You will be met on arrival and transferred to the group hotel for overnight accommodation. The remainder of the day is free to acclimatise and take in your first impressions of Venezuela. Caracas is a large modern city. You should be careful when walking after dark, and should avoid walking alone. A group briefing with your tour leader will be held at dinner.
This morning we take the 8 hour drive to Ciudad Bolivar. The drive will offer an early insight into Venezuela and its people.
This morning we fly from Ciudad BolÃvar to Uruyen which is a one hour 15 minute flight in a five passenger Cessna. During the flight it will be possible to see the back waters of the Guri Dam, which produces 80% of Venezuela´s electricity and the open cast mine of Cerro Bolivar, one of the world’s richest iron ore deposits. As we fly over the Paragua river, the bare plains change to tropical jungle. Keen eyes sometimes spot macaws flying in pairs and then we see the first Table Mountains, called tepuis in the Pemon Indian language. As the plane follows the course of the Carrao River, we view the beautiful waterfalls plunging into Canaima Lagoon, (which is where we shall finish the trekking portion of the trip). We then have an option to fly over Angel Falls, a truly unforgettable experience. The walls of Auyatepui loom up ahead and as we get closer we see the castle like towers and crevices of this ancient structure. We fly into the Devils Canyon and as the aircraft rounds a corner we see the 947-metre freefall of Angel Falls. After a couple of heart pounding passes our pilot takes us to the valley of Kamarata, home to our hosts for the next two weeks, the Kamaracoto Indians of the Pemon tribe. Uruyen, our destination, is a village built of typical Indian huts, Churuatas, which are nestled right in front of the mighty Auyan Tepui - an almost unreal sight of peace and beauty. We continue our journey in Toyota Landcruisers. The vehicles take us and our porters across four rivers and through a beautiful jungle ringed savannah, as close as possible to the foothills of Auyan Tepui. Here the porters arrange their loads and we begin the hike up a very, very steep hill to our beautiful campsite at Guaracaya. Located next to a brook, surrounded by trees, our guides will prepare a delicious meal and tell stories of Indian legends and past exploits.
Another early start on the longest day of the trip. We have an altitude gain of over 1500 metres. The trail takes us across a marsh, home to at least 2 species of insectivorous plants, lush tropical jungle with huge trees, vines, and up a near vertical never ending jungle clad hill which leaves even the fittest wishing they had done more training. We have lunch on a small plain and continue hiking uphill, now on the mountain's upper talus slope, to our second night's campsite, El PeÃ±on. Once again there is a cascading mountain stream nearby where we can take an invigorating (if not to say a little chilly) but definitely needed bath. El PeÃ±on (The Rock) is a huge boulder under which about 50 people can sleep. Looking south from our vantage point we can see an endless sea of jungle with Tepuis jutting above it like black icebergs. On a moonlit night the view from the campsite is spectacular. To the north looms the totally sheer rock face we have to negotiate tomorrow. We can see the ramp we will take to reach the top. Our guides point out that the rock we are sleeping under is one of the oldest on the planet, over two thousand million years old!
Today is the steepest day of the hike. First we have to negotiate an area of boulders, which can be treacherous when wet. The flora in this area is fascinating, and extremely photogenic. Next we have a near vertical muddy trail which leads us up to the very base of the sheer cliff. Here we rest and prepare ourselves for the final assault. The trail follows a crevice strewn with huge boulders, which we negotiate our way over, around, or under. There are 5 fixed ropes, which we use to aid our ascent. At one point we will stop and look in awe as we find ourselves in a gully inside the heart of the mountain with ancient species of plants, eerie wind blown patterns on the rocks that tower all around us, dizzying views across the plain far below, and echs of every sound we make. We go through a maze like area of underground chambers and then emerge onto the incredible summit of Auyantepui. Tepui means house in the Pemon vernacular, and Auyan means Spirit. Our guides believe that this is the home of their ancestors, and not the good ones either. Botanists also believe that it is heaven since 95% of the plant species that exist on the mountain are only found on the Tepuis. The views west across the nearly flat summit are awe inspiring on a clear day. Huge crevasses; chunks of rock lying strewn like giant dice; valleys so enormous they stretch into the hazy blue horizon. To the east the Kamarata plain where we began the hike, is now so far below us that a human figure is indistinguishable. Here we rest and your leader will decide either to camp here in Libertador, or continue for another 3 hours to a spectacular campsite called "El Oso". Here, another fallen boulder provides shelter right in the middle of the mountain's summit and a nearby river provides the possibility of a relaxing swim.
Today we take short nature hikes, seeing and photographing orchids, bromeliads, all kinds of wonderful vegetation ( all very ancient species ), swimming and experiencing the atmosphere of this "Lost World". On the flat summit of this mountain there are jungles, rivers, waterfalls and entire ecosystems.
Today we make the descent to El PeÃ±on by the same route we ascended.
We walk back along the same trail we used to climb up. Down through the jungle where we have spotted white lipped tapir, deer, howler monkeys, coati mundis, jaguar tracks, tarantulas and the dreaded 2 inch long 24 hour ants. We arrive in Guarayaca, our first night's campsite, at lunchtime, and have a break. Then we continue downhill to the RÃo OcoÃ±e where a vehicle will be waiting to take us to Uruyen, a small Indian village near the river Uruyen. Here we have basic rooms with private bathrooms, showers, beds and cold beer.
Today we take an exhilarating hike to Uruyen Canyon. In order to get to the 80 foot falls located at the end of an extremely narrow canyon, we have to hike through jungle, wade and swim across the river, and pull ourselves up a rope. Our Kamaratacoto guide will carry our cameras in waterproof bags so we can photograph the stunning canyon. We visit the Uruyen canyon, similar to that of Kavac but with more attractions, a 10-foot waterslide, a dizzying 3-foot whirlpool, and a possible visit to our porters´ village, Santa Marta. (Depends on the blisters, bruises and weather)
Today we fly over Auyan Tepui to Canaima, the gateway to the Angel Falls. Upon arrival in Canaima we have the rest of the day to relax and enjoy this scenic village and the surrounding lagoons and waterfalls.
Today we leave the Carrao River and enter the Devils canyon. The water becomes a raging torrent, the sheer walls of Auyan Tepui hang above us. The trees crowd into the river and the master Kamaracoto boatmen leave us breathless and applauding as they negotiate impossible rock barriers in the foaming current. We finally arrive at Ratoncito Island, our camp at the base of the falls. We take a 45-minute stroll to Laime’s lookout, where the world’s highest waterfall looms directly above the white spray and takes an aeon to touch the rocks below. A truly unforgettable and awesome sight. Conditions permitting we can take a swim in a pool at the base of the falls.
This morning we set off downstream from Ratoncito and then hurtle down to the Carrao river, breathing a sigh of relief when we reach the tranquil waters of the Carrao. We continue to Canaima where, after a tour of Salto El Sapo, a thundering waterfall that we can walk behind, we bid a fond farewell to our good-natured Kamaracoto boatmen, and we stay in a camp close to the Canaima lagoon.
We board our charter plane to Ciudad Bolivar or Puerto Ordaz for the scheduled commercial plane to Caracas. On arrival in Caracas we are met and transferred to our comfortable beach hotel in Chichirivichi on the pristine Caribbean Coast for our last 2 nights.
Today is free to enjoy this coastal paradise. You can snorkel or swim or simply relax. A perfect finale to an amazing adventure.
The trip concludes after breakfast with a departure transfer to the airport.