Country profile

About Venezuela

Located in the northeast corner of South America, Venezuela lies just above the equator with the Caribbean Sea bordering the north, the Atlantic Ocean and the Republic of Guyana to the east, Brazil to the south and Colombia to the west. Venezuela has four regions; the Venezuelan Highlands in the west, the Maracaibo Lowlands in the north, the central plain of the Llanos around the Orinoco and the Guiana Highlands, which make up almost half of the country.

With tropical rainforest, Caribbean beaches, the world’s highest waterfall and a whole island of duty free fun, you’d expect Venezuela to be drawing in the tourists by their millions, but sadly this is not the case. A struggling economy and high crime rate means less than half a million tourists visit the country each year. But for those that do, there is plenty to reward their sense of adventure.

The two most popular tourist destinations in Venezuela are Angel Falls and the island of Margarita. At a mighty 979 metres high, Angel Falls, deep in the Venezuelan jungle, is the highest waterfall in the world and can be reached by boat or visited by air from the local town of Canaima. You need to plan your visit carefully though, because if you pick the wrong season it could be too cloudy to see the top, or too dry to see more than a trickle falling down. Spring is usually best, but consult the local guides before you spend too much of your holiday money making the trip.

Margarita, on the other hand, is always ready for action, with over 50 pristine Caribbean beaches, a great party atmosphere and low, duty free prices to keep down your costs. Margarita is just north of the mainland, with plenty of cheap flights, and is popular with Venezuelans and visitors alike. Those in search of top beaches should head to Paria Peninsula in eastern Venezuela, especially Medina Beach with its many coconut trees and desert-island ambience, while snorkelling and diving enthusiasts should visit the Morrocoy National Park in the Falcón state for its gorgeous stretches of white sand and coralline ecosystem.

If you prefer things a little more sophisticated, the capital Caracas is rich in colonial architecture and has played a huge role in the politics of the region for centuries. Today, you can take in the city from above from the nearby Motorcable de Caracas, a spectacular cable car ride designed to bring in commuters from the mountain villages. However, of all places in Venezuela, Caracas in particular demands extra care, as crime and disorder are rife in the city.

Caracas features modern architecture contrasting colonial buildings, great restaurants, a vibrant night life and excellent shopping. Margarita Island, which is just 30 minutes from Caracas, is one of the country’s most celebrated tourist destinations boasting beautiful beaches, mountains and rivers, an international airport and a booming real estate industry, as well as being home to many cosmetic surgeries and clinics.

Much of Venezuela is rainforest, and it is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, with over 120,000 species of animal in the jungles along the banks of the mighty Orinoco river. It is also home to the Andes, rising over 16,000 feet to majestic snow capped peaks. Countless national parks are just waiting to be explored, and there are plenty of options for the adventurous traveller.

Venezuela is fighting hard to repair its image with international travelers, and has lots to offer for those that are prepared to give it the benefit of the doubt.


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Quick facts

Population: 29 Million
Currency: Bolívar fuerte
Capital: Caracas
Languages: Spanish
Religions: Catholic 92%