Best places to visit Venezuela
Best places to visit Venezuela
Here I enlist the 10 most interesting from my point of view, those that in 20 years with Osprey Expeditions I have been able to define as the most important ones.
Canaima National Park
Canaima National Park was decreed as such by the National Government on June 12th, 1962, with an area of one million hectares (1,000,000 Ha.), which was increased to three million hectares (3,000,000 Ha.) on October 10th, 1975, making it one of the largest national parks in the world. It is located in Venezuela’s Guayana region, South of the Orinoco River, in the Gran Sabana Autonomous Municipality and the Sifontes Municipality in Bolívar State.
Canaima National Park is truly one of the world’s greatest natural wonders, op by its very size and because of its joi spectacular scenery and vast natural resources. It is crossed by huge rapids as well as slow, majestic rivers, which flow TI in marked contrast to the thick jungle of this paradise, reflecting the variety of green hues as they blend with the water. On the plains, the rivers weave across the open grasslands, interrupting their course only at the many indescribable waterfalls that are the common feature of Guayana, Venezuela.
The rolling scenery meets the legendary tepuis, table-top mountains which rise abruptly, with polychromatic vertical walls transporting the spectator back over thousands of years and showing
the Earth’s physio chronology as if in an open book. Exuberant wildlife and flora = join in a variegated concert of living beings, with intense color and light in harmonious natural surroundings.
The daily spectacle includes jungles, forest, grasslands, mountains, strong winds and torrential rains, which give way to wide, blue skies.
In this landscape beyond comparison one cannot forget the human element Indian communities found in Canaima National Park are made up of members of the Pemón group. Even though they have been influenced by other cultures as a whole, they maintain their own culture and traditions.
Canaima is The Lost World, a place to be revered and preserved.
Among the main features in Canaima National Park, we find the tepuis with their vertical walls carved by the erosion of millions of years. Tepui walls are composed of poly chrome sandstone, quartz and agglomerates, which emerge abruptly out of the grasslands and thick jungles.
Tepuis have flat, slightly sloping tops, where plant life is endemic. Scientific men have termed the table-tops island in time or ecological islands.
The very peculiarities of these mountains, especially the plant life at the table-tops, make these ecosystems unique. Rising up through the clouds, the beholder cannot help but feel he is traveling back in time.
Most Canaima National Park is under the influence of Equatorial Climate.
The park’s average temperature is 10°C to 21°C. The average annual precipitation varies between 1,500 and with rather pronounced two seasons: period of relative dryness between January and April, and rainy season between May and December.
The most ancient rock formations in the world’s geo chronology are found in Canaima National Park. Dating from the Precambrian period, they are assumed to have been formed between 1,5 and 2 billion years ago. These rock formations belong to the Guayana Shield.
It is the world’s tallest uninterrupted waterfall, with a height of 979 metres. The waterfall starts on the top of the Auyán-tepui mountain in the Canaima National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site in the region of Bolívar State, Venezuela.
is one of the world’s most extraordinary natural geological formations and the highest of South America’s Pakaraima Mountains. The 31-square-kilometer summit area is defined by 400-meter-tall cliffs on all sides and includes the borders of Brazil, Venezuela, and Guyana.
is a region in southeastern Venezuela that offers one of the most unusual landscapes in the world, with rivers, waterfalls and gorges, deep and vast valleys, as well as impenetrable jungles and savannas. The region also hosts the isolated tabletop mesas known as tepuis.
Los Roques Archipelago
The Los Roques archipelago comprises about 42 small islands that encircle a lagoon spanning approximately 400km. In the northeast, the El Gran Roque rises with its meager heights, consisting of three lighthouses and a network of small houses formerly belonging to fishermen who hailed from Margarita Island. The remaining keys in the archipelago are flat and abandoned, but abound with various bird species. However, the real marvels of Los Roques are found beyond the land, extending down to the sea’s depths. The coral reefs create an underwater world that is breathtakingly beautiful, yet delicate, with an incredible variety of marine life, amidst an unimaginable blend of greens and blues. The tropical light bathing the Los Roques sea presents visitors with a paradise replete with brilliant colors, densely populated, and magnificently crafted by marine creatures. Despite its name, Los Roques has hardly any rocks. The island’s only rocks end in the cliffs of El Gran Roque, making the name unsuitable for the surrounding landscape, which is dominated by the sea and sand. In Los Roques, the light illuminates every corner, making it a perfect hostess for visitors.
The archipelago boasts an impressive variety of species, particularly within its coral reefs, which hold significant biological, ecological, physiographic, and scenic value. The marine fauna and oceanic life found within the reefs are infinitely more diverse and valuable than the species found on land. Coral reefs are exceptionally diverse environments, characterized by small areas of rough and calm waters, fluctuations in temperature, and bright and shady areas with an abundance of nutrients, generating habitats for various species of fish, such as the ocean surgeonfish, angelfish, and spotfin butterflyfish. These species have adapted specifically to life on the coral reef, with some, like the flashy cleaner fish, cleaning other fish, while others, like the parrotfish, scrape polyps off the calcareous surface of the corals with their mandibles. Surrounding the reef, there are barracudas, nurse sharks, various species of rays and manta rays, and enormous screens of plankton. The snappers, yellowtail snappers, and groupers found in the area are of great commercial value, as is the spiny lobster, which accounts for over 90% of the national production and is particularly valuable in Los Roques.
Seagrass beds constitute another underwater ecosystem, consisting of flowering plants that reproduce through their fruits, unlike algae. They are commonly found in bright shallow waters with depths ranging from 0.5 to 6 meters. Seagrass beds form dark zones in lagoons of low depth behind coraline barriers or are located in mangrove swamps, where they make up the ideal substratum to keep the plants firm. The most frequently encountered species are turtle grass, which is the favorite food of green turtles, parrotfish and surgeonfish, and manatee grass, which has leaves resembling spaghetti. The seagrass beds serve as a perfect labyrinth filled with nutrients, where hundreds of fish find a suitable habitat to spawn, live out their young lives, and hide from predators. Additionally, the seagrass beds serve as a refuge for cushion sea stars, sea cucumbers, sea worms, and mollusks like the queen conch, which has a pinkish shell and is one of the best snails in the Caribbean with much-appreciated meat. Queen conch has been commercially exploited on a large scale as a typical dish of some Caribbean islands, and its shells have been used in religious ceremonies, as domestic utensils, and as souvenirs. Due to overexploitation, the capture of queen conch and turtle populations has been prohibited to ensure their conservation.
The Los Roques Archipelago, made up of igneous-metamorphosed rocks, was formed during the Cretaceous period, about 130 million years ago. During the Tertiary Period, the archipelago was uplifted and remained close to sea level. Calcareous sediment layers were then deposited on the platform, due to the action of marine currents and the disintegration of coral, mollusk shells, and other marine organisms. In the Pleistocene epoch, around 15-19 thousand years ago, the ice melted, causing the expansion of coral reefs and the creation of North and South Barriers which provided protection for inner areas and resulted in the formation of keys. Since then, stable conditions of temperature, salinity, clarity, and water depth have created a suitable environment for the survival and preservation of the reef structure by corals, calcareous algae, mollusks, and other organisms.
The Orinoco Delta (known in Venezuela as Delta Amacuro State), is a largely undeveloped complex of tropical wetlands and shallow aquatic ecosystems within the coastal plain of eastern Venezuela that covers an area of about 30,000 square kilometers on both banks of the Orinoco river which runs through almost all of Venezuela and part of Colombia with hundreds branches. The Orinoco is the second largest river in South America after the Amazon and the fourth largest in the world.
The easiest way to explore the diversity of the Orinoco Delta is directly on the river. A tour on the Orinoco brings out the spectacular views of this spectacular river delta. Small boats, from motorized excursion boats to rustic dugout canoes, allow our clients to immerse themselves in the lush and dense green world of tropical sensations.
The fauna of the Orinoco Delta is as diverse as its flora. The most likely things to be heard and seen are the colorful parrots, macaws, birds and butterflies, as well as the howler monkeys and capuchin monkeys. Along the banks and in the water are numerous fish, including the infamous Piranhas, caimans and freshwater dolphins.
Warao Indians - Original inhabitants of the Orinoco Delta
Despite its seemingly untouched appearance, the jungle of the Orinoco Delta is actually home to the Warao people, who live in harmony with nature. The Warao, with a population of approximately 35,000, have become well-adapted to their environment, learning how to swim and maneuver canoes from an early age. Canoes are essential to their way of life, enabling them to fish and access clearings on the many islands within the forest. The Warao build canoes of various sizes, utilizing sassafras and ceiba trees for larger vessels and copaiba bark for smaller boats. The Warao reside in palafitos, rectangular pile dwellings that are supported on trunks of moriche palm trees. They rely on the moriche palm for sustenance, extracting flour, grubs, and sap for food and drink. Additionally, they use the palm to create fibers for weaving baskets and other crafts. The Warao possess the skills to produce wax candles, oils, and other home-based industries from materials obtained from palm trees. The most intricate and rarest basket weaves come from Nabasanuka. The Warao’s resourcefulness and expertise in crafting and weaving have enabled them to maintain their way of life for generations.
Surface: 43.646 Square Kilometers
Climate: Temperatures average 26˚C, with a relative humidity of approximately 75%.
How to get to Orinoco Delta: By commercial flight to Maturin or Puerto Ordaz and then a car transfer to the Orinoco pier.
Located on the outskirts of the coastal mountain range and hidden in the mountains of Henri Pittier National Park, Aragua State, 162 km from Caracas, It is a fishermen village with a population estimated at under 5.000 inhabitants where major industries consist of fishing, growing cacao, and tourism.
From Maracay, the state capital, a distance of 40 minutes by car separates the city from this wonderful destination.
The access road is narrow and has sharp curves, so it is recommended to do it during the day.
Playa Grande, one of the top beaches of Venezuela, can be reached at a short distance walk, it is well endowed with a gastronomic offer made up of a wide variety of fish. The beach is bordered by an extensive forest of coconut palms. You can also visit the Mirador after walking up hundreds of steps that can be a challenge for many and enjoy a 360º view of the town, this is a great spot to enjoy the sunset.
Local fishermen offer boat rides to Chuao (20mins) a cocoa plantation coastal village and Cepe (30mins), where other activities such as diving, snorkeling or kitesurfing can be done.
Start your journey in the historic center of the city, known as Casco Central. Here you will find beautiful and historical places such as the National Theater and Bolivar Square, which is the heart of the city’s historic district. You can also visit the Caracas Cathedral and Miraflores Palace, which is the seat of the Venezuelan government.
The city is famous for its museums, so don’t miss the Caracas Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museo de Bellas Artes, and the Museum of the City of Caracas. All of these museums offer a wide range of art and culture exhibitions and are an excellent way to learn about the history and culture of the city.
If you like to be outdoors, visit the Waraira Repano National Park (El Avila), which offers stunning panoramic views of the city and is an excellent way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. You can also visit Plaza Venezuela, which is a popular place to relax and enjoy the city’s warm and sunny weather.
Caracas cuisine is a mix of European, African, and Latin American influences. Try the arepa, a kind of corn cake that is served as an accompaniment to almost any meal, and the cachapa, a type of pancake made with sweet corn. You can also try the pabellon criollo, a typical Venezuelan dish made with rice, black beans, fried plantains, and shredded meat.
Finally, you can’t miss visiting Plaza Altamira, which is one of the most famous squares in the city and is a popular place for social gatherings and cultural events. Here you will find a large number of shops, restaurants, and bars, and it is a good place to experience the city’s nightlife.
Caracas is an exciting and diverse city, and these are just some of the many things you can do and see while you are there.
Merida & Andes
The Mountains of South America
The origin of the Andean system is the same global geo logical event that gave birth to the Himalayas, the Alps and the Rocky Mountains. This long range of mountains faces the Pacific Ocean on the west and the Amazon and Orinoco basins on the east of the continental mass. Its expanse through seven countries-Chile, Argentina, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela– shelters a great ecological and cultural diversity. The Venezuelan Andes represent the northernmost branch of this impres sive range; by the Maracaibo Lake it forks to the Caribbean coast as the Perijá Sierra, and to the northeast as the Mérida Cordillera.
The world's longest and highest cable car
The cable car in Mérida, called the Teleférico by locals, transports visitors from the city at 4,914 feet to Espejo peak, which is 14,295 feet above sea level, in four stages along a 7.8-mile route. The ride itself is worth the trip, as visitors can watch the various ecosystems of the sierra slowly pass by below. At each station, visitors can embark on hikes and explore the beauty of the cloud forests, páramos, or eternal snows. One of the most popular excursions is a 4-hour mule ride from the Loma Redonda station to the town of Los Nevados, and up to one of the most breathtaking locations in the heart of the mountains. Although a perilous dirt road connects Los Nevados and the village of El Morro, many people prefer to travel on foot or by mule due to the beauty and safety of the journey.