With over 3,000km of coastline, the longest in the Caribbean, and a myriad of islands, islets, keys and coral reefs, the Venezuelan coast is home to a rich diversity of marine flora and fauna. Its countless white-sand beaches fringed with palm trees are paradise for those who just want to relax, sunbathe, swim and enjoy water-based activities.
There is so much scenery to discover: sea caves, underwater cliffs, coral reefs covered in colourful sponges, multi-coloured fish, sea urchins, sea anemones and several wrecks of old ships, some dating back to the 17th century.
Even though the deep sea fishing here has an international reputation, there are other vital species near the coast such as Sabalo, Barracuda, raton or macabi fish, Robalo, Anjova, Carite or Sierra, Peto, Jurel and Yellow-fin tuna.
Mangrove swamps grow all along the coast as well as in the river deltas. The mangrove swamps are home to a huge number of sea birds such as Tijereta de Mar, Gannet, Flamingo and the Borrega and Marron Boba.
The Venezuelan Caribbean is equally as interesting culturally and historically. The region was the scene of many important Venezuelan historical events and here there are many restored colonial fortifications and some of the oldest and best preserved churches in the country. In addition, there is a huge variety of traditional festivals that take place all along the coast. The blend of religions in Venezuela is highlighted in the elaborate traditional festivals, many with their roots in indigenous and African religions.
Mochima National Park, situated between Puerto La Cruz and Cumana on the east coast of Venezuela covers 950 sq km and nearly three fifths of the park are sea and islands, the rest being made up of the coast and land.
Mochima is particularly well known for its many islands and islets, surrounded by warm, tranquil waters. Most of the islands are dry, rocky in places and truly spectacular with some idyllic beaches.
Coral reefs are in abundance around the islands with a bustling marine habitat, perfect for snorkelling and diving; the outlying islands on the Puerto La Cruz coastline, and further east, towards Cumana, are an ideal setting for deep sea diving.
The mountains along the coastline are stunning with deep bays and white-sand beaches. A group of larger islands, such as Picuda Grande, Caracas Islands and Venados, are extensions of sunken mountain ranges, whose valleys now form the Gulf of Santa Fe, the Tigrillo inlet and Mochima Bay. You can get awesome views of the park’s islands from a 900m-high viewpoint on the road heading towards Los Altos.
The rocky coastline and valleys of Mochima National Park are located in a fantastic area for visitors and can be reached along dirt tracks in jeeps and by bike.