Rachel's Adventures in Colombia and Venezuela travel blog

mountains around Merida

Los Nevados...small village we spent the night in

tram with Merida in background

Ed with anaconda

boat trip

capybara

Los Llanos

our camp in Los Llanos

Rachel and her piranna dinner


Merida is called the adventure capital of Venezuela. Upon arriving from an overnight bus we were lucky to get a room in the hostel we wanted...people were leaving. It was Carnaval and hords of people flock to the city to party. It was fun to have a festive atmosphere, but it was very loud at night.

The first day was to see the city and relax. The second day we went canyoning. This is where you descend a river as it passes down a canyon. we donned wetsuits, helmets, and harnesses and took off walking. There were threee rappels down waterfalls and two crazy drops. The waterfalls were so strong you were engulfed by water. One drop you slide down a rock and fall 15 feet into a pool and the second was even crazier. The guide goes first and he puts his hand out where you are supposed to jump. There are two rock walls with a pool between and they are about 3-4 feet apart, but you really have a 1-2 foot square you are supposed to jump feet first with your arms crosses. You jump from about 5-8 feet high. This was crazy and basically a leap of faith. Ed went first and he disappeared in the small pool and popped up safely. I stood there a while and did not think I would jump, but finally did...one of the scaries things I have done. the only drag is the dry bag that held our camera ripped so no photos. Luckily it worked after drying out

The next day we had a great plan. We got some food prepared and checked out of our hotel and went to by a ticket for the telesferico....either longest tram in the world or the highest. Upon our dismay they were all sold out for the day. Our plan was to take the tram up to the highest station, have a look, and then hike from the next station down 5 hours to a very tiny town on the other side of the mountain. After spending the night you take a jeep back to town. At first we were really bumbed out, but someone suggested we do the trip in reverse. That is what we did, except instead of hiking to the tram .... very far and high elevation gain...we rented horses. The main reason is we wanted to go to the tram early to have better chance of seeing the nice mountains and view from the top. It was nice in the village and the horse ride very scenic, but there was a storm so at the top of the tram all we saw was clouds!!! you can not control the weather!! The ride down the tram had good views.

The day after we went on a 4 day tour of Los Llanos (plains). This is a flat area of Venezuela where the plans/savannas are flooded in the rainy season and have small watering holes and rivers in the dry season. It is basically like going on a mini safari. It takes all day to get to the camp the first day, but you drive through many differnt landscapes. Just before reacjing the camp we saw our first animal slithering across the road... an anaconda. Not the giant one, but not so small either. The guide let Ed catch it (with help). In the morning we went in a boat down the river looking at a variety of birds, caimen, pink river dolphins, and capybara (the largest rodent in the world..small pig size). The after noon we did a jeep safari across the savanna looking at birds, many capybara, and our guide caught another anaconda... a male...they don't get big like the females. They catch them by walking in the swamps covered in vegetation and they probe with sticks until they feel one and then pull it out.

On day two we went horseback riding, piranna fishing, and anteater finding. We got two see two anteaters...they are really funny looking and run even funier. At night we were treated to some local music. The next day we had the guide drop of off at a city where we could take the bus to the coast for some beaching for two days before heading back to the mountains.

i will be out of touch for the next 7-10 days since we are going to Angel Falls and for a 6 day treck in the mountains.

Love

Rachel



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