Getting a good break was the first ‘TO DO’ thing on our resolution list this year since I and my husband had been working very hard last year and had to skip a holiday break due to work commitments.
We picked one of the most exquisite countries from the South American continent – Venezuela. This country is located on the Northern coast of South America and hence rightly called as ‘The Balcony of South America’. Venezuela is famous for its incredibly diverse landscapes, wildlife and the natural beauty of the country. We had heard about the famous Angel Falls and couldn’t wait more to explore its stunning views.
We arrived at Caracas which is the capital city of Venezuela and stayed in a hotel in Macuto for a night. The next morning, we took a flight to one of the most beautiful places in Venezuela – Canaima. During the flight, we had a great bird view over Canaima and the Gran Sabana. Canaima National Park is Venezuela’s second largest national park well-known for its mountain forests, thick woodlands and the most stunning Angel Falls.
On arrival, we were transferred to a lodge by the lagoon from where we could take a good view of the Canaima lagoon falls. After lunch, we headed to the Canaima Lake on a curiara which is similar to a long canoe. This famous lagoon leads five different waterfalls next to each other. We saw the falls of El Sapo and El Hacha and the guide sailed us through them. In fact we got a chance to walk underneath El Sapo and the experience was unforgettable. Getting drenched had never been so exciting and enjoyable for both of us. The red water and the light pink sad was a treat to the eye. We then returned to our lodge in the dusk and spent our evening resting on the long chairs and sipping wine in the accompanying sound of the water falls.
The next day, after breakfast, we had a nice boat ride on the Carrao River and enjoyed attractive sights of the flat top Mountains while entering the Devil’s Canyon. After a 4 hour ride we had to hike amidst the muddy and slippery tree roots for more than an hour in the jungle to Mirador Laime which is the viewpoint for the incredible Angel Falls. Angel Falls is the tallest waterfall in the world and drops nearly a kilometer from a table-top mountain called Auyantepui. It has a total height of more than 3200 feet.
To stand beneath one of the tallest water falls in the world is the most unique and amazing experience of a lifetime. The waterfalls and a good swim bought us a good appetite and we feasted on some roasted chicken. What an adventures night it was! We slept in hammocks in the middle of the jungle with the sound of the Angel falls and the river.
The next morning, we had to bid goodbye to the water falls, hence we took some photographs again for the last time and headed towards our full day excursion to Kavak village. We departed on a small flight over the Angel Falls. We got an Ariel view of the Auyantepui and the legendary falls. We explored a completely different view of the falls from the flight. We couldn’t take our eyes off them for some time and this was an emotional moment for some of the fellow tourists. We travelled through a rainforest to reach Kavak.This village is a quiet and neat place with down to earth locals greeting us with a warm welcome. From the village, we walked more into into the jungle where we witnessed some more water-falls, ponds and water caves where we spent most of our time shaking off the afternoon heat and enjoying the scenery around.
Post tea time, we headed to the Canaima airport and took a flight for Caracas and back to our hotel in Macuto.
The next destination was Llanos – world´s richest tropical grasslands. This grassy “cowboy country,” has an abundance of wildlife, flora and fauna and is home to more than 100 species of mammals and over 300 species of birds. We arrived at Barinas which is the capital city of Llanos and checked in a hotel for lunch. Post lunch and some relaxation, we were driven to Hato El Cedral. This place is an amazing cattle ranch which showcases one of the most outstanding and incredible displays of wild animals, mammals, reptiles and birds.
We stayed in a Hato and had two full days of safari there. We had a terrific time spotting wildlife. We spotted macaws, parrots, turtles, piranhas, iguanas, crocodiles, dolphins and the list is unending. We even witnessed some real cowboys near the cattle and one of them was kind enough to lend his hat to my husband! We did a jeep and a boat excursion to spot the wild life. These 2 days in between nature, animals and birds were beautiful and we clicked some lovely photographs too.
Our next destination was the tranquil islands of Los Roques. We wanted to relax for some days. Hence Los Roques was an ideal destination. We stayed in El Gran Roque which is the main island in Los Rosque. The day we arrived, we took it easy by staying indoors and relaxing on the shore at the beach. There are over ninety-two species of birds, including the blue-eyed brown booby, laughing gulls, lapwings and blue and white-necked herons. Hence bird watching activity is a must here. After bird watching, we both wanted to try our hands on kite surfing. Los Roques was the ideal place to practice kite surf because the weather is breezy most of the time. We also engaged in activities like snorkeling and fishing. We enjoyed cooling our heels off in the white sands and turquoise seas.
From Los Roques, we returned to Caracas since we wanted to take a crash course in the capital city. We visited the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo – a modern art museum having the finest collections of modern art in South America. It has works of renowned painter Picasso as well as notable art pieces from contemporary artists around the world. We then explored El Hatillo, a charming and attractive village located to the north-east of Caracas. We spent an entire day in this village exploring the tiny streets and traditional houses as well as furniture and handicrafts.
The Plaza de Altamira is also a nice place which we visited. Located in the Altamir neighborhood, the plaza is a popular meeting spot or place for locals to hang out. The Avila Mountain serves as a great backdrop for taking pictures. We spent the evening sipping coffee and taking a stroll around the lovely fountain located at the entrance to the Altamira subway station.
We chose a restaurant which served traditional Venezuelan food. Since we had spent the day exploring Caracas and visiting various places, we had cooked up a good appetite. The waiter understood that we were tourists and did everything to make us comfortable. We told him to choose the dishes as we wanted to get the taste of the local cuisine. We feasted on a dish called Arepa, a cornmeal patty stuffed with cheese and meat and Majarete which is a pudding made of coconut, maize and papelon.
We concluded our trip by dancing to the local tunes of the country and enjoying in the view of the city from the highest rooftop bar in Caracas.