The Venezuelan Coastal Range, also known as Cordillera de la Costa, is a mountain range that runs parallel to the northern coast of Venezuela. Sometimes referred to as the Maritime Andes, the range is a northeastern extension of the more extensive system of the Andes Mountains.
Venezuelan Coastal Range: Cordillera de la Costa
The Venezuelan Coastal Range, also known as Cordillera de la Costa, is a mountain range that runs parallel to the northern coast of Venezuela. It stretches from the eastern state of Sucre to the western state of Zulia, spanning approximately 1,200 km (750 mi).
Sometimes referred to as the Maritime Andes, the range is a northeastern extension of the more extensive system of the Andes Mountains. However, it is considered a distinct mountain range from the Andes proper. The range features a series of peaks but at a generally lower elevation than the Andes.
The Venezuelan Coastal Range forms a natural barrier between the Caribbean Sea and the northern coastal plains of Venezuela. Steep slopes, rugged terrain, and dense vegetation characterize the range.
The region is dotted with numerous towns and cities along its foothills. It contains Venezuela's greatest concentration of population, although it covers only a tiny fraction of the national territory. All but the steepest slopes are populated.
Caracas, the capital city of Venezuela, is located at the base of the range and is nestled between Cerro El Ávila and the coastal plains. Other major cities near the range include Maracay, Valencia, and Puerto Cabello.
The Venezuelan Coastal Range is composed of two parallel ranges that run parallel to the northern coast of Venezuela. These two ranges are commonly referred to as the "Interior Range" (Cordillera de la Costa Interior) and the "Caribbean Range" (Cordillera de la Costa Caribe).
The two parallel ranges are separated by a series of valleys and rivers, including the Caracas Valley, where the capital city of Caracas is located. The ranges collectively form a natural barrier between the Caribbean Sea and the northern coastal plains of Venezuela.
Interior Range (Cordillera de la Costa Interior)
The Interior Range is the easternmost and higher of the two parallel ranges. It extends from the eastern state of Sucre to the central state of Carabobo. This range features rugged terrain, deep valleys, and higher peaks than the Caribbean Range. Some notable peaks in the Interior Range include Pico Turimiquire and Pico Oriental, reaching elevations above 2,000 meters (6,500 feet).
Caribbean Range (Cordillera de la Costa Caribe)
The Caribbean Range is the westernmost and lower of the two parallel ranges. It stretches from the central state of Carabobo to the western state of Zulia. This range is characterized by gentler slopes and lower peaks compared to the Interior Range. The highest point in the Caribbean Range is Pico Naiguatá, reaching an elevation of approximately 2,765 m (9,072 ft).
Rich biodiversity and varied ecosystems characterize the Venezuelan Coastal Range. The slopes of the range are covered in dense tropical rainforests, home to a diverse array of plant and animal species. The region boasts a high level of endemism.
The La Costa xeric shrublands ecoregion mainly covers the lower elevations of the mountains. The Araya and Paria xeric scrub occupies the arid zones of the Araya and Paria peninsulas, except the montane areas of the Paria Peninsula, which are included in the La Costa xeric shrublands ecoregion.
At elevations from 600 - 2,675 m (1,969 - 8,776 ft), the humid evergreen Cordillera de la Costa montane forests ecoregion is found, which forms eleven discontinuous enclaves across the high summits of the eastern and western portions of the range.
Map depicting the Venezuelan Coastal Range (Cordillera de La Costa) natural region