Maracay doesn't have its own commercial airport (although it has two air military bases), but the visitor can approach it by plane using the Maiquetía's Simón Bolívar Airport and the nearer Valencia's International Airport Arturo Michelena. From both airports the traveler can take a licensed taxi to Maracay (the most expensive although the safest option), or make his way through the unorganized Venezuelan public transport system to the main buses terminals in Caracas or Valencia (La Bandera and The Big Low Center, respectively), and then take a bus to Maracay (the cheapest option). Be advised to take official authorized taxis, there are some reports of tourists that have been gun-pointed robbed by unlicensed taxi drivers, that usually charge cheaper than their official counterparts.
The population of Maracay and its surroundings in the 2011 census was 955,362. In Venezuela, Maracay is known as "Ciudad Jardín" ("Garden City"). Officially established on March 5, 1701 by Bishop Diego de Baños y Sotomayor in the valleys of Tocopio and Tapatapa (what is known today as the central valley of Aragua) in northern Venezuela. According to the most accepted explanation, it was named after a local indigenous chief, and refers to the "Maracayo" (Felis mitis), a small tiger. Alternative etymologies cite a local aromatic tree called Mara. Maracay experienced rapid growth during Juan Vicente Gómez's dictatorship (1908–1935). Gómez saw Maracay as a suitable place to make his residence during his rule, and ordered the construction of an Arc of Triumph, a bull plaza (a near replica of the one in Seville, Spain), an Ópera house, a Zoo, and, most notably, the Hotel Jardín (Garden Hotel), a majestic, tourist attraction with very large gardens.