Angel Falls Travel Guide
Angel Falls, the tallest waterfall in the world, is located in the Canaima National Park in Bolivar State, the indigenous culture that inhabited the area Pemón called the cataract as Kerepakupai-Merú which means “falling water to the deepest place”. It is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Venezuela, but getting there is not easy because it is located in a jungle region, it is necessary to fly from the capital Caracas or Bolivar city to Canaima camp, from where they come out trips to the river.
The angel’s fall is the world’s highest waterfall, with 978 meters in length and 807 of uninterrupted fall from the top of the Auyantepui to 2580 m. above sea level, it is located in the western sector of the park and is the most famous tepuy of Venezuela (a tepuy is a mountain with flat vertical walls) from which arises the slope of the Angel Falls, which is the product of Churun river.
It is considered a world heritage site by UNESCO since 1994 and also is considered as the biggest park in the world because it has an area of 30,000 square kilometers reaching the border with Brazil.
World’s Highest Waterfall – Angel Falls, A Natural Wonder
Indians revere as the home of their god Churruvena because, as they call it, descends of the paradise. It is in the state of Bolivar, southeast of Venezuela, in the Canaima National Park, the sixth-largest worldwide. The vegetation and fauna of the Park are the oldest in the world, and mineral deposits include gold and diamonds.
The Angel Fall shares protagonism with the impressive Tepuyes, enormous towers of sandstone formed by erosion over 180 million years. The highest is the Auyantepuy, or mountain of hell, with 2560 meters.
Angel Falls is the main tourist sites of Canaima National Park and most attractive for tourism businesses, offering various tours both in-plane and by boat. Flights to Angel Falls are made through small aircraft belonging to small airlines, which are based mainly in Bolivar city. The pilots fly two or three times the front of the falls circle and then return to the airport.
The boat trip is a memorable experience, as equally or more exciting as the tours in the plane, allowing tourists to see the waterfall from a different perspective and most importantly, to their convenience. These boat excursions operate only from June to December or January, leaving from Ucaima.
Angel Falls Excursions
The trip begins in the morning from Ucaima Port, located upstream of the Canaima lagoon, on the Carrao River. The trip is initiated upstream, from where you can see the 3 tepuyes: the Tepuy-Nonoy (Zamuro) on the left, the Kuravaina Tepuy (Venado) on the right, and the Topochi-Tepuy (Cerbatana) in the middle. Finally, we arrive at Auyantepuy, the tepuy where begins the Angel Falls, we can observe here the first waterfalls, which are impressive for their height of hundreds of meters.
Almost in all trips to Angel Falls, people make a stop in a camp, usually at Canaima camp on the Orquídea Island. We go along the tour over the Churun river, which is fed by the waters of Angel Falls to finally see a profile of the falls. Finally, we arrived at Raton Island, and in front of it, we landed excited and impressed by the water reddish color due to the abundance of minerals.
We began our trip through the jungle in order to reach to the base of the Angel Falls, we cross several streams of red water, walking on the rocks, the tour is approximately one hour. The first half is fairly flat and the second is a rise. Something that impresses in this trip is the floor formed by rocks and tree roots that not getting enough food in the subsoil, they try to find it on the surface. Finally, we arrive at the base of Angel Falls, called the viewpoint of the waterfall, where rain formed by the waterfall wets slightly.
Canaima / Angel Falls Hotels
There are a few good small hotels in Canaima National Park that are not far from Angels Falls themselves.
- Waku Lodge – the best hotel near Angel Falls, 12 room Waku Lodge is designed in a local style with palm-thatched roofs with public open-plan areas. Included in your stay at this hotel is an excursion on Canaima Lagoon and the Sapa waterfalls (where the film “Last of the Mohicans” was filmed).
- Parakaupa Camp – Parakaupa Camp is a pleasant hotel with 15 rooms. The lodge has very relaxing grounds and great views towards Sapa Falls and Canaima Lagoon.
- Hoturvensa Camp – Hoturvensa Camp is a hotel complex of 100 rustic chalets that lies behind a lagoon in the National Park of Canaima. The service was poor when we stayed (2006), and the rooms of highly variable standard. However, the location in front of Canaima Lagoon is excellent. This hotel needs refurbishment.
Angel Falls Flora and Fauna
Angel Falls, without any doubt, is one of the most impressive places on the planet; it is full of energy and many natural beauties, including the mysterious rivers, Tepuys, hills, waterfalls, legends, and stories of hidden treasures. Its flora and fauna are abundant and are evident fruits of a paradise created by God and that is still in southern Bolivar state in Venezuela.
As we said, its fauna is abundant, there are jaguars, pumas, monkeys and giant anteaters, although the landscape is populated mainly by small specimens, all of them are very beautiful, like purple parrots, hummingbirds, and the famous Caribbean iguanas.
In terms of flora, will find more than 300 species of plants, highlighting the insectivorous plants of several species.
Getting to Angel Falls
To go to Angel Falls, it is necessary to arrive to Canaima either by plane or by helicopter. A good way to save money is to go by bus from Caracas, takes about 8 hours to get to Bolivar city from Caracas. You can go to the Angel Falls by different means:
travel by air
If you decide to travel by air, you must choose between a small plane or a helicopter to be able to visit the zone called Auyantepuy, flying through the “Devil’s Canyon”, where the waterfall is located. There are only five cities in Venezuela that have regular flights to Canaima. Commercial flights departing from cities such as Caracas and Canaima.
travel by water
If you decide to travel by water, you must start from the Ucaima port and going for about 3 hours over the rivers Carrao and Churun, and when you arrive to the Angel Falls viewpoint, from this point must walk by an hour in order to reach to the waterfall.
travel by land
Finally, if you want to have a more adventurous experience then you must choose the trip by land, you will be able to camp at Canaima Park. In order to do that you must have a good physical condition because the trip takes several hours.
Angel Falls History
The American pilot named Jimmy Angel (1899-1056) made numerous flights by their own risk, one of them and accompanied by a Technical Sergeant named Garcia, they were flying over the Auyantepuy hill, which was the region that most attracted to him, they observed for the first time the waterfall that today has his name: Angel Falls, they were impressed by his height.
In October 1937, Jimmy was in this area locking for gold, and had to unexpectedly land the plane at the top of the plateau Auyantepui, the American pilot with his wife Maria, Miguel Delgado and Gustavo Heny, conducted aboard the “Flamingo” (NC-9487) the famous landing that marked the history of aviation in Venezuela, and it was then when the area became famous.
The discovery was commented once he came back, later the measure of the waterfalls was corroborated by other people, including Mr. Shorty Martin, a geologist and topographer who was making explorations and maps surveys in the area, he had become a good friend of Jimmy because they previously met at the Kamarata camp in Bolivar State.
Shorty Martin and Jimmy decided to make a map of Auyantepuy, for that reason they flew over the border of the hill making annotations according to the direction, speed and altitude. Taking a look at the altimeter of the airplane, they noticed that the falls were nearly 1 Km high, which made it the largest in the world. This was confirmed years later by an expedition, when it was measured accurately.