With towering Andean peaks, sparkling Caribbean coastal beaches, luscious and wild-life rich rainforests, big cities with bigger personalities and ethereal waterfalls, Venezuela is heaven on earth. This South American country is bordered by Colombia on the west, Brazil on the south, Guyana on the east, and the islands of Trinidad and Tobago to the north-east. Thanks to its varied and beautiful landscapes along with fascinating historical attractions, is it a wonder why Venezuela is such a sought-after tourist destination?
Kick-start the trip by heading towards one of the most magnificent attractions in the planet - the Angel Falls. Not only it is the most popular tourist spot in Venezuela but is also the tallest uninterrupted waterfalls in the planet. Standing at a height of 978 meters (3,208 feet), it gushes down furiously at the side of Auyantepui Mountain in Canaima National Park in Bolivar State. The waterfall is said to be at its peak from June to December.
No trip to Venezuela is complete without heading towards its capital - Caracas. The biggest metropolis of the nation is renowned to be packed with a plethora of attractions such as the Capitolio Nacional - a huge, stately building, dating as far back as the 1870s, Casa Natal de Bolivar - birthplace of Venezuela's most famous son, Simon Bolivar and Panteon Nacional - final resting place of national and continental hero El Libertador (The Liberator) Simon Bolivar, as well as other distinguished personalities from Venezuela's history.
Don't miss out on Los Llanos or The Plains. It is an expansive grassland that straddles Venezuela and Columbia. Usually flooding during the monsoon, it becomes a paradise for twitchers. Occasionally referred to as the Serengeti of South America, it is a fantastic place to catch glimpses of wildlife in the dry season. It is home to Orino Crocodile, anacondas, capybaras, jaguars and caimans. Be sure to visit the Los Roques Archipelago National Park, the biggest marine park in the Caribbean Sea. The coral reefs houses some of the most incredible underwater fauna and flora of the Caribbean. It encompasses pristine white sand beaches meshing with crystalline sparkling waters, making it a haven for diving, sailing and fishing.
Wild-life enthusiasts, make it a point to go on a safari in the far south Amazonas region. Get up close encounters to birds, monkeys and caiman on a jungle safari. Based in the biggest town of Puerto Ayacucho, one can take a tour deep in the jungle and go wildlife watching. If you're a winter sports fan, then do spend some time skiing in the Andes between November and June, at an altitude of 4,270m (14,000ft). Many of the nation's tallest peaks are situated here.
When it comes to shopping, be on the lookout for bead jewellery, wooden carvings, handicrafts made by the indigenous inhabitants of Amazonas, gems and gold and silver jewellery. As for cuisine, do indulge in local fare such as Arepas (corn buns, toasted and generously stuffed with all manner of savoury fillings) and national dish, Pabellon criollo (shredded meat cooked with onions, peppers and coriander; served with fried plantains, black beans and rice and a slab of cheese).
The stay options in Venezuela are abundant with the best luxury hotels, cheap accommodations and rental apartments available for the tourists to decide which kind to opt for depending on the budget and taste.
Venezuela experiences a balmy warm climate. The best time to visit would be during the dry season - from December to April.