El Teleferico Merida Reviews
El Teleferico Jul 13, 2008
The 'Teleferico', the cable car system, is Merida's biggest claim to fame. At 12,5 km. (more than 7 miles) it's the longest cable car system in the world and with its final stop at Pico Espejo (Mirror Peak), at 4.765 m (15,629 ft.), it's also the highest.
It is divided into four stations (each having a cafeteria and rest room facilities), with the first one, Barinitas, starting at the pretty Plaza Heroinas in the city. Next, you'll get to La Montana station at 2436 m high, where you can catch great views of Merida in the distance.
From La Montana station to the next, La Aguada, is a steep climb and here you'll begin to note the changes in the landscape below from the forested valleys to the dryer 'paramos' (moors).
The next stop is Loma Redonda station (4045 m high). On the way to this one you'll see below you the tipcal flower of the region, the 'frailejon'. From Loma Redonda station, it is possible to go on the last station by mule (a 4 hour trip) or to catch a mule to go on to the village of Los Nevados, high up in the mountains. You'll probably be feeling the altitude by now, so just take it easy and drink lots of water. From this station you can see Pico Bolivar in the distance with its glacier. The glacier is slowly melting and will probably be gone in a couple of years.
The last station is Pico Espejo. It is COLD up here, so make sure to dress in layers. From here, if it's not cloudy (which it basically, always is!) you can see the high peaks of the surrounding mountains.
Pico Espejo (Mirror Peak, so called because of the reflecting surface of the rock), is at a respectable 4.765 m of altitude. And boy is it cold up there! Even if the snows are no longer there and the glaciers of Pico Bolivar are melting slowly away, it STILL is cold! The wind just cuts through you! On a clear day (which is almost never) you can see Merida in the distance below and Pico Bolivar(recognizable by its glacier), the highest Peak in the country, in the distance.
After wandering around and taking in the sights, it is, frankly, a relief to go inside to the cafeteria and drink a 'calentado' (a warm toddy with an anise-like alcohol in it) or eat a 'pisco andino', a clear soup with pieces of cheese, potato and egg, yum!
Tickets to the Teleferico are $20,- a person, with reduced prices for children and the elderly. In high season, tickets must be reserved in advance, which can be done via the website (only in Spanish). Or you can let a travel agency arrange your visit for you
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Jun 28, 2007
The most popular attraction in Merida is the Teleferico (or 'telerifico' as we've been calling it for the whole time we've been here). The Teleferico is the world's highest and longest cable car.
It really stretches beyond sight into the clouds which ominously gather at the top of the cables and stretch as far as Pico Bolivar, Venezuela's highest point.
The Teleferico is only open in the mornings as the wind is really strong in the afternoons.
You have to change cable cars three times on the journey to the top. The trip takes over an hour to the top and goes from boiling hot at the bottom to well below freezing at the top... take gloves, hat, fleece, scarf, sleeping bag, and thermal underwear!!!
The view from the top is, well, limited. You can see about 10 metres in front of your face due to the mist/snow cloud which envelopes the summit. The experience is well worth the effort though.