Discover the raw beauty of Venezuela’s deltas, waterfalls and remote communities. On the banks of the third largest river in South America, the Warao Indians, the guardians of the Orinoco River, still live virtually untouched by the modern world. They are one of the oldest ethnic groups in the world.
Venture further into Canaima National Park to experience some of the world’s most ancient scenery. Bordering Brazil and Guyana, this national park is distinguished by its numerous tepuis, massive flat-topped mountains that rise from grassy savanna and are often covered in mist. Fly over the 979m-tall Angel Falls waterfall flowing from Auyantepui mountain into the Cañón del Diablo, a steep canyon surrounded by tropical forest.
Witness the Catatumbo lightning – an awe-inspiring experience as the sky above Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela comes alive with a mesmerizing dance of constant, brilliant flashes. This natural phenomenon, known as the “everlasting storm,” illuminates the night with its breathtaking and seemingly endless display of electric beauty. A journey of mother nature at her best
Welcome to Venezuela! Upon arrival at Maiquetía International Airport in Caracas, you will be met in the arrivals hall by our representative who will transfer you to your hotel for the evening. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Overnight Posada Buena Vista Inn or similar
Early this morning, fly south to the Indian settlement of Canaima. At the airport, you will be met by an Indian guide and accompanied to your camp. After lunch, board your motorised dugout canoe across the lagoon of Canaima passing the waterfalls of Ucaima, Golondrina and Hacha. The water and surface foam in rivers and lagoons are usually reddish here, a phenomenon generated by the presence of tannin, an organic acid produced by vegetation decomposing under the sun. Enjoy a hike of approx. 20 minutes where you will then reach the Salto Sapo. Change into your swimwear as you will walk behind the waterfall to the other side, a breathtaking experience. Tonight you will stay in a posada in the Indian settlement. (B,L,D)
Overnight Campamento Parakaupa or similar
Following breakfast, your day starts in a motorised dugout canoe as you cross the Carrao River towards Salto Angel (Angel Falls). Veer onto the Churun River through the Devil’s Gorge, a unique jungle landscape surrounded by the table mountain Auyan Tepui. Depending on the water level, your trip takes 4 to 5 hours and it may well happen that you have to get out of the boat to push it when the water level is extremely low! Walk approx 1 hour up to the foot of the Salto Angel – a really unique feeling to be so close to the mighty waterfall. After a refreshing swim in the natural pool of the Salto Angel, continue to the hammock camp on the opposite side of the river Churun with a view of the highest waterfall on earth. (B,L,D)
2 nights at a hammock camp
Distance: 5hrs of canoeing
Today you have another opportunity to reach the waterfall on foot from your hammock camp. The imposing cascade is illuminated by the sun today. An unforgettable experience! Spend the whole day around the waterfall, swimming, exploring the forest or enjoying the wonder of the world from the hammock. (B,L,D)
Distance: Walking of approximately 3hrs
This morning, enjoy the tranquillity of the jungle. Depart travelling the same way, in a dugout canoe back to the Indian settlement of Canaima. After an exciting ride through the rapids in a canoe, you are scheduled to arrive at the lodge in Canaima in front of the Canaima lagoon in the afternoon. The rest of the day is at your leisure. (B,L,D)
Overnight Campamento Parakaupa or similar
Distance: Canoeing 5hrs
Your morning can be used to visit the beautiful lagoon and take a swim or walk through the village and look over the shoulder at the activities of the Indians going about their daily lives. In the early afternoon, you will take a Cessna over the jungle back to civilisation in Ciudad Bolivar. Once there, visit the very well-preserved old town with its beautiful, colourful colonial buildings and then continue to your hotel overlooking the gigantic Orinoco River.
The second largest in the American continent after the Amazonian delta, it is a labyrinth of caños (canals) that form impenetrable green islands which makes the jungle seem to expand and swallow the course of the river. In the midst of these canals, small paddled canoes from the local communities are seen travelling from one village to the next. The Warao inhabit the shores of the canals in typical wooden and thatched houses built in stitches over the water, often with no walls and hammocks for beds. Their houses are on stilts due to the significant rise and fall of water levels in the Delta. The Warao are the second largest tribe in Venezuela with their own indigenous language. (B,L)
Overnight Casa Grande or similar
After breakfast, will travel by car to the state of Monagas. Pass huge pine plantations, cattle and buffalo farms, and arrive at the river village of San José de Buja. In San José, a motorised canoe will take you to your Eco Camp – a 30-minute ride along the river surrounded by dense tropical rainforest and Warao communities. Upon arrival, you will take a short tour of the camp before heading to your Warao-style cabin to relax before lunch. In the afternoon, take a boat trip along some of the delta’s smaller channels, looking for wildlife such as macaws, toucans, capuchin and red howler monkeys, sloths and freshwater dolphins. At sunset, lie comfortably in a hammock until dinner is served and you end your day with a drink at the bar. (B,D)
2 nights Delta Lodge or similar
Distance: Driving 2hrs, boat half an hour
In the morning after breakfast, you will set out again to explore the delta by boat, travelling through primary forest and mangrove forest. Your guide will lead you on a walk through the jungle (rubber boots provided) and explain how the Warao Indians use many of the trees and plants that grow there for food, medicine and tools. You will either have a picnic lunch by the river or back at camp. Later, you will have the opportunity to swim in the river (in Piraña-free waters). You will also visit a Warao community to get a glimpse of indigenous life and buy some locally made handicrafts such as jewellery and baskets.
You will spend the evening at the camp enjoying the peace and tranquillity of the delta, interrupted only by the sounds of jungle animals. (B,D)
Distances: 2hrs by boat
In order to catch your flight in time from Maturin to Caracas, leave the Delta before breakfast by boat and then by car. Fly for an hour to Caracas. On arrival, embark on a city tour of the tropical metropolis of Caracas. The almost 500-year-old city at the foot of the 2800 m high mountain, Avila, has a lot to tell, extensive facets testify to the events of modern times, the colonial era and not least the pre-Columbian period. Spend the late afternoon to enjoy the pool at your hotel before visiting one of the many great restaurants in Caracas. (B)
Overnight Hotel Tamanaco or similar
Distances: Boat 2hrs, driving 2hrs, plane 1hr
Today you will continue to the next natural wonder which can only be admired in Venezuela. The weather lightning at the Catatumbo. With your scheduled flight, fly one hour from Caracas to El Vigia. By car, it takes another hour to a small village on the shores of Lake Maracaibo, where you will board a fishing boat and travel through mangrove forests, swamps and open water. Lake Maracaibo is the largest freshwater basin in all of Latin America. Along the way, with luck, you will see howler monkeys, iguanas and many, many birds. You may also see Tucuxi dolphins, which are marine dolphins, but can also be found in freshwater. In the evening, spend the night on a palafito, a traditional wooden pile structure built on the water. At dusk, with patience and luck, we see the extraordinary Catatumbo spectacle: the weather glows high above the lake! The lurid flickers that bathe the surroundings in ghostly silhouettes are very distant thunderstorms, whose lightning can only be perceived on the horizon without hearing the thunder. To this day, no scientist has been able to explain how this natural phenomenon occurs. It will be an exciting night. (B,D)
2 nights on a palafito (overwater cabin)
Distances: Plane 1hr, driving 2hrs, boat half an hour
After spending the night with hopefully a lot of thunderstorms, and again admiring the location of where you slept (on the lake!), visit the village of Congo. Congo is completely built on the water and only accessible by boat, the village was founded a few hundred years ago by descendants of some pirates who were hiding there. It is really another world! Enjoy a night excursion by boat through narrow channels to see the nocturnal fauna: spectacled caimans, orbicular snakes, night herons and hopefully another night of thunder. (B,L,D)
Distances: Boat 4hrs
Today you will return to the port where you will have solid ground under your feet again. On the way to Merida, you will visit a coffee hacienda. There you will obtain an insight into the processing of coffee beans and certainly, there is the possibility to buy some coffee. In the afternoon, you will visit the city
centre of Merida. In the evening, you can again enjoy comfortable rooms and discuss the adventures of the last few days. For the fun-loving among us, you can also enjoy a cold beer in one of the many bars in town. (B)
Overnight Casa Sol or similar
Distances: Boat half an hour, driving 3hrs
Today you will get to know the Venezuelan Andes from a completely different perspective: In the morning, take the highest (4765 m) and longest (12.5 km) cable car in the world to the mountain Pico Espejo (Mirror Peak). Named due to its snow-covered peak, it reflects the sunlight like a mirror. If you feel like hiking on the way back, you can hike to a lower cable car station. Upon your return, you will head to one of the many glacial lakes in the state of Merida. Along the way, stop for lunch. After a short drive, pass by the impressive Victoria Lagoon. In calm and clear weather, the lake reflects the surrounding landscape so perfectly that you can hardly make out the surface of the water. Here you will notice the Frailejones. This is the typical plant of the Paramo. It has fleshy leaves with small hairs that protect it from the cold. After crossing the highest pass of Venezuela 4200m, you will go downhill to Santo Domingo, where you will spend the night. (B)
Overnight Trucha Azul or similar
Distances: Cable car 2hrs, driving 2hrs
After breakfast, depart the Andes towards Los Llanos. The Llanos, the Venezuelan lowlands, make up in their entirety about one-third of the area of Venezuela and impress with their particularly diverse and species-rich fauna. In the afternoon, set off on a boat safari through the Llanos. Only at dusk many animals become active, and so you will be able to observe river dolphins, caimans, ibises and maybe even an anaconda. Spend the night in a simple cabin on a farm, which is run by a family. (B,D)
2 nights local cabin
Distances: Driving 5hrs, boat 1hr
Today you will spend your second day in the Llanos to observe more unusual bird species, crocodiles and also the Capibara, a funny-looking capybara. Along the way, you can also practice a sport well-known in Venezuela, piranha fishing! At dinner this evening, the family members introduce you to the typical singing of the llaneros, the cowboys of the Venezuelan lowlands, singing their melancholic songs, the joropo. (B,L,D)
Distances: Driving 2hrs
The morning offers another opportunity to observe the birdlife around the cabin before heading to Barinas for your flight to Caracas. Spend the night in an Inn, not far from the sea. There are very good seafood restaurants in the area, which are perfect for your last dinner in Venezuela. (B)
Overnight Posada Buena Vista Inn or similar
Distances: Driving 2hrs
Enjoy breakfast before transferring to the airport for your onward flight. (B)
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**Please note that this tour can be organised on request for private departures.
* Pricing is subject to change at anytime until full payment has been received.
* A minimum of 4 adults is required to guarantee this departure.
A non-refundable deposit of $1000 AUD per person is required to secure your place. Final payment is due no later than 60 days prior to departure. Travel insurance is mandatory for travelling with Crooked Compass. For full terms and conditions, please click here.
This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.