One of the big attractions in Venezuela is Angel falls, and at a kilometer tall, it’s a pretty big attraction indeed! This is the tallest waterfall in the world, and its hard to say which we preferred, Angel falls or Iguazu falls. We had decided that was a “must do” type of thing for us. We had heard of Angel falls for quite a while and strangely we had not met too many people who had made it there in person. It’s not the easiest thing to get to see, but well worth the trek.
Since visiting Morrocoy National park, we drove though the centre of Venezuela. We did this carefully to avoid as many cities as we could due to the protests and blockages, and we ended up picking a pretty peaceful route. We made our way to Cuidad Bolivar, one of the few towns where you can base your trip to Angel falls from. There are a few agencies in the Airport building, so that’s a good place to start. We chose Gekko Tours, who also own the Posada we stayed at.
In peak season, you just need to organize your flight to the town of Canaima where the boats to Angel Falls leave from and then book with a local operator, but as we visited in the off season, we decided to book the whole trip including flights from Cuidad Bolivar, overnight in the town of Canaima and a boat trip to the falls themselves. It turned out we were very lucky we did this as most operators did not want to visit the falls by boat as the tourist numbers were so low, they were loosing money by only half filling boats. Some days the boats could not run as the water levels were just too low. On our trip we had to get out of the boat and walk along the bank a few times to allow the boat guys to get the boat over some rapids.
We parked the trucks in Posada Casita, which is a popular stop with overlanders, especially popular with Germans as they have Curry-wurst on the menu, which seems to be sausage covered in Tomato Sauce, which is then covered in Curry powder. They taste better than they sound! In Posada Casita they have a pool, can do your laundry and have a large fridge constantly stocked with cold beer. Kind of hard to leave! They stored our trucks while we went to Angel falls which was great.
In Canaima, you have the option to stay 2 or 3 nights, and 3 is plenty. We had this option, but once we got sorted as to our boat trip to the falls, it worked out that we needed to spend a night up at the base of the falls in hammocks, and come back to Canaima the next day. This was a brilliant option as it meant we were not stuck in the small boat for over 12 hours on one day. It was in Canaima that murphy’s law hit, we had just brought one dslr camera with us due to the weight limits on the small plane, the Canon 7d and of course as soon as we arrived the battery failed. It was just gone magically flat, but completely knackered and has not worked since. Luckily we had a gopro with us and while not ideal, it did the job for us.
The boat ride up to the falls is great, it’s a narrow canoe with an outboard motor on the back. They can take up to 8 passengers, and require a captain at the back, and a guy at the front with a paddle to steer in the really tight spots. He works pretty hard! The trip up river takes between 5 and 8 hours depending on the water level, and took us quite a while. We did get to see the falls from the river as we got to the base camp where we slept in hammocks, and the guide knew exactly when we would see the falls. So much so he had us all do a count down from 10, he knew exactly which turn in the river we would go round and then see it. Once we got there, we made about an hours hike up to the lagoon at the base of the falls. There are a few cascading into each other, and it’s quite pretty. As it’s the dry season and not too much water is falling, we got to soak our feet in the lagoon at the bottom of Angel falls.
Once back, We decided to spend an extra few days in the Posada sorting ourselves out, and getting blog posts done. The Posada had no wifi, but we got the ground work done. We spent a day in the historic centre, and it’s not a bad town to potter about in. There is not too much here to keep you too long, but it’s pleasant, and safe. We attempted to do a bit of shopping as the stores in the kitchen were getting low, but it was slim pickings. What is strange in Venezuela’s shops and supermarkets is the extremes. They either have none of a given thing, or too much of it. Unfortunately they had none of the things we really liked. We could not get Muesli for example, so we bought some Kellogs special K. However, what is actually in the box is some kind of all-bran high-fibre cardboard, so that did not stay with us long. None the less, we did get stocked up well enough for the third leg of our Venezuela adventure, our trip through the Gran Sabana.