If you are looking for a travel experience to a hidden world of wonder and adventure, the Canaima National Park is sure to fit the bill.
The Canaima National Park is in Venezuela, known for its beautiful landscapes and exotic wildlife. It is the second largest park in Venezuela and the sixth largest in the world. Most of all, Canaima National Park is most famous as the location of stunning Angel Falls, the tallest uninterrupted waterfall in the world.
With how remote and isolated it is from the rest of the country, entering the national park can be a great escape from society. It is easy to forget about your problems for a short while and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the park. Here are a few great things to do in Canaima National Park.
Rest at Laguna de Canaima
The Canaima Lagoon is a beautiful lagoon found within the national park and only accessible by plane. If you are headed to Canaima National Park, visiting the lagoon is a must-add to your itinerary. Whether you want to relax or adventure, this is the right place for you. The deep blue waters in the lagoon surrounded by lush forests are a treat for the eyes. There are lodges around the lagoon with high-class accommodations to keep your comfort at a maximum.
You can also take a curiara (a dugout canoe popular in South America) and explore the rest of the lagoon. You will find many beautiful waterfalls such as the Salto Hacha and Sapo Falls. The latter allows you to pass through a trail that goes right behind the water. The lagoon is perfect for swimming, kayaking, or resting at the lodges. The Canaima Lagoon is also an essential destination, as it is the starting point for the trek to Angel Falls (more on this below).
Go Wildlife Watching
Canaima National Park is home to many beautiful and exotic plants and animals. There are hundreds of bird species to see here. A few examples of these are hummingbirds, macaws, and hawks. You might also find impressive animals like giant otters and giant anteaters. The jungles are also home to the elegant (and rarely seen) cougars and jaguars. But you never know, you might be lucky.
At the top of the tepuis, you can see many kinds of orchids, carnivorous plants, and small reptiles. With how diverse the wildlife of the Canaima National Park is, there are many insects around (make sure to bring some insect repellant). You’ll also be able to find different wildlife in the savannahs, forests, and tepuis. Once you are inside, it is best to keep your eyes peeled for the plants and animals in the park. Wearing earth-toned clothes and going out in the early mornings will give you a better chance of spotting elusive wildlife.
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Explore Kavac village
It’s always good to learn about the local culture to avoid culture shock, and visiting Kavac is one way of doing this. The indigenous people residing in Canaima National Park are called the Pemon. Kavac is a village that tourists can visit to learn more about the Pemon people and their culture.
There are also places to stay for the night and handicrafts you can purchase. The quaint village is in a vast savannah in the Kamarata Valley, with numerous nearby pools filled with clear, refreshing water to swim in. You can also trek to the Kavac cave, a beautiful cave with a waterfall inside. Going to Kavac is a great, relaxing way to experience the forests and savannahs of Canaima National Park while also learning more about the Pemon culture.
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Hike up Mount Roraima
One of the most prominent and beautiful features of Canaima National Park is the tepuis. Tepuis are a kind of mesa unique to the Guiana Highlands of South America. Their steep side slopes, elevation, and flat surfaces isolate the land on top of the tepui from the surrounding area. These tepuis create ecosystems different from the land around them. Many tepuis are still not explored due to the difficulty of reaching and climbing them.
One tepui that you can visit is Mount Roraima, the highest of the Pakaraima chain of tepuis. Mount Roraima has the tripoint where the borders of Venezuela, Guyana, and Brazil intersect. Hiking to Mount Roraima involves a 6- to 8-day trek through rainforests, savannahs, and the mystical peak of Mount Roraima itself. Getting to the top of Mount Roraima will bring you to a weird and mysterious place with many endemic species of plants and animals. Waking up at the top of the tepui to a sea of clouds is also a surreal and beautiful experience. Exploring the top of the tepui will bring out the adventurer in anyone.
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Trek to Angel Falls
One of the highlights of a trip to Canaima National Park is visiting Salto Angel or Angel Falls, the tallest uninterrupted waterfall in the world. The water comes from the peak of the Auyán Tepui, which is another challenging tepui that you can hike.
Visiting Angel Falls is easier to do than hiking to the top of the Auyán Tepui. Going to the falls involves a trek starting from the Canaima Lagoon. The Angel Falls trip is a whole-day river trek. You will be going through the Carrao and Churun River and passing through the Devil’s Canyon. At the end of the trip, you get a gorgeous view of the falls from its base and a small pool that you can swim in. After a tiring trek to Angel Falls, you’ll spend a night at camp before heading back to Canaima the next day. Due to the relative ease of visiting the falls and its sheer impressiveness, there are hardly any reasons to avoid visiting Angel Falls if you are in Venezuela.
Tips for Visiting Canaima National park
There are a few things to know before planning your trip to Canaima. First, you’ll need a guide to go anywhere in the national park. Hiring a guide is both a requirement by the government and for your safety. Booking a tour from a travel agency is almost a requirement to ensure your safety. Though it might raise your travel costs, it is definitely worth it. It is crucial to have an organized tour due to the crisis in Venezuela and the remoteness of the national park. Getting your shots is also important to avoid any nasty diseases.
For those who want to bring out the adventurer inside them and explore the mysterious tepuis of South America, Canaima National Park is the right place for you.
Written and photographed by Julien Mordret: Julien Mordret is the guy behind Exploration Junkie. He loves to share his passion and experiences with travel, nature, and photography. He’s crazy about all things and his explorations are fuelled by his unlimited curiosity.
That’s my guide to the best things to do in Canaima National Park in Venezuela. Got any questions, comments or suggestions, let me know in the comments below.