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El Ávila National Park is located along the central stretch of the Cordillera de la Costa, at 10º 32' latitude north and between 66º 12' and 67º 01' longitude west (see map). It covers the mountainous regions between the Caribbean Sea and the valleys of Caracas, Guatire, Guarenas and Barlovento. The park contains part of the following states: Vargas (northern slope), Capital District (southern and western slope) and Miranda (eastern slope).

 

See Map

 

The park follows a mountain range 80 km long and approximately 16 km wide. It contains over 81,800 ha encompassing a wide variety of ecosystems that vary along the altitude gradient from 120 m above sea level to 2,765 m above sea level at Naiguatá peak. In the lower areas of the northern side, the vegetation is mainly xerophytes, represented by a variety of cacti, shrubs and spiny species. From 300 to 600 m, semi-deciduous forests dominate, whereas from 600 to 800 m the seasonal semi-deciduous forests are common. From 800 to 1,500 m above sea level on the northern slope and from 1,200 to 1,600 m on the southern slope, the forests are mainly sub-mountainous evergreen forests. Due to the constant condensation by the cooling of the air masses and the decrease of atmospheric pressure, cloud forest dominates between 1,500 and 2,200 m above sea level. Finally, the lack of water at 2,200 m and higher permits only sub-páramo vegetation. Beautiful forests grow along the numerous watercourses that flow on either side of the mountain.

 

The temperatures vary widely on El Ávila, with an average temperature of 13º C in the lower sections of Caracas valley and 10º C on Naiguatá peak, where the lowest temperature ever recorded was 2º C. The annual average rainfall fluctuates between 600 and 1,400 mm and is influenced by orography, which explains why rain is more abundant on the northern slope where the mountain faces the trade winds.

 

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