Venezuela started out a bit rough, with it taking hours to clear customs and then being stopped at multiple police checkpoints. Everyone was always very nice about it, but it was draining. It has improved dramatically since. It is cheap (we are probably averaging $60 per day not counting the Angel Falls trip, which cost $250 per person), it is beautiful, and the people are super nice (even though we often have no idea what they are saying). The food is mediocre, though they have a lot of fried foods of which I am a fan. I just have to be careful to avoid the cheese.
We have met a few other Americans, but only at Angel Falls. Venezuela seems to attract more Europeans, who don't read bad things about Venezuela all the time. Chavez is everywhere, but there is a large percent of the population that is vocally opposed to him and does not seem to be suppressed too much. Gas here costs about 40 cents a gallon, which makes transport cheap, but we've seen long lines at gas stations in rural areas.
We are thinking about coming back into the Western part of Venezuela later in our trip if we have time. A lot of people say that part of the country is really terrific. We'll see. My internet time is almost up, but Tara is about to post some pictures in a separate post.