10 Fun Facts about Venezuela, The Great Oil Reserve

Rosario Traducciones continues the tour of Latin America in another edition of #ElEspañolEnElMundo. This month, we disembark in a South American country recognized for its biodiversity and natural resources.

Do you need to communicate with a Latin American audience? Are you exporting or selling your products and services to Spanish-speaking countries? Rosario Traducciones y Servicios SA invites you to join us on a virtual linguistic tour through the different countries of Latin America, as we explore their diversity and cultural richness.  This month we travel to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, a land of great natural wealth with one of the world's largest oil reserves.

1) Little Venice

The name “Venezuela” has historically been attributed to the Italian cartographer Américo Vespucio, who, in 1499, was part of a naval exploration expedition along the northwestern coast of the country (today is known as the Gulf of Venezuela). When Vespucio saw the Aboriginal dwellings erected on wooden piles protruding from the water built by the Añú indigenous people, he reminded of Venice, Italy (“Venezia” in Italian), which inspired him to give the region the name of Venezziola or Venezuela (“Little Venice”).

2) The Largest Oil Reserve

Venezuela is one of the countries with the largest oil reserve in the world. It has up to 309,000 million barrels of oil, according to statistical information from The United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). It should be noted that the country also has the eighth largest gas reserve in the world, with almost 21,000 quadrillion cubic feet.

3) The Largest Lake in South America

The Maracaibo Lake, where Vespucio first arrived, is connected to the Gulf of Venezuela in the northern end and is the largest lake in South America and one of the oldest on earth (20-40 million years old).
Covering an area of 5,127 sq. mi. (13,280 km2) Maracaibo is the 19th largest lake in the world. The General Rafael Urdaneta cable bridge, one of the longest of its kind in the world, and made of reinforced and prestressed concrete, was built between 1957 and 1962 and spans 5.4 mi. (8.7 km.) from shore to shore.

4) Mythical spiders and snakes

Venezuela is home to the well-known anaconda, the huge snake that has been the protagonist of several movies. Considered the largest snake in the world, it can weigh up to 550 lbs. (200 kg.) and stretch as long as 39 ft. (12 m.).
Here you will also find the biggest spiders on the planet, including Theraphosa Bondi, growing as big as 12 in. (30 cm.) with its legs extended. This species was the inspiration for the Steven Spielberg film Arachnophobia, released in 1990.

5) The Highest Waterfall in the World

Angel Falls is the world's highest waterfall. It starts at 3,230 ft. (984.5 m.) high and falls uninterrupted for a height of 2,647 ft. (806.8 m.). This natural waterfall is named after the American aviator Jimmy Angel, who flew over the site in 1937. It is also known as Kerepakupai Vená, which means "leap from the deepest place" in Pemón, the language of indigenous people in the area.
Fifteen times higher than Niagara Falls, the waterfall is located in Canaima National Park, home to several unique species.

6) A Cable Car Like No Other

Among Venezuela's many Guinness records is the Merida Cable Car that connects the city of Mérida with the Pico Espejo peak in the Sierra Nevada National Park. The cable car has two claims to fame: it is the longest in the world at 7.8 mi. (12.5 km), and the highest in the world, reaching an altitude of 15,633 ft. (4,765 m.a.s.l.).

7) Arepas, a Venezuelan Classic

Prepared with cornflour, arepas are the breakfast staple, and in turn, an excellent companion to first courses at lunch and dinner, whether fried or roasted. They can be filled with cheese, butter, avocado egg, different types of meat, chicken, or sausage. It'll sure keep you satisfied for the rest of the day.

8) A Country with Every Type of Climate

Venezuela has all climates in its varied geography: humid forests, arid, semi-arid and temperate climates, páramos and plains, frost, tropical deserts, jungles and savannahs. All this makes up for meteorological phenomena, like the Catatumbo Lightning in the Lake Maracaibo basin, which occurs approximately 240 days a year, from April to November, for up 8 to 10 hours a day and a record 18 to 60 times per minute.

9) The Best Cocoa in the World

Venezuelan cocoa is considered the best in the world by the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO), the entity that gathers 95% of the producers of this fruit and its derivatives in the world. Its reputation dates back 500 years since the Spanish conquest, as the country's climatic and geographical conditions make it an ideal place to grow it.

10) The Largest Abyss in the World

Sima Humboldt (also known as Sima Mayor) is a huge sinkhole and cave located on the summit of the plateau of Sarisariñama tepui in the Jaua-Sarisariñama National Park, in Bolivar State. A jungle covers its surface, while similar caves surround the same tepui. In addition to being the largest abyss in the world, it is also considered to be one of the oldest caves. It’s large biodiversity is still under study.