Venezuela, here we come!
For many years, Venezuela was on the top of my bucket list. There was just never the right time and I delayed visiting Venezuela until this year. Everyone thought I was a bit crazy to go to Venezuela now. But I didn’t listen and even had a group of people join me. We chose Turkish Airlines to take us to Caracas and it was a really good decision. Turkish Airlines now flies to Caracas daily from Istanbul and they are very reliable. Even though I didn’t really believe that we were on the way to Venezuela until we took off. It was a 12 hour and something flight and there was enough time to think about the tour ahead. Let me tell you, I’ve never been so excited.
A smooth and easy arrival to Venezuela
Suddenly it was early morning and our plane was landing at Caracas airport. To be honest I didn’t know what to expect and I decided to just go with the flow. The procedure after landing was pretty much the same as in many countries. Easy to follow and lots of friendly staff everywhere to ask for help if needed. After an hour or so, we were out. I was so happy to have someone waiting for us at Caracas airport. Nothing would be easy and we couldn’t have had such an amazing tour without Ben and his Osprey Expeditions. I believe it’s crucial to let a local company handle everything in Venezuela and I cannot recommend Osprey Expeditions enough.
Our plane’s route from Istanbul to Caracas.
Caracas city tour or falling in love with Venezuela’s capital
The first thing we did in Venezuela was to get to know its capital, Caracas. I heard so many things about Caracas and not all were good. But I firmly believe that it’s important to get to know every country’s capital. Capital cities are full of life and if you get to know them, you get to know the country. So of course a city tour in Caracas was a must. I just didn’t know we would need more time. Because Caracas certainly is well worth visiting and has so much to show. Above all, it’s a very pleasant city if you take precautions in certain places. And we had Ben, who lives in Caracas and knows it thoroughly. He told us, how to dress and how to behave. We did exactly that and had a fantastic day in Venezuela’s capital. From the amazing viewpoints to see this picturesque city with an elevation of about 900 m to pleasant streets with cozy cafes. The old center was especially charming with old buildings and shady plazas. Of course, we also visited the final resting place of The Libertador, the great Simon Bolivar, who led the revolutions against Spanish rule in today’s Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. Another amazing part of Caracas we’ve seen was Paseo Los Proceres, spacious promenades with interesting statues and some artworks. It was there where we also met the famous macaws of Caracas. Caracas also has amazing bars and restaurants to finish your day in style. So yes, you must do a Caracas city tour if you visit Venezuela. This city is just amazing. But do it with a knowledgable local company, that is the only way.
The unforgettable expedition to the mighty Angel Falls
That was of course the ultimate goal of our tour. To see the world’s highest waterfall, Angel Falls. Who would have thought that it’s not only the Angel Falls, but also the journey to get there. It’s not an easy one and it’s a true expedition. It takes a flight to Canaima National Park and more than 140 km up and down the Carao and Churun rivers to reach the absolutely amazing Salto Angel. The world’s highest waterfall has a total vertical drop of 979 meters. It’s not only the height but how the waterfall looks like. It is just monumental. Its waters drop over the edge of Auyan Tepuy, one of the many gorgeous table mountains or tepuis in Canaima National Park.
I could just sit and stare at Angel Falls forever
Once you reach the waterfall, there is still a hike through the jungle to the best viewpoint. It takes about one hour to reach it. And then, oh the view. One of the best moments of my life. We couldn’t get enough and kept on staring at the waterfall. But it is the whole expedition that counts. The hours in the canoe, the insanely clear river water, those amazing views of the surrounding jungle and many tepuis, the night in the hammocks under the falls. And of course, the best team ever. Forever thankful that Osprey expeditions brought us here. The additional two nights spent in Canaima village were also great because Canaima lagoon itself has lots to offer and the village is so easygoing with friendly people all around.
Orinoco delta, surrounded by unspoiled nature in the middle of nowhere
After visiting Angel Falls it was time to fly back to Caracas for a night and then onwards to the delta of Rio Orinoco. After arriving in Maturin we started traveling towards the delta, stopping a couple of times along the road. Everywhere people were surprised to see us and some even told us we were some of the first foreigners they saw after a few years. Everyone was so friendly and we felt so welcome. It was nothing like Venezuela we read about in the media. Suddenly we arrived at the pier for the journey to our Orinoco lodge. Another local team that was all smiles was waiting and took us into the jungle. At first, the sky was clear and then suddenly it started to rain. A very typical day in the Orinoco. We stopped by a local house and met the children there with their pet, a tarantula. The next stop was to buy fresh coconuts to drink. And then we arrived at our jungle shelter, Orinoco Queen lodge.
Orinoco Queen lodge and Tito the Toucan
Hidden well in the middle of lush green nature, almost at the end of one side canal. Beautiful simple huts were ready and we moved in. Then the time stopped and we liked it so much. It’s so rare to be somewhere with no connections to the outside world and in good company, surrounded by nature. Again, the local team was so important. We went out to the main river and explored the settlements, met local people, did some shopping because their handicrafts are amazing, and even rescued a toucan. Oh yes. Tito the Toucan became a star of our stay in the Orinoco delta. We got him at a local house, where he was kept as a pet with his feathers cut. And took him to our lodge where he is still living and thriving.
Overlanding to Isla Margarita, Venezuela’s most famous island
I believe that it’s important to always include some overlanding when traveling. It’s very important if you really want to get to know the country. The landscapes, the towns, villages, people. It’s also the best way to try real local food and get to know the atmosphere. And that’s exactly what we did. We stopped so many times to do simple things like buy drinks, get snacks. And we always met kind people who invited us to see their homes, we witnessed casual street parties, explored small towns, and got to see the landscapes of Venezuela. I enjoyed so much this part of our tour. It was the best way to get to know Venezuela better. The one thing that surprised us all was how friendly everyone was and how safe we felt. We eventually made it all the way to the coast and spend a couple of nights in a cute village Mochima, before taking a ferry to Isla Margarita. Isla Margarita was a perfect place to say goodbye to Venezuela. With lively bars, great accommodation options, shopping, and of course, let’s not forget about margarita cocktails. And yes, the island is naturally beautiful too!
Should you visit Venezuela in 2022?
Yes, one million times. It is a must-see country for everyone, no matter which year. I’ve never seen such unique nature and nature is the one thing we’re always looking for. Untouched, pristine. And Venezuela has plenty of it. Besides nature, there are people. Venezuelans are lively and friendly, hospitable. And there’s amazing food, interesting history, and so much more. Another great thing this year is that there are absolutely no crowds in Venezuela. So if you like a sense of exclusivity, this is your destination. Venezuela has been neglected in the world of traveling for some years now and it’s time this changes! Plan in advance with a great tour operator (I recommend Osprey Expeditions), make sure to book reliable flights and that’s about it!