Geography of Venezuela

It is located between 74° and 60° west longitude, between 3° and 13° north latitude. In the north it is washed by the waters of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The total area of maritime space is 860 thousand km2. The length of the coastline is 2813 km. The shores of the Caribbean Sea in the extreme northwest are low-lying; in the north and northeast – mostly rocky, to the west – lagoon. There are many islands along the coast. The largest is Margarita (area 1000 km2, located 32 km from the mainland, famous for its magnificent sandy beaches). The coast of the Atlantic Ocean is formed by the delta of the Orinoco River. Venezuela borders Colombia to the west and southwest, Brazil to the south and southeast, and Guyana to the east. Venezuela is located in the subequatorial zone of the Northern Hemisphere.

Venezuela is divided into 6 natural zones: the blocky wooded ridges of the Cordillera de Merida (Bolivar, 5007 m) and the Sierra de Perija (up to 3540 m); the low, mostly swampy and forested depression of Maracaibo; the sparsely forested plateau of Falcon-Lara; Caribbean Andes, covered with mixed forests; savannas of Lla nos Orinoco (Low and High); swampy delta of the Orinoco River; Guiana Plateau (plains with shrubby savanna in the north, sandstone and blocky massifs among mixed forests in the center and the depression of the upper Orinoco with hylaea in the south).

The subsoil is rich in oil, natural gas, iron and nickel ores, there are also coal, ores of manganese, copper, gold, bauxite, sulfur, asbestos, etc. In terms of hydrocarbon reserves, it ranks 1st in Latin America and 4th in the world. On its territory, 2 main regions are distinguished: the Maracaibe oil-bearing basin and the Orinok oil-and-gas basin. There are also small deposits in the northwest. At the end of March 2003, two new giant “oil fields” were opened, with fuel reserves of 1 billion barrels. Natural gas reserves – St. 1 million m3, of which 90% is associated, 60% of the reserves are concentrated in the Maracaibe basin, a significant part of the gas is in the Orinoco basin.

Red lateritic (ferralitic and feritic) soils predominate in the soil cover, red-yellow lateritic soils in the southeast and southwest, and alluvial meadow-forest and swamp soils in the Low Llanos and in the south of the Maracaibo lowland.

According to, the climate of almost all of Venezuela is subequatorial, hot, with rainy summers and dry winters, in the southwest – equatorial, constantly humid. The average monthly temperature is +25-28°C, precipitation from 280 mm in the northwest and 750-1200 mm in the center to 2000 mm in the southeast and 2000-3000 mm in the southwest and on the northern slopes of the Cordillera de Merida.

The river network belongs mainly to the Orinoco river basin, very dense; rivers are characterized by extremely uneven discharge (summer floods). The upper reaches of the Orinoco River and its right tributaries (Ventuari, Caura, Caroni, etc.) are rapids and form many large waterfalls (including the highest in the world – Angel, 1054 m). Left tributaries in the west of the Llanos (Arauca, Apure, etc.) have a small slope, many are navigable; the rivers of the Mesas region and the rivers flowing into the Caribbean Sea are short and unnavigable. Lake-lagoon Maracaibo with an area of 16.3 thousand km2 is connected by a shallow channel with the Gulf of Venezuela. In the northern part it is shallow, in the southern part the depth reaches 250 m. It is navigable.

On most of the slopes of the Andes and the Guiana Plateau, deciduous and deciduous evergreen forests are common, in the most humid areas – in the southwest and southeast and on the northern windward slopes of the Cordillera de Merida – constantly wet evergreen forests with valuable tree species (red, black, logwood trees, rubber-bearing rocks), in the highlands – paramo cryophilic meadows. The forests are occupied by St. 50% of the territory. The Low Llanos are characterized by tall-grass savannah with palm trees: in the Mesas region, as well as in the adjacent areas of the Guiana Plateau and in the north of the lowland. Maracaibo is a dry savanna with xerophilous shrubs and woodlands. Around the Gulf of Venezuela – cactus sparse forests, along low-lying coasts – mangroves.

There are 17 national parks and 3 reserves in the country. The largest of them: Henry Pitier with tropical rainforest and endemic avifauna, Sierra Nevada de Merida with mountain-glacial landscapes and paramo vegetation, El Avila with altitudinal zoning of tropical forests. Since 1973, the Los Roques archipelago has been protected.

The animal world is diverse. There are broad-nosed monkeys, small deer, sloths, anteaters, armadillos, tapirs, peccaries, opossums, jaguars, etc. There are many reptiles, amphibians and insects.

Of the birds, the most characteristic are: black-billed heron, sun heron, jacana, trumpeters, harpy, toucans, parrots, hummingbirds. In the rivers are found: caimans, electric eels, piranhas; in the sea, off the coast – sardines, Spanish mackerel, mullet, anchovies, herring, tuna, sea bass.

Geography of Venezuela