Spotlight on Venezuela

Venezuela has epic proportions: it has South America's largest lake and third-longest river, the highest waterfall in the world, and the longest of all snakes. It also has jaguars, armadillos and some of the most spectacular landscapes you'll ever see. There are the snowcapped peaks of the Andes in the west; steamy Amazonian jungles in the south; the hauntingly beautiful Gran Sabana plateau, with its strange flat-topped mountains, in the east; and miles of white-sand beaches fringed with coconut palms on the Caribbean coast.

Caracas, a city of great diversity, offers visitors a wide range of scenery. The different areas of the city make it an exciting and interesting metropolis where tradition and modernism become one. Caracas has an excellent transport system: there is an intricate network of roads that cross the city from east to west and north to south; an exceptional underground transportation system known as El Metro de Caracas, which is considered one of the world's tidiest and most modern, with many stations all over the city; and bus routes known as Metrobus, which connect the metro stations with some of the more remote neighborhoods.

Blanquilla - Seen from above, La Blanquilla resembles almost a perfect shell. Playa El Yaque is stunning, with gorgeous white, sandy beaches. There is plenty of coral, including the rare black, brown feather, brain and purple sea fans, and the snorkeling is outstanding. It is possible to swim into deep underwater caves and visit a variety of fish, including blueheads, French angelfish, porcupine fish, balloon fish, and red-lipped blenny. Cliff diving is available and the island sunsets are striking.

Margarita Island - Known as the "pearl of the Caribbean", Margarita Island is located just northeast of the Venezuela mainland. There, visitors can walk untouched beaches with crystal-clear waters and stunning views, explore the island's rich colonial history or simply enjoy the friendly air of the people.

Isla Blanquilla - One of Venezuela's unspoilt offshore Caribbean islands, Isla Blanquilla provides the perfect interlude for a little quiet escapism. The tropical mood and scenery will cast a special spell. Bask in the warm sun and swim from the alabaster beaches of powdery sand. Its name comes from the startling alabaster beaches of powdery sand that surround this snorkeling paradise.

Los Roques Los Roques are a group of islands in the Lesser Antilles, belonging to Venezuela, 80 miles north of Caracas in the Caribbean Sea. It is noted as a diver’s paradise with brilliant corals, reefs and caves teeming with sea life and for its bird colonies.

Puerto Ordaz (Orinoco river) - One of the main ports on the Orinoco river, it is sited 170 miles inland from the sea at the junction of the Orinoco with the Rio Caroni. Here you can visit the exotic National Parks with their incredible wildlife and waterfalls. The Orinoco is navigable for ocean-going ships for some 260 miles, from the mouth to the city of Ciudad Bolívar and is navigable for smaller craft for a distance of about 1,000 miles.

Porlamar is located in the southeast of Venezuela's Margarita Island. The city has grown and now Los Robles and Pampatar can be considered part of Porlamar. Very close is the city El Valle, where Santiago Mariño, an independence hero, was born and where the Virgin of El Valle appeared. Finally, La Asuncion, the capital of the state, and its beautiful Santa Rosa castle can be found here. The center of the city is formed by small streets with shops on both sides. The most elegant stores are located in avenues Santiago Mariño and 4 de Mayo. East of the city are modern avenues and residential areas. In addition to the bay of Porlamar, and within the city limits is the Caracola beach. Playa Guacuco is one of the most popular beaches well-loved by visitors. El Valle is the religious center of the island with a beautiful church that has the image of the virgin of the Island. There is also the Museum of Santiago Mariño, an independence hero. The museum shows the colonial architecture of the house. Pampatar is enchanting, with its well maintained castle offering a nice view of Pampatar bay.

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