Venezuela is on the northern coast of South America. It is bordered by the Caribbean Sea to the north, Guyana to the east, Brazil to the south and Colombia to the west. There are 22 states in Venezuela, one federal district and 72 islands, which are called federal dependencies.

 The northeast coast has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. A network of coral reefs shelters many tropical fish. The capital city of Venezuela, Caracas, is in this region. In the west are three ranges of the Andes mountains: the Sierra Nevada de Merída, the Sierra de la Culata and the Sierra de Santo Domingo. Some peaks are permanently capped with snow. Woodlands called "cloud forests" are found in this region, as well as fertile farmlands on the lower slopes.

 The grasslands, or Llanos, stretch between the coast and the Orinoco River, which crosses the country from west to east. Many cattle ranches have been established in the Llanos. Jaguars, anteaters, howler monkeys and even freshwater dolphins can be found in this region. The world's largest rodent, the capybara, also lives in the Llanos.

   Did you know?
Lake Maracaibo in western Venezuela is the largest lake in South America. It is joined to the Caribbean sea by a narrow body of water, and the waters are partly salty. In 1922, a huge oilfield was discovered near the lake.
The rainforest area around the Orinoco River is home to many of the indigenous peoples of Venezuela, such as the Warao, the Yanomami and the Piaroa. Piranhas and crocodiles live in the river and the world's longest snake, the anaconda, can be seen in the forest. Southeastern Venezuela is filled with rock formations called table mountains or tepuys. These are some of the oldest rock formations on the earth's surface. They have been standing since before the continents drifted apart. This is a region of great natural beauty with many waterfalls. The tepuys have very specialized wildlife. There are species of insects that exist only on one tepuy and nowhere else in the world.
Most of the country is warm and tropical, but the highlands and the mountainous regions are much cooler. There are only two seasons, the rainy season and the dry season. The dry season begins in December and lasts until April. The rainy season lasts for the rest of the year. The lowlands receive very little rain, but the rainforest receives about two hundred centimetres of rain a year. There is no dry season in the Venezuelan rainforest!

   Did you know?
The highest waterfall in the world, at 807 metres, is Angel Falls in Canaima National Park in southwest Venezuela. It is named after an American pilot and explorer, Jimmy Angel, who spotted the falls from an airplane in 1935 and later crash-landed nearby.