Explorations in Venezuela    

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Situated in a valley surrounded by hills and densely forested mountain slopes, Caracas is a sprawling, heavily populated metropolis set in the shadow of a great wilderness. Its colonial district dates back to the 16th Century, and its museums house some of South America's greatest works of art, particularly modern. The suburbs are also filled with attractions; El Hatillo, to the south, is rich in colonial architecture, while to the north of Caracas are postcard perfect beaches thick with tanned skin and Caribbean sun.

The North West
The North West of Caracas has a long history. It was the region where Columbus first landed, and for many years towns such as Coro and Maracaibo (the 2nd most populous city next to Caracas) traded heavily with the Netherlands Antilles. The towns are distinct in their architecture and feel, though markedly different. Along the coast is one of Venezuela's most treasured seashores, Parque Nacional Morrocoy. The park has excellent beaches and numerous fine reefs for snorkeling and diving.

Isla de MargaritaIsla de Margarita
For many Venezuelans, the ultimate vacation home is a place on the beach on Isla de Margarita. The island is about sits about 40km off the mainland and has a healthy population of about 300,000. Like the nearby islands of Bonaire and Curacao, Isla de Margarita enjoys a dry, desert climate. The capital city of Porlamar offers just about every modern convenience. 

Andean Venezuela
People don't usually think of Venezuela when they think of the Andes, but the mountains sweep to the East at their northern end, penetrating well into western Venezuela. The peaks here are tall, striking, and plentiful, and they offer a full range of adventure and sporting options. There are actually two ranges of the Andes in the region. Sitting poetically between them is the old city of Merida, a university town with clean air and a bohemian culture. The school here is the second oldest in South America

The North East
Venezuela's North East is where the nation's famous beaches reach their alluring heights: this is the Venezuelan destination for the sun wor- shippers and water lovers. Mochima National Park, a shoreline reserve of coral reefs, hundreds of islands, and beaches is one of the most scenic stretches of tropical shoreline in South America. The capital here is Cumana, which holds the claim of being the oldest town on the mainland.

Angel Falls CaracasThe Guayana Highlands
The south east region of Venezuela is defined by the Guayana Highlands, named after the neighboring country to the east. Though many people have never heard of the area, many have seen photos of its most famous landmark - Angel Falls - the world's most vertiginous waterfall. The falls, however, are just one of many distinctive features in the area, which is also known for the Orinoco river and also its tepuis. Tepuis are huge sandstone mesas that rise thousands of feet about the Gran Sabana, a vast grassland.

The Amazonas
Like its name implies, the Amazonas is quite simply Venezuela's own stretch of Amazonian rain forest. The state is one the country's largest and certainly the most remote. It is home to many indigenous peoples, including the Yanomami - one of the most threatened and fragile cultures in the world. From the city of Ayacucho you can arrange for guided tours of the region, which abounds in flora, fauna, and cerros - the jungle's equivalent of the tepuis

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