Written by The Leap on 27 / 10 / 2014
Gap Year Advice
La Gran Sabana, or to us English-speaking folk,'The Great Savannah', is located in the Southeastern corner of Venezuela at the border with Brazil and Guyana. Remote and wild, it's one of the most fascinating parts of the country and is said to have been the inspiration for the 1912 novel 'The Lost World.'
For nature lovers, this corner of the country is a paradise, for its mystical highlands are home to jungle, waterfalls, tabletop mountains and bright green fields that contrast dark, dramatic skies.
Although it’s one of the most popular destinations in the country for adventure tourism and ecotourism, there are several hidden gems in La Gran Sabana that most travellers don’t know about. Take the tabletop mountains for example – many people that visit the region do so in order to hike to the summit of Mount Roraima, the highest in Canaima National Park.
But there are several more - such as the Auyantepui, Matawi and Acopan - which very few tourists ever visit. And in many ways, that makes them even better to visit.
Those looking to climb Acopan begin their ascent in Yunek, a town located on the shore of the River Yunek, whose population amounts to just eighty people. These people live a simple life, relying on income from climbing tourism and planting, consuming little more than fruit and fish, and canoeing to and from the nearest city in order to trade goods.
Although it’s maybe not somewhere you’d want to spend more than a few days, Yunek is a fascinating place to visit. You'll also gain a real insight into how the Pemón Indians live.
The highland formation of the Chimantá Massif is just as immense as it sounds, covering approximately 1470 km2 with heights up to 2700m. It's made up of around eleven tabletop mountains, including Acopan, and is considered one of the most important ecological sites in the region.
The massif is notable for the variety of species and cave systems present. It’s by no means easily accessible though, making sure it remains an attraction that’s off the typical backpacker trail.
Spectacular waterfalls are everywhere in La Gran Sabana, especially throughout the rainy season. Undoubtedly the most eye-catching though is the Quebrada de Jaspe, which flow right over red jasper - a semi-precious rock. The image of these clear waters tumbling over rich reds and bright oranges - seen above - makes for a truly wonderful sight.
Kavanayen is an indigenous village founded by missionaries and inhabited mainly by Pemón Indians. Located in the boundaries of Canaima National Park, this town features buildings that were built using local stone, the most significant of which is the Shrine of Santa Teresita de Kavanayen.
Another indigenous village is San Francisco de Yuruaní, an important craft-selling location, where you can find all sorts of precious stones that are common in this area, such as rose quartz and marble. Don’t be afraid to fully immerse yourself in the culture here and sample typical local cuisine from the food stalls in these communities.
So what are you waiting for? The opportunity to travel to Venezuela is here, you just need to pack your bags and seize it! Are you tempted to visit this part of South America and see it for yourself?
Get in touch.
on 27 / 10 / 2014