The country of Venezuela has been stuck in a rut for quite some time. Rising violence, hyperinflation, crippling food shortages, fatal protests, and several other problems make the headlines far more than they should. Details like these have put the country off the radar for several travel enthusiasts.
That is a shame because the country is full of breathtaking views and immaculate wildlife. According to Christopher Colombus, Venezuela was “heaven on earth.”
In hopes of restoring Venezuela to its aesthetic prowess, we’re taking you through some surprising Venezuela facts.
Amazing Venezuela Facts
1. It is Home to the Largest Rodent in the World
The Capybara is native to the Savannas in Venezuela and is the largest rodent ever recorded. Despite their large size, they are friendly animals, and they graze mainly on tree bark, grass, and fruits. They can remain underwater for up to five minutes, are excellent swimmers, and often use this ability to escape dangerous predators.
Sadly, they are often hunted for their pelts and meat, and they are used for cooking a signature Venezuelan dish called the Pisillo de Chigüire. It is usually served during Easter.
2. Modern Trinkets Get Along with Traditional Toys in Venezuela
Venezuelan children enjoy playing with traditional toys like the Pergola. These toys are carved from wood by hand and painted with bright colors. Even though stores in different streets across Venezuela sell modern toys and video games, kids enjoy playing with these toys the most since they are deep-rooted in their culture.
Venezuelan kids’ traditional toys are an interesting blend of African and Spanish games from the colonial age. Moreover, the artists in Venezuela also make artifacts and utensils out of wood. These are unique and often sold at a high price.
3. They Have More Miss World Winners than Any Other Country
Venezuela is the fifth most populous country in South America, and they’ve provided the world with six women who deserve the Miss World title. This puts them ahead of:
- The U.K. (5)
- India (5)
- Jamaica, Iceland, and the USA (3)
Pilín León, who won the competition back in 1981, turned on the lights for Christmas in Oxford Street in the year she won. The country loves beauty pageants since they’ve also produced seven Miss Universe winners. One of them was Irene Sáez, who also participated in the presidential elections in 1998.
4. Conservation Matters A Lot to the People in Venezuela
There’s no point in having ample wildlife and beauty if you don’t care for it. Venezuela paves the way in conservation attempts since they’ve designated more than half of their territory for wildlife (more than any other country in the world). The global average is just under 15%.
5. It Isn’t the Safest Place in the World
Thousands of people have had stress-free trips to Venezuela, but the statistics show an alarming situation. Venezuela ranks second in terms of gun-related deaths after Honduras. Their capital, Caracas, has the worst murder rate compared to other capitals.
Foreign offices in almost every country advise against traveling to Venezuela since only Venezuela’s eastern and southern states (Delta Amacuro, Amazonas, Bolívar, and the offshore Los Roques Archipelago National Park) are safe to visit. Moreover, there’s also a high risk of kidnapping and violent crime. Even when you arrive in the country, take proper care!
6. Caracas Has a Few Colorful Neighbours
Every evening in the capital city of Caracas, you’re going to see colorful macaws that fly majestically across the sky and make short pit stops in terraces and balconies. These birds live in the nearby mountains and make their way through buildings and houses when the day ends.
People can often hear their loud call, which is often a cue for them to feed on bananas, mango, pineapple, and papaya. Like several other animals in Venezuela, macaws are pretty friendly, too.
7. Sometimes, Alcohol is Banned
Enjoying a drink in Venezuela is easy, and people often prefer drinking the Cuba Libre. Wine is grown in the state of Lara, but if there’s an election, you should watch out! The law states, selling alcohol 21 hours before voting is illegal!
8. There’s a Lightning Storm that Never Ends
On the mouth of the Catumbo river, the cold air of the mountain collides with the heat produced from Lake Maracaibo, and this phenomenon produces the Catatumbo Lightning.
In 2015, this spot entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the one place you’d have the highest chance of seeing lightning.
On some nights, there are more than 100,000 lightning strikes in one night!
9. Venezuela Has Been Independent for More than 200 Years
While the rumors tell a different story, Hugo Chávez did not give Venezuela independence. In August of 1806, Francisco de Miranda, a Venezuelan exile, arrived in the country from Barbados (where he was under the guidance of Alexander Cochrane) with over 500 American and British volunteers.
Loyalists revolted in their struggle for independence, but this battle produced a flag. In 1810, a group of people, including Simón Bolívar, created the first Venezuelan Republic. The authorities were opposed on April 19, 1810, and Venezuela was declared an independent state on July 5, 1811. Even though Venezuela was the first country to start a struggle against the Spaniards, the fight, in its raw form, continued till 1823.
10. Not Every Mountain in Venezuela Has a Peak
A unique feature of the mountains of Venezuela and other neighboring countries like Guyana and Brazil is the tepuis. These are high-table mountains (they don’t have peaks) with equally high sides.
In terms of elevation, these mountains range from 1,000 to 3,500 meters. These mountains also have a diverse collection of animals and plants that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
Some of the most renowned plants living at the top of these mountains are carnivorous. The largest tepui is the Auyantepui which has a surface area of 700 km2 and is the home for angel falls. Some of the biggest tepuis in Venezuela can be found in the Canaima National park.
11. Christmas Celebrations Have Roller Blades?
In cities like Maracay, Valencia, Caracas, and Barquisimeto, it is traditional to travel to the church in the early morning during Christmas on rollerblades. This tradition started in the 1920s in Caracas, and it represents the festive mood of the people who attend in huge numbers to pay their respects to Baby Jesus.
They also utilize these moments to spend quality time with their families. People gather to sing the renowned Venezuelan Aguinaldos during these magical moments while the cuatro (a four-string guitar) plays in the background.
12. It Has the World’s Highest Waterfall
Remember how we mentioned Angel Falls earlier? It’s the highest waterfall in the world! It’s located in the Canaima National Park at the height of 979 meters and has a plunge of about 807 meters. It was named after Jimmie Angel, the first person to fly over the waterfall.
This spot is one of the top tourist attractions in Venezuela; however, visiting this spot isn’t easy. To reach this spot, you have to take a flight on a small airplane, navigate a canoe, and then walk through a mysterious jungle to be in awe of Mother Nature. At the end of it, the whole trip is worth it because the view takes your breath away.
P.S.: Remember that extremely high mountain top in the Disney animated film UP? Angel falls inspired its setting!
13. Venezuela Has three World Heritage Sites – But One Is in Danger
While we’ve explained the beauty behind Canaima National Park, other sites worth your time are Ciudad Universitaria Caracas, a building complex in the capital city, and the Coro port. Unfortunately, the latter is supposedly at risk, according to UNESCO.
14. The Capital Has Some Interesting Buildings
The Helix center, built in the 1960s, was supposed to operate as a shopping center but looks rather sinister – only because it is. The construction on this mega-complex never finished, and since it was abandoned, the Venezuelan secret service moved in and turned it into a ruthless prison!
That said, the country has a lot more to offer! Just watch the VLog below and check out the diverse offerings the country has to offer!
My First Impressions of VENEZUELA
If the enticing facts we listed above have got you planning a trip to Venezuela, go through this Vlog to know the challenges and luxuries you may experience on your first day in Venezuela. While reactions may differ, we’re sure you’ll love everything the country has to offer!
Be it the world’s highest waterfall, the world’s scariest rainfall, or a colourful night sky filled with majestic birds – Venezuela has got it all. While abysmal economic conditions have put the country in shallow waters, you can still enjoy a trip if you take all the necessary precautions!
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Hi I’m Jay. I grew up in Seattle, Washington and live in Los Angeles, California. I have travelled to 23 countries so far and planning to go explore more countries soon! My Favorite trips so far have been to Israel, Japan, Rome, Iceland and Australia. I started this site to share my love of travel with everyone and build a community of like-minded, free thinking, free exploring people.