Venezuela is one of the most beautiful and wealthiest countries in terms of the volume of unique natural resources and mineral deposits. Snowy peaks of the Andes Mountains; the former piratic island of Tortuga; the jungly valley of the Orinoco River; golden beaches, coral reefs, and the most beautiful atolls; a pearl of the Caribbean Sea and a resort paradise — Isla de Margarita; incredible fauna and fantastic fauna — all of these can be found in Venezuela. The natural variety of the country attracts more and more tourists from all over the world here every year. Owing to its natural treasure, Venezuela is one of the fascinating countries in South America. The name of the county translates as “Little Venice”. The thing is that the houses of the Indians built on piles and standing in the water looked like the Italian town to the European colonizers. Nowadays, colonial architecture is the heritage of those times and another tourist attraction of Venezuela’s cities. But, we should say that the majority of tourists come here for the sake of the natural wonders.
|Caracas||30 761 000||Spanish||Bolívar Soberano||916 445 km²|
Geography of the country
According to the administrative division, Venezuela consists of 23 states and one federal Capital District of Caracas. States are grouped into nine regions.
Where to go and what to see
Maracaibo is the second in size city in the country. Till the beginning of the XX century, it had been a shabby provincial township. However, when deposits of oil and gas were found here, it transformed dramatically. Many industrial corporations, a port, airport, contemporary multi-storied quarters appeared in the city. At the same time, Maracaibo has some colonial buildings in an excellent state — the XVII-century Basilica of Our Lady of Chiquinquirá and neo-Gothic Saint Barbara Church. The Palace of the Eagles and Plaza de Toros Monumental for fifteen thousand spectators also attracts plenty of tourists. However, the majority of travelers head to Lake Maracaibo in the first place. They aspire to see the famous Catatumbo lightning that occurs 150 times per year in the estuary of the same-name river that flows into the lake. The local citizens call this extraordinary natural phenomenon “the Lighthouse of Maracaibo”. Usually, you can observe it during the raining season when it’s dark. However, it may also occur throughout the year. The best way to admire the flashes of lightning is to stay in the Indian house built on piles or simply lay in the hammock (they are hanging between the trees here), and… wait.
Coro is the former outpost of Venezuela’s colonization and its first capital. The architectural and historical monuments in a good state of preservation helped to include the city to the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites. Colorful houses, bricked streets, the famous House of the Iron Windows, Balcón de Los Arcaya, Treasure House, and the oldest Jewish cemetery on the South American continent — the ancient city offers all of these and more to every traveler. You can wander around Coro for days come across fascinating sites, buildings, and attractions literally at every corner.
Ciudad Bolívar is one of the centers that participated in the struggle for independence at the beginning of the XIX century. That’s why it bears the name of Simon Bolivar. Nowadays, it’s a large industrial center and a river port located on the right bank of the Orinoco River. The historical center offers colonial buildings in a good state of preservation: San Isidro House Museum with a marvelous park, an ancient house of the governor, a former building of a prison, the XIX-century Cathedral. In Ciudad Bolívar Airport, you can see the restored Jimmie Angel’s plane parked forever in front of the building. He was the one who discovered the tallest waterfall in the world. Angel Falls is 979 meters in height. During the raining season, it transmits 300 thousand liters of water every second. However, at the same time, Angel Falls is also an almost inaccessible waterfall on the planet. It’s a real challenge to reach it — there are no roads or hotels nearby. However, this fact doesn’t stop all the adventure-seekers who are ready to overcome all the difficulties to admire it.
Isla Margarita is a genuine pearl of the Caribbean Sea. It received this nickname not only for the abundance of pearls in the nearshore zone but also for several hundred kilometers of golden beaches, pure water, tropical forests, mountains, waterfalls, and rivers. It seems that the comparatively tiny territory of the island gathers everything one may desire for a marvelous vacation. The tropical climate, the average year-round temperature of +30, and plenty of sunny days create perfect conditions for full relaxation. This place attracts fans of surfing, windsurfing, and kiting as there are winds of the required intensity almost the year-round. Experts explain that this happens due to the particular direction of the circulation in the atmosphere. Moreover, guests can try horse-riding expeditions, cycling, flying on hydroplanes, sea fishing, and fascinating excursions. In addition to that, it’s hard to resist the tax-free zone. In other words, Margarita can steal a way into the heart of every tourist once and forever.
Things to consider before going to Venezuela
- You will need an adapter to charge your gadgets in Venezuela. The country has American-style electrical outlets and a 110V network.
- Paying with credit cards is quite problematic, even in large cities. Therefore, it’s better to have cash in small bills. Mind that you can exchange currency only in official currency exchange sites. Affairs with private money-changers have a high possibility of fraud and result in detention under arrest.
- You must always have your documents while traveling around the country. Checks at security gatehouses are a common thing here. Police can easily stop a regular bus and inspect all the passengers and their luggage.
- English is not wide-spread in the country. Therefore, if you plan to visit some remote regions, you should learn some general phrases in Spanish or have a phrase-book. It will considerably simplify the communication process with the local citizens.
- It would be best if you used only bottled or boiled water in Venezuela. It concerns not only the water you drink but also the one you use for making ice or brushing teeth. Fruits and vegetables must be well-washed and peeled. Some surface water bodies in the south of the country might have an elevated level of mercury. Thus, it’s wise to abstain from swimming.
- Due to the hot climate, insects became a real scourge in Venezuela. When you check in the hotel, you should make sure that there are mosquito nets on the windows. There is a risk of getting malaria in the forestal areas. It is an excellent practice to have a vaccination against yellow fever.
Cities in Venezuela
The tallest waterfall in the world, Catatumbo lightning, national parks, golden beaches of Margarita, coral reefs and atolls, quirky “palafitos” houses, cathedrals, churches, and other architectural masterpieces of the colonial epoch — it is not the entire story of how Venezuela can amaze and impress you.