After the three days in the Orinoco Delta and the long travel back to Ciudad Bolivar via Ciudad Guyana, we longed for a little rest and comfort … Unfortunately the comfortable and most pleasant Posadas such as Don Carlos or the more expensive Angostura were all booked out. So we had to take what was available, which was Posada Dona Carol. Considering we would not find any pleasant rest, we decided to book a tour into Canaima the next day. We followed the recommendation of other fellow travellers and went to Total Adventura.
First advantage, Total Adventura is far cheaper than any other company: 200 USD per person for the classical 3 days / 2 nights tour against 250 to 350 USD at all other agencies. And we could book a hammock free of charge for an extra night in Canaima at their Campamento, which we actually did. On top of that, we could sleep in their Posada for free the night before and the night after. The Posada was quiet stuffy and hot, but had fans. We also could use the washing machine to do our laundry. Since we were the only guests it was not too cramped.
Actually Total Adventura is only a reseller. They sold us a tour with Tiuna Tours, which turned out to be an outstanding choice. First, our guide, Miguel, was very experienced & very knowledgeable. But the main advantage is the location of their Campamentos. In Canaima, the camp is directly on the Laguna, with a view of Salto Ucaima. The place is airy and clean with facilities and a little restaurant. Even more important is the position of their camp near Salto Angel: it is located on Isla Raton, with a 50 meters walk to a great view of Angel Falls. This is crucial especially in the rain-season from Mai to November because you will only seldom get to see the complete waterfall, which is often hidden behind clouds or fog. So if you have half a day to a full day in a camp near the falls, your chances are much higher to get a good view. But only few of the groups with Tiuna Tours go to the camp on Isla Raton, so once more we were lucky!
So on Sunday, August 5th in the morning we headed towards Canaima. One of the reasons for the lower price is that we drove 2.5 hours to La Paragua and took a plane from there. The flight takes about 25 minutes on a small, 6-seaters Cessna plane including the pilot, sorry, “El Capitan”. The more expensive tours fly directly from Ciudad Bolivar, but that alone costs an extra 40 USD per person.
The plane ride alone was an experience: it feels strange to be squashed into this metal box running on one engine. Heidi was definitely glad when we touched down. To make a point el Captain started reading the newspaper when we had reached our cruising altitude of 3.500 feet, of course in a plane without auto-pilot … The approach in Canaima was absolutely spectacular, with a beautiful sight of the Canaima-Laguna and the various water falls. Last but not least, El Capitan decided to fly along the runway, make a very sharp turn and land the plane just seconds after he had finally stabilized it … Quite impressive! Of course on the way back the other “Capitan” had to impress us with an even more daring approach with an even sharper 180 degrees turn right before the touch down …
Our lucky streak continued on that tour. The group that left before us counted not less than 45 persons and the group after us about 35 tourists. We were only 9 people: apart from us, a Hungarian couple on their honey-moon, two Dutch students and 3 Spanish guys who had traveled everywhere on this planet.