Venezuela is home to the world’s tallest waterfall, Angel Falls, as well as the Orinoco, South America’s second longest river. It also boasts the Caribbean’s longest coastline. Venezuela is the world’s fifth-largest oil exporter and has huge undeveloped natural gas reserves. Venezuela is considered one of the world’s 20 Megadiverse nations, with protected areas covering more than 40% of its national land.
Has grown significantly in recent decades, owing to its advantageous geographical location, diversity of landscapes, richness of plant and animal, creative expressions, and the country’s fortunate tropical environment, which offers each area (particularly the beaches) year-round.
Margarita Island is a popular tourist location for fun and relaxation. It is an island with a contemporary infrastructure, gorgeous beaches ideal for extreme sports, and culturally significant castles, fortresses, and cathedrals.
Morrocoy and Los Roques
Los Roques is an archipelago made up of islands and cays that is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. Exotic, unspoilt beaches. Morrocoy is a park made up of relatively tiny adjacent islands to the mainland that have quickly evolved to become one of the Caribbean’s most popular tourist destinations.
Canaima National Park, which extends over 30,000 square kilometers to the border with Guayana Esequiba reclamation region in Guyana and Brazil, is regarded as the world’s sixth biggest national park because to its vastness. Tepuis, or rock plateaus, cover about 65 percent of the park. These are a one-of-a-kind biotic habitat with significant geological significance. Its sheer cliffs and waterfalls (including Angel Falls, the tallest waterfall in the world at 1,002 meters) provide for magnificent scenery.
Venezuela is situated in northern South America, with its landmass resting on the South American Plate. It is the world’s 33rd biggest nation, with a total size of 916,445 km2 (353,841 sq mi) and a land area of 882,050 square kilometers (340,560 sq mi). It governs the area between latitudes 0° and 13°N and longitudes 59° and 74°W.
The nation is generally shaped like a triangle, with a 2,800 km (1,700 mi) coastline in the north that includes many Caribbean islands, and a border with the northern Atlantic Ocean in the northeast. Most observers divide Venezuela into four distinct topographical regions: the Maracaibo lowlands in the northwest, the northern mountains that extend in a broad east-west arc from the Colombian border along the northern Caribbean coast, the wide plains in central Venezuela, and the Guiana Highlands in the southeast.
The northern mountains are the far northeastern extensions of the Andes mountain range in South America. Pico Bolvar, the country’s highest peak at 4,979 m (16,335 ft), is located in this area. The divided Guiana Highlands to the south include the northern outskirts of the Amazon Basin and Angel Falls, the world’s tallest waterfall, as well as tepuis, huge table-like mountains. The llanos, or vast plains that extend from the Colombian border in the extreme west to the Orinoco River delta in the east, define the country’s core. The Orinoco, with its rich alluvial soils, connects the country’s biggest and most significant river system; it begins in one of Latin America’s greatest watersheds. Other significant rivers are the Caron and the Apure.
Venezuela is bounded to the west by Colombia, to the east by Guyana, and to the south by Brazil. Near the Venezuelan coast are Caribbean islands such as Trinidad & Tobago, Grenada, Curaçao, Aruba, and the Leeward Antilles. Venezuela has territorial issues with Guyana (previously the United Kingdom), mostly over the Essequibo region, as well as with Colombia over the Gulf of Venezuela. After years of diplomatic attempts to resolve the border dispute, the dispute over the Essequibo River border from Venezuela flared up in 1895, and it was submitted to a “neutral” commission (composed of British, American, and Russian representatives and without a direct Venezuelan representative), which decided mostly against Venezuela’s claim in 1899.
The most important natural resources of Venezuela include petroleum and natural gas, iron ore, gold, and other minerals. It also has a lot of water and arable land.
Venezuela lies completely in the tropics, stretching from the Equator to approximately 12° N. Its climate ranges from humid low-elevation plains with average annual temperatures as high as 35 °C (95.0 °F) to glaciers and mountains (the páramos) with average annual temperatures as low as 8 °C (46.4 °F). Annual rainfall ranges from 430 mm (16.9 in) in the semiarid northwest to over 1,000 mm (39.4 in) in the far east’s Orinoco Delta and the Amazonian Jungle in the south. Precipitation levels are lower from November to April and later in the year from August to October. These are known as the hot-humid and cold-dry seasons. Another feature of the climate is the variance across the nation caused by the presence of a mountain range known as the “Cordillera de la Costa,” which runs from east to west throughout the country. These mountains are home to the vast bulk of the people.
The nation is divided into four horizontal temperature zones, mainly based on elevation, including tropical, dry, moderate with dry winters, and arctic (alpine tundra) climates, among others. Temperatures in the tropical zone are high, with annual averages ranging between 26 and 28 °C (78.8 and 82.4 °F) below 800 m (2,625 ft). The temperate zone extends between 800 and 2,000 m (2,625 and 6,562 ft), with typical temperatures ranging from 12 to 25 °C (53.6 to 77.0 °F); major Venezuelan cities, including the capital, are located in this zone. Colder temperatures range from 9 to 11 °C (48.2 to 51.8 °F) in the cool zone between 2,000 and 3,000 m (6,562 and 9,843 ft), particularly in the Venezuelan Andes, where pastureland and permanent snowfields with yearly averages below 8 °C (46 °F) cover land above 3,000 meters (9,843 ft) in the páramos.
The highest temperature recorded was 42 °C (108 °F) in Machiques, and the lowest temperature recorded was 11 °C (12 °F), it has been reported from an uninhabited high altitude at Páramo de Piedras Blancas (Mérida state), and lower temperatures in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada de Mérida are known.
Venezuela is located in the Neotropic ecozone, and vast areas of the nation were formerly covered by wet broadleaf forests. Venezuela’s ecosystems span from the Andes Mountains in the west to the Amazon Basin rainforest in the south, through vast llanos plains and the Caribbean coast in the middle to the Orinoco River Delta in the east. In the far northwest, there are xeric scrublands, while in the northeast, there are coastal mangrove forests. It has especially rich cloud forests and lowland rainforests.
Venezuelan animals include manatees, three-toed sloths, two-toed sloths, Amazon river dolphins, and Orinoco crocodiles, which may grow to be 6.6 meters (22 feet) long. Venezuela is home to 1,417 different bird species, 48 of which are unique. Ibises, ospreys, kingfishers, and the national bird, the yellow-orange Venezuelan troupial, are all important birds. The gigantic anteater, jaguar, and capybara, the world’s biggest rodent, are also notable animals. The Amazonian woods south of the Orinoco hold more than half of Venezuela’s bird and animal species.
R.W.G. Dennis gave an account for the fungus, which has been digitized and the information made accessible online as part of the Cybertruffle Robigalia database. This database contains approximately 3,900 fungus species reported from Venezuela, although it is far from comprehensive, and the actual total number of fungal species previously known from Venezuela is likely greater, considering the widely accepted estimate that only around 7% of all fungi globally have been found.
Over 25,000 kinds of orchids may be found in Venezuela’s cloud forest and lowland rainforest habitats. The national flower is the flor de mayo orchid (Cattleya mossiae). The araguaney is Venezuela’s national tree, and its distinctive lushness following the rainy season inspired writer Rómulo Gallegos to call it “[l]a primavera de oro de los araguaneyes” (the golden spring of the araguaneyes).
Venezuela is one of the top 20 endemism-rich nations in the world.
Its creatures are endemic in 23 percent of reptile and 50 percent of amphibian species. Although the available data is relatively limited, a first attempt has been made to determine the number of fungal species indigenous to Venezuela: As of now, 1334 fungus species have been tentatively recognized as potential endemics to the nation. Venezuela is home to 38% of the world’s 21,000 plant species, which are all unique to the nation.
Venezuela is one of the most urbanized nations in Latin America, with the overwhelming majority of Venezuelans residing in northern cities, particularly Caracas, the capital and biggest metropolis. In northern Venezuela, around 93 percent of the population resides in cities, and 73 percent lives fewer than 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the ocean. According to a research conducted by sociologists at Venezuela’s Central University, about 1.5 million Venezuelans, or approximately 4% to 6% of the country’s population, fled Venezuela after the Bolivarian Revolution. Despite the fact that almost half of Venezuela’s geographical area is south of the Orinoco, just 5% of Venezuelans live there. Ciudad Guayana, the sixth most populated conurbation, is the biggest and most significant city south of the Orinoco. Barquisimeto, Valencia, Maracay, Maracaibo, Mérida, San Cristóbal, and Barcelona–Puerto la Cruz are other important cities.
Venezuelans are descended from a diverse set of ancestors. The bulk of the population is said to be of mestizo, or mixed, ethnic origin. Nonetheless, the word mestizo was removed from the responses in the 2011 census, when Venezuelans were asked to define themselves based on their traditions and heritage. The majority identified as mestizo or white, with 51.6 percent and 43.6 percent, respectively, claiming to be mestizo or white.  Almost half of the population identified as moreno, a word used across Ibero-America that meaning “dark-skinned” or “brown-skinned,” as contrast to having lighter complexion (this term connotes skin color or tone, rather than facial features or descent).
Ethnic minorities in Venezuela are mostly descended from African or indigenous peoples; 2.8 percent classified as “black,” 0.7 percent as afrodescendiente (Afro-descendant), 2.6 percent as indigenous peoples, and 1.2 percent as “other races.”
Wayu made up 58% of indigenous people, Warao made up 7%, Karia made up 4%, Pemón made up 4%, Piaroa made up 3%, Jivi made up 3%, Au made up 3%, Cumanágoto made up 3%, Yukpa made up 2%, Chaima made up 2%, and Yanomami made up 1%.
According to an autosomal DNA genetic research performed by the University of Brasilia (UNB) in 2008, the makeup of Venezuela’s population is 60.60 percent European, 23 percent indigenous, and 16.30 percent African.
During the colonial era and until after WWII, many European immigrants to Venezuela came from the Canary Islands, which had a major cultural influence on Venezuelan food and traditions. Venezuela has been dubbed the “eighth island of the Canaries” as a result of these effects. With the beginning of oil extraction in the early twentieth century, US corporations started establishing operations in Venezuela, bringing with them US people. Later, both during and after the war, additional waves of immigrants arrived from various areas of Europe, the Middle East, and China, many of whom were encouraged by government-established immigration programs and liberal immigration laws. Venezuela, like the rest of Latin America, welcomed millions of European immigrants throughout the twentieth century. This was particularly evident after World War II, as a result of a war-torn Europe. Venezuela attracted millions of immigrants from Ecuador, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic during the 1970s, when the country was enjoying an oil-export boom. Some Venezuelans were opposed to European immigration because they believed it would lower wages. The Venezuelan government, on the other hand, was aggressively recruiting immigrants from Eastern Europe to address a shortage of engineers. Millions more Colombians, as well as those from the Middle East and Haiti, would continue to migrate to Venezuela until the early twenty-first century.
According to the World Refugee Survey 2008, released by the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, Venezuela housed 252,200 Colombian refugees and asylum seekers in 2007, with 10,600 additional asylum seekers entering Venezuela. It is believed that there are between 500,000 and one million illegal immigrants in the nation.
The country’s indigenous population is estimated to be about 500 thousand individuals (2.8 percent of the total), divided among 40 indigenous peoples. The country’s multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and linguistic nature is recognized in the Constitution, which contains a chapter dedicated to indigenous peoples’ rights, which opened up areas for their political participation at the national and municipal levels in 1999. The majority of indigenous peoples live in eight states along Venezuela’s borders with Brazil, Guyana, and Colombia, with the main tribes being the Wayuu (west), Warao (east), Yanomami (south), and Pemon (southeast).
According to a 2011 survey (GIS XXI), 88 percent of the population is Christian, with the majority being Roman Catholic (71 percent) and the remaining 17 percent Protestant, mainly Evangelicals (in Latin America Protestants are usually called Evangelicos). Venezuelans without religion account for 8% of the population (atheists account for 2%, while agnostics or indifferents account for 6%), while other religions account for almost 3% of the population (1 percent of them are of santeria).
There are tiny but powerful Muslim, Buddhist, and Jewish populations in the area. More than 100,000 Muslims live in Nueva Esparta State, Punto Fijo, and the Caracas region, with the majority being of Lebanese and Syrian ancestry. More than 52,000 Venezuelans follow Buddhism. The Buddhist population is mostly made up of Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans. Buddhist centers may be found in Caracas, Maracay, Mérida, Puerto Ordáz, San Felipe, and Valencia. The Jewish population in Venezuela comprises about 13,000 people and is mostly centered in Caracas.
The Central Bank of Venezuela is in charge of establishing monetary policy for the Venezuelan bolvar, which is used as currency. The money is mainly produced on paper and disseminated across the nation. The President of Venezuela’s Central Bank is currently Eudomar Tovar, who also acts as the country’s representative to the International Monetary Fund. According to the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal, Venezuela has the world’s lowest property rights, rating just 5.0 on a scale of 100; expropriation without compensation is frequent. Venezuela has a market-based mixed economy driven by the petroleum industry, which accounts for approximately a third of GDP, over 80% of exports, and more than half of government income. In 2009, the country’s per capita GDP was US$13,000, placing it 85th in the world. Venezuela boasts the world’s cheapest fuel since the consumer price is substantially subsidized.
More over 60% of Venezuela’s foreign reserves are in gold, which is eight times the region’s average. The majority of Venezuela’s gold stored overseas is held in London. On November 25, 2011, the first of US$11 billion in returned gold bullion landed in Caracas; Chávez described the repatriation of gold as a “sovereign” move that would help safeguard the country’s foreign reserves from the instability in the US and Europe. However, government actions rapidly depleted this repatriated gold, and in 2013, the government was compelled to add the dollar reserves of state-owned enterprises to those of the national bank in order to reassure the foreign bond market.
In 2006, manufacturing generated 17 percent of GDP. Venezuela produces and exports heavy industrial goods such as steel, aluminum, and cement, with production centered at Ciudad Guayana, near the Guri Dam, one of the world’s biggest and the source of about three-quarters of Venezuela’s energy. Other noteworthy production includes electronics and cars, as well as drinks and consumables. Agriculture in Venezuela accounts for about 3% of GDP, 10% of the working force, and at least a quarter of Venezuela’s geographical area. Venezuela exports grains, maize, fish, tropical fruit, coffee, cattle, and pigs. The nation lacks self-sufficiency in most agricultural sectors. Total food consumption in 2012 exceeded 26 million metric tonnes, representing a 94.8 percent increase from 2003.
Venezuela has been one of the world’s major oil exporters since the discovery of oil in the early twentieth century, and it is a founding member of OPEC. Previously an undeveloped exporter of agricultural commodities like as coffee and cocoa, oil rapidly came to dominate exports and government income. The 1980s oil glut resulted in an external debt crisis and a long-running economic catastrophe, with inflation peaking at 100% in 1996 and poverty rates rising to 66 percent in 1995, while (by 1998) per capita GDP had fallen to the level of 1963, down a third from its 1978 high. In the 1990s, Venezuela also had a severe financial crisis in 1994.
The rebound of oil prices after 2001 strengthened the Venezuelan economy and enabled social expenditure. Venezuela originally achieved headway in social development in the 2000s, especially in sectors like as health, education, and poverty, thanks to social initiatives such as the Bolivarian Missions. Many of Chávez’s and his administration’s social initiatives were inspired by the Millennium Development Objectives, a set of eight goals agreed to by Venezuela and 188 other countries in September 2000. The sustainability of the Bolivarian Missions has been questioned due to the Bolivarian state’s overspending on public works and because the Chávez government did not save funds for future economic hardships like other OPEC nations; with economic issues and poverty rising as a result of their policies in the 2010s. Hugo Chávez’s administration imposed currency restrictions in 2003, after a depreciation of the currency due to capital flight. This resulted in the establishment of a parallel dollar market in the years that followed. The aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis resulted in a fresh economic slump. Despite disputed statistics provided by the Venezuelan government indicating that the nation had halved malnutrition in response to one of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, shortages of basic commodities started to develop in Venezuela, and malnutrition began to rise. Venezuela depreciated its currency in early 2013 as a result of increasing shortages in the nation. The shortages included, and may still include, essentials such as toilet paper, milk, and wheat. Fears of a toilet paper shortage were so intense that the government seized a toilet paper plant and maintained preparations to nationalize other industrial elements such as food delivery. Venezuela’s credit ratings were also downgraded many times in 2013 as a result of actions made by President Nicolás Maduro. One of his choices was to push shops and warehouses to sell all of their goods, which resulted in even greater shortages in the future. Most bond-rating agencies have also assigned a negative rating to Venezuela.