Canaima National Park – Angel Falls :: Venezuela
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Canaima National Park, in southern Venezuela is famous for two things: the table top mountains (known as tepuis) that dot the region and the tallest waterfall in the world, Angel Falls. Rife with tropical forests and rivers, this wild untouched plateau is the home of many ancient aboriginal people who still travel its vast expanses. The largest national park in Venezuela (at over 18,000 square miles), Canaima National Park is a stunning example of pure, untouched natural brilliance.
With no direct routes to the park, both Caracas and Bolívar City offer flights into this superb land. These are also the best places to book your tours to the park, though Bolívar City seems to offer more reasonable rates for travelers. Once you arrive, prepare to be amazed at the sheer variety of life that abounds in this nature lovers Mecca. Some of the animals native to this area are the sloth, capybara, tapir, and the elusive jaguar. You may also spot a blue cheeked parrot, king vulture, or even a giant anteater.
Once inside Canaima National Park your boat trip to Angel Falls takes you deeper into this beautiful world. The journey affords you plenty of opportunities for swimming, hiking, and possibly even a visit to some of the villages on route where you can shop the local markets for one of a kind souvenirs. The falls were named for Jimmy Angel, an explorer in the 1930s who was the first outsider to see this wonder when his plane got stuck not too far from there and he had to find his way out. The natives have always called it, “Kerepakupai Merú” meaning “fall from the deepest place”. This makes sense as at 3,212 feet tall Angel Falls boasts a single 2,648 foot sheer drop that is actually so far that the water turns into a fine mist long before it hits the bottom. This mist can be felt up to a mile away.
This is definitely not the trip for someone looking for a spa day. Prepare to be active and on the move as you trek through the sometimes rough terrain. Also, prior to your departure, see your doctor as yellow fever vaccinations are required for entry into Venezuela. The weather in the mountains can turn wet and chilly, so bring a few changes of clothes to stay comfortable. The best time of year to visit is up to you. May to November can be very wet but will offer you the chance to see the falls at their most magnificent. April to December promises very little rain but also the possibility of very little water going over the falls. If you are looking to convene with nature, experience the beauty of an undisturbed rainforest, and see plants, animals, and peoples that will delight your senses and warm your heart, Canaima National Park is the place to go.
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