Canaima National Park is spread over 3 million hectares (about the same size as Belgium) in South-east Venezuela, along the border between Guyana and Brazil. Much of the park is covered by tepui (the characteristic flat-topped ‘table mountains’). The mountains, cliffs and waterfalls of Canaima form a spectacular and unique landscape.
Canaima was first established as a National Park in 1962 and was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. The Park protects the headwaters of the Caroní River, which supplies Guri, Venezuela’s largest hydroelectric power station providing around 70% of the country's electricity.
Canaima has many geological affinities with western Africa: the cliffs and mesa-like structures in the Western Sahara consist of sandstone similar to that of the Venezuelan tepui. These have rocks originating from between 1500 and 2000 million years, which makes them one of the oldest geological formations in the world.
You will find an abundant variety of animals in the National Park, including the Giant Armadillo, Giant Anteater, Giant Otter, Cougar, Jaguar, Widow Monkey and Harpy Eagle. Some rodents – as well as around 300 species of plants and flowers – are native to Canaima and cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
The forests and savannah of the Canaima region have been occupied for 10,000 years by various groups of Amerindians of the Carib family – the Pemon peoples – who continue to practice their traditional way of life through agriculture, hunting and gathering. Two archaeological sites– containing various hand-fashioned stone tools estimated to be 9,000 years old– have been found in the Park.
Travelling to Canaima
A main road from Ciudad Bolívar provides access for travellers along the eastern border of the National Park. Visitors to the western area – to Canaima Lagoon and Angel Falls – usually arrive by air from Isla Margarita, Ciudad Bolívar or Santa Elena.
Travellers to Canaima National Park usually stay in the area for at least 2 nights, so that they can make the river trip and trek to Angel Falls. However if you only have a little time, full day trips are also available. You will arrive by small airplane in the morning either from Caracas or Isla Margarita (via Puerto Ordaz) or from Ciudad Bolívar. These flights pass over the top of Angel Falls, so if the weather is good, everyone has the opportunity to see the waterfall from the air.
After arrival you will have lunch and then spend the day exploring the forests and waterfalls of Canaima National Park, including a trip in Curiara (Aboriginal canoe dug) and a short hike to the waterfalls of El Sapo. A trail allows you to walk behind the wall of water in the middle of this waterfall, offering dramatic photo opportunities. The rest of the day you will have time to swim in the lake and relax on its beaches. If you want a more spectacular view of the Waterfall approach, you can book for an additional fee a seat in one of the Cessna airplanes taking off in Canaima all day. You can also visit the nearby Indian village where you can buy art and Native American clothing. The return flights depart at the end of the afternoon.
To enjoy the best experience of Canaima and Angel Falls, we recommend that you take the 3 Day/2 Night excursion. We can offer various levels of hotel accommodation ranging from economy to luxury. The biggest difference is probably in the food that they offer (all meals and non-alcoholic drinks are included in the price).