Venezuela is the northernmost South American country with a long Caribbean Sea coastline. The main chain of the Andes runs from west to east, leaving a narrow coastal plain. To the west there is an extensive marshy plain around Lake Maracaibo whilst to the south lies the large lowland area around the Orinoco valley (the Llanos). This latter area has a typical tropical climate with a single rainy season. Venezuela is unusual among South American countries in that almost everywhere the main rainy season is from April to October at the time of high sun. Towards the west of the country there is a tendency for a double rainy season whilst the northern lowland - particularly in the west - has a surprisingly dry climate for a tropical coast.
The Venezuelan Andes are lower and narrower than those in other countries, but there are some peaks up to 15,000 feet which carry snow all year. There are many local variations of weather and climate as a result of altitude. The northern slopes of the Andes tend to have less rainfall than the southern side. Caracas shows signs of the relative dryness which affects the northern coasts, having an annual average rainfall of about 840 mm (33"). Daily average maximum temperatures have a very small variation from 24 °C (75 °F) in January to 27 °C (80 °F) in April and May. Sunshine amounts are moderately high varying from 6 to 8 hours per day. Annual rainfall in the mountains is generally around the 1,000 mm (40") level, whilst the plains around Lake Maracaibo has an annual rainfall figure of 580 mm (23"). This latter area is hot all year, with typical daily average maximum temperatures in the mid-30s °C region. In the Llanos region of the Orinoco valley there is an annual average rainfall of about 1,500 mm (60"), temperatures stay in the mid-30s °C range with very little variation, and high humidities make this to be an uncomfortable region.