GEOGRAPHY

GEOGRAPHY

Venezuela is a tropical country that has geographical characteristics common with other nations in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania — both in the Northern and Southern hemispheres — that are situated between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. Venezuela’s location allows for varied tropical climates with a large natural potential for renewable solar energy  and exuberant and diverse vegetation that thrives in humid environments. There is great physical diversity throughout Venezuela, with 27 climate zones, 12 types of natural vegetation, 23 varieties of geographic relief and 38 geological units that contain soil of varied characteristics and qualities.

  1. LOCATION

  2. CLIMATE

  3. FLORA

  4. FAUNA

  5. HYDROGRAPHY

  6. GEOGRAPHIC REGIONS

 

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Location

  • The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is located to the north of the equator along the northern coast of South America. The continental territory is located between 0° 38′ 53”, 12° 11′ 46” north latitude and 59° 47′ 30”, and 73° 23′ western longitude. It’s bordered on the north by the Caribbean Sea, extending 2,813 km; to the south by the Republic of Brazil with a border extending 2,000 km; to the east by the Atlantic Ocean and the Republic of Guyana, with which it has a border of 743 km; and to the west by the Republic of Colombia, whose border extends 2,050 km.

  • Venezuela’s continental shelf is located to the north and northeast of the country, accounting for approximately 18% of the total continental surface and a maritime presence of 860,000 km2. In general, it is comprised of a narrow coastal stretch of low altitude, between 0 to 100 meters above sea level. It is located between the Caribbean Sea and the Venezuelan Coastal Range. There are three important depressions: the Lake of Maracaibo to the west, the Unare depression in the central northeast and the Delta of the Orinoco to the east. Venezuela’s coast is the location of the country’s most important ports: La Guaira, Maracaibo, Puerto Cabello and Puerto La Cruz.

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Types of Climate Zones in Venezuela

Monsoon

It is characterized by the presence of a short dry season, but the total rainfall is tremendous and the soil conserves sufficient humidity to maintain jungle vegetation. This climatic variety owes its name to the influence of the humid monsoon winds that, originating from the Atlantic Ocean, blow over the Delta Amacuro and Monagas states.

Most of the vegetation that covers a great part of the deltaic zone and the northeastern region of Monagas are mangrove swamps.

Rainy Savannah with Dry Season

It is characterized by the persistence of high temperatures and lasts all year, since the monthly averages are above 16°C. The dry period generally lasts from December until March.

The vegetation associated with this type of climate includes trees spaced out along large areas covered with grasses and with wooded zones with some clearings.

This climatic zone is typical of a considerable part of the western sector of the State of Zulia, large portions of Barinas and Apure states and of almost all the surface of the Anzoátegui, Cojedes, Guárico, Monagas and Portuguese states.

Humid and Rainy without Dryness

It is characterized by a hard, rainy period that lasts all year. The average monthly temperature in the areas situated under 600 meters of altitude is greater than 18°C.

The predominant vegetation is jungle. This climatic variety is present in nearly every part of Amazonas and Bolívar states, the southwestern sector of Zulia state, a small portion to the west of the Apure state, the southwest of Barinas state and the windward sub-region in Miranda state.

Steppe with a Short Rainy Season

The dry season is normally from November until May. The characteristic vegetation are xerophyte plants. The rain comes down as showers, distributed over two annual periods. This type of climate is most common in the northern sector of Zulia tate. It’s also common in a great portion of Falcón state, especially in the north and in northeast, including the Paraguaná Peninsula; in the coastal region of the Federal District; in almost all Nueva Esparta state; in federal dependencies like the Los Testigos Archipelago; and in a small sector to the north of Anzoátegui state.

Desert

This climate is extremely hot and dry, with brief and very scarce rains. In many cases, the soil lacks vegetable cover. It is found in some federal dependencies, like the Los Monjes, La Tortuga and La Orchila archipelagos and, largely, the Araya Peninsula (Sucre state).

Rainy and Temperate

It is found in areas with an altitude between 1,000 and the 2,000 meters. The rains are continuous throughout the year. However, the monthly average temperature of the coldest month is always lower at 18°C. This climatic diversity is found in certain sectors of Guyana (Amazonas and Bolívar states), as well as the Mérida Coastal Range. The predominant vegetation in this type of climate is xerophytes plants, although of the microthermic variety.

Tundra

It is classified as such mainly because the hottest month registers temperatures between 0 and 10°C. This is the actual climate of the Andean wastelands. It is located above 2,800 meters above sea level. It only dominates some small, elevated sectors of the Andean states: Mérida, Táchira and Trujillo.

Cold

It is defined also as a climate of high mountains, being below 10°C, the temperature of the hottest month. In the Andean summits of the Mérida Coastal Range, above an altitude of 4,700 meters, the presence of snow is noted.

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Flora

In Venezuela, the variety of landscapes has allowed for the development of very different florae—as is the case of the Espeletia species as well as the indigenous floral species of the Venezuelan Andes; the thorny flora of the dry, coastal zones of Falcón, Sucre; of the internal areas in Lara or Anzoátegui or the dense jungle forests to the south of the country. In general, four primary types of vegetation can be identified in this area: forests, grasslands, pastures and pioneering vegetation (lichen and moss). In Venezuela, each one of these large types of vegetation appears in a multitude of variant and spectacular forms, depending on biotic and physical factors. The flora of Venezuela is estimated at around 30,000 species of plants with seeds, without including other vegetable groups like algae, mushrooms, lichen, bryophytes and ferns. The main biomes of Venezuela can be divided into wooded areas; they comprise evergreen forests, dry forests, xerophilous forests and mangrove swamps, and not wooded areas; more commonly, Venezuela is comprised of wastelands, savannahs, dunes and salty plains.

If you want to know more about Venezuelan flora, visit the PDVSA website, or the Government Online website.

Fauna

The vertebrate fauna of Venezuela contains some 2,828 terrestrial species and 1,000 continental water fish species. The total figures vary due to the great quantity of new species reported or verified as similar to species previously described. The mammalian fauna of Venezuela covers 306 terrestrial species and 21 aquatic, 14 of which are endemic to the country. In all, there are 11 orders and 45 families. With respect to the bird fauna in Venezuela, some 1,360 species of birds have been recognized to date; this quantity represents 15% of the total recognized in the planet, making it the sixth country with the greatest number of bird species in the world.

If you want to know more on about the Venezuelan flora, visit the PDVSA website, or the Government Online website.

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Hydrography

Venezuelan rivers flow either towards the Caribbean Sea or the Atlantic Ocean.

The side of the Caribbean Sea is comprised of the Lake of Maracaibo Basin and the Unare, Yaracuy, Tocuyo, Neverí, Aroa and Manzanare rivers that flow into directly into the sea. The Limón, Catatumbo, Socuy, Chama, Escalante and Motatán rivers flow into the Lake of Maracaibo.

Water that flows into the Atlantic Ocean is concentrated in the Orinoco Basin, which at 2,140 km in length is fed by rivers from the Venezuelan plains (Meta, Arauca, Cinaruco and Apure) and from the Guyana area (Ventuari, Cuchivero, Suapure, Aro, Caura and Caroní). Together, these rivers drain four-fifths of Venezuela’s water.

The Orinoco River is the longest river in northern South America. It is born in the Parima Sierra in the Guyanese Highlands on the border between Amazonas state and Brazil. It travels through forests and savannas along a C-shaped trajectory along the border with Colombia and across Venezuela until it reaches the Atlantic Ocean at a delta with numerous branches.

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Geographical Regions

The Andes: Entering Venezuela from Colombia coming to an end from the South American continent , occupying the territories of the States: Táchira , Mérida, Trujillo and part of Apure and Barinas, his greografía is characterized by highlight important alterations that lead countless ecosystems such as the foot of the mountain, the cloud forest and paramo. It is here where the highest mountains in the country are found, being the highest Pico Bolívar with 4978 m The city of Merida is definitely the capital of adventure tourism and nature in Venezuela and many excursions depart from it to explore the mountains and surrounding places. Hiking , climbing , canyoning , paragliding and mountain biking practiced . The Andean states are producing a high percentage of vegetables and legumes consumed in the country , so their population has a deep commitment to work together with characteristic hospitality and friendliness make an endearing Venezuelan Andean . The University of the Andes is the third university in the country .

Highest points of the Venezuelan Andes
Expressed in meters above sea level

Pico Bolívar ................. 4,978
Pico Humboldt ............. 4,940
Pico La Concha ........... 4,922
Pico Bonpland ............. 4,883
Pico Espejo ................. 4,765
Pico El Toro ................. 4,756
Pico The Lion ................. 4,740
Pico Los Nevados ......... 4,700
Pico Pan de Azucar....... 4,680
Pico Mucuñuque ........... 4,670

Links:

Wikipedia : The Venezuelan Andes

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Lake Maracaibo basin:  With 13,820 km2 of lake area is the largest in Venezuela and the largest in Latin America with access to the sea. Give a unique ecosystem where converge the Caribbean Sea with the river slopes of the Sierra de Perija - natural border between Colombia and Venezuela and the Andes Mountains . It is a lush tropical landscape. In the south is the Catatumbo River basin , where the still unexplained phenomenon of the Catatumbo Lightning , surrounded by a wide biodiversity occurs . There is a strong agricultural and livestock production in the lake and surrounding land in northern Lake are the most important oil fields of Venezuela. In its landlocked Lake Maracaibo is sheltered on three islands with attractive imporant both historical and natural : Toas , Zapara and San Carlos . The ecosystem of Lake Maracaibo, Zulia is mainly in the state and a small part in Mérida .

Links:

Wikipedia : Lake Maracaibo - The Catatumbo Lightning

Araguato Expeditions : Tour to Catatumbo

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Los LLanos - The Plains: Occupying the central strip of the territory of Venezuela this vast region is characterized by a relief of savannas and plains and rich hydrography . As ecosystem is in the Global 200 , set of 200 ecosystems that have conservation priority according to the " World Wide Fund for Nature " has a biodiversity comparable to that of the Brazilian Pantanal and the Everglades in the United States , being the habitat of countless species of birds, mammals, fish , reptiles, etc. . It is the largest wildlife reserve in Venezuela and one of the largest in the Western Hemisphere. In Venezuela occupies the territory of the states : Aupre , Barinas, Portuguesa, Cojedes and Guárico , occupying Colombian territory also represented by the departments of Arauca , Casanare and Vichada . The economy of the Venezuelan plains is mainly oriented to livestock and extensive cultivation of cereals. It is one of the essential destinations during a visit to Venezuela , not only because in here you can see the greatest diversity of wildlife in the country, but because you will also have the opportunity to meet the people , represented in the figure of burrowing , a strong man who lives in perfect harmony with the natural environment and has been featured in our history and the development of our culture and traditions. The well-known Venezuelan writer Romulo Gallegos spent his most emblematic works to Los Llanos , being required reading for a better understanding of the peculiarities of the culture of this region.

Links:

Wikipedia: Los Llanos

WWWF: WWWF Los Llanos Eco - region

Araguato Expeditions : Tour to Los Llanos

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The Coriano System: One of the most contrasting ecosystems of Venezuela , consists of mountainous tropical forest and desert areas and xerophytes . It is mainly composed of Falcon, Lara and parts of Zulia, Carabobo and Yaracuy states . The main aspect of the relief of Coriano System are the mountains of Falcon- Lara, among which we must mention the San Luis range. But it isn't entirety  mountainous, there's the flat and dry, no less interesting Paraguaná Peninsula , where is the northernmost point of continental Venezuela, located at Cabo San Román at 12 ° 12 " north latitude. The diversity of locations leads to a variety of destinations among which we mention: The Morrocoy National Park and its spectacular beaches and cays, Paraguaná peninsula and Adícora one of the best beaches for windsurfing and kitesurfing, the breathtaking dunes of Coro, and the Sierra de San Luis with its lush vegetation and historic vestige of the old spanish trail. The Coriano System is varied with respect to its economy: is agricultural, livestock , industrial, commercial, and.

Links:

Wikipedia : Coro - Paraguaná - Morrocoy National Park - Sierra de San Luis

Araguato Expeditions : Paraguaná Full Day - Tour The Sierra de San Luis

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Guyana: Occupying 45% of the continental surface of Venzuela there is the natural region "Sur del Orinoco " commonly known as Guiana. Comprises two distinct systems , with savannas north and south the Amazon rainforest . A contrast of covers landscapes, from plains to shield extensions and tepuis (unique rock formations in the world) that have continuity with the topography of the Venezuelan Guayana . There are the oldest in the world and one of the most important reserves of biodiversity in the world geological formations. Along the Amazon is one of the most important "lungs" to the planet . Occupies the territories of Bolivar and Amazonas states which have the lowest population density in the country and is bounded to the north by the Orinoco River , the longest in Venezuela with 2,140 KM . The economy is primarily based on mining iron ore, gold and precious stones, being for many years a popular destination for adventurers from many parts of the world seeking the legendary Dorado. Tourism is also of vital importance to the area. In this region are the most iconic attractions Venezuela , Angel Falls , La Gran Sabana , El Monte Roraima. Ciudad Bolivar Bolivar State capital , on the banks of the Orinoco, is a peaceful village with one of the finest collections of colonial architecture in the country . In contrast , the second city in the region: Puerto Ordaz, is one of the industrial capitals of Venezuela with a developed metal industry and a vibrant life.

Links:

Wikipedia : Canaima - La Gran Sabana - Mount Roraima

Araguato Expeditions : Canaima - Roraima Trek - Rio Caura - La Gran Sabana

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Deltaic System: This region is one of the most interesting of Venezuela , has an area of ​​32,000 km ² and is located east of the country between the low plains of Monagas, the Guiana Shield and the Atlantic Ocean. Occupies the entire Delta Amacuro state . Its landscape is low-lying and fairly level , so it is frequently flooded and invaded by tides near the sea, with an abundance of lakes , marshes , numerous islands and countless branches and channels or channels. Its name is an ecosystem formed by the mouth of the Orinoco River to the Atlantic Ocean. It is home to the Warao ethnic group , an Amerindian indigenous people living across the River Delta region , adapted to life near the water. There are over 36,000 people who identify with this ethnic group. Skilled in handling the canoe and skilful in the development in the swampy forests of the islands of the Delta, the Warao are a unique representation of human adaptation to the natural environment. The Orinoco Delta economy is based mainly on agriculture and is a strong producer of " Palmetto " a delicacy extracted from the bud of the palm Mauritia.

Links:

Wikipedia : Delta del Orinoco

WWWF:  Orinoco Delta swamp forests

Araguato Expeditions : Orinoco Delta

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Insular Region: This consists of the Nueva Esparta state and federal territories, with an administrative base at La Asuncion , capital city of the state of Nueva Esparta . The region is the smallest in the country, its main feature is its condition of being composed of islands of small size . The climate is tropical warm. The islands and archipelagos of the Venezuelan Caribbean have a diverse and lush vegetation as the rest of the islands of the southern Caribbean Sea , where alternate tropical forest ecosystems , mangrove forests and semi - desert areas. Tourism is developed in most of the islands and is the main income for this region . Destinations are recognized internationally for its beautiful beaches and landscapes: La Isla Margarita , Los Roques and Mochima name a few. The island arc covers a total of 311 islands that form a line parallel to the coast. The soils are formed from igneous , metamorphic , very old and eroded rocks exposed to the surface between them are the Monks Archipelago , Archipelago Los Roques , Isla Orchila Island Blanquilla Island Brothers , and Los Frailes Archipelago Witnesses archipelago . There are other islands, such as the Archipelago Las Aves (farthest 500km from the coast of Venezuela ) and partially Orchila and Blanquilla where bedrock is completely covered by a thick calcareous layer , resulting from the growth and erosion of ancient reefs coral . All rooms with warm waters and favorable reefs for diving practice .
Links:

Wikipedia : Los Roques - Isla de Aves

Araguato Expeditions : Los Roques

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Central Range: Is a region represented by a complex mountainous landscape bordered on the north by the Caribbean Sea offering majestic views and spectacular beaches resulting product is the crash of a mountain range with elevations of up to 2,700 and the coast. It occupies part of the territory of Yaracuy , Cojedes, Guárico , Miranda, Carabobo, Aragua and the Capital District . The resulting valleys are the most populated areas of Venezuela , to the point where the capital Caracas is located in this range at about 1000 masl The maximum elevation of the Cordillera Central is the Pico Naiguatá to 2,760 m It has a number of areas under regime or Natural Monument National Park , the most important being the Waraira Repano National Park in the capital district and the Henry Pitter located in the northern state of Aragua. The vegetation is his , above 1000 m is the highest areas of tropical cloud forest, an important habitat for many species of birds. Has isolated the coast , where in colonial times larger farms producing cocoa , some still in production were developed , as is the case found in the village of Chuao in Aragua state areas , recognized as the best producer of cocoa in the world . The coastal population is primarily of African origin, descendants of slaves brought to work on the plantations slaves represent an important cultural group within Venezuelan society , preserving many customs and traditions of their ancestors, such as Santeria cults and Afro -Venezuelan music. One of the most important pilgrimage sites are located in this mountain : The mountain of Sorte in Edo . Yaracuy , natural sanctuary Lionza cult of Mary . Pagan worship that has its roots in the African Voodoo considered one of the most important in the world by number of followers.
Links:

Wikipedia : Henry Pittier Park - National Park Waraira Repano - Chuao - Cult of Maria Lionza

Getty images: The Maria Lionza Cult

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Eastern Range: Known as the tectonic phenomenon that gave rise to the Cariaco Basin off the Caribbean and northern Cordillera Venezuelal . The peninsulas of Araya and Paria west to east, are joined by an isthmus with over 80 km ² wide and is bordered to the south by the gulfs of Cariaco and Paria. The mountains , which highlights Turimiquire massif ( 2600 m ) and other mountains that do not exceed 1500 m . are a continuation of the mountainous interior of the Cordillera Central , which will end in Caripe del Guacharo in Monagas state. Primarily lays on the territories of Sucre and northern Monagas state . It is a region where converge the Caribbean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean and the mouth of the Orinoco River, which has a profound influence on the climate of the area . The Caribbean coast offers beautiful beaches such as Playa Medina and Puy Puy in the Paria Peninsula . The economy is mainly oriented to fishing, fish processing and canning and cocoa , this being one of the most important regions in the field.

Links:

Flicker : Pictures of Paria
 

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Source: http://venezuela-us.org/geography/