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2023 update: Unfortunately, travel to Venezuela where Angel Falls is located is currently not possible. There are, however, some excellent alternatives, including...

Kaieteur Falls Gocta Falls Chapada Diamantina

Tour leader for over 25 years, Etienne Frans has visited some of Latin America's most remote corners. Recently he led our Coq of the Rock Journey to Venezuela and Guyana and discovered two of the region's most beautiful and remote waterfalls, including the inspiration for Disney/Pixar's 'Up'.

With a drop of about 1,000m the Angel Falls in Southern Venezuela are the highest waterfalls in the world. They were accidentally discovered by Jimmie Angel who crashed nearby them with his airplane in 1933.

Getting to Angel Falls

Nowadays you don’t have to crash your aircraft to see them but access to this natural wonder is still restricted to small aircraft meaning only a lucky few get to see it. The gateway to get there is Canaima. The only way to get to this Amerindian village is by a one hour flight from either Ciudad Bolivar or Ciudad Guyana in very small Cessna’s with fabulous views on route of the Tepuys (table mountains) in the savannas below.

I went twice to Canaima and I never saw any plane that took more than 4 passengers. From Canaima it's a 5 hour (motorised) canoe ride to get to the base camp which is near the bottom of the falls. When fully loaded, the canoe, which takes about 12 passengers, can’t always take all the rapids on the Carrao and Churin rivers so some parts have to be done on foot - either walking along the river bank or through the river itself.

Where to stay near Angel Falls

At the moment there are four base camps, all right next to each other and very similar. These are more or less just a shelter from the rain with hammocks hanging beneath for you to sleep in. There are a couple toilets and showers too, but no hot water. The generator supplies electricity for a couple of hours during dinner which is served at long tables. Both times it was delicious fresh chicken from the barbeque and the night under the stars in the hammock is an unforgettable experience.

From the base camp it's still about a 1.5 hour hike along a trail through the forest to get near the bottom of the falls. Here there's a natural swimming pool with great views of the falls where if you want you can enjoy a quick dip - which is reall nice and refreshing after the walk. The return journey in the canoe from base camp to Canaima is faster as it's all down stream. Very near Canaima itself are several other falls including Hacha and ‘Salto de Sapo’ - these are especially great fun because you can actually walk behind them. Not for the faint-hearted, Hacha is particularly exciting and at a certain moment you’ll find yourself behind the fall in a kind of narrow tunnel formed on one side by the rock itself and on the other side by a curtain of thousands of litres of falling water. The only suitable outfit for this is your swim suit and footwear with a very decent grip - forget about flip flops!

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