ANGEL FALLS, AUYANTEPUI, RORAIMA, GRAN SABANA and
ANGEL FALLS: View the splendor of Angel
Falls from a chartered Cessna, or lumber by in a classic DC-3. The world's highest waterfall is a thrill
to view from the air.
ANGEL FALLS: Having seen the falls from the air, you'll want to get up close
and personal with it, traveling upriver in a dugout canoe, known locally as a
curiara. The trip follows the
Río Carrao from Canaima to approach Auyantepui, then turns up the Río Churún to head up
Devil's Canyon into the heart of the great tepui. Depending on river levels and
how much time you have, you may want to overnight en route at a
hammock camp. Whether you opt for a one-day
or a multi-day trip you eventually reach a point on the Churún where you
get your first thrilling view of Salto
Angel. And shortly afterwards you reach Ratoncito Camp, from which an
hour's hike brings you to a viewpoint near the base of the
towering cascade. The return trip downriver
features equally impressive views of Auyantepui.
Most visitors make this river trip in the wet season; when the river levels
are right, the trip can be made in a single day from Canaima. But regardless
of the river level, at least one overnight stay on the river is recommended, to
enhance the overall experience. And for a more challenging and exhiliarating
trip, in which the excursionists must
help the boatmen get the curiara through shallows and rapids, early
in the dry season is the time to go. A trip in December, when the water is low
can take 2-3 days, but in addition to being a lot of fun in the water, you can
get lucky and have the falls all to yourselves. But, of course, the water flow
over Angel Falls is not as impressive in the dry season.
CANAIMA: Originally a gold-mining camp by Canaima Lagoon, Canaima is now the central point for most Angel
Falls visits. Angel Falls fly-overs take off from Canaima, and trips upriver
to the falls start here. But Canaima has its own attractions, including the
beautiful lagoon and the line of waterfalls plunging into it, swimming from a
lovely beach, several short excursion possiblities, stores selling indigenous
handicrafts, and a variety of hostelries to fit a variety of budgets. Our
favorite hotel is Waku Lodge, located right
on the edge of the lagoon and boasting lovely grounds with a plethora of
tropical birds. Our favorite local excursion is the trip across Canaima Lagoon
by curiara (dugout) followed by a short hike to
Sapo Falls. What makes this so memorable
is the trail passing behind the thundering
falls. Wear your bathing suit for this one!
AUYANTEPUI: The largest of all the tepuis, the giant flat-topped mountain from
which Angel Falls drops, looms behind Kavak Camp, the usual starting point for an Auyantepui trek. To
reach the top, trekkers spend 2-3 days ascending through a series of three sets of tall cliffs, guided by
Pemón Indians. The final ascent is through a great cleft, seen here from afar, which splits the 1000-foot-tall
cliffs surrounding Auyantepui's rugged top. Inside the cleft, the trail passes
through a riot of bromeliads and other
exotic plants before finally clambering out on the tepui's mysterious and
sometimes fog-shrouded top.
MT. RORAIMA: Even more famous and higher than Auyantepui is Roraima, this tepui was the inspiration
for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novel "The Lost World". This trip has become a
popular climb for adventurous trekkers because the scenery is indeed
other-worldly, featuring waterfalls, weirdly eroded rocks and rifts, the Valley
of the Crystals, the "Triple Point" (border of Venezuela with Brasil and
Guiana), and many other wonders which can be enjoyed if you plan a several-day
stay on top. A guide is required by the park service, and the local
Pemón Indians act as porters. For a full description of the trek, visit
our Roraima trek website.
GRAN SABANA: Roraima and Auyantepui are just two of many tepuis that rear
dramatically and majestically from the grassy and forested plains of the Gran
Sabana. Waterfalls by the dozens stream not just from the tepui walls, but
thunder over cliffs breaking the sabana. More than one scenic waterfall drops
over hard ledges of flaming red jasper. Swimming holes abound. Here's a little
Gran Sabana photo album:
ORINOCO DELTA: At an Orinoco Delta camp you can see exotic birds, river
dolphins and other rare creatures, and visit with indigenous people.
LOS LLANOS: Visit a working ranch-cum-wildlife preserve in Los Llanos.
Great for birding and viewing other wildlife, plus getting a glimpse at a
traditional way of life.
MÉRIDA: One of Venezuela's most popular destinations, Mérida is
a colonial city located in an Andean valley. Things to do around Mérida
include riding the world's highest cable car, visits to mountain villages, and
ISLA MARGARITA: White sand beaches, a wide variety of classes of lodging,
several national parks, historic sites, and night life, all can be found on
LOS ROQUES: A small cluster of islands with one tiny village, lots of beaches,
swimming and snorkeling, and diving possibilities.
CARIPE and CUEVA DE LOS GUÁCHAROS NATIONAL PARK: Caripe is a quiet,
small town nestled in a valley surrounded by moderate mountains. Its main
attraction is the Cave of the
Guácharos (oilbirds, Steatornis caripensis), large and very
noisy birds that live in the cave, flying in darkness like bats by
echo-location and sallying forth at night to eat fruit. A visit to the cave is
made unforgettable by the screeches, barks, miaus, squawks, and clicks of the
16,000 resident birds! And Caripe is simply a pleasant place to hang out in
for a couple of days, with hikes and visits to swimming holes on the side.
RUTAHSA ADVENTURES can arrange tepui treks, Gran Sabana tours and visits to
Angel Falls for independent travelers. We can also arrange visits to the
Orinoco Delta, Los Llanos, Isla Margarita, Los Roques, the Cave of the
Guácharos, Mérida and more. We can set up the custom trip of
your choosing using reliable independent Venezuelan operators. Contact us at:
"We want to thank you for everything and let you know that it was all
perfect. Everything went as scheduled and exceeded our expectations.... We
were continually amazed by the culture and beauty of the country....we loved
Venezuela and all the people we met." --Brooke Hutchens and Steve Bushey,
who went on a Rutahsa-arranged Angel Falls trip, July 1999.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO NOTE:
- Venezuela is a BIG country, and if you want to visit a several different
sites, you must plan on several internal flights (otherwise you need to have
lots of time and be a fan of long overland trips). For example, to trek
Roraima starting from Caracas and returning to Caracas normally requires four
internal flights and two overnight stays at Ciudad Bolivar or Canaima. These
flights add to the length and the cost of a trip to Venezuela, but are
necessary to get about the sprawling country.
- It takes time to set up a trip to Venezuela. If you contact us just a week
or 10 days before you want to travel, we may not be able to help you. We will
try to help anyone who requests our help, but advance notice of a month or more
sure makes things easier for all concerned.
Dawn in the Gran Sabana, viewed from camp below Auyantepui
Photos on this website by Janie and Ric Finch, @copyrighted.