Take an adventure holiday in VENEZUELA with World Expeditions, one of the world’s leading travel companies.
Venezuela is a land of contrasts. Whilst it is one of the wealthiest countries in South America, with good roads and tourism infrastructure, it is also home to Indian groups which continue to live their traditional lifestyle. The northern Caribbean coastline runs for 2800 kilometres, whilst to the south, bordering Brazil, is Amazon rainforest. The south is also characterised by the swampy lands of the Orinoco delta and the Guiana Highlands where the tepuis, or table mountains, are located. To the northwest, bordering on Colombia, is the northern end of the Andes, known as the Sierra Nevada de Merida, where the highest peak is Pico Bolivar (5007m). To the north of the Andes is the largest lake in South America, Lago Maracaibo.
Before the Spanish Conquest in the Fifteenth century, the country was settled by three main Indian tribes. Christopher Columbus set foot on Venezuelan soil in 1498, and the Spanish settlement began around 1500. The father of Venezuela, Simon Bolivar or El Liberatador, paved the way for independence from the Spanish as far south as Argentina. Independence was achieved in 1821 when Bolivar defeated Spanish forces in Carabobo, and he went on to liberate Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador by 1824. This fighting was done at great expense to the Venezuela which is estimated to have lost 25% of its population during the liberation period.
Venezuela is made up of more than 20 Indian groups, representing around 1% of the population. Within these Indian communities, more than 40 different languages are used. The majority of the population (around 70%) are a mixture of European, Indian and African races. The remainder is represented by whites (21%) and blacks (8%). Spanish is the official language. The population is 23.5 million, of which around 20% reside in Caracas.