New! Superb Overview of the Andes,
Llanos & Gran Sabana Prime Amazonian Wildlife Viewing Cross-Cultural Opportunities
Venezuela, South America's Caribbean jewel, offers travelers an amazingly rich variety of
experiences, and on this exciting trip we'll enjoy the best of them! The country is a
naturalist's delight with more than 1,250 species of birds and more than 250 species of
mammals! Its rich habitats, from the barren snow-covered peaks of the Andes to the exotic
tropical forests, mesas and waterfalls of the Gran Sabana, are a source of inspiration for
photographers, and its varied cultures including contemporary Caracas, the exotic
African-influenced coast, the colonial character of Andean villages, and the cowboy
lifestyle of the Llanos offer the culturally-oriented a new perspective on the world.
Starting in Mérida, a lively town in the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, we'll hike
at the foot of the country's highest peak, ascend the world's longest cable car, stroll
down cobbled streets in Jají and visit with Andean families in Mucuchíes. A dramatic
descent from the highlands brings us to a private ranch in the Llanos, a region whose
yearly cycle of flood followed by drought has resulted in the continent's best bird and
wildlife viewing! The ranch's more than 120,000 acres are home to over 500 species of
birds, nearly 20,000 capybaras and more than 10,000 caimans! Other species including deer,
giant anteaters, armadillos and howler monkeys are abundant throughout the year. Our
journey concludes with forest day hikes and river canoe trips in Canaima National Park.
We'll relax in hammocks overlooking a palm-dotted, pink sand beach, admire nature's power
as we scramble behind the cascades of El Sapo Falls, and swim in refreshing, clear waters
before the climax of our trip -- a spectacular overflight of Angel Falls, the planet's
most impressive waterfall!
DAY 1 Arrive to cosmopolitan Caracas, Venezuela's capital.
DAY 2 Fly across the Andes to Mérida. Sightseeing includes a stop at the
archaeological museum with its fine collection of colonial and pre-Hispanic works.
DAY 3 Early trip up Pico Bolívar aboard the cable car to the Loma Redonda Station
(13,270'). Short walk toward the lakes and return to the city. Drive to Jaji for lunch and
tour a sugarcane mill and a tobacco factory. DAY 4 Visit Andean communities like San
Rafael, Tabay, and Mucuchíes where we'll have lunch served by a local family. Afternoon
hike near Lake Mucubají and continue driving to Los Frailes.
DAY 5 Drive to El Cedral. Introductory wildlife viewing excursion after locating our
DAYS 6-7 Two full days dedicated to exploring the ranch's environs, observing and
photographing as many different bird and wildlife species as we are able!
DAY 8 Drive to San Fernando de Apure. Fly to Caracas and connect to Puerto Ordaz, an
important port on the Orinoco River.
DAY 9 Fly to Canaima. Hike to nearby falls and navigate the Carrao River to Orchid
Island, enjoying impressive views of Auyan-tepuy en route.
DAY 10 Morning at leisure in Canaima. Afternoon flight through the Devil's Canyon for a
bird's-eye view of Angel Falls and continue to Caracas.
DAY 11 Fly home.