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.
jon crwys williamsCONDOR VERDECaracasVENEZUELACOLOMBIAHato el CedralLLanos..- -- Orinoco Discovery --- Los Llanos Safari and beach wind-down Los RoquesParia PeninsulaOrinoco DeltaWildlife Venezuela?the Orinoco and Los Llanos South of the River Orinoco, half of the territory of Venezuela consists of barely populated wilderness: the river's immense delta (now a Unesco World Biosphere Reserve) where indigenous tribes live simply on the banks of the spider's web of dark, sluggish waterways; and the blanket of grassland prairies (llanos), with vast cattle ranches patrolled by cowboys on horseback.Accommodation at lodges deep in the delta wilderness consists of simple wooden cabins with basic facilities, constructed in harmony with the environment and the riverside dwellers' pace and style of life. At Mis Palafitos, Bujana or Orinoco Delta Lodge the guides offer walking excursions and activities including canoe trips, bird-watching and piranha-fishing?it's an authentic jungle experience.Visits to Los Llanos are most popularly centred around a stay on a hato, or working ranch?the seasonally flooded open savannahs are used for cattle pasture. However, they are de facto nature reserves. The ranches at Hato El Cedral and Hato Piñero have many different types of wildlife habitat, and the list of mammals and reptiles spotted includes rarities?jaguars, giant otters, and tapirs?and the more common capybaras, caimans and howler monkeys. Some 200 species of birds have been identified. The only planned activities are observation of the flora and fauna, by boat, horseback, truck or on foot. 020 8747 8315 / journeylatinamerica.co.uk bookings, consultant advice and additional information 65Orinoco discovery 10 days, 8 nightsCaracas 1 night, lodge in Orinoco Delta 3n, Paria Peninsula 3n, Caracas 1n.Day 1 Fly to Caracas, transfer to hotel in Macuto on the Caribbean coast. Day 2 Travel by air, road and boat to reach your lodge in the Orinoco Delta. Days 3&4 Savour the simple life of the jungle from your hammock and on guided excursions. Day 5 Travel to the Posada Playa de Uva on the Paria Peninsula, with private beach and pool. Day 6 By private boat to Playa Medina, one of the peninsula's most exquisite beaches. Day 7 Excursion inland to visit the cacao plantation at Bukaré and a buffalo farm. Overnight at Rio Caribe. Day 8 Fly to Caracas from Cumaná. Day 9 Fly to the UK, arriving day 10. Prices from £1,485pp based on two sharing, excluding transatlantic flights. Regular departures from the UK Los Llanos safari and beach wind-down 10 days, 8 nightsCaracas 1 night, hato (ranch) in Los Llanos 3n, Los Roques islands 3n, Caracas 1n.Day 1 Fly to Caracas, arriving same evening, transfer to hotel in Macuto on the Caribbean coast. Day 2 By air and road or by road only to Hato El Cedral in Los Llanos. Accommodation is in rustic-style ranch-house or cabins. A visit combines experiencing 'llanero' cowboy culture at close quarters with some of Latin America's most rewarding wildlife viewing. Days 3&4 Safari-style explorations of the wildlife rich wetlands, spotting a plethora of tropical birds, mammals and reptiles. Day 5 Return to Caracas and fly to Gran Roque in the Los Roques archipelago. Days 6&7 Based at a barefoot family-run posada, you'll have the opportunity to swing in a hammock in mango-tree shaded gardens, explore the sun-drenched beaches and other islands, or participate in water sports such as snorkelling. Day 8 Return to Caracas. Day 9 Fly to the UK, arriving day 10. Prices from £1,458pp based on two sharing, excluding transatlantic flights. Regular departures from the UK Below Drifting down the Orinoco River.