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A 500 m.s.n.m. específicamente en el Municipio Tulio Febres Cordero del estado Mérida, se encuentra un acogedor pueblito merideño con color, sabor y olor a naturaleza llamado Las Virtudes. Sus diversas plantaciones de frutas, vegetales y hortalizas, lo hacen gozar de este merecedor título que resalta las bondades que tiene la madre naturaleza, no sólo con sus tierras fértiles sino también con sus pobladores quienes se benefician de estos rubros.

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Al igual que otros pueblitos merideños, Las Virtudes conserva un marcado estilo colonial reflejado en muchas de sus casas, su única iglesia llamada “Divino Niño” (antes denominada San Benito), su plaza y sus calles. Su agradable clima de montaña arropa a todo aquel que lo visita y lo descubre a pie, y su gente es tan amable y servicial que a veces te hacen sonrojar ante tanta cordialidad.

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De acuerdo a la cronista Nelly Espinoza Meléndez, escritora del libro “Las Virtudes, hermoso pueblo merideño”, este acogedor asentamiento fue fundado en el año 1912 y lleva este nombre gracias a su fundador Luis Velásquez, quien estaba encantado de haber conocido una tierra tan fértil para la siembra de frutas, verduras, hortalizas, legumbres y flores.

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“Él era de Trujillo y conoció la zona por las plantaciones de café que se daban. Luego fue el cacao que se apoderó del pueblo y hoy en día, éste es uno de los principales productos alimenticios que se cosechan. Quien visita nuestro pueblo no sólo se queda fascinado por sus paisajes y el río Chirurí ubicado a 10 minutos, sino también por el calorcito de muchos zulianos que han venido migrando a la región”, explica.

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En la actualidad, Las Virtudes posee diversas e inmensas fincas de cacao, café entre otros productos, que valen la pena conocer de cerca, recorrer y degustar. Este pueblito también cuenta con una pequeña placita ubicada frente a la iglesia, una parada ideal para sentarse a tomar un cafecito y una torta recién hecha. Además de estas instalaciones, este espléndido lugar también alberga algunas tienditas de ropa, panadería y mini locales para adquirir frutas con crema o helados.

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La principal actividad económica de esta parada andina está sustentada por la agricultura, pues sus tierras fueron bendecidas para sembrar y cosechar cacao, café, plátano, guanábana, parchita, cambures, patillas, entre otros. De estos ingredientes se derivan algunos platillos gastronómicos como patacones, empanadas de plátano, arepa de auyama, tequeños de plátano, conservas de plátano, entre otras delicias que ofrecen los pobladores a los visitantes.

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Y si de hospedaje se trata, es importante mencionar que Las Virtudes no cuentan ni con posadas ni con hoteles, pero si existen las mismas en la población de Caja Seca a pocos minutos del pueblo merideño. Para llegar a Las Virtudes, se debe tomar la Carretera Panamericana  a la altura del Río Chirurí, donde se puede visualizar un letrero de señalización con el nombre del poblado. ¡Desde Clase Turista Venezuela te invitamos a visitarlo y compartir con nosotros la experiencia!

Por Joselina Rodríguez

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