"In 1990, the anthropologist Chagnon was denied a research permit by the Venezuelan authorities. Instead of appealing to the director of indigenous affairs, he affiliated with a group of wealthy people, connected to then President Perez and widely believed to be involved in illegal and corrupt activities, and obtained access to military aircraft...more
The Puerto Ayacucho has a large number of tribal groups living near it, each with it's own language and lifestyle, so it's worthwhile touring the Indigenous Museum to learn more about them. Each tribal group also has it's own methods of basketry, ceramics (if they have ceramics), weaponry, dress, and so on. This is not the only museum devoted to...more
We only had a day or two, and since we arrived unconnected, our village visits were less than dramatic. However, we drove down a lonely road and came across two hunters with their spears and a monkey that one of them had caught. Then, we proceeded further down to what must have been an agricultural workers camp. The villagers were delighted that we...more
There's no need for a rod and real here. Along the bank of the upper Orinoco, the current is strong and the fish many. We saw plenty of fishman simply tossing a line, sinker, and bait into the water, letting the line drift until they felt a bite. Then, they pulled the line and tossed the fish on shore. The Orinoco and it's tributaries have more...more
My notes have this restaurant as one of the better places to eat for lunch. Apparently, we ate there more than once, but I can't recall what the food was. It must have either been a creole--beans, rice, and meat--or arepas, but in either case we must have also consumed fresh fruit batidos. Sorry for not having more, but clearly Puerto Ayacucho has plenty of small cheap restaurants like this. Like anywhere else, some of these places are greasy dives while other produce surprisingly good grub. This place is one of the latter type.
Favorite Dish: In Puerto Ayacucho, I always looked for a place that served good fresh fruit batidos with some enthusiasm, rather than simply uncapping a bottled Pepsi and putting it before me.
Puerto Ayacucho Ferries go across the river to Colombia, and downriver to San Fernando de Apure. There is no ferry service further up river because of the cataracts. However, just past the cataracts, river launches to provide additional transport further upriver. Freighters also arrive and depart from the docks at Puerto Ayacucho, and I suppose...more
Avensa and other Venezuelan airlines have regular flights to Puerto Ayacucho, and this may be the major way that tourist arrive. The other way from Caracas, other than by private car, would be by bus, and that takes probably 20 hours. This airport also services the more remote landing strips of the Upper Orinoco and its tributaries, where flying...more
See the Caicara page for more details, but the highway to Puerto Ayacucho is relatively new and easy to drive. There are a number of natural rock formations and waterfalls to see along the way. The travel time is about six hours, with virtually no place to stop in between. We did stop for a warm soda along the way though.more
Fine example of Yanomami basketry is still available, as are relatively authentic masks. These are already featured in museums around the world along with the same from extinct tribal groups, such as the California Indians. Authentic Yanomami baskets are somewhat irregular in shape, and have only black line motifs. Many tourists want to buy more...more
I have a particular interest in tools of technology, so tribal weaponry is a favorite for collection in Puerto Ayacucho. Unfortunately, I have not been yet able to bring home an authentic blowgun, as they are as long as a pair of skiis and therefore difficult to pack for air freight. I do have an shorter version which works quite well for...more
Materials and methods of construction requires careful appraisal by the purchaser. As state in Part I, we've observed a decline in both the use of natural materials and alterations in production. In the first photo, of two rallos, graters used by indigenous women and create a mash or pulp from the main rainforest staple--the manioc root. Form...more
Malaria is an import from the Old World, and in fact is a major concern for the indigenous tribes in this rainforest region. However, for the casual visitor to Puerto Ayacucho, the drainage engineering is not too bad, and the actual chance of getting bitten by a malaria mosquito is certainly much lower than in tropical Africa, for example, where...more
Tourists are restricted from visiting some parts of the upper Orinoco and it's tributaries because of the Venezuelan government's effort to protect the Yanomami and other isolated tribes. These tribal groups are being run over not only by hunters with rifles, miners with explosives, loggers with chain saws, petroleum engineers with helicopters,...more