The multicultural and geographically diverse South American country of Venezuela shares its northern shore line with the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, drawing vacationers with its beauty annually. Visitors soon discover there is much more to Venezuela than gorgeous beaches and water sports, however. Read on to discover 82 interesting facts about Venezuela.
Geography, Environment, and Climate
1. Venezuela is blessed with magnificent, diverse geography. It has Caribbean islands, rivers, marshlands, mountains, glaciers, highlands, grasslands (los llanos), deserts, canyons, mesas, forests, and jungles.
2. The country’s habitats range from the Andes Mountains (west) to the Amazon Basin rainforest (south) to the Caribbean coast (north) via the extensive llanos plains (central) to the Orinoco River Delta (east).
3. The northern edge of the Amazon Basin is in the southern part of Venezuela.
4. The largest lake in South America is located in Venezuela. Lake Maracaibo, at 20 to 40 million years old, is also one of the oldest lakes on earth.
5. Catatumbo lightning is a meteorological phenomena that only occurs at the mouth of the Catatumbo River where it joins Lake Maracabio. For up to 160 days a year, lightning strikes the lake repeatedly for up to ten hours at a time in the evening.
6. Entirely located in the tropics, the country has two types of seasonal weather: the hot-humid season and the hot-dry season. The difference is the amount of rain received during the season.
7. Venezuela is one of the 17 most biodiverse countries on the planet (a megadiverse country).
8. The scrublands, mangrove and cloud forests, and rainforests are especially rich in biodiversity.
9. Venezuela is one of the top 20 countries in the world whose animals and plants are endemic (unique) to the country.
10. Fifty percent of the amphibians and 23 percent of the reptiles are unique to Venezuela. Thirty eight percent of the plant species and 48 percent of the birds are.
11. Venezuela’s cloud forests are home to over 25,000 species of orchids including the ‘flor de mayo’, the country’s national flower.
12. Over 3,900 species of fungi have been discovered and recorded from Venezuela.
13. Venezuelan animal life includes three-toed and two-toed sloths, Amazon river dolphins, Orinoco crocodiles (which grow up to 22ft/6.6 m in length), giant anteaters, jaguars, and capybaras.
14. More than half of all the mammal and bird species of Venezuela are found in the Amazon forests south of the Orinoco River basin including the troupial, Venezuela’s national bird.
15. Venezuela has 43 national parks and up to 33 percent of its forested land is protected.
16. In the country’s far south is a 32,000 square mile (82,880 km) reserve for the Yanomami tribes that is off-limits to miners, farmers and all non-Yanomami settlers.