Venezuela is a tropical country, located in northern South America. Although it is knownn worldwide because of its oil, beauty queens and recent political issues, it is still unspoilt with a wide range of natural landscapes and extremely varied geography in just 916,444 square kilometers (you can imagine France and Germany together to get a better idea). Venezuela is also recognized as one of the 17 extremely biodiverse countries embracing:
- The longest coastline in the Caribbean with lovely beaches.
- More than 300 islands, islets and cays with stunning pristine and turquoise waters.
- Los Andes highlands where you'll find Venezuela highest point (Pico Bolivar - 4,980 meters) and world's longest and highest cable car, as well as many small and cozy towns where you'll feel like going back in time but where you'll also be able to practice several adventure sports.
- Plains or llanos that are a sanctuary of a boundless variety of fauna: especially birds and also alligators, piranhas, anacondas, capybaras and much more wildlife, together with a Llaneros life style (local cowboys).
- La Gran Sabana: a wide grassland with numerous rivers and waterfalls with the highest one in the world, Angel Falls. Flat-topped mountains (called tepuis) that shield ecological islands found at the top of them with endemic flora and fauna as carnivorous plants.
- The Amazon rain forest with more than 180,000 sq km.
- And even a desert! where you just can jump and roll or adventure into a sand-boarding experience in its breezy dunes.
Theoretically, it is possible to scuba dive and snorkel around most of Venezuela's long coastline but it is the diving in and around the 70 islands, that Venezuela has in the Caribbean Sea, which is the most exciting.
- La Ciénaga de Ocumare, a quiet lagoon surrounded by forest and the Caribbean Sea. At the entrance of this bay, there is a coral barrier where you may find trumpet fish, parrot fish, moray eel, snappers, lobsters, sea turtles, octopus, many classes of coral and sponges and much more.
- Carmen Fabiana: a boat who sunk in 2000 in Guabina's Bay. You'll see snappers, sponges, seaweeds, soft and hard coral, hydroids, snails, crabs and many more marine organisms developed a miniature ecosystem. Its maximum depth is 140 ft with a visibility of 60 ft and sandy bottom.
- Puerto Cabello: Near Guabina's bay, in the National Park San Estaban, there are WWII wrecks. Italian and German boats, looking for shelter, were burned in 1941. Two of these boats, the Sesostris and the Jacko are still underwater in Isla Larga and are home to incredible artificial reef life with many species of fishes. Its maximum depth is 60ft with a visibility of 20ft and sandy bottom.
Los Roques: these reefs provide exceptionally varied environments with highly localised temperature fluctuations, rough and calm waters, light and shade, and nutrient content. There are impressive pinnacles, enormous caves and coral gardens. Walls of soft coral and sea whips descend more than 60m. Wreck sites date back to C16th pirates. Known as "The last untouched coral reef in the Caribbean", it has a marine habitat of over 800 Km.
In this archipelago, there are two large coral reef barriers stretching from east to south, they form a reef wall which protects the coral gardens and "underwater forests" that are found in the calm waters of this magical paradise.
Sponges in a wide variety of sizes and colors (yellow, orange, red, blue or purple; tubular, massive and encrusting), reef walls over 40 meters, seagrass beds, caves full of life, rocky ground, marine species from every Caribbean region (queen conch, lobster, cachamas or angelfish, wrasses, parrot fish, barracudas, manta rays, groupers, snappers and yellowtail snappers), four different species of turtles (Caretta caretta or Loggerhead, Green turtle, Hawksbill turtle and Leatherback or Laud turtle) and an endless sea representatives that make up an entire galaxy under the extraordinary turquoise waters of the archipelago of Los Roques.
- Pampatar, on the east coast of Isla Margarita, is a great place for learning to dive.
- El Farallon. A huge rock, about 14m deep. See a statue of a little Madonna.
- La Ballena and Murucal - great for skin diving!
Islas Los Frailes: a snorkelling and diving paradise. 9 small islands with dive sites to suit everyone from beginners to experienced divers. Walls, platforms, canyons and caves. Viz varies, depending on the season, between 10-30m.
Cubagua Island: A smaller, sister island to Margarita Island - great marine life.
Santa Anna Ferry: Lost to fire in the 1970s, there are still cars on board, a Chevy and a Volkswagen.
Mochima National Park with 36 islands just offshore and over 50 dive sites.
Some airlines ask passengers to show a valid Yellow fever vaccination certificate before flying to Venezuela. This is not an official entry requirement, however the CDC Yellow fever vaccination recommendation is "for all travellers over 9 months of age travelling to Venezuela, except the northern coastal area. The cities of Caracas and Valencia are not in the endemic zone." A valid measles vaccination certificate may be required to board flights out of the country following a nationwide immunisation program in 2006, but foreign tourists are usually exempted. [Source: Wikitravel]
|Climate:||Tropical; hot, humid; more moderate in highlands|
|Natural hazards:||Subject to floods, rockslides, mudslides, occasional droughts|
|Diving season:||Year round|
|Water temperature:||26C/78F (Jan-March)|