarantee tourists safety seem to have paid off, with reductions of up to 70% in accidents being reports in some states, such as Vargas, which is one of the principal tourist destinations due to its stunning coastline. Thousands of police officers, firefighters, National Guard personnel, civil protection volunteers, and medics were organised this week to reduce accidents, crime, and problems such as drink driving.
State review of prices was also carried out, especially at bus stations, where private bus owners are accustomed to raising rates during periods of high demand. State-run transport networks organised extra buses to help cope with high demand.
Minority sectors of Venezuela's opposition called for people to "boycott" carnival this year, claiming that the country had nothing to celebrate, but their calls appear to have gone largely unheeded. Minor pockets of protests were reported in Tachira State.