Wonders of the Earth: Angel Falls

Angel Falls is located in the Guayana highlands, and it is just one of the five great adventure regions in Venezuela. It is known as Parekupa-meru by the local Pemon indians but gained the Angel name after US pilot Jimmy Angel crash-landed on the Auyan Tepuy while searching the area for gold in 1937.

Angel Falls or Salto Ángel is the world’s highest waterfall, the water comes in a free fall of 978 meters from the Churum river hovering of the edge of the “Auyantepuy” Table mountain, this the largest Tepuy (table mountain) in Canaima Venezuela. This height makes it the highest waterfall in the world.

Angel Falls is 15 times higher than Niagara Falls with its total of approximately 52 meters.

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The area is filled with grasslands, with some dense jungle along the course of the rivers and at the base of the numerous tepuis, or flat-topped mountains. There is an incredible variety of tropical wildlife in the area, including monkeys, poison arrow frogs and hundreds of species of orchids. Aside from the monkeys, mammals in the area are generally difficult to spot but include giant anteaters, armadillos, porcupines, three-toed sloths, otters, jaguars, pumas, tapirs and capybaras.

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Angel Falls is deep within the National Park. When first entering the park (at the airport in Canaima) one must pay the park entrance fee. Visitor flying out to Canaima National Park must also prove they have received a yellow fever vaccination. Those who cannot prove this will be given the vaccination in the airport at Ciudad Bolivar.

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The falls are located about 5 hours’ ride in a dugout canoe upstream from Canaima village. Most of the Park’s attractions can only be visited with a guided tour from Canaima. These can be booked from outside Venezuela, from Caracas, or from Ciudad Bolivar but prices are much more competitive in Ciudad Bolivar. Most tours that take you to the foot of the falls are two nights (one in Canaima, one at the falls) and three days, and combine all of the three elements below (and also include food and transport). Alternatively you can hire shorter tours just to go up to Angel Falls and back again. A typical tour will include the flight to Canaima, and then three days of meals and (very basic) accommodation at the various campsites along the river towards the falls. The trip involves several hours in a dugout canoe and a few hours hiking through gallery forest to the main viewpoint below the falls. Most tour guides speak Spanish with limited English.

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