Canaima National Park in Venezuela, photo and description

Canaima National Park

Canaima National Park is the second largest nature reserve in Venezuela, located in the southeast of the country, near the border with Brazil and Guyana. The tropical reserve covers an area of 30,000 km² and serves to preserve the natural diversity of the flat-topped tepuy mountains. Canaima National Park was created in 1962. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994.

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Video: Canaima National Park

Highlights

The unique natural reserve is very popular with tourists. People go to Canaima Park to climb mysterious tepuis, admire deep canyons and see endemic species of tropical plants and rare animals. Most travelers are near the world’s highest waterfall, Angel Falls.

The reserve is remote from roads, so people travel through the park on foot, by boat, or in traditional Indian canoes “curiaras”. Small aircraft are used to travel long distances. In the western part of the park is the village of Canaima, and in the eastern part are Santa de Huiren and Puerto Ordas.

Canaima is the home of the Pemon Indian tribe. For a long time members of this tribe have revered the flat mountains and believed that the tepui were the home of the “mawari” spirits. These days, most of the Pemon inhabitants of the reservation are busy serving tourists and selling souvenirs.

The tepuis of Canaima National Park

Canaima National Park is famous for its high plateaus. In Native American, “tepui” means “home of the gods.” The table mountains were formed from sandstone in the distant past when Africa and South America were one continent. The most famous tepuis of the park are Roraima and Auyantepui.

In the 19th century, the Venezuelan mountains were explored by Robert Herman Schomburgk. His account of his attempt to conquer Mount Roraima inspired Conan Doyle, and the writer created the famous novel The Lost World.

Giant anteaters, monkeys, armadillos, three-toed sloths, jaguars, cougars, porcupines, otters, capybaras, and tapirs live in the valleys and slopes of the tepuis. The rainforests of Canaima are home to black-capped sun hummingbirds, rock cockerels, king vultures, singing thick-billed wrens, banana songbirds, and blue-cheeked amazons. According to scientists, many of the plants growing on the plateau-like uplands are found nowhere else in the world.

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Angel Falls

The world-famous Angel Falls tumbles from the Auyantepui Plateau and its name means “mountain of the devil. The water falls from a height of 979 meters and travels such a long way that not jets but only the tiniest water mist reaches the gorge of the river Kerep.

The Venezuelan waterfall was named after the pilot James Aingeel. In 1935, he was flying over Canaima, his plane broke down, and the pilot was forced to land next to the majestic waterfall on the mountain. The pilot and his companions had to descend on foot. The journey through the tropical jungle to the nearest village was very difficult and took 11 days.

These days, many tourists come to see the giant waterfall. The attraction is located in the western part of the Canaima National Park. Travelers are brought to Angel Falls by air from Caracas, Ciudad Bolívar, Margarita, Santa Elena de Huayres and Puerto Ordaz. The flight from Caracas lasts an hour and a half and, depending on the capacity of the aircraft, costs $300-$350.

Information for tourists

Typically, the starting point for travel to Canaima National Park is the city of Ciudad Bolívar. From there, travelers get to the reserve by small airplane. A one-day tour to Angel Falls takes one day and costs $110. Three-day tours of the reserve are available for $300 to $350 at Ciudad Bolivar.

Not far from Angel Falls, on the banks of the lagoon in the Carrao River spill, is the village of Canaima. Upon arrival at the airport of the village, tourists must pay a fee to visit the reserve and show proof of vaccination against yellow fever.

There are eco-hotels and campsites in Canaima. They are tourist complexes of small palm cottages, harmoniously blended into the surrounding landscape. At ecohotels and campsites are open restaurants and cafes. All lodging is equipped with electricity, bathtubs with hot water, and mosquito nets. Tourists who book rooms and lodges in Canaima are offered airport pickup, transfers, and meals, and those who wish can use the services of a guide.

How to get there

Canaima National Park is located in the Venezuelan state of Bolivar. You can fly to the reserve from Caracas, Ciudad Bolivar, Puerto Ordaz, Porlamar, Puerto Ayacucho, San Cristobal, San Antonio del Tachira and Santa Elena de Huires. Most flights come from Ciudad Bolívar.

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Small planes fly to the village of Canaima. Some travelers reach the national park by boat from the Orinoco Delta.

Canaima – a lost world of tepuis and waterfalls

Canaima Venezuela photo

In South America, Venezuela, Brazil, and Guyana are home to striking table mountains called tepuis, whose ethereal landscapes look more like the setting of a sci-fi movie than reality. Today they have been consolidated into Canaima National Park .

Scientists say that these mountains, composed of hard sandstone, with steep, almost steep slopes and flat, truncated peaks, are the oldest in the world. They were formed by the destruction of a vast plateau that in prehistoric times stretched from the shores of the Atlantic Ocean to the borders of the Orinoco, Amazon and Rio Negro river basins. Back when Africa and South America were one, about 200 million years ago, this plateau formed on the site of a giant lake.

Canaima National Park in Venezuela

Tepuis have a very interesting structure – the plateaus of many of them have many sinkholes up to 300 meters in diameter, formed by the collapse of the arches of tunnels of underground rivers, as well as water eroded caves, the most famous of which – Abismo Gui Collet (Abismo Guy Collet) – reaches 672 meters deep.

canaima national park

canaima

In the Pemon language, “tepui” means “home of the gods,” which is not strange, because the high mountains, shrouded in fluffy clouds, may well be the abode of such important persons. The tepuis, for the most part standing remotely from each other, rise above the jungle in a variety of hard-to-reach cliffs, making them a unique refuge for endemic flora and fauna.

The tepuis of Canaima Park

The highest tepuis are Piso de Neblina (3,014 meters), Pico Phelps (2,992 meters), Roraima (2,810 meters) and Cerro Marahuaca (2,800 meters).

The most famous South American table mountains are Auyantepui, Autana, and Roraima.

Canaima Tepuis

Auyantepui has the status of the largest of the tepuis, with a surface area of 715 km². In addition, the highest waterfall in the world, the Angel, starts its spectacular fall from the top of this mountain. The great height of the fall (979 meters) causes the water to scatter into tiny splashes and turn into a thick mist that envelops the area before reaching the surface of the earth.

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One of the most beautiful tepuis, Autana, rises 1,300 meters above the forest and cliffs. It is interesting because it has a cave running through it from one end to the other. The plateau of Autana is decorated with dark gray rocks of the most bizarre shapes, and the funnels surrounding them are filled with the purest water.

Roraima is the highest tepui in Venezuela. Its height is 2810 meters and the top is a 34 km² plateau, covered with dense vegetation, fanciful rocks, precipitous hollows, caves, small lakes and swamps. The local Indians call Mount Roraima the “navel of the earth” and believe that the Goddess Quin, the progenitor of the human race, lives on top of it.

Roraima

These three and many other lesser-known but no less beautiful tepuis are located in Canaima National Park in southeastern Venezuela, on the junction of Brazil and Guyana. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has a priceless natural treasure.

Canaima: The Nature of Canaima National Park

canaima park

The nature of Canaima National Park is extraordinarily diverse and unique. In addition to the majestic table mountains, hung with beautiful waterfalls, on the territory of the park you can see rare species of flora and fauna, which are found only in this area. For example, carnivorous plants that lure insects into their beautiful scented traps and eat them. The foothills and slopes of the mountains are surrounded by cloud-covered forests in which exquisite bromeliads and orchids stand out as bright spots. Grasses and shrubs grow lushly on top of the tepujas. The fauna of the Venezuelan park is no less rich – there are monkeys of various sizes and species, jaguars, giant ants and many small animals. But the world of birds, which live in large numbers in this rich land, boasts the greatest diversity of species.

Excursions to Canaima

The largest nature reserve in Venezuela, Canaima National Park was founded in 1962 and is considered to be the oldest part of the earth, over 2 million years old. This lost world, which seems to have been accidentally preserved as it was many millions of years ago, is visited by thousands of tourists every day. You can get to these places from the capital of Venezuela by bus.

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In Canaima Park, vacationers are offered exciting canoe tours of the lagoon, into which four waterfalls flow. Two of them, Golondrina and Ukaima, can be seen by canoe, and under the other two, Acha and Sapo, there is a path that can be followed inside the waterfall between the raging stream of water and the rock:

You can go to one of the park’s most spectacular sights, Angel Falls, which is accessed either by boat or airplane. If you take a boat tour, you can see the picturesque Orchid Island along the way.

Angel Falls photo

A very interesting excursion in a small plane to Kawak Canyon is a bird’s-eye view of the beauty of Canaima. After flying over the pristine land, the plane lands next to Kawak Canyon, near which there is an Indian village of the same name.

tepui

For those wishing to learn more about the life of the natives of these lands, you can go to the northern part of Canaima, where there is a settlement of the Pemon Indians. Here is a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in an unknown culture, to communicate with the aborigines, learn about their rituals, traditions, legends, and way of life, which has survived since ancient times.

Angel Falls

The mysteries of the Tepui of South America

Among other things, the area is shrouded in a halo of mystery and enigma, told not only by ancient legends and myths, but also by the reports of several expeditions organized by daring explorers. The last major official expedition to these inaccessible places, namely Mount Roraima, was formed in 1965 by the son of the famous Juan Ángel, the discoverer of the world’s highest waterfall.

The diary of the expedition describes an amazing world in which the flat surface of the mountain top is covered with bizarre hills, shaped like mushrooms, everywhere scattered unusual cavities filled with water, and in addition to the animals already known to science, an unusual creature was found, which was called a cadborosaurus. This previously unseen beast had the head of a horse and the body of a snake with humps on its back. There were also found frogs, incubating eggs, bloodsucking insects, which did not work any chemical protection, the giant ants over 5 cm long, capable of their steel teeth to bite small branches of trees.

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mount roraima photo

The biggest discovery for scientists was the discovery of the remains of ancient animals that inhabited these places not so long ago. There is speculation that they died as a result of alien experiments. On this assumption, scientists pushed the expedition discovered a large round platform, devoid of vegetation and entirely strewn with silvery powder of unknown origin. Later, laboratory examination showed that it was an alloy of the rarest metals, which on Earth to create simply unreal.

Roraima south america

During the examination of the caves explorers found a large number of rock drawings, depicting fantastic animals and creatures, remotely resembling humans. The expedition members also found several crypts, inside which there was a dense mist and a sweet smell. Some team members inhaled this strange scent and slipped into a coma for days, and when they woke up they told their colleagues about the incredible visions and travels to other worlds.

After this incident it was decided to go back, but there was a new surprise for travelers: they could not find a way out of this enchanted world, as if some mysterious forces strongly hindered them.

It was not until several months later that the men, exhausted by the search for a way out, were able to return home. They claim to have been helped by some unknown force that picked them up and slowly lowered them to the central square of one of the Indian settlements.

Canaima Venezuela

When the scientists finally reached civilization, it was discovered that the families had long since given up hope of their return: for the expedition, which was scheduled to return after several months of work, had been absent for four years.

For a long time no expeditions have been organized to this region, but today this lost world, previously instilling fear in people, is daily visited by dozens of adventurers. Only for safety reasons it is advisable to climb with an experienced guide.

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