Caracas.VENEZUELACOLOMBIACanaima..Puerto OrdazMérida..BarinasGUYANALLanos63Essentials Climate Over half the country enjoys a temperate mountain climate. The coasts are hot and humid. The northwest is arid desert. Most rain falls in summer. Rainy season May?November.Festivals Carnival 04?08 March 2011; Semana Santa/Easter 15?24 April 2011; Dancing Devils of Yare/Corpus Christi, 23 June 2011. Travelling from UK Time difference (GMT) -6hrs Travel time 11½hrs Highlights of Venezuela 15 days, 13 nightsCaracas 1 night, Canaima 2n, Orinoco Delta 2n, Mérida 3n, Andean countryside hotel 1n, hato (cattle ranch) 3n, Caracas 1n.Day 1 Fly to the capital, Caracas. Day 2 Fly to Canaima National Park for a 2 night stay. Day 3 The climax of a visit here is the view of the Angel Falls (optional excursion). Day 4 Fly to Puerto Ordaz and travel by road and boat to a basic lodge in the Orinoco Delta (p65). Day 5 Excursions offered include river trips, visits to indian villages, bird-watching and piranha fishing. Day 6 Fly from Maturín via Caracas to el Vigía airport and drive to Mérida, Andean university town. Day 7 Visit the quaint colonial Andean village of Jají and continue to the coffee plantation at Hacienda La Victoria, with its small museum. Day 8 At leisure. There are plenty of outdoor activities: trekking, horse-riding, mountain-biking and paragliding are all available locally. Day 9 Drive to Hotel Los Frailes, a converted 17th century monastery in the high páramo moorlands, spending the day visiting several Andean villages and the glacier lake of Mucubají en route. Day 10 Drive south to the llanos?the floodplains of the Orinoco. Accommodation is on a working cattle ranch, Hato El Cedral. Days 11&12 Guided excursions by jeep or boat through the llanos. Day 13 Drive to Barinas airport and fly to Caracas. Day 14 Fly to the UK, arriving day 15.Prices from £2,201pp based on two sharing, excluding transatlantic flights. Regular departures from the UK 5The tablelands of the gran sabanaAngel Falls can be viewed from the air or from a boat at the foot. It plunges 979m over the lip of one of the table-topped mountains that dominate the grasslands of the Venezuelan veldt (the Gran Sabana).4The orinoco deltaThe network of waterways of the Orinoco Delta is home to the Warao indians, Visit this remote area from Tucupita or one of a number of remote lodges.020 8747 8315 / journeylatinamerica.co.uk bookings, consultant advice and additional information how about?» A beach wind-down on the Caribbean coast and islands at the Los Roques archipelago, Margarita island, Morrocoy National Park, Cumaná and Mochima National Park, and the Paria Peninsula (p64) or at Coro (p64). » Much of Venezuela's unsung Caribbean coast?the longest in any one country?is unspoilt and natural, with tropically-forested mountains fringing long sandy palm-shaded beaches. The islands offer snorkelling and other water sport activities in clear, clean waters.100 Miles150 KMJON CRWYS WILLIAMSKATE HUGHESGUYANASURINAME
DOMINIC HAMILTONCONDOR VERDEHATO PINEROGran Sabana and the coast The ancient sheer-walled tepuys of the Gran Sabana are known as the 'Lost World' with a nod to Arthur Conan Doyle's adventure story. Here, the Angel Falls, plunging over a vertical cliff in a single veil of spray, is the centre of attraction. Even some of the towns have a frontier feel: prospectors gather in hope of riches from the vast mineral-rich veins of rock. But for the visitor it is the horizon-bending landscape of sun-swept grasslands, waterfalls and black lagoons fringed with pink sands which supplies the treasure.Arrive at Canaima by air, and spend the night in a simple lodge. You can either fly over the Falls by light aircraft (in good weather) or travel upstream by dugout motorised canoe to the foot of the cataract from where it's an hour's walk through rainforest to the viewpoint. After a night spent in hammocks, return to Canaima.Follow your adventure with a few days on the Caribbean coast. West of Caracas, the capital, there are pretty colonial towns, such as Coro (stay at Granja el Ojito), and beaches lapped by deep-turquoise waters. East of the capital, the beautiful Paria peninsula is virtually undiscovered by tourism, its secret coves accessible by boat. If you'd prefer an island stay, Los Roques?42 sun-bleached sandy cayes and over 300 islets embraced by a coral reef? beckon snorkellers, divers and those looking just to swing in a hammock. There are a number of small and homely guesthouses on Gran Roque. Hato Piñero is truly a small piece of paradise and, if heaven is not as good, God please let me ascend to Hato Piñero.with my partner and my dogs. AW, County Cork64 Venezuela lost world plateau trek Budding Indiana Jones? The trek up Roraima is considered one of the most compelling on the continent. It's remote: camping under a star-brilliant sky is the only option. Hike across rolling grasslands, fording streams, aided by ropes as the savannah rises steadily towards the base of the table-top. Climb through rainforest gripping the mountain walls, picking your way through luxuriant flora, sheltering from waterfalls above. Explore the surface of the plateau, an otherworldly land of huge rocks, water and endemic wildlife.