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Day 1: Arrive in Caracas
Upon arrival in Caracas we are met and transferred to our hotel. This afternoon is at your leisure for you to enjoy our hotel situated close to Marina Grande beach. This evening we have our welcome dinner. Overnight in Caracas.
Day 2: Caracas
This morning we will have the opportunity to visit the colonial sites of Caracas including Simon Bolivar's birthplace and, availability permitting, take the TelÃƒÂ©ferico (cable car) up to Pico El Avila, El Avila National Park overlooking the majestic city of Caracas. The cable car is the highest and second longest in the world. Lunch will be taken at a popular fondue restaurant high above the city with its beautiful vistas. The afternoon is at leisure to enjoy the sights and sounds of this wonderful city. Overnight in Caracas.
Day 3: Fly to Merida
Today we fly to Merida, taking us into Venezuela's Andes Mountains. In the afternoon, time permitting, we will visit Venezuela de Antier theme park where we will see an exhibition of Venezuela's history. We will concentrate on the regions of Venezuela where we will visit and see recreations of indigenous villages, re-enactments of historical events, musical performances and perhaps even sample some local delicacies. All this in a stunning mountain setting. Overnight in the city of Merida.
Day 4: Merida Sights, to Santo Domingo
Today we continue along the Transandean and the Llanos highways to the Mifafi Highlands in the Paramos - home of the Andean condor. There, we will visit the Juan Manuel Paez Biological Station, where we will learn about this impressive bird and perhaps even see one circling in the sky. The highway is the highest in Venezuela at some 12,141 feet above sea level. Enroute we will stop by the replica of a chapel built by Juan Felix Sanchez at a site known as El Tisure. In the afternoon we will visit Laguna de Mucubaji one of the largest and most beautiful lagoons in the Paramos. We overnight tonight in Santo Domingo Valley.
Day 5: Descend from the Andes to Hato Cedral
Leaving the picturesque mountain ranges of the Andes, we drive down to the wetlands of Venezuela to the incredible wildlife reserves of the "Llanos". This vast grassland with its flood/drought cycle produces a unique ecosystem with incredible wildlife concentrations. We will visit towards the end of the wet season when many young birds are fledging in the shallow ponds and streams. Expect to see thousands of herons, egrets and storks - there are 300 species of birds in the Savannas along with herds of capybara, monkeys, anteaters and foxes. We will explore the diverse habitats by vehicle and also by boat in the hopes of seeing caimans and pink dolphins. If we are very lucky, perhaps we'll see an ocelot or puma. The Llanos is the "wild west" of Venezuela and our accommodation is on one of the huge working cattle ranches where private conservation and biological research initiatives combine to make a unique ecotourism experience. Overnight in Hato Cedral.
Day 6: Hato Cedral
Today we will enjoy a few different tours exploring the expanse of the Hato on foot, by boat and four-wheel drive jeep. It is possible to observe numerous species of birds and mammals at extraordinarily close distances as they travel through the area searching for food. Mammals are more active at night so after our evening meal we may venture out with our excellent local guides to look for nocturnal dwellers. Overnight in Hato Cedral.
Day 7: Hato Cedral to Caracas
Today, we enjoy an early morning excursion to search for more wildlife of the Llanos. We will have time to relax by the pool before lunch, followed by our journey to Barinas and the airport for our early evening flight to Caracas. Overnight in La Guaira (outskirts of Caracas on the ocean near the airport).
Day 8: Caracas to the Orinoco Delta
After breakfast, we will make our way to the Caracas airport and fly to Maturin. From Maturin, we will transfer overland to the small "port" of San Bujas and for the rest of our journey take to the river to our lodge deep in the Orinoco Delta passing small Indian settlements dotted on the river banks along the way. The lodge is situated off a main tributary in a thick area of jungle. During the next couple of days we will explore the jungle with a guided excursion and visit some local Warao communities to view and maybe buy some of their handcrafts - the Warao are the indigenous peoples of this region living in stilted houses alongside the rivers. Overnight in the Orinoco Delta.
Day 9: Orinoco Delta
Early morning we will explore the tributaries once again looking for howler and capuchin monkeys in the trees and even pink dolphins in the rivers. During the day we will further explore our surroundings with more wildlife observations and take to the river to try our hand at fishing for piranhas.
Day 10: To Ciudad Bolivar
Before breakfast we will have the chance for one last excursion before departing once again by river and overland back to Ciudad Bolivar. Located at a narrow part of the Orinoco River it has a long history and commercial importance. We will have some time to relax pool-side before dinner. Overnight Ciudad Bolivar.
Day 11: Uruyen Lodge
This morning we fly to Uruyen Lodge in Canaima National Park, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Our magnificent flight retraces Jimmie Angel's infamous flight as the first westerner to view Angel Falls. Although his flight took place in 1939, it was not until 1949 that the highest falls in the world received recognition.
Day 12: Kavak
This morning, our luggage is taken off by jeep and we head out for a 3-hour trek via the local Pemon Indian villages of Old Uruyen and Santa Marta to Kavak. In Santa Marta we will have the opportunity to visit some Pemon children in their school. Kavak is located on a savanna on the opposite side of Auyantepuy to Angel Falls and was built in the traditional style of a Pemon settlement.
Day 13: Canaima - Sapo and Hacha Falls; Angel Falls Flight
Early this morning, we have the possibility of a visit to the old Pemon village of Kamarata, a pleasant, local administrative capital for the Pemon. The locals are friendly and it is a great place for a leisurely walk.
Day 14: Angel Falls
Angel Falls is the highest uninterrupted waterfall in the world (15 times higher than Niagara Falls). It was discovered in 1935 by the American aviator and adventurer, James C. Angel, after whom it is named.
Day 15: Ciudad Bolivar
After breakfast, we must bid a fond farewell to Angel Falls. Breakfast at our campsite and then relaxing in our curiaras, we can enjoy the trip down the Rio ChurÃƒÂºn. Arriving in Canaima in time for lunch, we will transfer to the airport for our flight to Ciudad Bolivar. Upon arrival in the tiny airport we will get the chance to see Jimmie Angel's plane (part original and part replica), which is situated in front of the airport, before transferring to our hotel. Overnight Ciudad Bolivar.
Day 16: Ciudad Bolivar to Caracas
This time our stay in this lovely colonial city will allow a little time to explore. Located at a narrow part of the Orinoco River it has a long history and commercial importance. Originally named Angostura in 1764, the town has given its name to the shrub-like Angostura tree, the bark of which is used to make the bitter tonic. In 1846 the city was renamed Ciudad Bolivar in honor of Simon Bolivar. In Plaza Bolivar we can see many buildings connected to his legacy including a house where there is a Tamarind tree reported to be where he would tie his horse when visiting. There is a statue in the main square and in the Cathedral, a giant clock that plays the Bolivar State anthem every quarter hour. Schedule permitting and providing the museum is open, we may visit the famous Jesus Soto museum.
Day 17: Departure from Caracas
Our Venezuela Adventure concludes with a transfer to Caracas International Airport for your departure flight.
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