Venezuela is a country in South America. Possessing
shorelines on the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean,
Venezuela borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east and
Brazil to the south, and is situated on the major sea and air
routes linking North and South America. Off the Venezuelan coast
are also to be found the Caribbean island states of Aruba, the
Netherlands Antilles and Trinidad and Tobago.
The Angel Falls (Churun Meru) in the Guiana Highlands
is the world's highest waterfall and one of Venezuela?s major
- Andes - Moutainous and picturesque,
this region is made up of the states of M?rida, T?chira and
- Caribbean Islands - With more than
600 islands or smaller formations, many of the best beaches
can be found here.
- Central - The most populous part
of Venezuela enjoys great beaches and big cities, from Caracas
and the nearby commuter towns in Miranda and Vargas out to
the states of Aragua and Carabobo.
- Guayana - The immense and largely
uninhabited area south of the Orinoco River, which makes up
around half of Venezuela's national territory, includes rainforest
in Amazonas, table-top mountaints in the Gran Sabana and Bol?var
state, and the flat marshlands extending out in the Orinoco
- Los Llanos - Vast open plains, home
to cattle-ranching and amazing wildlife, made up of the states
of Apure, Barinas, Cojedes, Gu?rico and Portuguesa.
- Northeast - Stunning deserted beaches
in Anzo?tegui and Sucre, as well as hills and caves in Monagas
- Northwest - Rich with oil from Zulia
state, the northwest also boasts more beaches in Falc?n and
lush agricultural countryside in Yaracuy and Lara.
- Caracas - the capital.
- Ciudad Bolivar - stop-off point for
flights to Angel Falls, and a comfortable stoppover on the
way to Brazil.
- Ciudad Guayana - dominated by heavy
industry, it is Venezuela?s most organized city and the main
gateway to the Orinoco Delta and the Gran Sabana.
- Coro - the first capital of Venezuela
and a city of rich colonial architecture and tourist attractiveness
- Maracaibo - Venezuela's second city,
swelteringly hot and built on oil.
- Maracay - once the capital of Venezuela,
now home to the main military garrison.
- M?rida - a charming university town
in the Andes mountains, popular for outdoor activities.
Puerto La Cruz - the main access point for many beaches in
- Valencia - an affluent industrial
Venezuela is home to the world's highest waterfall, Angel Falls
and the second longest river in South America, the Orinoco. It
also has the longest Caribbean coastline. Venezuela is the world's
fifth-largest oil exporter and also has vast untapped reserves
of natural gas. The country is also famous for its beautiful women,
with more Miss World and Miss Universe titles than any other nation.
Venezuela was one of the three countries that emerged from the
collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others being Colombia and
Ecuador). For most of the first half of the 20th century, Venezuela
was ruled by military strongmen, who promoted the oil industry
and allowed for some social reforms. Democratically-elected governments
have held sway since 1958.
Spanish is the official language of Venezuela, accompanied by
numerous indigenous dialects (usually never heard except in the
Amazon region). Note that English is not commonly spoken or even
understood, even in the major cities (including Caracas). However,
it is usually worth a try attempting to speak in English as most
English-speaking locals will usually help you if they hear you,
whereas care must be taken in not doing so near dodgy-looking
strangers as a safety precaution.