Canaima Lagoon and the Angel Falls

Trip Start May 10, 2009
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Trip End Nov 02, 2009


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Flag of Venezuela  , Guayana Highlands,
Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Feeling revived after some down time in Choroni we made our way back to Maracay on the "boom bus" and made a multilingual buddy from Canada who helped us quickly onto an overnight bus to Ciudad Bolivar, the starting point of all tours to the Angel Falls.

Pretty uneventful bus ride except for the subzero temperatures in the bus. We arrived at 4;30am pretty dazed and confused. "Luckily" there was a tour company just about INSIDE the bus as it stopped and whisked us away to his office to sell us a tour! It wasn't an entirely bad deal but we figured we could get a better deal at the airport where there are more agencies so off we went to the airport. Long story short we signed up for a tour for a little bit cheaper than originally offered after being given the itinerary in Spanish. Another long story short it seems it doesn't make a difference which tour you book as you all end up together anyway!

A highlight of the holiday so far was THANKFULLY being put in a different tour group than THE most annoying American you will EVER meet. There are not enough superlatives in English or Spanish or sign language to descibe this fool! We'll try over some drinks when we are back! moving along...

Bundled into a little Cessna and buzzed our way 1.5 hours over endless forests and beautiful views to land in Canaima and pretty much jump on a boat right away to head for the falls down the Churun river. The rainy season has just begun but at some points there is not enough water and we all have to get out and walk around the shallow area while the driver took the boat over.

A genuine highlight of the holiday so far was having to go UP rapids in a traditional wooden boat (Curiara), wearing only lifejackets that look like they were salvaged from the Titanic. One was particularly bad and the entire boat all its contents and people seemed to be totally submerged for a second or two. The hilarious part is though that there is no warning or anything, bad luck for anyone who may have been taking a photo at this point. Even funnier was that after we had finished spitting out water, ringing out hair and reassembling hats and sunglasses which were knocked of our blocks with the force of the blast, as if nothing had happened, these magical little lunch packs started appearing fromthe back of the boat being passed forward. Magical becuase they consisted of ham and cheese rolls and a lunch box pack of marie biscuits (called Maria biscuits but with the same pattern and everything!), we had not had time for breakfast with all the tour booking etc and last nights supper was a twin pack of twinkies as we were still too scared to eat anything other than what we knew. Right, so now we wolf these down as if we had never seen food before, i think our fellow passengers we a bit scared of us.

Around 3 hours and a bottle of factor 30 later we arrived at the falls! A 45 minute hike later we were swimming at the base of the highest waterfall in the world! Pretty special times! Photos can not really do it justice to be honest and again no real word to describe how beautiful it is. You can just sit and stare at it for ages and not get bored. Mesmerising really. We tore ourselves away as we still had an hour to hike back to camp and it would be sunset soon...

Camp. Well...what can be said about camp. it had a roof and hammocks. thats what can be said about camp. Now look we defo dont mind roughing it but for the price you pay can there please be a shower or flushing toilet! HAHA! no worries to the team we all jumped into the river for a team bath and teath brushing session while the Angel falls thundered down behind us and the sun went down. The cherry on top this was the smell of the BBQ chicken awaiting us for dinner!

Having all washed our armpits together the ice was broken within the group of 12 and some nice banter over dinner before plugging in the earplugs and sleeping like the dead in the hammocks.

6am wake up shake by the guide and breakfast was served. I only picked at it, very over arepas (a very oily yet dry corn sort of pita bread) and having nightmares about that egg stew from the rafting camp! Back in the boat for 3 hours back to the main posada at the lagoon and a MASSIVE cooked lunch (are you seeing the trend yet?)

Now, its hard to say something is BETTER than the Angel Falls but after lunch was a tour around the lagoon and all its own special waterfalls (much lower but about 50 times bigger and stronger). We almost preferred these...but not quite!

Again, SO hard to describe what its like standing in a cave like area behind/inside a waterfall so powerful that it creates strong winds and so much noise you can barely hear each other shout while watching the sun set through the falling water. WOW. Photos can not possibly capture it properly but have a look at them anyway!

Some more swimming and chilling on the lagoon beaches led to a lazy evening meal and then some beers with new friends at a local pub trying to learn the rules of Venezuelan pool!

After breakfast we sadly said good bye to a very special place and took the little Mosquito Cessna back to Ciudad Bolivar (after a very long and rather annoying wait at the airport...literally diving under a bench to avoid the american dude mentioned earlier who we saw also leaving from his tour!)

okes, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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Where I stayed
Wey Tepuy Posada

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