Everybody seems to know Angel Falls, the highest waterfalls in the world with 979 meters, named after the daredevil pilot who first saw the falls when flying his plane into “Canon de Diabolo”, but the smaller waterfalls in the Canaima Lagoon are equally sensational in a different way.
It was these places that we visited first in a small boat right after arrival, Salto Ucaima and Salto Hacho. We took then a walk towards Salto Sapo. There, a small passage was carved from the rock that takes you behind and to the other side of the waterfall. This “behind-the waterfall walk” was very impressive. The immense energy of the water pouring is incredible: it felt as if the whole passageway was trembling and we were showered all the way through. Heidi was pretty scared.
We then continued crossing another plateau of breathtaking savannah scenery and then were met by our boat that took us up Rio Carrao towards our first Campamento, Aonda Lodge. Minutes after we left the motor of the boat gave up and help had to be summoned. It was already dark when we travelled up Rio Aonda that branches off Rio Carrao and a bit worried that the engine could give up again on that stretch of the river in total darkness. Equally exciting was our arrival at the Campamento, we climbed from the boat unable to see anything and stumbled towards the Campamento. After a quick dinner and a brief chat with our fellow travellers we retreated to our hammocks, since there was not much else you could do.
By morning the sun was out again and we continued our boat trip towards the next Campamento on Isla Raton. This is one of the best and closest camps to Angels Fall. It is as basic as the other one, but you can see the fall from the camp which it not possible from many others. This is important because during the rainy season the waterfall is often covered by clouds or fog and sometimes can only be seen for a few minutes. If you have to travel to see it from a camp far away, it may happen that you do not see anything. But we had all day to wait for the clouds to move and actually were able to view the entire waterfalls for a few hours.
There is a viewpoint even closer, which can be reached after a walk of about an hour. The walk through the woods is very picturesque, but although we had sunshine all the way up, the weather changed within minutes and when we finally got to the “Mirador”, the fall was completely hidden behind clouds.
After spending the night there we went back to Canaima early in the morning, because all the other were leaving the same day by plane back to La Paragua and Ciudad Bolivar. Luckily we had decided to stay one more day and spent the night in the Campamento from Tiuna right on the lagoon. We could see Salto Ucaima from our hammocks and having now showers and electricity made us feel like living in a five-star hotel. We explored Canaima village, where there is not much to see. The highlight is the lagoon with its small but beautiful sandy beach and the backdrop of Tepuis and waterfalls. We felt happy that we had stayed and had a chance to absorb this incredible scenery at our own pace. Not many tourists seem to stay in Canaima, except in the top lodges, which are really luxurious but extremely expensive as well.
Our dream of having a beer in a nice place after all these days outdoors was not fulfilled, because there was not such thing. We tried one of the expensive lodges, but 10.000 Bolivares for a beer seemed a bit much. So we shopped at the only store and went back “home” to enjoy the electric light and start writing our reports. The next morning, we went back to the beach for a swim and afterwards went straight to the airport were the plane was already waiting for us.