Last updated on November 27th, 2017
Culture and People
#37. The majority of the Venezuelan population is of mestizo, or mixed, ethnic ancestry. Ethnic minorities in the country are groups that descend mainly from African or indigenous peoples.
#38. According to a DNA genetic study conducted in 2008 by the University of Brasilia, the composition of the population is almost 61 percent European, 23 percent indigenous, and a little over 16 percent African.
#39. Spanish is the national language but the Constitution also recognizes more than 30 indigenous languages for the peoples’ use. In addition, immigrants speak their own languages.
#40. The population is 88 percent Christian, predominantly Roman Catholic. There are small but influential Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist communities.
#41. The Spanish influence can be seen experienced in the language, bull fights, food, architecture, religion, and food.
#42. The African influence is notable in cuisine and the arts, especially music and dance. From the United States comes the national interest in baseball.
#43. The sport of baseball was played in Venezuela as early as the late 19th century. North American immigrants who came to work in the 1930’s oil industry helped popularize it in the 20th century.
#44. Venezuela has had a National Professional Baseball League since 1945 and today baseball is the nation’s most popular sport.
#45. Famous Venezuelans who have played baseball in the U. S. include Bo Diaz, Manny Trillo, Cesar Tovar, Luis Sojo, and Dave Concepcion.
#46. Basketball is also popular. Venezuela hosted the 2012 Basketball World Olympic Qualifying Tournament and the 2013 FIBA Basketball Americas Championship.
#47. Football (soccer) is also popular.
The Arts, Festivals, and Beauty Pageants
#48. Venezuelan music is a mixture of African and Spanish music, full of the use of percussion instruments and guitars.
#49. A type of small guitar named the cuatro (for its four strings) is the national instrument.
#50. A waltz-like dance called joropo is Venezuela’s national dance.
#51. The richness and variety of its musical styles and dances includes the bambuco and callipso.
#52. For immersion in the visual arts, visit Funducíon Bigott in Petare for workshops in popular arts and artisan crafts.
#53. The annual Red Devils of Yare Festival on Corpus Christi Day simulates Christianity winning over Satan.
#54. Venezuela is famous around the world for its beautiful women. Its beauty pageant winners hold seven Miss Universe crowns, six Miss World crowns, seven Miss International crowns and two Miss Earth crowns. The Miss Venezuela Pageant is popular annual event in the country.
#55. Venezuelans eat their largest meal between noon and three in the afternoon. Many go home to eat lunch with their families. At night they eat a light supper at eight o’clock or later.
#56. ‘Arepas’ are the national dish, and what’s for breakfast and any other time of day. Made of thick corn tortillas stuffed with cheese and a variety of shredded meats and other fillings, these are popular everywhere.
#57. Traditional lunches include ‘pabellón’ (rice, black beans, and meat with a side of plantain slices) and ‘reina pepiada’ (shredded chicken salad with avocado).
#58. ‘Cachapas’ are corn pancakes topped with a salty cheese called “queso de mano” or “telita”.
#59. ‘Hallacas’ are the country’s version of the tamale. They include meat, olives and raisins covered in cornmeal then wrapped in plantain leaves and steamed.
#60. A popular local drink is ‘chi cha andina’ made from rice or corn flour. Venezuelan coffee is excellent.
#61. Venezuela’s northern coastline along the Caribbean is the longest stretch of Caribbean coastline of any country. Enjoy a relaxing day on the fine white sand overlooking clear blue sea, or go scuba diving, snorkeling, scuba diving, kite surfing, paragliding and other ocean activities.
#62. Favorite and recommended beaches include Cayo de Aqua, Cayo Francisqui, Isla Coche, Playa El Yaque, Praia Crasky, and Cayo Sombrero. These are located in Los Roques National Park, Margarita Island, Merida and Isla el Gran Roque, among other places.
#63. The Los Roques archipelago is one of the country’s main attractions. There you’ll find Morrocoy National Park with islets and mangrove groves. See turtles, birds, dolphins, hundreds of pelicans and more.
#64. Canaima National Park is the world’s sixth largest national park at over 30,000 square kilometers. There are many rock mesa plateaus called tepuis in the park of geological interest. Its cliffs, waterfalls and lagoon are spectacular vistas.
#65. Canaima is the home of Angel Falls, the world’s tallest continuous fall (979 m) which is only accessible by curiara (canoe), airplane, or helicopter. It is sixteen times the height of Niagara Falls and named after bush pilot Jimmy Angel who crash landed there in the 1930s.
#66. The Sierra Nevada National Park is home to half of the Venezuela’s highest mountains, including Pico Bolivar, the highest (5007m/16,427 ft). Register at Pico de Aguila to enter the park for hiking and bundle up. Take a guide. The climate becomes polar near the peaks.
Only in Venezuela
#67. Venezuelan president ordered the women in the country to abstain from using hair dryers because of the shortage of electricity in the country. The country was on the verge of a total power outage in April, 2016.
#68. Christopher Columbus is the first European to find the country.
#69. In Venezuela, mothers have to carry their children’s birth certificate for buying diapers and other baby products.
#70. Sometimes, Venezuelan police have to hire security for themselves as many police officers have been killed while doing their duty.
#71. Coke Zero was banned in Venezuela in 2009.
#72. The Venezuelan people enjoy the cheapest gasoline (petrol) in the world since the government subsidizes their oil industry. At a penny a liter, you can literally fill your tank with the small change from your pocket. Oil is cheaper that water in Venezuela and Saudi Arabia.
#73. In Venezuela, children have the option to choose the timing of their school. They can choose to attend school in the morning, afternoon or at night.
#74. Venezuela abolished slavery in 1854, freeing approximately 25,000 slaves, three percent of the population at that time.
Information about crime and social life in Venezuela
#75. Crime is rampant in the cities day and night, and on the roads after dark. Kidnappings are common.
#76. Venezuela’s murder rate is the highest in the world. Robbers are quick to murder their victims.
#77. The government no longer produces or releases crime data as violent crimes have become so prevalent in Venezuela.
#78. There are approximately 33 prisons housing about 50,000 inmates. Its prisons have capacity for only 14,000 prisoners.
#79. Venezuela ranks fourth in the world for cocaine seizures, behind Colombia, the United States, and Panama. It has significant involvement in drug trafficking with Colombian cocaine.
#80. Quite a few Venezuelan graduates seek their future elsewhere due to the country’s troubled economy and heavy crime rate. It is believed nearly 12% of Venezuelans live abroad.
#81. Violent crime, the unstable economic as well as political situations plus the decline in basic living conditions, including shortages of medication, food and water, has led to social unrest in the country.
#82. The CDC has identified Venezuela as an area affected by the Zika outbreak.
Venezuela has beautiful national parks, beaches, waterfalls, and mountains to visit and explore as well as a rich culture, delicious food and a multiethnic population to experience.
Venezuela – country at a glance
|Total area||912,050 sq km|
|Population||31,304,016 (July 2017 est.)|
|Independence||5 July 1811 (from Spain)|
|National anthem||"Gloria al bravo pueblo" (Glory to the Brave People)|
|National symbol||troupial (bird)|
|National colors||yellow, blue, red|
|National holiday||Independence Day, 5 July (1811)|
|Life expectancy||75.8 Years (2016)|
|Suffrage||18 years of age; universal|
|Government type||federal presidential republic|
|Vice President||Tareck El Aissami|
|Borders||Colombia, Brazil and Guyana.|
|Industries||agricultural products, livestock, raw materials, machinery and equipment, transport equipment, construction materials, medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, iron and steel products, crude oil and petroleum products|
|Exports||$28.07 billion (2016 est.)|
petroleum and petroleum products, bauxite and aluminum, minerals, chemicals, agricultural products
|Imports||$27.13 billion (2016 est.)|
agricultural products, livestock, raw materials, machinery and equipment, transport equipment, construction materials, medical equipment, petroleum products, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, iron and steel products
|GDP - per capita (PPP)||$15,100 (2016 est.)|
|Climate||tropical; hot, humid; more moderate in highlands|
|Terrain||Andes Mountains and Maracaibo Lowlands in northwest; central plains (llanos); Guiana Highlands in southeast|
|Natural resources||petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, gold, bauxite, other minerals, hydropower, diamonds|
|Birth rate||18.8 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)|
|Death rate||5.3 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)|
|Sex ratio||0.99 male(s)/female (2016 est.)|
|Time Zone||VET (UTC–4)|
|Internet country code||.ve|
|Drives on the||Right|
|Data sources||CIA, Wikipedia|
|Table last updated||September 7, 2017|