Trip experience to one of the amazing wonders of this world
|Top of the "Kerepakupai merú" or "Kerepakupai Vená" (Angel Falls) water fall|
I will share our experience getting there, what you will need, and the best time of the year to plan your visit. This is a trip for adventurous people only, in good health, and ready to take a 3-day jungle like trip. It is not recommended for children or people with special needs. They will not make it. Because this place is in the middle of the eastern part of the Venezuelan Amazon Jungle.
Angel Falls is the world's highest uninterrupted waterfall, with a height of 979 m (3,212 ft) and a plunge of 807 m (2,648 ft). The waterfall drops over the edge of the "Auyantepui" mountain in the Canaima National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site in the Gran Sabana region of Bolívar State (Venezuela). The height figure 979 m (3,212 ft) mostly consists of the main plunge but also includes about 400 m (0.25 mi) of sloped cascades and rapids below the drop and a 30-metre (98 ft) high plunge downstream of the talus rapids. Eventually merging into the waters of the "Carrao" river. (Source wikipedia)
Our experience:We purchased a basic 3-day tour package. And I believe this is the minimum package you can get. There are several tourism agencies (you can find them at the Maiquetia airport complex, in Caracas, Venezuela) that offer the same package with different prices, depending on what amenities you want included (this means the type of stay in the main camp: open air, or private rooms, etc...) We got the simple package, because we wanted to enjoy the real deal. I believe they also offer packages for more than 3 days.
|Gran Sabana Tepuyes (taken from the plane)|
In the main camp, our tour guide was waiting for our arrival. After introducing himself he took us to the other end of the Canaima village, to wait for a boat ride to the other side of the river.
|Canaima group of water falls|
|People on the left of the water fall "El Sapo" getting ready to walk "trough it"|
|A little "visitor"|
On the second day, we had the breakfast served and in mid morning we took a curiara ride back to the main village. There I waited for the other tourists that were going to join us to go up the river stream towards Angel Falls. First we took a half hour off-road ride on a 4x4 vehicle. Then a bigger curiara boat was waiting for our departure towards the "Isla de Raton". Warning, this ride is very rough on your rear end, because you will be sitting on a wooden "chair" going trough rapids, and sometimes scraping rocks, non-stop for FOUR hours. So, when you finally get up there, you really want to get out of the boat in a hurry. Depending on the time of the year you come, you might have to get out of the boat more than once, because of the river rapids can be very dangerous, or because of the river level is not high enough for a loaded curiara boat to clear the shallow areas. And if the water levels are too low, sometimes the tour to the Angels falls is not possible at all. Thus, make sure you pick the right time of the year to come to this place (I will tell you about it later).
|Curiara (wooden boat) ride up-river.|
For this trip you will need an extra set of clothes, and dry shoes (to sleep dry for the night at the base of the water fall and the returning trip on the next day). Place all those items in a plastic bag inside a water proof hiking bag, that the tour crew will take from you; and will place it inside a big tarp they have inside the back of the boat (look at the picture above you'll see the plastic tarp behind us, and in front of the curiara captain, wearing a yellow shirt).
And it was cloudy as we were warned. We could only see the bottom of the water fall.
Then the tour guide instructed the group to keep hiking more to, at least, get to the pool at the base of the water fall. I stayed behind for few minutes praying that the clouds would go away. And to my mind-blowing surprise, the clouds and fog started instantaneously fading away. So, I yelled out to the rest of the people to turn back, so they could also see the beauty of Angel Falls being revealed to all of us.
|Me pointing at the world tallest waterfalls: Angel Falls|
|Swimming and standing at the base of Angel Falls|
After a half hour at this place, we needed to start our trip back to the camp at the base of the water fall, and it gets dark very early. By 7pm it was already pitch black (include in your list of items a flash light too).
Two hours later we arrived to the camp. This camp is placed right across from the water fall. We had dinner served, and then we slept in "hamacas" (Venezuelan jungle hammock). You must place yourself inside of it in a diagonal direction inside the hammock; otherwise you'll be in back pain the next day. At this place there is no need for mosquito nets, because the temperature is cold at night. However, you should apply on your skin, mosquito repellent (just in case). After dinner, the tour guide narrated us some indigenous stories about this place and about his people (I happily served as the Spanish/English translator for our group).
|River ride back (trough the rocks and rapids)|
|More water falls from Auyantepui|
|Luis on a mini Curiara|
List of minimum required items for this trip:
- Swimming trunks
- Water shoes (for the short hikes around the main camp site)
- Hiking shoes (for the Angel Falls long hike)
- Rain coat/jacket
- Flash light
- Personal hygiene items (toothbrush, toothpaste, hair comb, deodorant, etc.)
- Sun-block protector cream
- Mosquito repellent lotion
- 4 set of clothes
- Ready to have fun
Best time of the year to plan the trip:As you've read the trip to the falls is a complicated affair. The rainy season in this area is June to December, therefore the time that increases the best odds to make it to the Water fall is end of August through October. And the dry season is December through March, to avoid it if your desire is to make it to the Angel Falls. We got lucky, since we didn't know this fact, and we traveled in mid April.