The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, with Caracas as its capital, occupies most of the northern coast of South America on the Caribbean Sea America and covers 926,445 km2. It is bordered by Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south. Mountain systems break Venezuela into four distinct areas:
  • The Maracaibo lowlands  
  • The mountainous Andes region in the north and northwest, with its Caribbean coast
  • The Orinoco basin, with the Llanos (vast grass-covered plains) on its northern border and great forest areas in the south and southeast
  • The Guayana highlands, south of the Orinoco, accounting for nearly half the national territory.
Venezuela’s extraordinary geography runs the gamut from sand deserts (the Médanos) to glaciers (in the Andes). It has the longest coastline in the Caribbean, the biggest lake in South America (Maracaibo), the third largest river in the continent (the Orinoco), the highest waterfall in the world (Salto Angel, which falls 979 m) and the largest serpent on the planet (the anaconda). Its biodiversity is among the greatest on the globe.

The climate follows the land, and is tropical or temperate depending on the elevation. You can find snow and below-zero temperatures in the Andes and hot humidity in the jungle. Caracas is reputed to have the best climate of any Latin American capital, at a fairly constant 27°C. There are two seasons, defined by precipitation rather than temperature: the rainy (May to October) and the dry (November to April).

The Venezuelan population is about 27 million — one of the fastest-growing in South America with almost 30% under 18 years old — is as diverse as the landscape. Over the country's history, European colonists, African slaves and the native Indian peoples gave birth to a new Venezuelan people whose culture is as mixed and rich as they are. Venezuela opened its doors at times of conflict and war, welcoming immigrants from around the world with the same generosity visitors encounter today.
 
Venezuela has always been a melting pot of cultures and this can be seen in the richness and variety of its musical styles and dances: joropo, gaita, calipso, bambuco, fulía, cantos de pilado de maíz, cantos de lavanderas, sebucán, and maremare.

In Venezuela there are some of the most impressive landforms and rivers in all Latin America and the world; for example, we have the Angel Falls, the longest waterfall in the world, and the Orinoco River, one of the longest in South America. Other places worth mentioning are: the Bolivar Peak, the Ichun Falls, Lake Leopold and the chorros del cura.

The Venezuelan cuisine, one of the most varied in the region, reflects the climatic contrasts and cultures coexisting in Venezuela. Among the gems of Venezuelan food's we can mention: hallaca, pabellón criollo, arepas, pisca andina, tarkarí de chivo, jalea de mango, and fried camiguanas.

The villages, towns and cities of the country capture the country’s history and culture in its brightly painted houses, churches and squares — and its many museums, festivals and artisans tell a similarly colorful tale.

Heritage of Venezuela’s colonial past, Spanish is the country’s official language, though it now has an accent and idioms all its own. Native languages are still vibrant here; you can hear them in the small villages in the south.

The national economy is based essentially on oil production and export (Venezuela is said to have the world’s fifth largest reserves). Manufacturing, agriculture and mining are also significant industries. 

Venezuela’s currency is the Bolivar; there are just over 2000 Bs to a US dollar and nearly 3000 Bs to a euro. You can change dollars and euros easily and use credit and debit cards, particularly in the larger towns and cities.

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