Lies and Water
Trip Start Sep 20, 2008
29Trip End Sep 2009
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Arriving to Ciudad Bolivar (the getaway for the falls) after a 5 hour bus trip Guillermo (the person that Andreina put us in contact with) was waiting at the bus terminal. He had arranged a posada for the night and after explaining to us the itinerary for the next morning dropped us there. Compared to the other posadas this was extremely different (sadly we didn't get the name) it had more the look of a hotel than an actual posada, and even though the surroundings weren't the safest, inside was very well organized and the people helpful
As promised Guillermo was there nice and early - strange for southamerican timing - to take us to the airport, and even though we were the first to arrive, we were one of the last ones to leave. The planes that take you to the natinal park, are not your traditional 737 planes... these are tiny planes with 4 or 5 seats (one with the pilot), in which you can feel every tiny breath of wind is gonna blow you out of the sky. The lack of safety is first apparent, and we begin to adjust for the basic lifestyle we would be enduring these next few days. Ali's door on the way back was still open, but this first part of the trip was really exciting and the view amazing - our first glimpses of Tepui´s waterfalls, and lakes.
We got to Canaima, and after been divided in indigenous camps met with our group (us, a colombian guy, and a venezuelan family), and were told we had 10 minutes to get changed, because we would be going straight to the falls. From now on - not even one minute to breathe... one activity after another
Ernesto (our guide) suggested from here it would take us two and a half hours, and more than 4 hours later (our first lie!), soaked with river water and rain water, and the seats doing a good job of flattening our backsides, we would arrive at the campsite. Half along the way ernesto had told us to put on our rain coats beacuse it was going to rain, not much use after getting absolutly soaked with river water however the journey was amazing with the river winding through tepuis and little waterfalls all around.
Campsite is an overstatement. This was more similar to a barn - without walls. Though its basicness was part of the charm, with the kitchen outside, and the Angel falls in plain view (apart from the clouds) just behind it, with a long table in the middle. Best of all Ernesto promised there were no mosquitoes, yet 5mins later as ppl came to him with evidence of bites, and demanding the beer promised as a guarentee, mosquito nets were added to the hammocks he had begun to hang around the 'campsite'!!
After a quick swim in the river we got changed and sat around the big table getting to know the others and waiting anxiously for food - spit roasted chicken cooked on a fire under the falls, and eaten by candlelight with river and waterfall noises as the background! Food was absolutly amazing and after a massive discussion about colombian and venezuelian politics, held mainly by Almar 'The Costeņo', the night got a bit more musical with a classic singsong mainly held by the colombian part of the group (Almar, Eliana and Caro).
Our first night in a hammock is uncomfortable, and, due to the mosquitoes and general strange feeling of sleeping while hanging, most of us seemed to have been already awake for our 4:30am alarm time. A beautiful trek through the rainforest, with a distinct lack of wildlife, up rocks and in and out of tree roots, mainly uphill, we arrive to the falls view point... and what a good idea to go early because climbing up that hill with a lot of sun wouldnt have been so much fun!! Got to the view point at around 6:30, and while the view was spectacular, the vast majority of the falls themselves were shrouded in heavy mist. Not to be disheartened and anyways, thankful for the short rest, some of the group went to have a dip under the falls, while we stayed with the other half to see if the mist would lift sufficiently til we could see the falls to the top
Another long walk back to camp, where breakfast of arepas and scrambled eggs were waiting and got ready for another long chalupa trip back to Canaima, this time not as exiting and much more tiring, and wet enough that all our semi-dried clothes could endure another soaking. Despite this, still some stunning views.
Back at Canaima we say goodbye to half of the group, namely the two spanish couples, we went to have a quick lunch and get prepared for the second main part of the trip.
Another chalupa, though a much shorter trip this time and less rapids across the Canaima Lagoon, before starting a walk through hills and savannahs to the top of a smaller waterfall, named Salto del Sapo (Frog - though saw no evidence of frogs), where we started with photo taking, before Ernesto - thinking we were all too dry, took us a little further for a trip behind the falls, where we got absolutly soaked
Next morning an early breakfast before heading round the indigenous villages, and souvenir stores, then being loaded onto the tiny planes back to Ciudad Bolivar.
Sorry for the lack of photos this time, just waiting on them to be sent to us!
Hope your all well, hasta luego!
Ali and Caro