Venezuela is a country of dramatic contrasts. Its unique geography ranges from the long Caribbean coastline in the north to the dense Amazon Forest in the south. To the east lies the stunning Gran Sabana plateau, while the snowy peaks of the Andes dominate the west.
Not surprisingly, it offers an equally wide range of holiday options, from the sophistication and striking architecture of the capital, Caracas, to the demands of trekking and climbing and the ultimate relaxation of balmy beaches edged by coconut palms.
The country has no railway system but possesses an excellent modern road network and well-developed tourist infrastructure, although rural communities in the interior live in a way that has been not changed for many generations.
Caracas boasts some of the most impressive modern architecture in South America. Sights include the Plaza Bolivar, with its 17th century cathedral and the Casa Natal de Bolivar, the birthplace of national hero Simon Bolivar who liberated the country from Spanish rule. The city named after him, Ciudad Bolivar, on the lower Orinoco, retains much of its colonial charm.
Between the huge Orinoco delta and Maracaibo, the oil capital of Venezuela, stretch 1,100 miles of magnificent, white beaches. Isla Margarita, 25 miles off the coast, is a popular destination for foreign visitors and Venezuelans alike. Further west, the 150 islands of the Los Roques National Park offer excellent sailing, snorkelling and scuba diving.
Venezuela’s breathtaking panoramas include Angel Falls, at more than 3,200 feet the highest waterfall in the world. The country is host to a wide variety of exotic plants and animals, including the jaguar, the great condor and the anaconda, the longest snake in the world. It is paradise for bird-watchers, who can see 15 per cent of the entire world`s species of birds.