Venezuela is located between 1 –12 degrees longitude (N) and 60 – 73 degrees
latitude (W), and is therefore entirely in the tropics. Occupying the far north
eastern part of South America, it is bordered by Brazil to the south, Columbia
to the west and Guyana to the southeast. Its coastline meets the waters of both
the Caribbean sea in the north and the Atlantic Ocean in the east.
Covering an area of 912,050 km˛ (566,383 miles˛), Venezuela extends up to 1,290
km (801 miles) east to west and 1,050 km (652 miles) north to south. Elevations
range from sea level to 2,500 m (8,200 ft) in the Guiana Highlands and up to
5,007 m (16,427 ft) in the Andes mountains.
Venezuela has an incredibly diverse landscape encompassing 10 broad geographical
regions. Off the north coast lie numerous Caribbean Islands, of which the biggest
is Isla Margarita. The Andes in the west continue in the north with the Cordillera
de la Costa, a mountain chain which runs along the Caribbean coast. The Andes
also continue south to Los Llanos, a giant plain extending east as far as the
Caura River, which flows through Venezuela's second largest forest reserve after
Amazonas and only recently became known to adventure tourism. Located south of
Los Llanos is the Amazon Basin, the largest rain forest in the world. East of
the Caura River forest is the beginning of the Gran Sabana, part of the Guayana
Highlands which extend up to the rainforests of the Orinoco Delta in the north
east and the Brazilian border in the south.
Venezuela’s capital, Caracas, and the majority of developed land is situated
in the Central region. Grasslands occupy half of the country, and forests cover
about two-fifths, varying from true rainforest to semi-tropical evergreens. Only
a small portion (less than 4 per cent) of land in Venezuela is cultivated.