- Zulia State Parque Nacional Ciénagas del Catatumbo
Lonely Planet review for Catatumbo Lightning
Imagine a region where lightning flashes virtually nonstop, but without a single clap of thunder. That's the stunning natural phenomenon that occurs in this bizarre national park on the southwest side of Lake Maracaibo. Known as the Relámpago de Catatumbo (Catatumbo Lightning) or Faro de Maracaibo (Maracaibo Beacon), the flashes can be seen at night all over the region, weather permitting. This phenomenon is found nowhere else on earth.
The natural lightshow consists of frequent flashes of lightning with no accompanying thunder, which gives an eerie sensation. On clear dry nights you are in for an unbelievable and shocking experience. No-one has proven why it happens, but the clash of cold winds descending from the freezing Andean highlands with the hot, humid air evaporating from the lake is thought to produce the ionization of air particles responsible for the lightning.