The Lake Maracaibo is one of the largest lakes in South America. This lake is famous, not for its size, but for something more bizzare.

The area where the Catatumbo river flows into lake Maracaibo is known as the lightning capital of the world. Because of its unique geography, this area receives lightning storms almost 300 days in a year. This area is fondly called “Relampago del Catatumbo” (meaning lightning of Catatumbo).

According to NASA, in a single storm, lightning strikes the lake Maracaibo 28 times a minute! Each storm usually lasts for 7 to 10 hrs. If summed up, the Lake Maracaibo receives up to 1.6 million bolts of electricity in year, the highest in the world. For each year, this area receives 250 bolts per square kilometer of lightning. Now that’s a lot of lightning. Little wonder, the Lake Maracaibo holds the record for the area with the most lightning concentration.

Though they come with little or no thunder, the lightning storms of the lake Maracaibo are very powerful. The lightnings are so capable that they illuminate the entire surrounding even during the day. The light produced by the lightning storms, are so powerful that they can be seen 400 kilometers away. Because the lightning storms are so regular, and bright, they are used as a navigation aid for sailors, and because of this, the Lake Maracaibo is also known as the “Maracaibo Beacon”.

Visitors to the Relampago del Catatumbo are left speechless. The lightnings, always put up a sublime show all year round. Most of the lightning strikes occur during the months of September, and October, so you can plan your visit around then. Be careful, however, there’s a higher chance of you getting hit by lightning in the Lake Maracaibo, than in any other part of the world.

The Relampago del Catatumbo
People living in the lake Maracaibo area, live in beautiful stilt houses.

For more information, watch the video below.



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