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Geography of Venezuela

At 916,445 km² (353,841 mi²), Venezuela is the world's 33rd-largest country (after Nigeria). It is comparable in size to Namibia, and is about half the size of the American state of Alaska. Mainland Venezuela rests on the South American Plate; its Caribbean islands were formed by subduction at the margins of the bordering Caribbean Plate. With 2,800 km of coastline, Venezuela is home to a wide variety of landscapes. The extreme northeastern extensions of the Andes reach into Venezuela's northwest and continue along the northern Caribbean coast. There, the nation's highest point, Pico Bolívar, is found.

The country's center is characterized by the llanos, extensive plains that stretch from the Colombian border in the far west to the delta of the Orinoco River in the east. To the south, the dissected Guiana Highlands is home to the northern edge of Amazonia and Angel Falls, the world's highest waterfall. Venezuelan forests are being depleted at the rate of 200,000 ha per annum by logging and shifting cultivation.[4]

The country can be further divided into nine geographical areas, some corresponding to the natural regions, one being the Andes Range. The Lake Maracaibo region comprises the lowlands near the Gulf of Venezuela. The Coro System, a mountainous block in the northwest, is home to several sierras and valleys. The Central Range runs parallel to the coast and includes the hills surrounding Caracas; the Eastern Range, separated from the Central Range by the Gulf of Cariaco, covers all of Sucre and northern Monagas. The Llanos region makes up a third of the country's area above the Orinoco River. Under it, is the South Orinoco Region (the Guianas, above described). The Insular Region is formed by Nueva Esparta and the Federal Dependencies. The last geographical region is the Deltaic System which forms a pantanous triangle, covering Delta Amacuro, with the Atlantic platform branching off the coast.

Pico Bolívar (c. 5007 m) in Mérida is Venezuela's highest mountain.The Orinoco River is the largest and most important river of the country, originating in one of the biggest watersheds in Latin America. Other important rivers are the Caroní and the Apure.

The local climate is tropical and generally hot and humid, though moderate and cold in the highlands. The capital, Caracas is also the country's largest city. Other major cities include Maracaibo, Barquisimeto, Valencia, Maracay, and Ciudad Guayana.

Venezuela is one of the seventeen megadiverse countries, for the great number of animal and vegetable species that habitate there.