Located in the central part of the Andean Range in the eastern region of the country corresponding to the Rangel, Libertador, Campo Elías, Santos Marquina, Aricagua and Cardenal Quintero municipalities of the State of Mérida and the Pedraza, Bolívar and Sucre municipalities of the State of Barinas. Access to the park is available along the following two routes: the TransAndean Highway from Barinas or Valera and the Pan American Highway from El Vigía.
Orographically, the park consists of two mountain chains: the Sierra Nevada de Mérida, where the highest points in the country can be found, including the Bolívar Peak (5.007 m), the Bonpland Peak(4.883 m), La Concha Peak (4.920 m), El Toro Peak (4.755 m) and El León Peak (4.740 m). The second mountain range is known as the Sierra de Santo Domingo, where the Mucuñuque Peak (4. 672) is located.
Other features of the landscape include the glacier formations still in existence and the numerous lagoons of glacier origin.
Vegetation and Flora
The area has various types of forests and Andean páramos as well as a elevated endemism level. The forests boast an abundance of orchids, bryophytes and pteridophytes. Sone endemisms include: the pino aparrado, the manteco negro, the frailejonote, the coloradito and the cafecito species. Abundant arborescent pteridophytes, epiphytes and orchids, cordoncillo, yagrumo, sai-sai and the pino laso. At lower altitudes we find species such as the laurel, the majagua, cedro de montaña and the anime. On the páramo, the frailejones are the most representative species along with the chispeador and the coloradito.
Bioclimatic diversity and a variety of vegetation have given rise to an extensive variety of habitats that provide refuge and food for a large number of faunistic species. Some are these are at danger of extinction such as the oso frontino, the only South American representative of the ursid family, the venado caramerudo del páramo, the paují copete de piedra, the gallito de la sierra, the puma, el conejo de páramo and the jaguar.
It is comprised of three principal hydrographic basins and sub-basins along its two sources. Two drain into the Maracaibo Lake basin through the Chama and Nuestra Señora rivers and eleven drain into the Orinoco River large river basin through the Apure. Numerous lagoons with glacier origins can be found throughout the park, of which the most notable include: the Mucubají, La Negra, Los Patos, La Canoa, Los Anteojos, El Rincón, El Royal, La Verde and El Suero.
Mountainous system that hems the pacific edge of Southern
America extending for a length of over 7000 kms, through
Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and
Argentina. They describe a semicircle from thin Trinidad
to Arica, in Chile, and of here they are prolonged, approximately
along the meridian of 70° west in Greenwich, up to
the Earth of the Fire.
The Andeses show, in their details, structural and morphological
difference; to north they consist in more chains among
them parallel and you branch (cordilleras), that contain
valleys deep and island vast plateaus, while to south
they are gathered in an only principal chain. They are
constituted by rocks whose age is made to go up again
to the eras paleozoica (quarziti, scisti, sandstones),
mesozoica (limestones and conglomerated) and cenozoica
(continental deposits not fossiliferi). The volcanic
and seismic phenomenons, frequent, they justify the
definition of belt of fire pacifica' attributed andino
to the system.
|To this numerous volcanos
belong, active or out: Chimborazo (6267 ms), Cotopaxi
(5897), Tupungato (6800), that represent with the Aconcagua
(6959), the Illimani (6322), the Mixtures (5822), the
Huascarán (6768), the Llullaillaco (6723) the most
elevated tops of the chain.
The altitude allows us to distinguish three zones: tierras
calientes (warm earths) up to ca. 1000 ms on the level
of the sea, tierras templadas (moderate earths) until
toward the 2500 ms and tierras frías (cold earths)
from the 2500 to the 3200 ms. I concern to the slopes,
those pacific receive great quantities of precipitations
of those oriental, with an increase of the raininess from
south north. The limit of the persistent snows varied
from the 4500-4800 ms of the tropical Andeses to the 5500-6000
ms to 25° south latitude, for then to go down up to
the 700 ms in the Earth of the Fire.