Weatherwatch: Venezuela’s varied climate

By Stephen Moss
A car is buried in the mud after heavy rain hits Macarao parish in Caracas, Venezuela.
A car is buried in mud after heavy rain hits Macarao parish in Caracas, Venezuela. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The most northerly country in South America, Venezuela is also the sixth largest – roughly one-and-a-half times the size of France or Texas. It is very varied topographically, from the northernmost part of the Andes mountains in the west, via the Orinoco River, which runs across the country towards its coastal delta, to the Guiana Highlands in the east.

Being so close to the equator, there is very little variation in temperature from month to month: the capital, Caracas, has typical daily maxima in the mid-20s, and night-time temperatures in the mid-teens, throughout the year. It is noticeably cooler than coastal cities because of its higher altitude: roughly 1,050 metres (3,420ft) above sea level.

What does vary is the rainfall: unusually for South America, the rainy season coincides with the summer months, from May through to November, making conditions very humid and unpleasant. The dry season runs from December to April, and is the best time to visit. However, the very varied topography of the country does mean that local variations in climate can be very pronounced.

The climate along the coast also varies considerably. Maracaibo, in the west, is hot, sunny and fairly dry all year round; while the Orinoco Delta, to the east towards the border with Guyana, gets about 2,000mm (almost 80in) of rain a year, with no real “dry season”.

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