Finally, Adventure Motorcycle Riders can experience it!
Motodreamer and the Venezuelan Mega Diversity have been in Mike’s sight for over 15 years. He has waited patiently for the right moment to invite seasoned Motorcycle Touring Riders to join him on tour, taking in such destinations as the Andes, Los Llanos, Lake Maracaibo, and Angel Falls.
Imagine a country with 25,000 varieties of orchids and both the largest lake and waterfall in South America.
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Great news MotoDreamer’s will soon be Riding within the Venezuelan Mega Diversity. This South American country has everything imaginable and more.
What can you expect?
Apart from visiting the Venezuelan Liberator’s country of birth, you will experience highs and more highs when touring on your motorbike and arriving at the following Highlights:
The Tallest Table-Topped Mountain in South America and beyond.
The largest unstoppable waterfall in the world.
A night sky full of everlasting lightning storms and all done in silence.
More species of orchids than you can count.
One or two of the most endangered crocodiles are still in existence after 240 million years.
Five hundred years of immense history, starting with Columbus.
A landmass that is twice the size of California.
Arthur Conan Doyle was inspired by this country-inspired.
A large dollop of black goo that kills.
Universally agreed home to beautiful Pageant Queens.
Venezuelan Cowboys, shredded beef & Green Anacondas.
El Libertador and a tall white horse.
……and all on your motorcycle and paying less for your gas than for a cup of water.
Venezuela, or “Little Venice,” has it all in abundance!
The Roraima Table-topped mountain and the Angel Falls can be found in the Canaima National Park.
Why has it taken so long for Venezuela and MotoDreamer to appear in the same sentence?
MotoDreamer has long known that the ideal places for Adventure Motorcycle Touring are challenging places to reach. Often they are off the beaten trail, and only riders with experience and the skills needed to reach these destinations are lucky enough to see and describe them.
The above can be accurate for much of Venezuela, but now, the country is finally opening up to tourism again, albeit with small tentative steps.
The perfect time for a forward-thinking operator such as MotoDreamer to make dreams come true for touring motorcycle riders and Venezuelans.
Mike is ready to showcase Venezuela as a country of amazing sights and breathtaking landscapes. It never stops surprising, from its beautiful soft-sand coastlines and picturesque coastal towns to its impressive Andes mountain peaks and ridges.
Stand in awe when looking up at mountains above 16,000 feet.
Never forget Venezuela´s magnificent, uninterrupted waterfalls as the rushing water flows off the Tepui or tabletop mountain and tumbles down effortlessly towards you.
A Map image of Venezuela was previously published and credited to Mapsnworld.
But first, let’s look at ten impressive stats of the sixth most prominent South American country, as it sits next to Guyana, Colombia, and above Brazil.
- Venezuela is twice the size of California, with a landmass of 882,046 square km (340,560 square miles.)
- Venezuela rightly so can boast of the longest coastline in the Caribbean. They stretch for 1,740 square miles.
- Weatherwise, Venezuela has only two seasons due to its proximity to the Equator. Wet and dry, with a bit of variation, the average yearly temperature reaches a magnificent 27c.
- Approximately 28 million people make Venezuela one of the most populated South American countries.
- Almost 95% of Venezuelans are Roman Catholics who boast the most exciting culture and Caribbean heritage.
- Caracas, the Venezuelan capital, is home to around two million city dwellers.
- Venezuela has the largest oil reserves, but only economic problems prevail with continuous mismanagement of the national economy.
- Inflation has turned into hyperinflation. Both currency and the financial system are in dire straits.
- From a nearly 260 billion USD high, Venezuela’s GDP now sits at a dismal sixth in value, making many citizens poor and existing in abject poverty.
- The Venezuelans love and value what they have by designating almost 54% of their land for conservation.
Historical Venezuela Key Events
1498 The Portuguese Explorer Christopher Colombus discovered the northern coastline of South America. Still, Amerigo Vespucci, a Florentine explorer a year later, gave the world the name Venezuela.
1521 The commencement of Spanish colonization and rule goes in earnest for the next 228 years.
1749 The locals had their first rebellion against the hated Spanish rule. It took a further 61 years to gain Independence, finally in 1810.
Author´s Note: I will talk about one particular famous military man by the long name of Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Ponte Palacios y Blanco or, if you prefer -Simón Bolivar later in this article titled: Motorcycle Riding within the Venezuelan Mega Diversity.
Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Ponte Palacios y Blanco or if you prefer – Simón Bolivar. Attribute to Anadolu Agency.
In 1830 Venezuela seceded from Gran Colombia and started its journey of modernizing and developing both education and agriculture.
In 1908 and for the next 65 years, Venezuela became a global oil exporter benefitting the country with oil booms and currency peaks.
It did not last……
Sixteen years later, in 1989, austerity measures via an IMF loan appeared, leading to riots, general strikes, and hundreds of people being killed in street violence.
In 1992, Colonel Hugo Chavez and his supporters attempted two coups, but he ended up in jail for two years.
Six years later, Hugo Chavez became President. He funds his new constitution with higher oil prices and an anti-US foreign policy.
Late Venezuela President Hugo Chavez. Image attribute to Semana.com.
Over the next twenty years, President Chavez won two more terms as President of Venezuela. In came massive land reforms, resulting in upsetting ranch owners. Furthermore, he introduced new media regulations to permit stiffer fines and longer prison terms for any slander against public figures.
In 2006 President Chavez signed a three-billion-dollar arms agreement with Russia. Now he was buying Russian-made helicopters and fighter jets.
At the beginning of 2007, President Chavez nationalized key telecommunications and energy companies. By the middle of the same year, Exxon and Conoco rebelled and refuse to hand over control of their operations. President Chavez had suffered his first ballot box defeat by the end of the year.
In 2010 Venezuela’s economic problems began with oil exports shrinking and the President devaluing the Bolivar currency. Over the next two years, inflation will make life difficult for many Venezuelans.
In 2013 President Hugo Chavez, at age 58, died from cancer.
The new president Nicholas Maduro is sworn in.
Current Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro. Image attributed to Atalayar.com
Over the past decade, Venezuela has seen an increase in anti-government protests, and oil prices tumbling to a point where oil is cheaper than water. And many Venezuelans are fleeing to neighboring South American countries.
Venezuela is a country that protects its land more than any other country globally.
Angel Falls in Venezuela is the highest uninterrupted waterfall in the world.
Angel Falls is seventeen times higher than Niagara Falls, standing at an incredible height of 3,212 feet (979m) and plunges over 2,640 feet (807m.)
Below the plunge, the raging water continues downwards on a cascading slope of nearly 1,300 feet and reaches the downstream rapids. Here, it’s possible to feel the spray from the falls even when taking in the magnitude of power a good mile away.
What connects a Venezuelan table-topped mountain with an English author who a French author inspired?
View of Roraima Table-topped Mountain in the Gran Sabana, Canaima National Park, Venezuela.
The Table-topped mountain was the sandstone Tepuis. The Englishman was the author and creator of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and the Frenchman was Jules Verne, author of 80 Days Around The World. Both were science fiction adventure writers a century ago.
A century later, MotoDreamer celebrates the same triple connection with this Motodreamer and the Venezuelan Mega Diversity Tour as part of the Around the World in 80 Days Challenge.
Author´s Note: At the end of this article, you will find the full low down of the around the world in 80 days challenge.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle took time out from Sherlock Holmes and was inspired by Tepuis for his book The Lost World.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and The Lost World.
The fictional adventure-filled book was first published a century ago, in 1912. It tells the chronicles of four adventurers traveling through the South American jungle, discovering vicious ape-like creatures, running the gauntlet of marauding hostile tribes, and a ferocious dinosaur on a plateau.
Author´s Note: If you love classic adventure stories from a century ago, head to Amazon or your favorite bookstore and purchase this excellent read. The amazing aspect of this book is that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle never went to Venezuela, but that did not stop him from entertaining generations of us adventurous-minded enthusiasts.
Now all you Motorcycle Adventure riders will love the next bit of this article titled Motodreamer and the Venezuelan Mega Diversity. Time to clean your specs.
Venezuela, land of Miss World & Miss Universe Beauty Pageant Winners
Venezuela and India have between them twelve produce a joint number of six each Miss World beauty pageant Winners. Compared to the UK (5), Jamaica, the USA, and Iceland (3 each.)
Venezuela Miss Universe Beauty Pageant Winners from 1979 to 2013.
The beauties of Venezuela have gone further, with seven Miss Universe Beauty Pageant Winners in 1979, 1981, 1986, 1996, 2008 – 2009, and 2013.
Why a country produces so many beauty pageant winners could well be due to the following four great reasons:
- Venezuelans are noted for being a happy and contented race.
- With a melting pot of different nationalities and yielding a mixture of Amerindians and Europeans, creating beauty is not hard for Venezuelans.
- Natural beauty is everywhere in Venezuela; you only have to see the biodiversity in its locations and inhabitants.
- Remember, the longest coastlines are in Venezuela. Add that 75% of Venezuelans live less than 63 miles (100 km) from the same coastlines, and you will see why tans, bodies, and tousled honeyed locks reign supreme.
Next up on this article titled: Motodreamer and the Venezuelan Mega Diversity.
You have seen the beauty; now know the beast – The Orinoco Crocodiles are named after the river they mass in. Venezuela and Colombia are the only homes for the most critically endangered South American predator.
Some say it is so big it eats sharks!
That may well be true once they reached 22 feet in length. Sadly, after two centuries of extensive hunting for skin, meat, and teeth, there are only around 250 adult crocodiles and their offspring. These days the average Orinoco Crocodile does not pass 16 feet.
The Orinoco Crocodile lives in the Orinoco River Basin, Venezuela.
How about ten fun facts regarding the world of Crocodiles (Crocodylus intermedius.)
- Did you know crocodiles cry? It happens when they spend long periods out of the water and cry to lubricate their dry eyes.
- Many observers mistake the reason for the crocodile’s tears as they appear when they are eating their prey. The reason is that the crocodiles gulp large quantities of air which fills their glands and generates tears.
- The early Orinoco Crocodiles, with 68 teeth, dating back to over 240 million years ago, meaning they arrived before the dinosaurs!
- The Orinoco crocodile´s natural habitat is freshwater basins with abundant fish, birds, and small mammals.
- These dangerous reptiles have a keen sense of smell that allows them to identify their prey 24/7.
- Weight-wise, expect these carnivores to come in between 440 to 840 Lbs.
- Orinoco crocodiles are sociable animals who travel in groups during dry seasons when searching for suitable freshwater.
- Female Orinoco crocodiles love it when their male counterparts are strong bellowers.
- They like to thrash their tails and slap their heads when it comes to communication.
- It is illegal to attempt to keep Orinoco crocodiles as pets due to their aggressive nature and the rarity of finding them outside of their natural habitats.
When you are out and about riding your motorcycle, keep an eye out for the beautiful flowers of Venezuela, known as the Cattleya Orchids.
White cattleya orchids from Venezuela.
The name for Cattleya Orchids comes from the prolific English orchid collector William Cattley. William was a Barnet-born British horticulturist and merchant from around 1815 to his death 20 years later.
His passion for orchids blossomed when he nursed an orchid from the wilderness of Brazil. Under his unselfish care, the plant flourished.
There are over 25,000 documented varieties of orchids these days, and scientists discover or create more every day. Gardeners the world over also love orchids.
Did you know that if you draw a line vertically down the middle of an orchid, both halves are mirror images of each other?
Like most humans, and perhaps that’s the reason for our affection for these beautiful plants.
Research has shown that orchids were around over 120 million years ago. Back in 2007, a study in the journal Nature published a case of a fossilized bee with ancient pollen on its back. The bee was carbon-dated between 10 to 15 million years ago.
While you are on the next Motorcycle Riding within the Venezuelan Mega Diversity Tour, check out the following two phenomena that happen only here in South America. Are they fact or fiction?
- The mysterious Black Goo. Known in Caracas as “La Mancha Negra” (Black Stain.)
The Caracas road construction crew, who were resurfacing back in 1986, were the first to witness the phenomena known as “La Mancha Negra.”
They reported the oozing up of the unknown inch-thick 150-foot-long black streak to the local authorities, who investigated and had no idea its origin.
Race forward to today; nearly four decades later, the streak with the consistency of chewing gum is slippery as hell, especially when the temperature is high. Now the goo is eight miles long, and still, no one knows the origin. You will find the deadly Black Stain examples if you are heading to Caracas airport on the main freeway.
The mysterious black goo – is known in Caracas as La Mancha Negra. Image attributed to the gypsy thread org.
Even more strange, the goo does go away but returns without warning.
These episodes happened in 1996 and again in 2001. Furthermore, even the location changed to a different set of five locations.
The Venezuelan authorities have made numerous attempts to try and remove the Black streak without any success. What worries many locals is the number of accidents and fatalities attributed to the goo, and the figure has now passed 1,800 deaths with countless injuries.
So is “La Mancha Negra Fact or fiction? When you are on your next Motodreamer and the Venezuelan Mega Diversity tour, and you find out for sure, you can expect to make a fortune with all the international media outlets around the globe.
- The everlasting storm of Catatumbo phenomena in Venezuela
A map image of the never-ending Catatumbo lightning storms attributed to Scienceline and NOAA/CIRA VIIRS.
You will never forget about a lake in Venezuela. It’s called Lake Maracaibo. Why? Because it has an average of forty thousand lightning strikes each night for eight months of the year. Now imagine you are with a broken-down motorcycle (unlikely, I know, but you get the meaning.)
But don’t worry, it happens three miles up in the troposphere. Every minute the lightning displays a rate of between 18 to 60 bolts of lightning.
In other words, the number of lightning bolts can surpass 1.2 million throughout any year!
And to make you stop and re-read this part of the article titled: Motodreamer and the Venezuelan Mega Diversity.
All the strikes are visible without any sound-emitting. Yes, all the lightning bolts are entirely silent!
The Relámpago del Catatumbo lightning storms rage nightly for eight months each year on the Venezuelan Lake Maracaibo.
The legend of the indigenous Wari people explains the “Lighthouse of Maracaibo” phenomenon is down to millions of fireflies gathering to pay homage to their creators.
Scientists who have studied this phenomenon are not sure what causes the storms.
But, they believe hot methane rises from the gaseous bogs below in the nearby mouth of the Catatumbo River as it empties into Lake Maracaibo.
Followed by the sedimentary rocks assist the ignition process across the nighttime skies. Other scientists cite deforestation, humidity, and adverse weather conditions also have their parts to play in ways still to be understood.
Researchers are currently looking at the surrounding mountains that trap the warm trade winds coming off the Caribbean. It is believed these same winds crash into oncoming cool air spilling down the Andes. Thus, the winds are forced upwards till they condense into thunderclouds.
In conclusion to both phenomena, we have to admit we are not sure about the black goo, but the lightning is definitely true.
In Venezuela’s recorded history, the lighting has come to the rescue on at least two occasions.
- In 1595 Sir Francis Drake and his English warships were illuminated to the surprise of the defending Spanish soldiers in Maracaibo.
The replica “Golden Hinde” ship captained by Sir Francis Drake of England is on display in London.
- In 1823 during the Venezuelan War of Independence, the same thing happened to a Spanish fleet when they were illuminated as they tried to come ashore.
Staying with land only this time on a much larger scale – Los Llanos (translated as the Plains), Venezuela’s massive flat depression grassland.
Venezuela´s Los Llanos (Plains) is a gigantic flat depression grassland. Credit image to iStock.
When it comes to describing something gigantic, you would be hard-pressed to find an alternative word. Los Llanos takes up a quarter of Venezuela´s landmass at over 240,000 square km. It is a natural region that is very flat and home to ribbons of forests, creeks, oil fields, cattle, wildlife, and over 700 species of birds.
Motodreamer and the Venezuelan Mega Diversity are clearly displayed in the Los Llanos region.
You will witness stunning sunsets, epic sunrises, and forever meandering rivers as you ride through the endless intertropical savannah. Share eco moments with all that nature and its incredible fauna can show you.
During the wet season, from May through to October of each year, parts of the grassland turn into a temporary wetland. Hence, why wildlife and birds descend to breed and lap up the freshwater.
When the wetlands recede, you might encounter green anacondas, giant anteaters, red howler monkeys, jaguars, pumas, and white-tailed deer.
Los Llanos is home to the Green Anaconda (Eunectes Murinus.)
If the opportunity comes up and there is time to become a ”Llaneros,” go for it and learn how to milk, lasso, and herd cattle. It won’t be easy, but it will be eye-opening to follow local traditions that have stood the test of time for hundreds of years.
Afterward, why not tuck into a plate of the most delicious-looking shredded beef that the Venezuelan cowboys can serve up?
Venezuelan Shredded Beef courtesy of Goya Foods.
In this article on motorcycle riding within the Venezuelan Mega Diversity, we know at times, you are going to turn your attention to the rumblings of your belly. So we turn now to the grub.
We cannot ignore the wonderful and popular Venezuelan cuisine
Here are ten mouthwatering, diverse, and vibrant Venezuelan dishes to enjoy while you are on the next motodreamer and the Venezuelan Mega Diversity tour. Make it a tick-box exercise to see if you can consume all of them during your 10 days.
- Pabellon Criollo – The national dish of shredded beef, rice, beans, and plantain.
- Hallacas – Tamales full of beef stew or port, pickled capers, and olives encapsulated in a plantain leaf.
- Pan de Jamon – Soft bread with slices of ham, olives, and raisins.
- Bollo Pelon – Apple-size corn dough filled with chicken or beef stew, tomato sauce, and topped with grated cheese.
- Pisca Andina – An Andes mountain breakfast soup of Milk, potatoes, coriander, green onion, and eggs. Try it with a layer of melted cheese and a spot of chili powder.
Delicious Pisca Andina. Image credit to Notiactual.com.
- Patacon Zuliano – A delicious fast food dish of plantain filled with shredded beef, grated cheese, salad, mayonnaise, and egg.
- Tequeños – Eat these delectable 10cm long canapes with a tangy dip any time of the day, morning, noon, or night.
Tequeños image credit to Cocina y Vino.
- Fosforera – A wonderfully nutritious seafood soup that is said to raise the dead. Expect to find clams, shrimps, crabs, squids, and the odd fish’s head blending with coriander, sweet chili, tomatoes, and onions.
Fosforera Seafood Soup image credit to El Siglo.
- Tiziana – A tropical non-alcoholic fruit punch, a perfectly healthy option of watermelon, pineapple, banana, apples, tangerines, and strawberries. A real thirst quencher for those hot and dusty moments on the open road.
Tiziana, a Venezuelan non-alcoholic tropical fruit punch image credit to Articulos-El Clasificado.
- Arepas – An iconic Venezuelan dish that is round and baked to perfection. From then, you can fill yours with whatever takes your fancy. Venezuelans love adding black beans, avocado, shredded beef, cheese, and butter.
Venezuelan arepas, filled with whatever you fancy. Image credit to El Pitazo.
Now it’s time to talk about one particular famous Venezuelan military man.
He is known by the long name of Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Ponte Palacios y Blanco.
Simon Bolivar’s sculpture against a blue sky background.
Or if you prefer – Simón Bolivar.
Outside of South America, it would be quite easy to never have heard of this incredible Venezuelan soldier and Statesman. But when you hit the Americas, both Latin and South, you will see his presence everywhere.
Cities, towns, streets, parks, museums, and theaters are named after him. Why? Because he is the only man in history who liberated countries from tyranny and did not conquer them for greed or vanity.
Here are compelling facts regarding El Libertador in case you have never heard of him.
Bolivar was born on July 24th, 1783, in Caracas, orphaned by six when both his parents had perished, and died at the young age of 47 on December 17th, 1830, in Santa Marta, Colombia.
When reaching the age of 16, Bolivar lived in Spain, and at 18, he was married to the daughter of a Spanish nobleman. Bolivar became a widower after his young bride died of yellow fever within a year of their marriage.
While in London, Bolivar studied English Institutions, and they remained the models he would base on political wisdom and stability for him.
He declared, “Let us lay the cornerstone of American freedom without fear as to hesitate is to perish,” in his first-ever speech.
Bolivar led his men in over 200 pitched battles against the Spanish aggressors in his fight for Independence in South America.
Palomo was a tall white horse with a tail almost reaching the ground and accompanying his owner in nearly all campaigns.
Simon Bolivar and his trusting white horse Palomo. Image credit to Wikipedia.
Sadly, Bolivar made the fateful decision to lend his trusting horse to one of his officers, who did not treat the horse as well. Palomo died from exhaustion and was buried in a Hacienda Mulalo between the city of Cali and a small town called Yumbo, Colombia.
On a happier note, if you look closely at the Venezuelan coat of arms, you will see Palomo proudly in the lower half.
Venezuela’s Coat of Arms displays Palomo, the white horse of Simon Bolivar.
The Liberator provided the military and political leadership that eventually freed five countries and gave birth to another.
At one point, he was both a Dictator of Peru and President of Gran Colombia. He never wanted to be known as a King or Emperor, preferring the name Liberator to be closer to his beliefs.
History has shown that Simon Bolivar was not only one of the greatest Generals in history and can also be described as brilliant, ruthless, and dedicated to freeing his continent from Spanish rule.
He was the one who was prepared to spend years crossing flooded rivers, muddy plains, and the bleakest of mountain passes to gain victory and freedom.
In conclusion, this article titled Motodreamer and the Venezuelan Mega Diversity.
We never got the chance to mention the cities and towns, that will come another time. Today we wanted to bring you a small glimpse of a very big presence called Venezuela.
Those of you who join Mike and MotoDreamer on the next tour will talk about all you will see and experience for many years to come.
A map of the cities in Venezuela for Motorcycle Riding within the Venezuelan Mega Diversity.
The last thing we wish to say to end this article is to remind you to stay safe at all times, remain with your tour group, and take heed of all instructions from the MotoDreamer personnel.
If we have to whet your appetite for touring South America on a motorbike, by all means, venture further with the following links:
Around the World in Eighty Days. This has to be the ultimate Adventure Motorcycle Touring Challenge organized by Mike Thomsen at MotoDreamer. Are you a modern-day Phileas Fogg or Passepartout?
Around the World in Eighty Days is the ultimate Adventure Motorcycle Touring Challenge for our modern times to experience and enjoy. Is every bone in your aging Adventure Motorcycle Touring Rider´s body itching like crazy at the thought of this mad-cap challenge?
The Three Guianas, the Forgotten Gems of South America. Have you ever heard of them? I promise you, once you discover them, you will never forget them.
Trans-Amazonian Challenge, 8 Countries in 52 Days! Are you one of the lucky few who have the time to achieve the unthinkable?