Para Falls hike

Para Falls Travel Blog

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Through the jungle

Today we were going to the Para falls!

Para Falls are located in one of the two "arms" of higher Caura, right after the point where higher and lower Caura are seperated through the mountains. Essential part of our trip was to hike to the Falls from El Playón. We were told it was about 2 hours of walk, and the Netherland couple we met in the first camp told us that it would be easy enough.

Before we started we had breakfast, of course, and at that point I actually doubted we were getting going. My husband had slept terribly, even though he slept on a matress his back was totally ruined. The hammock the day before and the long boat trip had done something to his back, he was so much in pain and had not slept all night at all. I myself was bad too - the freezing nights had given me a big time flu and I was not really in the mood for hiking up some rain-foresty-mountains.

Pee here, please

But then the miracle happened - just before breakfast my husband finally fell asleep, and just as we were about to eat, he woke up and felt great! His back somehow had set, so he was so ready for the hike. We packed our stuff and left the camp excited and in a good mood.

First we went all the way through El Playón, passing the indian houses, passing the plantages. Ahead of us a lot of indians - carrying barrels of gasoline!

Here's the explanation: As you could read in previous entry, you cannot go by boat between lower Caura and high Caura. So in order to transport gasoline to the indian communities on higher Caura, everything must be carried over that mountain seperating the two river parts! The indians need the gas for their curiara engines .

Para Falls!
.. and do that crazy hike over the mountains at least once a month. Small girls carrying 2 of their younger sisters, women carrying other supplies, men carrying those barrels - I don't remember how much, 20,30 or 40 kg of weight in their traditional basket backpack things with one strap over the forehead!
It was amazing to see them easily climbing up that mountain on their bare feet with that heavy load, while we tourists with good shoes and no weight almost could not manage to go. A very special experience - I'd never had imagined that I'd do the hike companied by the strong smell of gasoline almost all the way.

The hike sounds pretty easy in the tour operators description, but even if I had not had the flu, I would say, if you aren't in somehow shape, you'll probably not be able to do it.

Para Falls seen from the river
The first part consisted of UP UP UP UP UP for like endless. And it's really steep, hard to step sometimes, on our way back down we could really not believe that we did that part. After the first very tough part you can have a cold beer actually... some native indian opened a little kiosk right there in the middle of nowwhere on that mountain. Once refreshed (when we were there on our way up, there were no cold drinks though - so the guy started the generator and first turned it off when we returned on our way back down!), the path continues much easier. After around 2 hours (that's when you move quite fast, we heard from our guide), you finally reach open space. At this place, the government once tried to build a water electricity plant, some deserted toilets and walls witness of that project which was given up some time in the 70'ies I think.
Swimming beneath

Only a short walks distance and you can finally see Para Falls. In the shape of a half moon the water thunders 60m down between green jungle islands into a gigantic throat 7 km long and afterwards forms a large sandbank, where also El Playon is situated. It's an amazing view, although more amazing in the wet season than in the dry, I'd assume. OK, when you have seen Angel Falls, Salto Sapo, or have been around in Gran Sabana to see e.g. Kama Meru, then Para Falls will not make you shiver. Go there for the trip then, the boatride, and especially El Playón, this is an amazing place.

We took some minutes at the "Mirador" where you also can try to use an indian pea-shooter. After starring and relaxing we took the chance to also walk down to the falls lagoon. Some ½ hours march steep down the mountain, but it's really worth the while. Down here, all alone us two and the guide, we could enjoy the falls from another angle and cool down with a nice bath in the river. It was a completely beautiful and peaceful piece of land, amazing to swim there with the falls behind you (you can't go close though), the jungle climbing up the mountain all around you, huge rocks and yellow sand.

Of course then you'd have to walk ½ hour up again :-) ...
... and then aaaaalllll the way back to the camp. Easier of course because the worst part now goes downwards. Anyhow: watch your steps - my husband slipped. It could have ended very bad if he had not managed somehow to grip a stone with one finger (he sprained that one).

Oh yes, and this time we passed, the mountain bar was open and the beer was cold... so we had a little refreshment accompanied by some of the indians we had seen carrying barrels in the morning.

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Through the jungle
Through the jungle
Pee here, please
Pee here, please
Para Falls!
Para Falls!
Para Falls seen from the river
Para Falls seen from the river
Swimming beneath
Swimming beneath
Para Falls
photo by: Marejka