Day 1: Mérida
Early in the morning, we will leave the city of Merida and head to the páramo. On the way, we will go by a number of picturesque Andean villages. After a 1-hour drive, we will arrive at the Andean village of Mucuchies (2,980 m). From there, we’ll take a gorgeous secondary road to Gavidia, one of the best car trips in the Venezuelan Andes, through the spectacular canyon and over the Gavidia creek.
Once we arrive at Gavidia, we will turn and drive into a small country road and work our way to Micarache (3,100 m). Gavidia’s main crops are potatoes, carrots, and garlic. The landscape features small fields, stone fences and hilly pastures which are shaded by groves of tall trees. Here we will start our trek. Along the way, the only people we will meet will be solitary cowherds. After a few hours of hiking, we will arrive at our first campsite (3,000 m, 4 hours hiking). Includes: (L, D).
Day 2: Mérida
Early in the morning we will head off to El Carrizal where we will enter a dense, well-preserved rain forest, following narrow valleys. Occasionally, we will cross incredible suspension bridges, which point to man’s feeble effort to tame this wild and unpopulated region. The streams that we will cross feed the watershed of the Orinoco River, many miles away. These are some of the last paradises left in the area.
We will come to El Carrizal (1,400 m), a small Andean hamlet completely cut off from civilization; without roads or electricity and a total population of 30 people. The village specializes in the production of coffee, avocado, and oranges which are brought to market, via 10-12 hours on foot or mule. Overnight at the village. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 3: Mérida
After a hot breakfast, we’ll pack up the gear and trek to another small village, Alto La Aguada (1,000 m). On the trek, we’ll ford beautiful rivers and pass through sugar cane and coffee plantations and the remnants of cloud forest that are quickly being developed into pastures.
At the village, we’ll get a good glimpse of the lowlands and the city of Barinas in the distance. As we share a little time with local people, it will be interesting to note that not only has the landscape changed but so have the people and their habits. Along the way, we will sleep in a tent or farmers’ houses and if we’re lucky, the hosts may prepare us tasty, traditional corn arepas for our breakfast!(5 hours hiking). Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 4: Mérida - Barinas
After breakfast, we will continue trekking down the southern slopes of the Sierra Nevada (400 m), which firmly signals our arrival to the Barinas State. Our arrival to the small village of Canagua is where a small, dirt road ends its uphill climb (4-5 hours hiking). Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 5: Barinas - Mérida
After restoring our spent energies once again with breakfast, we will continue with our descent, walking approximately one hour till we reach Las Palmas. Our 4WD vehicle will meet us and bring us down to the Pan-American Highway. From here, we can bring you back to Mérida (4 hours hiking, 6 hours by jeep to Mérida). Includes: (B, L, D).
- Heavy clothing and coat for the mountain weather
- Poncho or raincoat, in case of raining
- Special resistant boots or shoes, for mountain
- Sun block lotion and anti-mosquito spray
- Hat, cap or visor
- Camera/roll of film and binoculars
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South America Venezuela Outdoor: Land Rambler Hiking & Trekking