Latin American Adventure travel blog

Motoring up river

On route scenery

Tannins in the river

Passing more Tepuis

Angel Falls

Top of Angel Falls

View of the falls from our hammocks

A much aspired to destination, the last of the great waterfalls, having been lucky enough to previously visit Igazzu, Niagra and Victoria Falls. As with this trip, these Falls are superlatives for their height of 979m and an uninterrupted drop of 807m.

They were discovered by Jimmie Angel (hence the name) in 1937 when he landed his plane on the top of Auyantepui - a heart shaped tepui known as the Mountain of the God of Evil in local Pemon language.

Angel was looking for gold (aren't we all?!) but when he landed his plane it became stuck in the marsh, preventing him from take-off, necesitating him and his companions to hike for 11 days.

The second day involves a walk to Ucaima, above the Canaima waterfalls and then head up the tannin red Carrao and Churun rivers in a motorized canoe for about 5 hours, navigating rapids that invariably left us drenched!

Finally we get our first sighting of the spectacular falls just prior to mooring at Isla Ratoncito from where an hours hike uphill, complete with a huge tarantula takes us to the Mirador Laime - a rocky outcrop that affords perfect views of the Falls - WOW, WOW, WOW!

Then its time for a quick icy dip at the base of the Falls before heading to our camp. We are really blessed to have a camp right in front of the Falls, so that we can see them from our hammocks (worth the research and legwork to get here as this is the only camp in front of the Falls...such snobs!) We enjoy a great meal of chicken barbequed over an open pit fire for dinner.

As sun comes up the next day, the view is amazing, clouds swirl in and out of the falls, creating a now you see, now you don't effect - an amazing way to have breakfast!

Then its down river and true to form our boat breaks down - thankfully there were some macho Italians on board and the engine was quickly changed before we all died of sunstroke!

After a late lunch, its back to the airport to face the chaos that is Canaima airport and the return flight - this time we manage 7,500 feet and the journey is altogether a smoother affair...and the doors even shut!

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