Venezuelans are among the toughest race in the world. For years since declaring their independence, they have greatly shown the world what they can do as a nation.
Brave with a can-do attitude, resourceful, and adaptive to any situation, the Venezuelan spirit is being put to the test with their current economic depression and political turmoil. And before we showcase this country’s majestic landscapes, I would first like to commend this exceptional country’s attitude in persevering through adversity and continuing to fight for the future generation.
Strategically located between the countries of Brazil, Guyana, Colombia, and Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela was once a territory of Spain from 1522 until 1811. After many uprisings and revolts, the country only fully declared independence in 1830 and a boom in Venezuela’s economy was seen during the twentieth century when oil was found within its borders. From then on they became one of the world’s largest oil reserves with a potential for economic development and progress. While Venezuela has fallen into hard times, it still possesses many greatly coveted landmarks.
The Cabo San Roman Lighthouse is among these landmarks, along with the Punta Adicora Lighthouse of Adicora Village, which has been standing since 1931. Venezuela is also rich in beautiful beaches, with Playa El Yaque in Isla de Margarita and Cayo De Agua beach in Los Roques National Park providing the country with some much needed sand and sun.
Life Well-Spent in Caracas
The first stop whenever anyone visits Venezuela is its capital and largest city Caracas. Nestled between the pristine waters of the Guaire River and lush vegetation of Mount Avila, the city was established by Spanish conqueror Diego de Losada on July 1567.
The city’s two most distinct landmarks are found within the city proper with the Palacio Municipal de Caracas is located just across Plaza Bolivar. The neoclassical building functions as a city hall and serves as the home of the Caracas Museum and the Capilla de Santa Rosa de Lima. On the other side, the Palacio Federal Legislativo stands. The structure’s main feature includes an oval room with a golden dome and a massive painting of the Battle of Carabobo as well as a handwritten mural of the Declaration of Independence. Both the Palacio Municipal de Caracas and the Palacio Federal Legislativo are Venezuelan national historic landmarks.
If you’re up for some adventure, go on a hiking trip to the El Avila Mountain Range, declared a national park in the year 1960. It’s the perfect adventure destination for thrill-seekers and nature lovers alike. The area offers several activities like biking, walking trails, zip line, camping grounds and cable car rides to the summit. Take a breathtaking photo of the illuminated Cruz del Avila and the surrounding landscape as you reach the top of the Pico Naiguatá, El Avila’s highest peak.
Another city worth travelling to is Ciudad Bolivar, a shining metropolis that lies along the Orinoco River. Some of its most significant landmarks include the 18th century Zamuro Fortress, the Bolivar Museum which houses artifacts like the original printing press of the Correo del Orinoco, a government-backed newspaper, Bolivar Square which serves as a common meeting point for locals and tourists at any time of day, and the world renowned Jesus Soto Modern Art Museum showcasing the life and works of plastic and kinetic artist Jesus Soto. The museum is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is open from Tuesdays to Sundays from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM.
Into the Wild
A trip to Venezuela will never be complete without visiting the Canaima National Park established in the year 1962 to pertain to the lush vegetation and land area of the Gran Sabana in Bolivar State. Considered as one of the largest in the world, the term Canaima in the Pemon language loosely translates to “Spirit of Evil”. The park in all its forms has long been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site since the year 1994.
Accessible only via air transport from Ciudad Bolivar and Caracas, Canaima National Park is the home of the famous Angel Falls. It was discovered by Jimmie Angel, a US Pilot and the waterfall’s namesake, during his search for gold reserves in 1933. Angel Falls holds the title as the world’s highest free-falling waterfall. To reach the falls, visitors must book a guided tour from Ciudad Bolivar. From there, a chopper will bring you to the Canaima Village where a canoe will then take you through a five-hour ride to the foot of the Auyan-tepui plus another hour of trekking. While it’s definitely no walk in the park, getting a glimpse of the majestic Angel Falls is all worth it.
And while you’re at Canaima National Park, grab the chance to visit the area’s other attractions like Jasper Creek where the flowing water is tinted by colors of red and black jasper quartz, the Canaima Lagoon where boat rides through its virgin waters are available, the Churún Canyon or the Devil’s Canyon, the well of Pozo de la Felicidad, and the Cave Uruyén. Some other must-see attractions are the waterfalls of Hacha, El Sapo, Kamá, Yuri, Kukenan, and El Banto scattered throughout the region. You can also get to interact with the locals and indigenous tribes of Kamarata Village, Kavac Village, and La Maloca Village.
A Day’s Trek
The famous Roraima Mountain is a tepui or flat-topped rock formation commonly seen within the natural landscape of Canaima National Park. Mount Roraima is considered the highest peak of the Pakaraima Mountain Ranges. Its summit area is estimated to be 31-square kilometers, and shares some areas with Brazil and Guyana.
Initially described through the myths of the Pemon Natives of Gran Sabana, the mountain was said to form part of a large fruit and vegetable bearing tree that was cut down by the evil trickster Makunaima. “Roraima” in their local language loosely translates to “roroi” meaning blue-green, and “ma” meaning great. The area is affectionately called the “Floating Island” due to the fact that the peak peeks through the sea of clouds in the morning.
At an estimated height of 7,671 feet above ground, Mount Roraima was the first tepui to ascend in December 1884. Headed by Sir Everard im Thurn, a group of explorers reached the summit through a sloping trail located on its side. At present, the said diagonal track is the still the same route visitors take to reach the top. Hikers and rock climbing enthusiasts can have a great time seeing the diverse flora and fauna living on the mountain and take in the majestic view of its surrounding landscape best seen during the first hours of the day. Another necessary activity is taking photos of the tripoint markers that indicate the territories of Venezuela, Brazil, and Guyana.
Mount Roraima is the famous inspiration for the fictitious Paradise Falls from the Pixar movie “Up” and for the prehistoric world of dinosaurs in the novel “The Lost World” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Immersing in New Cultures
These days Venezuela’s natural beauty is being overshadowed by their current trials and tribulations, but this should not make us forget about their unique culture. May we immerse ourselves in their culture by not only interacting with their locals but also by extending our support in every way. Let us uplift their spirit and raise morale. We can do something. We can make a difference. We can start now.