Canaima and Angel Falls

Canaima Travel Blog

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Boat trip upriver alongside Auyan Tepuy to Angel Falls
Angel Falls is the highest waterfall in the world and supposedly one of Venezuela´s highlights. Like everything else in Venezuela, the trip is now very expensive, actually the single most expensive thing so far on my entire trip. Since the beginning of the year they have had 37% inflation in Venezuela so just about everything except the gasoline, which costs 12 cents a gallon, is rather costly. Back six to eight months ago the "official" black market exchange rate, yes there is actually an official published black market exchange rate, was 5.5 Bolivars to the dollar and now it is less than 3.5, so it is a huge difference. For example a Big Mac meal at McDonalds costs $9.50 if you are using the official exchange rate. But as this is nearing the end of my trip and I still had the money so I decided to go anyways.
The red water of the river


To get to Canaima, the gateway to Angel Falls you need to fly as there is no land transport. So after some 891 hours of bus, boat, and train transportation during my trip so far I was actually forced to fly.  And if  I had to break the streak of land transport this was certainly a good way to do it, in a tiny four seat Cessna, that´s three seats for passengers and one for the pilot. The views from the plane were good as we were only flying at about 4,000 feet or so and as we reached Canaima we could see some tepuys and the waterfalls around the Canaima Lagoon. After landing a person from the tour operator met us at the tiny airport and we headed to their camp in the town to get ready for the boat trip up to Angel Falls.
Angel Falls tumbling off Auyan Tepuy
Luckily the weather looked good and so we had a dry ride upriver. It is currently the rainy season so the river was totally swollen with water with no discernible river bank just semi-submerged trees and foliage. The scenery was really amazing as the river wound its way near the base of Auyan Tepuy, from which Angel Falls cascades. The rock face of the tepuy rose straight up out of the dense jungle with patches of jungle clinging to any non-vertical surface. After 3-4 hours we reached a point of the river where we could clearly see Angel Falls since the weather was still clear. Here we got out of the boat for the one hour hike to the viewing point for the falls. The river was a bright red color from the roots and plant particles that make their way into the water, a very eery sight.
Angel Falls through the mist and pouring rain
Unfortunately the weather only managed to hold out for 15 more minutes before it started to rain. At first it just sprinkled but then it became a full on downpour for the rest of the afternoon and by the time we arrived at the mirador we were all completely soaked, but at least Angel Falls wasn´t shrouded in clouds. From the mirador the rain was pouring down and winds from the tepuy were sweeping the water from the falls down on us at 30-40 miles per hour. Amidst the soaking and high winds I managed to get one picture without ruining my camera before we descended back towards the boat and to our camp for the night.

The next morning we took the boat back down the river to Canaima, a much quicker trip than fighting the current and moving upriver. We had a few hours to rest up and have lunch before we headed out to see the waterfalls in the Canaima Lagoon.
A waterfall behind a rainbow in Canaima Lagoon
A short boat ride took us across the lagoon and in front of some of the waterfalls which were lit up by the mid-afternoon sun. The highlight of the waterfalls was Salto Sapo or Frog Falls which a pounding waterfalls where there is a trail behind the falls underneath a rock ledge. The wind sweeps the water from the falls and the spray back onto the trail and you get completely soaked while the mist and amount of water washing onto you makes it difficult to even see at times. After crossing under the falls you can make your way to the top of the falls for panoramic and mist filled views of the entire lagoon area.

We stayed the night at the camp in Canaima and had the following morning free to go to the lagoon and walk around before the flight back to Ciudad Bolivar after lunch.
The trail behind Salto Sapo
This time it was a little bigger plane, with eight seats and there were a lot more clouds so we were flying up at about 8500 feet to get above the weather, but the flight was just as smooth. I wasn´t looking forward to spending another night in Ciudad Bolivar because there is absolutely nothing to do there and everything shuts down around 7pm and things become dangerously quiet and deserted. Luckily it seemed early enough to get up to some of the beaches on the coast before it go too late so after picking up my bag I headed right for the bus station for more overland transport.
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Boat trip upriver alongside Auyan…
The red water of the river
The red water of the river
Angel Falls tumbling off Auyan Tep…
Angel Falls tumbling off Auyan Te…
Angel Falls through the mist and p…
Angel Falls through the mist and …
A waterfall behind a rainbow in Ca…
A waterfall behind a rainbow in C…
The trail behind Salto Sapo
The trail behind Salto Sapo
A massive face of Auyan Tepuy risi…
A massive face of Auyan Tepuy ris…
The four seat plane for the flight…
The four seat plane for the fligh…
A view of a tepuy from the air
A view of a tepuy from the air
The waterfalls of Canaima Lagoon f…
The waterfalls of Canaima Lagoon …
A photo of Angel Falls during the …
A photo of Angel Falls during the…
Canaima Lagoon
Canaima Lagoon
One of the waterfalls in Canaima l…
One of the waterfalls in Canaima …
The other side of the roaring Salt…
The other side of the roaring Sal…
The view of Canaima Lagoon from th…
The view of Canaima Lagoon from t…
Canaima
photo by: AndySD