Must See

Angel Falls

In the western area of Canaima National Park, Angel Falls is the world's largest waterfall, with an uninterrupted drop of 979 metres (15 times the height of Niagara Falls). They are named after the American aviator, Jimmy Angel, who discovered them in 1935, though local Pemones Indians already called them Churun Meru.

The best time to see the falls is during the rainy season, between May and November; during the dry season the falls may be little more than a trickle which turns to mist by the time it reaches the bottom.

As there is no road link to the falls, access can be fairly difficult, and involves a flight to Canaima, some 50 km (31.5 miles) northwest of the falls. Canoe trips operate from there to the falls from June to November and take approximately two days. Alternatively, the falls may be viewed from a sightseeing flight, where this magnificent tepui (table-top mountain) can be seen from all angles and in all its splendour.

Caracas

Caracas , the country's capital city, is set 1,000 metres above sea level and nestled in a narrow valley by the emerald slopes of Avila National Park. It's one of the most stunning cities in South America and stretches for 20 kilometres from east to west. Founded in 1567, there are still areas of the old town intact, including La Pastora and San José. Visitors can wander around the city's historical quarter or sit in the charming Plaza Bolivar and soak up the atmosphere while looking at some of the continent's finest architecture, such as the Archbishop's residence, the old cathedral, the Capitol (the National Congress) building and Casa Amarilla.

Other highlights of this town include the Country Club, the Parque Nacional del Este, the Jardín Botánico and the Panteon Nacional, which contains the body of Simon Bolívar. The Casa Natal del Libertador is a reconstruction of the house where Bolívar was born (the first was destroyed in an earthquake). There are also many fine museums, such as the Museo del Arte Colonial, the Museo de Bellas Artes, the Museo de Transporte and the Museo del Arte Contemporáneo.

Isla de Margarita

Lying approximately 40 km north of the mainland, Isla de Margarita is one of Venezuela's most popular tourist destinations. It was once two separate islands, which are now joined by a sandbank, and is home to some excellent beaches.

Merida

Merida is the capital of the Merida State, which stands on an alluvial terrace in the north-west of the country. Merida is surrounded by five of the highest peaks in the Sierra Nevada (such as the Pico Bolívar or the Pico Humboldt), known to locals as Las Cinco Aguilas Blancas (The Five White Eagles). There is a very lively, friendly atmosphere as people descend on the town to hike, climb, paraglide and dance. Others come to ride on the world's longest and highest cable car, which runs for 12.6 km (7.9 miles) from Mérida to the top of Pico Espejo (4, 765 m), and provides easy access to starting points for mountain treks. Mérida is also home to the Universidad de los Andes, helping to add to the town's cultured air.

Parcque Nacional Mochima

The Parque Nacional Mochima is a beautiful range of islands and islets surrounded by coral reefs, offering great scuba diving, snorkelling and swimming off its fine white beaches.