Day 1: Caracas Airport - Catia La Mar. Meet a Turpial Travel assistant at the Maiquetía airport in Caracas. Our assistant will welcome you to Venezuela, answer all your questions, and transfer you to your hotel. Overnight at a hotel.
Day 2: Catia La Mar - Caracas Airport - Mérida. Early in the morning take a flight to El Vijia airport. Upon arrival you will be picked up and transferred to Merida. Overnight at a hotel. Includes: (B).
Day 3: Mérida - Santo Domingo. Take a trip on the Mérida cable car, soaring above spectacular mountain scenery with tropical forested foothills and snowcapped peaks. The cable car, which has five stations, is more than 12 km long, and is almost 5000 meters above sea level, is the highest and longest cable car in the world. Have breakfast at the second station, and at every stop take a short walk to see the unique flora and fauna (and birds) of the Cordillera de Mérida.
Note: If the cable car is not in operation when you area there, this section of the trip will be changed for another site seeing tour of the area.
We’re back in town by midday for lunch at the main market, where you can visit local artisans. After lunch, we will start our drive to the high Andes through picturesque villages and countryside. Overnight at a beautiful monastery which was turned into a hotel. Includes: (B, L).
Day 4: Santo Domingo. Very early in the morning take an excursion to San Isidro Trail. See one of the most beautiful birds in the World and the first of our top ten stars: the Andean cock-of-the Rock in full display. Picnic breakfast and spend the rest of the morning birding around the area. Besides many butterflies some other bird species are: Red-headed Barbet, Yellow-billed Toucanet, Booted Raquet-tailed, Long-tailed Sylph, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, Crested and Golden-headed Quetzals, Collared Trogon, Bay-headed, Saffron-headed, Golden, Speckled and Orange-eared Tanagers, Subtropical Cacique, Cliff Flycatcher, Golden-winged Manakin, Inca jay, Red-billed Parrot, Black and chestnut Eagle, among several others. Midday lunch on the road and back to Santo Domingo river to look for the amazing Torrent Duck, another Andean specialty with an extreme adaptation to living in fast flowing mountain rivers. Return to the hotel. Includes: (B, L).
Day 5: Santo Domingo - Barinas. Breakfast, check-out and beginning the spectacular trip to descend the Andes Mountains to the lowlands. Breakfast and lunch on the road. Afternoon excursion to San Vicente (a small fishing village on the banks of the Apure River). Boat trip in search of the amazing wildlife of the Llanos region that includes so many Green Iguanas, Hoatzins, Kingfishers, Herons, Birds of prey, and three of the most wanted animal species of South America: Green Anaconda, Pink River Dolphin and the Red-bellied Piranha (three of our top ten star species). We continue our boat trip beyond the sunset for a night safari. Ice chest with ice and drinks are included.
Tonight you will stay at a “Llaneros” home. Llaneros are the hard-working cowboys of Venezuela, famous for the joropos music they play on the cuatro (a tiny four-stringed guitar), the arpa (harp) and maracas, capturing the heart of Venezuelan culture. By staying with them, you will get to see and experience how the Venezuelan cowboys live. Overnight in hammocks. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 6: Mantecal. Early excursion-safari (before dawn) to the nearby savannas in search of another intriguing and fantastic creature: the Giant Anteater (one of our star animal species on this trip). Continuing our safari along the road, there is a good chance to see the Giant River Otters, along with fabulous numbers of birds, especially in the dry season. Check-in before midday at the famous Hato El Cedral, (a huge cowboy ranch with 80,000 hectares completely packed with wildlife). In this place we are sure to see many Capybaras, Scarlet Ibises, countless Spectacled Caymans and of course the rare and endangered Orinoco Crocodile (three more on our top ten animal list). The ranch is renowned for having a realistic opportunity to see the elusive jaguar. Afternoon safari by boat where we can see great numbers of birds. Overnight at the ranch. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 7: Mantecal - San Fernando. After breakfast, continue to look for bird species such as the: Black-bellied and White-faced Whistling Ducks (thousands!), Fulvous Whistling Duck, Muscovy Duck, Brazilian Teal, and Orinoco Goose; Jabirú, Maguari and Wood Storks; 7 types of Ibises, including the Buff-necked, Glossy and Sharp-tailed; more than 10 herons, including Cocoi, the splendid Agami Heron and Capped Heron; more than 20 raptors, including the Crested Caracara, Savanna Hawk, Black-collared Hawk, Laughing Hawk, White-tailed Hawk, Aplomado Falcon, Great-black Hawk, and many migratory ones. After your excursion, drive to San Fernando with our guide. Overnight at a hotel. Includes: (B, L).
Day 8: San Fernando - The Amazon. Early check-out from the hotel begins our tour to the Amazonian territory in the South of the country. Today our guide will drive (approximately 8 hrs) while you enjoy views of the countryside; breakfast and lunch on the road. The spectacular scenery includes the fascinating transition of two different ecosystems: the Llanos and the Orinoco rainforest at the entrance of the Amazon State. Overnight at a lodge. Swimming at the river is recommended. Do not miss the sunset! Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 9: The Amazon. Start your day with breakfast and a morning walk where we look for bird species such as the: Violaceus Euphonia, Moriche Oriole, Olive Oropendola, Turquoise Tanager, Guianan Cock-of-the-rock, White-browed Purpletuft, Yellow-crested Manakin, Great Antshrike, Red-necked Woodpecker, Channel-billed and White-throated Toucans, Ivory-billed, Black-necked and Green Aracaries, Black-tailed Trogon, and other parrots, raptors, and flycatchers. Lunch at the Camp. Boat trip in the Orinoco River in the afternoon. Other wildlife we might see are the Red-howler, Capuchin, and Spider Monkeys. Overnight at a lodge. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 10: The Amazon - Caura River. After an early check-out, we’ll begin our tour to the East in search of the Caura River (the second largest in the country). See extraordinary landscapes on the way with spectacular rock formations that belong to the Guianan Shield (the oldest portions of land on Earth). In the afternoon check-in at the lodge and relax the rest of the evening. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 11: Caura River - Puerto Ordaz/Ciudad Guayana. Check-out and travel to Puerto Ordaz, breakfast on the way. Upon arrival, take a little tour of the City, check-in at your hotel and enjoy the rest of the evening. Overnight at a hotel. Includes: (B, L).
Day 12: Puerto Ordaz/Ciudad Guayana - Canaima National Park. Take a flight (9:00 AM) from Puerto Ordaz to Canaima National Park. Upon arrival you will be transferred to our main camp. At 2:00 p.m. leave the camp and head to the Ucaima port located above the Canaima Lagoon Falls. Board a curiara (Indian canoe) and travel through the Canaima Lagoon. When you arrive at “Sapo Falls” - a magnificent water fall of approximately 45 meters in height and 100 meters in width - prepare yourself to cross it by foot! At the other side of the fall, a jeep will be waiting for you to take you through the “Mayupa Sabana”.
Observe the “Mayupa Rapids” and part of the magnificent Auyan Tepuy. After crossing the Sabana by jeep, board the curiara once more and travel on the Carrao river to the “Happy Well”. During the voyage, observe the lush tropical vegetation, Palmas de Moriche (tropical palms) and Tepuyes. At the Happy Well, the group will stop to take a refreshing bath before continuing the journey to the “Ahonda Camp” in front of the Orchid Island (a shelter of red stones) where we will have dinner with a view of the Auyan Tepuy. Spend the night sleeping in hammocks with mosquito nettings and blankets. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 13: Canaima National Park. After breakfast, board the curiara and travel up river to “Isla Raton”. At Isla Raton, trek an hour to the base of the magnificent Angel Falls. Enjoy the splendid view of the falls and if time permits, swim in the Angel Falls lagoon. Return to the Orchid Island for lunch and after that head back to the main camp (arriving approximately at 6:00 p.m.). Overnight at a camp. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 14: Canaima National Park - Puerto Ordaz - Caracas Airport - Catia La Mar. After breakfast and a walk around the area, return to the main camp. Take a 10:00 AM flight to Puerto Ordaz. Upon arrival, take an afternoon flight to Caracas. Our travel assistant will greet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. Overnight at a hotel. Includes: (B).
Day 15: Catia La Mar - Caracas Airport. Our travel assistant will transfer you to the airport and assist you in boarding your flight home. Includes: (B).
We recommend you bring with you:
- Passport (with photocopies)
- Travel insurance (with photocopies)
- Airline tickets (with photocopies)
- USD or EURO cash and/or travelers checks
- Credit card
- Turpial Travel vouchers, pre-departure information and printed copy of your Itinerary PDF
- Alarm clock
- Sun hat, sunblock, sunglasses
- Insect repellent
- Water bottle
- Small towel and swim wear
- Toiletries (biodegradable)
- Sturdy walking shoes/sport sandals
- Long trousers
- Hiking pants/track pants
- Warm clothes and windproof/waterproof jacket if you are traveling to the Andes or taking a trekking/climbing expedition.
- Waterproof clothes for wet season May-Oct. Umbrella or waterproof jacket
- Cover for backpack or plastic bags to keep clothes dry
- Clothes for temples – long pants or sarongs
- Camera and film
- Reading/writing material
- First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, aspirin, band aids, anti-histamine, imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may be taking).
- If you are under medical treatment, please bring medical treatment for the days you will be traveling with us.
Special Needs: Those who have special needs need to let us know in advance so we can make the necessary arrangements (e.g. allergy to specific foods, etc).
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South America Venezuela Nature & Wildlife Wildlife Viewing