Canaima in Venezuela

History of Canaima

Canaima is a national park located in the southeast of Venezuela, near the borders with Guyana and Brazil. The park covers 12,000 square miles, so it is roughly the size of Belgium. Scientists have traced the origins of Canaima's geological formations to more than 3,000 million years ago, which means that many areas of this national park are among the world's oldest. Canaima's iconic tepuis, or table top mountains, are between 1,500 and 2,000 million years old. It is believed that millions of years ago, Canaima was actually a part of the African continent, as the landscape and geology of the park are very similar to those found in sub-Saharan regions. The national park was founded in 1962, and in 1994, Canaima became a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The weather in Canaima

The climate in Canaima National Park is tropical. This means that humidity and temperatures are high (usually between the mid-20s and mid 30s) and rainstorms are frequent. The months between December and April are considered the dry season in Canaima, so it is best to avoid travelling to the park at that time, as the waterfalls, rivers, and lagoons are at their lowest capacity. The best time to visit Canaima would be the wet season, which runs from June to November, although visitors must be aware that humidity levels are extremely high during those months and should prepare for that.

Nature and animals in Canaima

The range of fauna and flora found at Canaima is impressive. There are more than 300 species of plants that can only be found at the park, including several carnivorous plants. Over 33 % of the plants found at the park are endemic. More than 100 bird species inhabit the Canaima area, and approximately 50 per cent of all the migratory birds of the American continent are represented at the park. Currently, there are six endangered species that live in the park, including jaguars, giant anteaters, margays, ocelots, giant armadillos, and giant otters.

Indians in Canaima

Without a doubt, animals and plants outnumber humans in Canaima National Park. However, the park is home to several Pemon groups. The Pemon people have inhabited the Venezuelan Amazon for centuries, although the first records of European explorers coming in contact with them date from year 1750. Towards the end of the 19th century, Christian missionaries arrived in the area, and in the 1930s several Capuchin missions were founded in Pemon territory. Pemon people live in closely-knit family units and sustain themselves through hunting, fishing, and agriculture. Tourism also represents a big source of income for Pemon villages in Canaima.

Tours in Canaima

Most travellers come to Canaima to see Angel Fall, which at 3,212 feet is known as the world's highest waterfall. The remoteness of Canaima means that the park can only be reached by plane, and flights can be arranged in Caracas and Ciudad Bolivar. Standard tours include a stay of three days and two nights in the park, along with a boat ride and some hiking for those who want to reach the falls. Tours to the park can also include a trip to the falls called Sapo and Sapito, where you can walk behind the water curtain and relax in the natural pools formed below. Trekking enthusiasts must also check out the itineraries around Roraima, where you can explore the Amazonian jungle and the impressive table top mountains that have been standing in Canaima for millions of years. Tours you will find here