German geographer and botanist Alexander von Humboldt describes exploring various regions of Venezuela for Volume 2 of Personal Narratives of Travels to the Equinoctial Regions of America: 1799–1804 (also abridged into the slim Jaguars and Electric Eels). The Search for El Dorado (1978) by John Hemming offers a fascinating insight into the conquest of Venezuela.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World (1912) was inspired by the Roraima tepui. Venezuela: A Century of Change (1984) by Judith Ewell provides a comprehensive 20th-century history and H Micheal Tarver’s The History of Venezuela (2005) skims the period from Columbus’ first sighting through to the Chávez presidency.

There are dozens of books on Chávez and his ‘Bolívarian Revolution,’ though most sources take either a fervent pro- or anti-Chávez stance. One recent even-handed exploration is Comandante: The Life and Legacy of Hugo Chávez (2013) by Rory Carroll.

Serious bird-watchers may want to get A Guide to the Birds of Venezuela (1900) by Rodolphe Meyer de Schauensee and William H Phelps, Steven Hilty’s Birds of Venezuela (2002) or Birding in Venezuela (1990) by Mary Lou Goodwin.