8 Facts You Didn’t Know About Venezuela, The Startling Country Of Beauty Powerhouse – Caribbean Sea

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Port of Maracaibo, Venezuela

This is a medium port in Venezuela along the western shore of the strait connecting Lake Maracaibo to the Gulf of Venezuela. It is considered as the economic hub of the country due to the petroleum industry along the shores of Lake Maracaibo. This port also handles an exclusive oil port, Puerto Miranda, which is operated by the Venezuela State Oil Company (PETROLEO, SA), the largest crude oil export in South America.

Until oil was discovered in Venezuela in 1917, Maracaibo was just a small coffee and cacao port. The largest oil fields are found in Lake Maracaibo basin which makes Venezuela as the world’s 5th largest oil exporter. Port of Maracaibo‘s location allows easy access from the markets of the Andean and Caribbean countries to the Atlantic Ocean, the Panama Canal, Central America and the southern states of the U.S.

An Overview of the Caribbean Sea:

The island of Bahamas along the Caribbean Sea.

A body of water southeast of the Gulf of Mexico and adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean, this is home to 7,000 islands that belong to 28 nations. The Caribbean Sea is one of the largest oil-producing areas in the world that provides about 170 million tons of crude oil each year. It is also home to the 2nd largest barrier reef on the planet, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef that runs along the shores of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras.

Caribbean Sea is famous around the world as the playground of the rich and famous, its beaches are among the best in the world. If you have seen “Pirates of the Caribbean” films, well, it is a real thing as piracy was prevalent in this sea during the colonial centuries, between 1640s-1680s. And it is not just pirates, this body of water has a history as the setting of many Hollywood films with the first James Bond, Dr. No was shot on the islands.

On Venezuela:

Angel Falls– world’s biggest uninterrupted waterfalls found in Gran Sabana, Venezuela.

No great monumental cultures like the Aztec, Inca or Maya have settled in Venezuela, instead, it has been inhabited by independently-minded people like the Timoto-Cuicas and Llanos before Christopher Columbus sighted the area in 1498. Amidst the resistance from the tribes, the territory was colonized by Spain in 1522. In 1811, the region was the 1st Spanish-American to declare independence and was securely established in 1821 when Venezuela became a federal department of Gran Columbia. It became a full independent country in 1830.

Venezuela suffered political turmoil during the 18th century then dominated by a military strongman until the mid-2oth century. Oil was discovered in the Maracaibo region in 1917, with the country exporting more oil than any other nation in the 1920s. Yet this unexpected surge of wealth enriched mainly foreign oil companies like Chevron, Shell..as well as the military junta.

Economic downturn in the 1980s-90s led to a political crisis and a revolutionary government led by Hugo Chavez was installed in 1999 changing the name of the country into Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. His government introduced social welfare policies but later became inadequate that led to the nation’s economic collapse. The destabilized economy resulted to a crisis following a hyperinflation of which millions of Venezuelans left for a better life outside the country until 2014.

Map showing the location of Venezuela.

It was a time of massive protests and strikes when we anchored at Port of Maracaibo in Venezuela aboard the tanker Knock An on September 2001. In a country of spectacular wildlife and scenery, where Columbus once called it “paradise on earth”, it indeed is a shame to see this once wealthy nation (for its oil) in a mess. The unrest and crippling product shortages have put this country off the radar of tourists however there is more to Venezuela than the struggles it encounters. Let’s learn more of this land in 8 facts you didn’t know about Venezuela, the startling country of beauty title powerhouse.

1. Where oil is cheaper than water.

Ever since the discovery of natural gas in the Lake Maracaibo basin in 1917, Venezuela has been one of the leading exporters of oil in the world. It ranks among the top 10 crude oil producers and a founding member of OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries). Venezuelans enjoy the cheapest petrol in the world and where oil is cheaper than water, a fact you didn’t know about Venezuela, the startling country of beauty title powerhouse.

2. Home to a never ending storm, the Catatumbo Lightning.

The Lago de Maracaibo (Lake Maracaibo) area has been declared by NASA as the lightning storm capital of the world, a fact you didn’t know about Venezuela, the startling country of beauty title powerhouse. Around 300 electric storms and 1.6 million lightning strike the region a year. Venezuelans call this “amazing” phenomenon as Relampago del Catatumbo where visitors can enjoy a display of blue and white lightning all year round.

3. Capybara, world’s largest rat is found here.

Endemic at the Venezuelan savannas is the capybara, the biggest rat you could find on the planet, a fact you didn’t know about Venezuela, the startling country of beauty title powerhouse. Feeding mainly on grasses, fruits and barks of trees, this giant rodent is hunted for its pelt (skin/fur) and its meat which is the main ingredient of Pisillo de Chiguire, Venezuela‘s native dish served during Easter.

4. It gave us the best dark chocolate in the world.

Guess where Swiss chocolatiers purchase their cacaos for their dark chocolates? Yes, they travel all the way to Venezuela to buy and bring it home for the production of their dark chocolates, a fact you didn’t know about Venezuela, the startling country of beauty title powerhouse. Venezuelan farmers grow the finest cacao on the planet with their climate , perfect mix of soil minerals and their harvesting process give the cacao beans a very distinct flavor.

5. People “roller skate” to attend “Misa de Gallo” on Christmas season.

Roller skating to Church in Caracas, Venezuela.

Call it strange but in the capital city of Caracas, the streets are closed to vehicles to give way for people to roller skate for the early morning “Misa de Gallo” services during the Christmas season. A fact you didn’t know about Venezuela, the startling country of beauty title powerhouse, this is a tradition called “patinatas” which started in the 1920s. It represents the festive mood of the Catholic faithfuls who go to attend Mass in honor of Ninio Jesus. Here, they gather to pray and sing the “aguinaldos” with the accompaniment of the cuatro (4-string guitar) and maracas.

6. Coro is Venezuela’s claim of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The port city of Coro in northwest Venezuela will definitely greet you with architectural wonder dating back to the 1500s. This is a city full of a unique blend of Spanish, Antillean, Dutch and native Indian influences, a fact you didn’t know about Venezuela, the startling country of beauty title powerhouse. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, visitors and locals enjoy a superb time walking around the old town sampling Venezuela‘s traditional treat of dulce de leche and arroz con coco.

7. Ciudad Bolivar is the country’s most valuable tourist attraction.

Having an illustrious history as the center of independence struggle in Venezuela, Ciudad Bolivar, which is named after Simon Bolivar, is the country’s most valuable tourist attraction, a fact you didn’t know about Venezuela, the startling country of beauty title powerhouse. Simon Bolivar settled here in 1817 after liberating the town from Spanish control and where the Angostura (former name of the city) Congress convened in 1819 that gave birth to Gran Columbia, a tripartite republic of Venezuela, Columbia and Ecuador. A very important town in the colonial period, Ciudad Bolivar is a city of esthetic buildings leading to an evocative waterfront, it brings together not just echoes of its past but has one of the most charming finds in Latin America.

8. And of course, a beauty title powerhouse.

A country of beauty title powerhouse, this nation have mustered 7 Miss Universe, 6 Miss World, 7 Miss International and 2 Miss Earth, a startling fact you didn’t know about Venezuela. Beauty is born and arduously prepared here in Venezuela, it learned how to produce its (beauty) queens despite of its chaotic politics and depressing economy, this country has an abundance of pretty ladies. Its most secret weapon to conquer the world of beauty queens can be found in a large pink building in Caracas Miss Venezuela School, a sort of Olympic training ground for extraordinary beautiful women.

Venezuela is a memorable destination that does not disappoint, an unforgettable South American escapade. And I hope you enjoyed reading about some fascinating facts this country has to offer. While this nation is going through rough times due to political and economic crises, it remains a good vacation spot. It offers unparalleled tourist destinations that are safe to visit as its government is involved in protection the sacred spots.

References: Wikipedia