A Travellerspoint blog

March 2013

CANAIMA NATIONAL PARK, VENEZUELA

Canaima & Angel Falls - Jan 15, 2013

sunny 35 °C

On our last day in Venezuela we flew from Margarita Island to Canaima National Park on the mainland. We took a 40-seater twin propeller plane. The flight itself was incredibly scenic! We got to see the islands/beaches, Andes Mountains, Amazon rainforest, and of course tepuys (the flat-topped sheer-sided mountains Venezuela is known for).
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The view approaching mainland Venezuela.
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The beginnings of the Andes Mountains.
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Rainforest and a couple tepuys.
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Canaima falls & lagoon as seen from our plane.
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Landing in Canaima National Park.
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The airport in Canaima has got to be the smallest airport I've ever been too ... just a grass hut with a gift shop in the middle of nowhere! After going through a quick security check, we were led on a short walk through the rainforest to a restaurant for refreshments. We could hear the waterfalls from the restaurant! Another short walk led us to a beach on Laguna Canaima where we got on a very loooooong traditional canoe and were paddled across the lagoon to the waterfalls.
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I'm not even sure how many waterfalls are actually here ... there were many!
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This is the 1 we got to walk behind!
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And here it is again up close! Beautiful!!
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Me behind the waterfall! It was SO loud we had to shout to be heard!
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After spending some time here, and taking a dip in the lagoon, we headed back to the beach we started at. We were led on a walking tour of the town, and then back to the airport for our flight back. But on the way the pilot took us past Angel Falls ... or at least he tried. It was quite cloudy, so I only got a quick glimpse of it. Heres a photo of the river leading to Canaima Lagoon on the way to Angel Falls.
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Angel Falls is the world's tallest waterfall at 3212ft high! Its literally above the cloud-line! We were flying around the tepuys looking for it, when all of a sudden BAM there is a waterfall up in the clouds with us! Unreal! However, since it was so cloudy I only saw it for a brief second before the clouds covered it again, but managed to take this crappy photo, lol! It doesnt really look like much from this photo, but it was an amazing experience to see something like that up in the clouds :)
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Posted by ChantelleS 21:16 Archived in Venezuela Tagged mountains rainforest water jungle south waterfall america lagoon venezuela canaima Comments (1)

ISLA CUBAGUA, VENEZUELA

Isla Cubagua - Jan 13, 2013

sunny 32 °C

We booked a catamaran tour through Nolitours at our resort, to Isla Cubagua. We were picked up by a bus and taken 40min to Punta Piedra where we boarded a catamaran. It was approximately an hour ride. Along the way we passed a lighthouse, shipwreck, and sailed along the island's coastline before docking at the main beach.
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Our catamaran
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Upon arrival everyone was given a mask & snorkel, but no flippers, and no life jacket (a floatie noodle instead). I didnt snorkel (I hate water), but most of the people that did, complained that they didnt see anything. I dont think there is actually a reef here. So dont book this tour for the snorkeling. While everyone was snorkeling I explored the paths, cliffs, cacti desert, lookout points, etc. After snorkeling we were served a delicious lunch on the beach. After lunch our guide took us on a walking tour of the cliffs backing the beach (pretty much exactly where I had wandered on my own, lol).
The view from atop the cliff looking down at the beach
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There was a desert full of cacti ... up on a cliff!
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This one looks like Mickey Mouse :)
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Yikes! I wouldnt want to fall on one of those!
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There were little lizards scurrying everywhere!
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The lookout point
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I found this fossilized conch shell ... up on a cliff ... in the desert!
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After the walk, we were lead down the beach to a river for a mudbath. Apparently the mud is good for your skin. So everyone smothered themselves with mud head to toe, and then rolled in the sand 'Shake n' Bake' style, laid out in the sun until the mud was dry, and then washed it off in the ocean.
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Then we had some free time to relax, swim, etc before heading back to our resort in time for supper.

Posted by ChantelleS 23:05 Archived in Venezuela Tagged ocean beach blue island south dock america shipwreck lighthouse venezuela pelican Comments (0)

MARGARITA ISLAND, VENEZUELA

Margarita Island, Venezuela Playa Dunes, Macanao Peninsula & Laguna Restinga January 8th - 17th, 2013

overcast 33 °C

Once again my best friend Jo & I set off on an adventure ... this time to Venezuela! We flew from Saskatoon to Toronto where we had a 16hr layover in Toronto ... but we were prepared to spend the night sleeping in the airport Amazing Race style. We brought yoga matts, neck pillows, light blankets, alarm clock and ipad for entertainment. The next day we had a direct flight from Toronto to Porlamar on Margarita Island.

We spent 7 all-inclusive nights at the Dunes Hotel & Beach Resort for only $379! The hotel was a tad run down, but the beach more then made up for it!! Ours was the only resort on the beach, so there werent too many tourists, nor beach vendors. It was long, clean, and had loud crashing waves! The end of the beach nearest the resort had a cliff covered in cactus, with a lighthouse on top. The far end of the beach provided views of the lush green mountains! Very scenic :)
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You can climb up to the lighthouse, but its at your own risk. There was a landslide a few years prior so the path isnt the safest. We were also told 'bandidos' hide out in the bushes and will steal your cameras, jewelry, sunglasses, watch, etc, and so not to bring any of those items with you if you choose to climb. I climbed about 1/3 of the way up for this photo.
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Jo at the beach.
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Me running from the crashing waves!
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Photography is hard work!
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BFFs
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"As I travel through the adventures of life, I will look back at the photographs I have taken, and see my footprints across this great place we call Earth." - Etienne Oosthuizen
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One afternoon we walked to the far end of the beach, and came upon a stream that connected to the ocean, creating very steep sandbanks!
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One of the many pools at our resort.
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The colorful beachfront restaurant
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Gorgeous flowers everywhere!!
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One night we saw some wild capybara in the resort!! My first time seeing some! They are South America's largest rodent. The biggest 1 in the photo is about the size of a medium dog! To me they look like a cross between a giant hamster and a tail-less rat.
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We also saw a HUGE locust!
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A few days into our trip we went on a jeep tour of the Macanao Peninsula. I never knew Margarita Island was so mountainous! Our first stop was Juangriego.
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Next we stopped at Laguna Restinga, and took a boat tour through the mangroves. Our guide scooped up a little red starfish!
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Pelicans in the lagoon
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Blue crab
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Venezuelan Eagle
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View of the lagoon from the boat
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Iguana at the entrance to the lagoon ... someone had fed him scrambled eggs.
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Then we hit the road again. Heres a few 'drive by shootings', aka 'the driver wouldnt stop for a decent photo so I just had to crank up the shutter speed on my camera and hope for the best'.
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Wild flamingos!!! I really would've liked to have stopped and gotten closer for better photos of these beautiful birds!
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Red mountains :)
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We stopped for lunch at Punta Arenas on the tip of the Macanao Peninsula. This is our jeep. The wagon behind the other jeep was the 'bar' that followed us to every pitstop.
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My vegetarian lunch ... giant carrots, tomato, rice, plantain, boiled egg & potato
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The beach at Punta Arenas. It was quite cloudy and raining on & off during lunch, so no suntanning or swimming :(
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After lunch we hit the road again and did a bit of off-roading to a lookout point.
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Our last stop on the way back to our resort was a little souvenir shop ... but I was more interested in the beautiful cactus, resident parrot and adorable dog with 1 floppy ear & 1 uppity ear!
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Thats it for Margarita Island ... stayed tunes for posts in Isla Cubagua & Canaima National Park!

Posted by ChantelleS 17:39 Archived in Venezuela Tagged wildlife beach cactus south america lighthouse venezuela Comments (0)

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