We actually chartered a plane from Ciudad Bolivar to visit the Angel Falls and spent a few hours in Canaima National Park on the way, and i am determined to return there one day. The lake was beautiful and good for swimming, the falls cascading in to the lake were really impressive. We learnt that there was a large selection of animals in the park such as armadillos, pumas, tapirs, Porcupines, capybaras and many birds!This would be ideal if you are a bird watcher. Trekking, climbing and boat riding are some of the adventures you can choose from here, and of course trips to the Angel Falls. You can walk upstream and soon you will be in thick swampy jungle, ideal for photography. There is no road in or out of Canaima so a short flight is necessary from Ciudad Bolivar.
Angel Falls are the tallest water fall in the world at 979 metres. From the top of the river it is about a 2 hour hike through the jungle to near the base of the falls - the veiwing spot for the falls has another small set of waterfalls and a pool for swimming.
Most of the species of orchids bloom in July and August. I was there in late september and there were a few late bloomers of orchids but only a small fraction of what there would have been if I was there a few months earlier.
There are other plants and flowers to see though. The red flower in my picture is called Indian Lips. Watch where you put your hands. Some of the tree trunks have thorns. I slipped and grabbed a tree trunk without looking and ended up with a splinter in my hand that festered and started getting inflamed. Our guide had to do "emergency surgery" by firelight with a needle to get it out.
If you want to see some critters in the jungle the best time to hike is at dawn. But seriously though, most of the large animals i.e. monkeys have moved away from the populated areas long ago. You will probably see toucans and other birds, butterflys, spiders, frogs and other enormous insects. Anything else, count yourself lucky.
Once you've taken in the spectacular view of Angel Falls from above climb down into the valley so you can swim at the base of the falls. Be careful during the rainy season as the currents in the pool can get hard to manage. The water is colder then you would think as the water from the falls comes from the condensation in the clouds. It doesn't have a chance to warm up and is chilly. I just jumped right in, it was easier that way!
The Hike to the base of Angel Falls took about an hour and a half. The first 30-40 minutes is flat the rest is up hill. Watch your step while hiking, the well worn trail is criss-crossed with tree roots and the occasional fallen tree. Make sure you bring lots of water. With the humidity you are quickly soaking wet from the climb.
The traditional inhabitants of south-east of Venezuela, including Canaima National Park, are the Pemón indigenous peoples. Traditionally, they are farmers, hunters and fishermen and you can often see them in their boats out on the river. They were friendly and allowed us to visit their homes for the afternoon. I suggest bringing some crayons and paper for the children to play with.
One of the most impressive water falls (with the exception of Angel Falls of course) is El Sapo (Frog) Falls. You can walk on a path under the falls. The amount of water coming over this waterfall is really impressive, especially during the rainy season. Make sure you take a rain coat, you might get a little wet!
One of the most beautiful places in Venezuela is Canaima's Lagoon. The lagoon is fed by several small water falls: Hacha, Wadaima, Golondrina and Ucaima. The water which is reddish in color is due to the presence of tannic acid in the water which comes from decomposing plant life. Because of the higher acidity and lower oxygen content of the water, it is perfectly safe to swim in as there are no pirhanna's in the water.
Trip packages to Angel Falls involve a 4 hour upriver boat ride in a motorized canoe. You'll stop briefly to walk around some of the more dangerous rapids but the majority of the trip will be in the boat. Be prepared for beautiful scenery, your first glimpse of Angel Falls, a sore rear-end and a possible torrential rainfall. All worth the effort. You'll stop for lunch at a picture perfect waterfall where you'll see millions of butterflys and be able to take a swim. The water's pretty warm so don't worry. The ride home will be slightly shorter as you are now travelling down river.
Most tours to Angel Falls begin in Puerto Ordaz. Once you catch a little 8-seater plane it's about a 20-30 minutes ride into Canaima. The only way to get into Canaima is by plane as there are no roads. The pilot will fly around the tepuy's and over what it seems like every waterfall in Venezuela. Finally the plane will fly right by Angel Falls and come so close you can almost touch it.
Caniama Lagoon is not only beautiful is is also a great place to relax and swim in the coloured water. Most accomodation in Canaima is located around the lagoon so you can escape from the heat in the water
The Tepuis are table-like mountains (mesas) mainly found in Venezuela. These geological formations made of precambrian sandstone rocks. Angel falls are located on the Auyantepui . On the trip up the rive and flight from Ciudad Bolivar you can see many Tepius
We took a boat down the black river, through the jungle, along pink sandy beaches and table top mountains with waterfalls jetting over the side and down the cliffs. Eventually pulling up to a basic lodge filled with hammocks and tables set for dinner. For dinner we all sat at our candle lit settings sharing past travel experiences and planning new ones like it was picking a restaurant. Of course everyone but me spoke 3 to 5 languages and all from Europe (Germany, Italy, Spain, and France). While I was in Colombia I quickly learned that people from America do not go to Colombia and Venezuela because of unsubstantiated fears about drugs, guns, dictators, etc. It?s a shame that they miss two of the best countries in SA.
On the second day we took another boat and then hiked a while to reach Angel Falls. This is the highest waterfall in the world at 3,212 ft (979 m) over 20 times taller than Niagara. As you look up and try to follow a section of water down the side most of it seems to drift off into the jungle before making it down to the pools below. Standing at the base of it was inspiring and for once we were silent (even the Italians) as a sense of fulfillment washed over us. It wasn?t a difficult journey but it was more about accomplishing something and feeling small in the world again.
You have to walk behind the mighty El Sapo fall. Yes you will get wet but it's agreat experience.
You can also take a canoe trip on the lake were you get a magnificent view of all the falls. (see pic)