Venezuela

Driving Directions Venezuela

VENEZUELA forms the northernmost crest of South America. Its northern coast lies along the Caribbean Sea, and it is bounded to the west by Columbia, to the south by Brazil and the southeast by Guyana.

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Over two-thirds of Venezuela is forested. The country provides a home for animals such as anacondas and boa constrictors, crocodiles, ocelots, jaguars, monkeys, bears, deer, sloths, armadillos, and anteaters.

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Venezuela has four distinctive topographical regions. The Guiana Highlands in the south occupy about half the total land area while north of these is the plains known as the Llanos, which are drained by the River Orinoco. This is a region of grassy plains used mainly for cattle ranching.

The Maracaibo Lowlands occupy a basin in the northwest of the country and include Lake Maracaibo, which is an inlet of the Gulf of Venezuela or the Caribbean Sea. The lowlands separate two mountain ranges called the Venezuelan Highlands in the north and northwest, in which the country’s highest peak, Pico Bolivar (5,007 meters or 16,427 feet), is situated.

The climate ranges from warm temperate to tropical, and rainfall is plentiful.

Agricultural activities include cattle ranching in the Llanos area and the rearing of pigs, sheep and goats. Crops include sugar cane, bananas, oranges, maize, sorghum, rice, plantains, coffee and cassava.

There are also rich fishing grounds around the coast and off Venezuela’s 72 islands. Venezuela’s economy is built on its oilfields located in the Maracaibo region but it also has other important mineral reserves including bauxite, iron ore, coal and precious metals and stones, such as gold, silver, platinum and diamonds.

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