The only way to get to Canaima is on a small aeroplane. I travelled with Transmandu on a small 5 seater. FLights run on Venezuelan time, when I asked what time the plane left I was told "when the pilot arrives." Also be prepared to fly with lots of supplys and luggage packed in every possible space around you. Despite the cramped conditions and scarriliy small plane it is an enjoyable 1 hour flight with the most spectacular views. Get you camera out as you approach canaima for some amazinf photos of Canaima Lagoon and surrounding waterfalls.
There are no roads leading into Canaima. The only way you can get there is to fly. The planes that land on the tiny, gravel airstrip are small 10 seater planes. Consequently, all supplies and good are also flown in so things tend to be a tad more expensive.
The incoming flights into Canaima usually do a fly over over Angel Falls first before the land. It's a 4 hour boat ride up river to Angel Falls but only about a 10 minute flight.
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Arriving at the airport in Canaima you must pay an entrance fee to the National Park, which was 8000 Bs. At the airport there are some souvenir stalls and this is one of the few places in Venezuela where I saw postcards, so I bought 16 cards. The different tour companies came to pick up their tourists and we were brought to Kavac’s campamento and office. It turned out that I and the four Mexicans who had flown in the same airplane as me was going to leave for Angel Falls very soon, together with a group that had already spent a day in Canaima. The rest had to wait for the last planes (one of the first leaving Ciudad Bolivar had gone down in a small town on the way because of bad weather). I was happy to be in the group that was leaving soon, and it turned out we would have the time to visit the Angel Falls that same day and the other group had to wait until the next morning.
I booked my tour to Canaima/Angel Falls through Backpacker Tours via Internet and paid already before leaving home. The price for the tour was 290 Euro (June 2007), but paying with bolivares changed on the black market in Venezuela it will be much cheaper. Backpacker Tours (which is based in Santa Elena) use Gekko Tours in Ciudad Bolivar, and they in their turn use Excursiones Kavac (managed by an indigenous community) in Canaima.
I was ready very early in the morning and took a taxi (10 000 Bs) to the airport already at 6.30. Gekko Tours office was not open jet and I sat down to have breakfast, coffee and toast, in a small shop/café. After breakfast I went back to the office where I got my airplane ticket and paid the airport tax (6000 Bs). I also left some of my luggage in the office to be stored there until I came back from Canaima. More and more people came. I thought I was going to be in one of the first planes leaving Ciudad Bolivar as I had been one of the first at the airport, but it never seemed to be my turn. Plane after plane left with tourist going to Canaima and finally it was my turn. The planes are 6-seated Cessna planes (the pilot and five tourists). The pilot told us where to sit so the balance should be good in the plane. I got the front seat next to the pilot. The flight to Canaima took about one hour. In the beginning the sight was good, but then we were in the middle of big rain clouds and it was raining when we were landing.
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There's no roads leading inside the Canaima National Park - so your only way to get there is to fly. Normally people get there on a package which includes everything - flights, accommodation - trips, especially since there's no real commercial route to there. Most flying is done with small cessna planes - which can be exciting and amazing but... not all are safe. When you book a package, you should pay more and book it with a reputable company - plane crases in this area are not that uncommon. We flew there from Barcelona with a wonderful and expeirienced Venezuela-based French pilot called Jean-Luc. His contact address is on my Isla Tortuga page