May 2006: As part of a two-week trip that also included Colombia, I visited Venezuela for a week with two of my friends, Sterling and Holly. The goal of the trip was to camp on a deserted island in the Los Roques islands and to raft through the Amazon rainforest to the Highest waterfall in the world, Angel Falls. This was my itinerary for the trip:

Day 1
Arrival at the international airport Simon Bolivar,
Caracas Venezuela on Copa at 2:49PM
Transfer to the national airport and flight to Los
Roques on TRANSAVEN 16:00-16:30  
Transfer to the Rancho Agua Clara in the Island of
Craski-overnight in tent

Day 2
Overnight in tent (Arrange night on deserted island)

Day 3
Camp in tent deserted island  

Day 4
Transfer to the airport at Los Roques
Flight to Caracas national airport by charter
TRANSAVEN 08:00 – 08:30 Flight from Caracas to Canaima 3b 1199 12:00 –
Hotel Posada Kusari 
National Park fee Canaima, Excursion to the salto el sapo (3 hours)

Day 5
Excursion to the Angel fall 
1 night in hammocks at the Angel Fall

Day 6
Transfer from the Angel Fall to the airport at Canaima
Flight from Canaima to Puerto Ordaz by charter
Flight from Puerto Ordaz to Caracas RUT1304 19:20 –
Transfer to Hotel Prezzano near airport 

Day 7
Depart Caracas 05:00 am

 

 

Travel route in Venezuela

Venezuela was quickly becoming an adversary of the USA in the years leading up to my trip. Hugo Chavez was president, and he was trying to remake Venezuela into a Cuba style socialist government that gave dictator like power to the president. Chavez changed the constitution so that he could remain president for life and all elections were for show and riddled with corruption. Chavez decided to join Cuba against the USA and he seized western companies and oil fields in nationalizing them.  This angered the USA and earned Venezuela political sanctions and economic isolation. The economy of Venezuela was in shambles, the oil industry, one of the largest in the world was in free fall and crime rates soared. I was fortunate during my visit, that Americans could still visit without a visa and travel freely around the country and this is one of the reasons why I decided to prioritize my trip to Venezuela before this policy would change and travel for Americans to become much more difficult.

Camping on a Deserted Island in the Los Roques Islands

The Los Roques islands are an island paradise of white sand coral fringed islands that specked the Caribbean a few hundred miles from the mainland of Venezuela. There are hundreds of these islands, and most are uninhabited. I figured this would provide an opportunity to camp on an uninhabited island, something I always love to do. I will take camping on a wild uninhabited island any time overstaying in a 5-star hotel. To me deserted islands are paradise.

To get to the Los Roques, we flew on a small twin prop plane arriving in the afternoon. Our first night was camping on the beach of the main island where the biggest town was located. We brought our tents, but it was too hot to sleep in them, so we slept on the beach in our inflatable mattresses on the most part where we could feel the cool ocean air all night. The next morning, I organized an early morning scuba dive and then afterwards, I organized a boat to take us with our camping gear to a deserted island a few miles away to be dropped off for the night. We would end up being dropped off at two different islands by boat. one island had no structures while another had a few abandoned buildings and one small hut where a family of fisherman now lived. We spent our time swimming, snorkeling and just relaxing in the tropical paradise reading and soaking in the southern Caribbean sun.

 

Flight to the Los Roques Islands

Los Roques Islands

Me Sleeping on one of the uninhabited islands

The abandoned structure where we stayed our second night on another uninhabited island. It wasn’t entirely uninhabited because there was a family staying in a fishing hut a hours walk from here and we ended up having my birthday celebration with them by eating fresh fish, drinking some beers and they even made a very crude cake for me and sang happy birthday to me in spanish.  

Where we slept

The waters of the Los Roques Islands

Our neighbor the pelican

Me swimming in the Los Roques at sunet from oiur campsite

Angel Falls

For the 2nd half of the trip, I wanted to visit the “Lost World” of tepui mountains that inspired Sir Conan Arthur Doyle to write his book about the remote flat top mountains-tepuis in the Amazon so remote and isolated that dinosaurs still lived among their soaring heights. No dinosaurs were ever discovered yet, but the area is still wild and remote and where the world’s tallest waterfall (it is claimed) is located-Angel Falls (3,212″). There is no road to get there and the only way in is by small plane, so we hired a single prop bush plane and flew to Canaima where we started our multi-day expedition to Angel Falls by river raft.

Plane to Canaima we took

Tepuis in the distance

Canaima falls

Walking behind the falls

Walking behind the falls

Boat to Angel Falls

Tepui

River we traveled

Angel Falls

Boat to Angel Falls

Angel Falls

 Angel Falls

Me swimming in the first pool at the bottom of Angel Falls

Huge Orb Spider at campsite

We stayed two nights in Canaima at a rustic hotel and one night camping near the base of Angel Falls after traveling all day by raft up the river through the forest to get there. Then we flew back to Caracas and onward to Colombia.

 

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