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The Best of Venezuela

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The Best of Venezuela

offered by supplier M19550 (read about supplier)

Key Information:
Tour Duration: 14 day(s)
Group Size: 2 - 50 people
Destination(s): Venezuela  
Specialty Categories: National Parks  
Season: January - December
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: Yes
Minimum Per Person Price: 4494 US Dollar (USD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 4494 US Dollar (USD)

Tour Itinerary:

Day 1: Caracas. Welcome to Venezuela! Airport reception and transfer to your hotel. Overnight accommodations at the Costa Real Suites, with typical breakfast included. The hotel is conveniently located in Caracas' Central Coast, in the Tanaguarena/Caraballeda area, just 20 min drive from the airport. There are only 15 colorful suites, with a comfortable bedroom with big windows, private bathroom (shower with hot water), a spacious living room with couches and a double hammock, a/c, fan, cable TV, hairdryer, safe, and minibar/fridge. There is a swimming pool and a restaurant/bar.

Day 2: Caracas – Canaima National Park. In the morning set off on a flight to Canaima, flying over the massive tepuis into the remote south of Venezuela. Upon arrival in Canaima, pay National Park fee (about US$14.00), before proceeding to Jungle Rudy's Ucaima Camp, a small lodge located on the banks of the Carrao River, above Hacha Falls with views of three tepuis and the Auyan Tepui in the distance. Your transfer to the lodge involves a five-minute jeep ride, followed by a five-minute dugout canoe ride to the lodge.

Ucaima Camp offers tranquility and personalized service. Accommodations are in comfortable cabanas with private bathrooms. The grassy area in front of the lodge is a perfect place to sit back and enjoy the unique backdrop of Canaima National Park, and Canaima lagoon's cool, dark but clear water offers refreshing respite from the Gran Sabana's mid-day heat. In the afternoon, set off on an excursion to Sapo Falls. Setting off in a motorized dugout canoe up the Carrao River to the Sabana (plain) de Mayupa, you will enjoy a short hike to Sapo and Sapito Falls. Depending on water levels, the rocky trail actually follows behind the powerful falls. Return to the lodge for dinner. Includes: (B, L, D).

Day 3: Angel Falls. After coffee and a light snack, board a motorized dugout canoe (curiara) and set off up the Carrao River, which is lined by luxuriant vegetation. After another short jeep trip around Mayupa rapids, continue up river, stopping to view the spectacular scenery of the "Lost World." Giant tepuis loom over the savannah and jungle below and countless waterfalls gracefully descend the face of Auyan-tepui. The journey continues passing by Arautaima rapids, Pozo de la Felicidad and Orchid Island. Upon arrival at Orchid Island, breakfast will be served.

Afterward, continue upriver, leaving the Carrao River behind, and proceeding up the Churun River. After about one hour, you will reach Ratoncito Island, from where you can observe Angel Falls. From Ratoncito Island, a one hour hike leads to El Mirador, a lookout point offering superb views and photographic opportunities (weather permitting) to capture the massive rocky face of Auyan-tepui and "Salto Angel" in the warm morning sun. The rest of your day will be spent exploring this "Lost World" on your own. Your overnight accommodations are in a rustic shelter close to Ratoncito Island. Includes: (B, L, D).

Day 4: Ucaima Camp. After a full morning enjoying Angel Falls, return downriver to Ucaima Camp in time for dinner. Includes: (B, L, D).

Day 5: Canaima National Park – Caracas - Merida. Fly to the Andean capital of Merida, a historic colonial town. The Andean region is a picturesque land of fertile soil, rich in traditional culture. This exciting adventure lets you truly experience the tranquility and beauty of this wonderful area and its inhabitants. There will be ample time for you to mix with the locals and barter for handicrafts in provincial markets. You'll be met at the airport by your guide and enjoy a short city tour of Mérida, the capital of the Venezuelan Andes. Includes visit to Plaza Bolivar, the historic cathedral and museums. Your journey continues on to Jají, a reconstructed colonial village and then on to Hacienda El Carmen, a 150-year-old working coffee plantation where you learn about the history and processing of coffee.

You’ll also visit Lagunillas, famous for its inland salt-water lake and the founding place of Mérida in 1558. Your day finishes at an overlook of the Chama River valley where paragliders soar 1000 meters above the canyon. (Optional tandem paragliding is available-weather dependent). Located in the city of La Mesa de los Indios in the state of Mérida, Papa Miguel's Inn offers the comforts of modernity in a traditional Andean setting. The original building dates back to 1750 but has been renovated to provide modern comforts. The town around the inn is noted for the high number of children, as well as adults, who play musical instruments, as they believe that they have been given a special don (gift) to play music. Overnight at the comfortable accommodations of Papa Miguel. Includes: (B, L, D).

Day 6: Andes. Start you day with an optional ride on the world's longest and highest aerial cable car ($15 per person - not included in package price. Does not operate on Mondays and Tuesdays). From bottom to top, the ride takes about one hour, and is especially remarkable for the changes in scenery and vegetation along the way. From Mérida, the cable car sweeps across the valley, planted with sugar-cane and coffee and soon you are rising above the steep forested hills and cascading rivers. From the summit, you see a wonderful panorama of snowcapped mountains, as well as glaciers and lakes full of Andean trout. In the afternoon, explore small Andean villages and the high mountain plateaus or parámos. Discover the tiny town of Mucuchies, which was founded in 1596 by the Spanish on the site of the pre-Hispanic Chama Indian tribe. Opportunity for light trekking and horseback riding to glacier lakes. You can purchase all kinds of local Andean arts & crafts at the roadside stall while here. Overnight once again at Papa Miguel. Includes: (B, L, D).

Day 7: Andes. Today you'll visit Laguna Mucubají, one of the largest of over 200 glacier lakes in the state of Mérida. Your adventure continues with the opportunity to trek or horseback ride to Laguna Negra observing the incredible variety of mountain flowers and possibly seeing the world's only high altitude hummingbird, the bearded helmetcrest. Here you will be introduced to the diversity and adaptive features of the Andean vegetation and the singularities of this tropical high-mountain climate. An outstanding feature of the paramo is a group of plant species called Espeletiinae, the South American flannel flowers or locally known as frailejones. Visit Eagle Pass, the highest paved road in Venezuela at 4.047 meters and a biological research station to see the Andean Condor, one of the world's largest birds with a wingspan of more than 3 meters. Tonight you'll sleep at Los Balcones de la Musui, a world-class mountain lodge with a spectacular view of the Sierra Nevada mountain range and nearby hot springs. Includes: (B, L, D).

Day 8: Los Frailes - El Cedral. Today you will descend through the dense Santo Domingo Cloudforest into the flat Llanos Grasslands. Arrive at Hato El Cedral, a 160,000-acre working ranch and wildlife sanctuary. The campamento takes a serious approach to environmental issues, introducing the full protection of wildlife within their ranches, installing research stations and contributing to ecological funds. The Llanos is a birdwatcher's paradise, with more than 300 species identified. Highlights include hoatzins, pied lapwings, king vultures, storks and ibis. See rugged Venezuelan cowboys, the llaneros, hard at work as they skillfully move great herds of cattle across the ranch. All meals included. Includes: (B, L, D).

Days 9-10: El Cedral. Embark on a variety of excursions in the early morning and late afternoon in the "Serengeti of South America." All meals included. Includes: (B, L, D).

Day 11: El Cedral – Los Roques. You will be transferred overland to the Barinas Airport. Fly to Caracas and connect with a flight to Los Roques. Upon arrival on Gran Roque, pay entrance tax and proceed to your Caribbean-style, comfortable guesthouse - Posada Mediterraneo (or similar). Orientation on Gran Roque is straightforward - your accommodations are located just off the main plaza, a minute's walk from the airstrip. Rooms have private bathrooms, air conditioning, ceiling fans and room safes. All meals are included in your stay, and optional excursions can be easily arranged through the guesthouse. – 2 nights. Includes: (B, D).

The Archipelago of Los Roques consists of over 365 islands 60 miles off the north coast of Venezuela. The area is home to coral reefs that are as of yet undiscovered by most divers and fisherman. Enjoy your time snorkeling, sailing and exploring nearby islands. If you are interested in scuba diving, Lost World Adventures can arrange diving and instruction at the local dive shop for a variety of skill levels. From the "Discovery Scuba" course, where you can dive safely with a dive master (no certification obtained) to the highly advanced "Rescue Diver" course (for professional diving), and even the "Jr. Open Water Diver" course in which divers aged 12 to 15 may obtain an internationally recognized certificate, you can find what you need. Diving at different keys will give you the opportunity to see marine life such as stingrays, grouper, angelfish, barracuda, moray eels, and coral, among others.

For those who would prefer to snorkel, Los Roques is still an underwater wonderland. Healthy reef systems are packed with life and contain thick forests of soft coral, long stretches of virgin hard coral, black coral bushes, brain corals, mounds of star coral and great clusters of gray and brown gorgonia. These warm, unspoiled, azure and aquamarine waters contain as many fish as were found in Belize, Cozumel or the north wall of Cayman, 30 years ago. Although of the same reef system as Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, this is no underwater petting zoo. Designated a National Park, all sites in the archipelago are limited to 10 divers, so you get the intimate feeling of diving in untamed, untouched waters. Most often, you will be the only divers in any given area. Visibility varies, but can reach 100 feet.

No matter where you dive, you will swim among and marvel at immense swirling schools of fish: armies of glassy sweepers, southern sennet, spotted drum, jacks, Spanish mackerel, barracuda, grouper, red, gray and yellowtail snapper, hogfish, tarpon, Queen angels, thousands of silvery blue bogia, trumpet fish, white spotted filefish, smooth trunk fish, colorful tropicals, parrotfish, porcupine puffers, stingrays, moray eels and more. Among the many spectacular dive sites are the Rock of the Jewfish, which provides an excellent introduction to the following days of diving. Although there are no longer any Jewfish, there is still plenty to see during a 30-minute circumnavigation of this seamount. Nurse sharks are occasionally spotted at Los Noronkys. At the coral-laden wall at Cayo Sal, you can take a break inside a cavern at 100 feet and watch as tens of thousands of fish swim by castles of hard coral and tall, swaying bushes of soft corals.

The wall at Punta Salina starts at 30 feet and drops straight to 180 feet. You can also include a visit to the Turtle Sanctuary, located in Dos Mosquices Key, a 2 to 2 ½-hour boat trip from Gran Roque. Here you will find an incredible reefs-cape of pristine hard and soft corals. Fisherman will find Los Roques to be a heaven for flats fishing. Bonefish are abundant year 'round, and tarpon and permit also easily caught in these waters. In this National Marine Park, all fishing is strictly catch and release, and a very limited number of fishermen are permitted to fish daily. For those who enjoy windsurfing, there is a first class windsurf club located on adjacent Francisky key. They rent a variety of equipment for excursions ranging from one hour to a full day of windsurfing. Private instruction for beginners is also available. From the resort you may spend the day exploring the surrounding islands via windsurfer.

From the guesthouse you may also arrange a full-day boat tour to visit Dos Mosquices Biological Station, located on one of the farther keys from Gran Roque and home of Los Roques Scientific Foundation's biological station. The standard trip includes a visit to three keys. Departing early in the morning, you'll visit Carenero, Cayo de Agua, and Dos Mosquices keys. Most of the day is spent on Agua, where lunch will be served. At Dos Mosquices visit to the biological station escorted by a guide, who will provide you with a tour of the marine turtle hatchery. For those who want to stay on dry land, the area offers an abundance of optional excursions. Gran Roque's lighthouse, the oldest on the Venezuelan coast, is recommended for a late afternoon visit as a great spot to enjoy the sunset. Or if you are just looking to get away from it all, the guesthouse will provide complimentary transfers to nearby keys, along with a box lunch, sun chairs and parasols. The only thing you'll miss is the crowd.

Days 12-13: Los Roques. Days at leisure. Includes: (B, L, D).

Day 14: Los Roques – Caracas - Int'l departure. Return to Caracas and connect with your departing flight. Includes: (B).

Member discount:
10% discount for InfoHub customer.  Request a free gift certificate.

Notes:
Airfare is not included in the tour price.

About This Supplier
Location: USA
Joined InfoHub: Jul 2009
Client Request Served: 64

Our company was founded in 1986, when we pioneered our first adventure trips into Venezuela. M19550 have been specializing in travel to Antarctica, Central and South America for 20 years and our services offer value while providing unforgettable trips. Take advantage of our knowledge and experience of Latin America to...

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