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Welcome to Venezuela / Bienvenido a Venezuela

When the first explorers arrived in this country, they saw houses over the Sinamaica lagoon (Zulia State), close to Maracaibo; those houses reminded them of the city of Venice. They called the region "Little Venice", which in Spanish translates as Venezuela. With a number of flights flying into Venezuela and an excellent road network the incredible diversity of the Venezuelan landscape is well within the reach of most travellers.

Close to 90 percent of the population live in the northern part of the country, while the rest of the land features great tracts of wilderness and maintains to explore; there is something for everyone. Venezuela is a country with many natural resources. In addition to oil, the major resource in Venezuela, there is gold, bauxite, iron, coal, hydroelectric resources, and others.

Venezuela is a fantastically diverse country in terms of its geography, with beaches, plains and mountains. The weather also varies greatly from one place to another.

Venezuela has wonderful beaches (playas), especially at the east (Playa Colorada), in the islands (Margarita, Coche) and in the central-west region (Morrocoy, Cata, and Choroní).

In the Caribbean, north of Caracas, the Archipielago of Los Roques is located with its white sand beaches and its crystalline waters. One of the interesting regions in Venezuela is the Gran Sabana. Located in the southeast - Bolivar State - this region has flat top mountains called "Tepuy". "Angel" Falls (3000 ft), the highest waterfalls in the world, are also located here.

Bolivar Peak is the highest point in Venezuela (5002 meters). A cable car can take you, in one hour, from the city of Merida to the "Pico Espejo". Venezuela also has deserts and dunes. One of the most interesting trips you can make is to the Coro Dunes (Medanos de Coro). Next to the highway from Coro to Punto Fijo you can slide from the top of these sand hills.

Venezuela's cities are full of life. Caracas, the capital, with more than 4 million inhabitants, is the political and economic centre of the country. In the west are located Maracaibo (the oil capital), Barquisimeto (the city of the sunsets), Mérida (tourist and student centres), San Cristobal, Valencia, and Maracay. In the east: Maturín (challenging Maracaibo´s oil leadership), Puerto La Cruz (tourist centre). To the South are located Ciudad Bolívar and Ciudad Guayana (steel centre).

Venezuela has a rich and varied fauna. Its tropical birds (Toucans, flamingos, guacamayas); mammalians, reptiles (crocodiles or snakes), and fish (which should attract the attention of any snorkelling fans) delight nature lovers.

Tourists from many countries, including the United Kingdom, do not require visas to travel to Venezuela as tourists, if their stay is to be of 90 days or less. The only requirement is filling the tourist card provided by the transportation carrier or airline. Currencies are exchanged in banks and money exchange shops. These outlets are available at airports and in cities all over the country. Banking hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. Some private exchange shops located in shopping centres operate on weekends, and ATMs can be accessed with credit cards to obtain local currency 24 hours a day. Most shops are open Monday to Saturday from 8:00 or 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Outlets in some shopping centres are open until 9:00 p.m. and are also open on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Let the North of Venezuela impress you with its tropical climate and the longest Caribbean coastline of all the countries in Latin America, then why not extend your visit to the Southern parts of the country with its savannah, flat top mountains and untouched Amazonian region. Venezuela awaits your visit.