Maracaibo Lake Region


Known for the Catatumbo lightning
The Little Venice of Venezuela
Offers a variety of beautiful landscapes
A fascinating destination
   

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The Maracaibo Lake region is one of the least known to ecotourists. With an amazing variety of landscapes, human cultures, and unique flora and fauna, it is a promising destination for those who are in search of the exotic and the new. It was at Lake Maracaibo that Christopher Columbus found the inspiration for the country’s name: the locals’ houses on stilts above the water evoked a “mazing variety of landscapes” which is what Venezuela means. There are still houses on stilts on the lake. The major attraction for most visitors is the spectacular but still mysterious Catatumbo lightning, which Spanish chroniclers described it in the late 16th century as the “strange lightning that happens every night in the southern part of Lake Maracaibo”. This region is so dramatically different from the nearby Andes Mountains that it gives you the feeling of being in two countries at the same time. From the cloud forest of the Sierra Nevada de Mérida to the desert canyon of Chama River, and from the coffee farms and sugarcane factories to the houses-on-stilts and freshwater dolphins, Lake Maracaibo is a fascinating destination.


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