After completing my 6-day trek up Mount Roraima, I set my sights to my next destination: Angel Falls. Located in a remote location in Canaima National Park, Angel Falls is the world’s highest waterfalls. To get there, you need to take a small plane from Ciudad Bolivar and fly to Canaima. Then, you need to take a canoe up the river until you reach the trail head to Angel Falls. During dry season, it is impossible to reach Angel Falls because of low water levels in the river. You must see the falls during wet season when the river levels are high enough for canoes to navigate. Also, this will result in a lot more water falling off Angel Falls.
Day 1: 10+ hour private transfer from Santa Elena to Ciudad Bolivar
Waking up at 6am in the morning, my tour group consisting of myself, a Venezuelan woman, a Belgian guy, and his German girlfriend. We all boarded a private vehicle that would take us to Ciudad Bolivar.
I was a little bit uneasy riding the vehicle knowing there would be several police and military check points. Venezuela is known to be a very dangerous country thanks to armed robberies. On top of murder and theft, you are also dealing with very corrupt government officials trying to shake you down for bribes.
Every 50 KM of this journey, we would be stopped. Sometimes, we had to present our passport and get asked really pointless questions. Thankfully, our driver was good at deflecting these questions and getting the corrupt officials off our backs.
One interesting thing we noticed was the long queues to get gas. It would take hours for cars to get gas. On the bright side, gas is extremely cheap in Venezuela. A full tank of gas can cost as little as 25 cents USD.
Despite the dangerous situation, we would occasionally stop to get food either at a street corner or a local restaurant.
After the long car ride, we finally arrived at Ciudad Bolivar where we would be spending the night at Posada Don Carlo. The accommodation was quite nice and in a fairly safe looking neighbourhood. We got a chance to rest up before the long journey to Angel Falls the very next day.
Day 2: Flying to Canaima and traveling to Angel Falls
The next morning, we headed for the Ciudad Bolivar airport. I was feeling excited because I have never ridden a tiny plane before that only seats six people.
As soon as we arrived in the airport, we were required to pay an airport tax fee of 1,200 Bolivares. We then waited a bit and after much delay, we manage to finally board the plane.
The tiny plane ride was fun and lasted 1 hour and 20 minutes before arriving in Canaima. As soon as we arrived, we were greeted by a rude tour guide who took us to our guest house to prepare to embark for Angel Falls.
He told us that plans were changed and we were going to Angel Falls first as oppose to exploring the Canaima Lagoon. Fine with me, I came here to see Angel Falls anyways!
Boat ride to Angel Falls
We were given a plastic bag to wrap our belongings in to keep them dry during the boat ride. Our tour group newly expanded tour group consisted of myself, the Venezuelan woman, the Belgian guy and his German girlfriend, a Swiss guy with his Venezuelan girlfriend and a fellow Canadian guy.
The entire boat ride took a grand total of 4.5 hours to complete and I’ve got to say, it was a very uncomfortable ride. The seats were hard hurting my lower back and glutes and also very cramped. Regardless, it was quite an adventure as we navigated through rapids, going on small hikes on a small island, and blasting through tight crevices and parts of the river with low water levels.
Finally, on the horizon, I see Angel Falls! I was stunned and felt humbled by seeing the world’s highest waterfalls. It was one of those rare moments that I felt moved during my time traveling around the world. The last time I remember getting this feeling was when I witness the Pyramids of Giza. Seeing the world’s highest waterfalls from a distance was a great moment for me during my one year trip around the world.
Hiking to Angel Falls
After a lengthy boat ride, we finally arrived at the shores of Angel Falls. We would be hiking for one hour before we reached the Angel Falls view point. The hike itself wasn’t too bad despite doing so in deep jungle. Many mosquitoes roam the place which made it quite uncomfortable if you stand in one place too long.
Eventually, in one of the jungle clearin, we made it to Angel Falls!
I was stunned. Looking at Angel Falls makes me feel like I am witnessing something very important. It was a memorable moment as I quickly started taking pictures. The Canadian guy and myself made it to the falls viewpoint first and got a chance to take some great shots before fellow group members arrived.
After we have taken all the pictures we wanted, it was time to head back. This is when things started going a little bit bad. First of all, we had to hike in the dark which can be unsafe because we are deep in the jungle. This lead to us getting swarmed by mosquitoes which was quite unpleasant resulting in many itchy bites. Finally, our incompetent tour guide looks to have been drinking alcohol and poorly guided us on the river. I ended up hurting the bottom of my left foot as I stepped on slippery rocks on a bad angle while walking with only my socks on (as per the tour guide’s suggestion).
I was quite irritated by this incompetent man’s service and putting our safety in jeopardy. It appeared that he doesn’t like tourists at all and the only reason he got this job was because he can speak English decently.
Staying overnight on hammocks
Regardless of dealing with our horrible tour guide, the rest of his team was quite competent. They lead us to the outdoor hammock camp near Angel Falls where we would be spending the night.
Even though our camp was deep in the jungle, we were surprised to discover that it had electricity! Powered by generators, it had enough juice to light up the place for three hours. It was enough time for us to use the showers (yes, the camp had showers!) and to eat dinner.
I was also pleasantly surprise to learn that despite sleeping outdoors, there was no mosquitoes in the area. During the evening, I got a chance to befriend fellow tour group members who I hope to visit in Switzerland later during my one year trip.
Boat back to Canaima
The next day, we quickly ate breakfast then packed up to take a boat ride back to Canaima. Thanks to sailing with the current, our goat ride was significantly shorter lasting 2.5 hours.
We made it back safe and sound to Canaima, tired, exhausted but happy that we got a chance to see the world’s highest waterfalls. The next day, we would be exploring the Canaima Lagoon.
Important information you’d want to know
- The Angel Falls hike is part of the tour package I purchased with Kamadac – I paid $962 USD
- The tour package I purchased included the Mount Roraima Trek, round trip plane ride to Ciudad Bolivar, round trip private transfer to Santa Elena, 5 nights at different accommodations, porters, tour guides and food
- There is a park fee of 15,000 Bolivares when you land in Canaima National Park
- Canaima is secluded from the rest of Venezuela making it a very safe tourist destination
Despite nothing bad happening to me during my trip to Angel Falls, do be aware that Venezuela is not a safe country. If you plan on visiting Venezuela, find yourself a credible tour company that will keep you safe during your time in this incredibly beautiful country. Don’t miss Venezuela and you probably want to visit the country now instead of later because who knows if the country will still be open to tourism down the road should Maduro (Venezuela’s evil president) ends up being a permanent dictator of the country.