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city, northern Distrito Federal (Federal District), northern Venezuela. One of the country's leading seaports, La Guaira lies in the narrow, arid coastal zone along the Caribbean at the foot of the central highlands. Although the city dates to 1577, extremely high temperatures and the lack of room for expansion long hindered its growth. The city does not boast a natural harbour; it developed as a major port only because of its proximity to Caracas. With the modernization of port facilities, development of several beach resorts, and construction of the international jet airport at nearby Maiquetia, La Guaira has prospered. It handles a major portion of Venezuela's foreign trade, including agricultural exports and imports of manufactured goods. The city is 20 miles (32 km) from Caracas by expressway. Pop. (2001) 19,000.