Venezuela is a country on the northern part of South America. Covering 916,445 sq km (353,841 sq mi), it is bordered by Colombia to the west, Brazil to the south and Guyana to the east. Venezuela also has a 2,800-km (1,700-mile) coastline facing the Caribbean Sea, of which is located a number of Caribbean islands including Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Curaçao, Aruba and the Leeward Antilles.
More on Venezuela
Venezuela has a population of 29.1 million people (2011 estimate). Its capital and biggest city is Caracas. The official currency of the country is the Bolívar fuerte (VEF). The country is four and one half hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC-4:30). Traffic is driven on the right here. The phone IDD code is +58. The electricity is 120-240V/60Hz using USA plugs.
In 2010, Venezuela had an estimated nominal GDP of $285.2 billion, equivalent to $9,773 per capita. Its per capita GDP at purchasing power parity stood at $11,889. The country is a major oil exporter, and its economic prosperity is closely tied to the price of oil.
Although Venezuela is located in the tropics, it has a high biodiversity, due to the wide range of terrain within the country. This includes a diverse ecology from the Andes mountains to the Amazon rainforest, to the Caribbean coast, the Orinoco River Delta, the llanos plains and the table-top mountains, or tepuis, of the Guiana Highlands.
Until the arrival of Europeans, the land of present-day Venezuela was inhabited by a number of indigenous tribes including the Auaké Caquetio, Mariche and the Timoto-cuicas. Spanish colonization of the country began in 1522 with the founding of the presend-day city of Cumaná.
After a series of unsuccessful uprisings, Venezuela declared its independence from Spain on 5 July 1811, the first to do so. Nonetheless it only gained full independence in 1830. As with its South American neighbors, Venezuela endured periods of political unrests and lived through a number of military dictatorships and coups. As recently as the 1990’s hundreds died in riots in Caracas. The current president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, has been in office since 1998.
Planning your visit to Venezuela
Visitors who do not requite a visa for visits of up to 90 days include the nationals of Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Denmark, Dominica, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Portugal, Russia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom, United States and Uruguay.
The Simon Bolívar International Airport (CCS), 21 km (13 mi) from Caracas, is the main international airport serving Venezuela. There are direct flights connecting it with major cities in the Americas and Europe.