Dinira National Park is located in the Andes ecoregion in the Portuguesa and Barbacoas mountain ranges. These ranges form part of the Andean Foothills, in the most eastern sector of the Venezuelan Andes. Steep and irregular slopes with U-shaped valleys of glacial origin, and the occasional small terrace, characterize the mountainous relief. There are also some caves of karstic origin, such as La Peonía (Barbacoas) and El Zumbador (Humocaro) (Crespo 1999).
The mountainous range, formed by the Barbacoas Depression, gives Dinira its unique rugged geography (photo © César Aponte).
The park is found in parts of Morán and Torres Municipalities in Lara State; Boconó and Carache Municipalities in Trujillo State; and Monseñor José Vicente Unda in Portuguesa.
Dinira's total area is 43,328 hectares: 21,152 hectares in Lara State; 21,824 hectares in Trujillo; and 2,352 hectares in Portuguesa. The altitude varies between 1,400 and 3,585 meters, with corresponding temperature variations between 6 and 22º C. Precipitation varies between 642 and 2,100 mm per year. The rainiest months are April, May, and June. The park's altitudinal gradient determines the climate and consequently the vegetation, allowing for low, moist montane forests; low, very moist montane forests; subalpine páramos; savannahs; and crops. The park's páramo occupies 5% of its total area. The largest expanse of páramos is Cende's Páramo at 3,585 meters, which has many frailejones species (Espeletia spp).
There are forest plantations in the park's lowest elevations. These plantations were started decades ago for conservation and restoration purposes. There are Eucalyptus, Acacias, and Pines (specifically Pinus radiata and Pinus caribea). Human-created savannahs are also found in the park's lowest sectors; today they are subject to natural regeneration (Crespo 1999).
The park provides essential protection for the headwaters of several rivers, and therefore is an important water reserve for the nearby cities of El Tocuyo and Quibor of Lara's semi-desert plains. In addition to the headwaters of Tocuyo River, the park also protects the headwaters of Guanare River, which in turn flows into the Tucupido Reservoir. The Curarigua and Morere rivers begin along the northern slopes of the park, while along the western border the headwaters of the Jirajara, Carache, and Monay rivers begin--tributaries of Motatán River that feeds Maracaibo Lake. Boconó River begins in the southern part of the park. Rivers flowing from Dinira supply water to the following reservoirs: Félix de los Ríos in Lara State, Cuatricentenaria in the city of Carora, Enrique Jorge Aguerrevere "Agua Viva" in Trujillo, and Peña Larga "Boconó - Tucupido" found in Portuguesa and Barinas states.