What can be a better way to spend 2013 other than trekking into the Venezuelan wilderness, tenting and hitting the summit of Mount Roraima? For those who are not so familiar with Roraima, it is deemed the highest of the tepuis (flat top mountains) in Gran Sabana and was the inspiration to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novel, "The Lost World." On a more contemporary note, it was also the mountain that was featured in the animation, "Up."
Most importantly, Mt. Roraima is magical in its own unique way, and as such, it is on every trekker's MUST DO list. Known for its very unique geological features that cannot be found anywhere else in the world, some say its vastness and features make you feel as if you're walking on the moon (go online and google photos of it and you'll see!). The trek up Mt. Roraima requires a guide and takes 6 days & 5 nights.
Besides Mt. Roraima, we will also visit Angel Falls, which is deemed as the highest falls in the world. The trek to the Falls requires a 3 day/2 night expedition.
Here's a nice 360 degree view of Angel Falls and the surroundings:
Finally, the initial portion of the trip is catered to those who want relaxation and some water adventures on Christmas by relaxing, kitesurfing, island hopping and briefly living an easy life on the Carribean beaches of Los Roques National Park and Margarita Island.
TWO OPTIONS FOR THIS TRIP:
OPTION 1: You do the entire thing from Dec 22-Jan 6. We get to visit Los Roques, Margarita Island, Angel Falls & do Roraima Trek.
OPTION 2: Travel dates are from Dec 26-Jan 6. You do the 3 day Angel Falls and 6 day Roraima trek.
Dec 22: Fly into Caracas; transfer to hotel for overnight
Dec 23: Transfer to fly to Los Roques; overnight in Gran Roque
Dec 24: Beach time. Breakfast and dinner included; overnight in Gran Roque
Dec 25: Breakfast, transfer to fly to Margarita Island early a.m.; transfer to hotel in Margarita; overnight at a hotel in Playa El Agua.
**Dec 26: Breakfast, beach time;overnight in Margarita
Dec 27: Breakfast, transfer to fly out to Puerto Ordaz; private shuttle to Ciudad Bolivar; overnight at a posada/standard hotel.
Dec 28: Day 1 of Angel Falls tour; breakfast included; tranfer to airport; flight to Canaima; Canaima Lagoon expedition; dinner, overnight at standard camp in Pemon Indian Village.
Dec 29: Day 2: Angel Falls expedition; overnight in hammocks by the falls.
Dec 30: Day 3 of Angel Falls tour; transfer to bus station; overnight bus from Ciudad Bolivar to Santa Elena
Dec 31: arrive 8am in Santa Elena; Roraima Trek begins; New Year's Eve mountain-style party!
Jan 1:Day 2 Mt. Roraima Trek
Jan 2: Day 3 Mt. Roraima Trek
Jan 3: Day 4 Mt. Roraima Trek
Jan 4: Day 5 Mt. Roraima Trek
Jan 5: Day 6 Mt. Roraima Trek; arrive at 3pm in Santa Elena; take overnight bus to Puerto Ordaz
Jan 6: Fly from Puerto Ordaz to Caracas; Fly home in the evening
** Option 2:
Dec 26: Fly out to Caracas; overnight near the airport
Dec 27: Fly out to Puerto Ordaz;private shuttle to Ciudad Bolivar to meet the group from Option 1.
Dec 28-Jan6: Same as above
Roraima Trek Level of Difficulty: Daily hikes range from 4-6 hours a day with the 3rd day being the toughest as you ascent to the top of Roraima. Gran Sabana starts at 1000 msl; the top is at 2800 msl so there is significant elevation change to consider here and the terrain can be challening in some parts. That's about 5,900 feet up and then down.
You must be physically fit and a regular hiker who can do at least 8 miles with at least 1,500 feet elevation change. You are required to speak with the organizer regarding your hiking experience and must have backpacked/hiked with the organizer, or have recent experience with hiking/backpacking.
You do have to carry a bit of weight as you'll be carrying your personal items (clothes, toiletries, snacks etc). The porters will only carry camping equipment such as tent, mat and sleeping bag. You can hire your own porter at an extra price (at the moment it's $320). To save money, you can share the porter with another person($160 pp) but you'll split the weight the porter carries which is 15 kilos max.
NOTE: By joining this trip, you are agreeing to the conditions set forth in the group's waiver of liability form. Although this is a guided trek, you are assuming ALL the risks associated with this trek.
Note on Trip Style: This is an adventure/active trip, meaning we'll be on buses, planes, shuttles, if not feet, most of the time with the exception of lazying around the beaches. For those who know me and/or had the chance of traveling with me, there is an element of "roughing" it" but truth be told I have minimized that element significantly because I have opted for us to make this trip a reality by the use of a tour operator as opposed to planning the logistics on our own. The reason being that Venezuela is not as safe as some countries and also due to the challenging nature of booking hotels, transports, etc. in such a country where most of the time I have found the information to be unreliable. We have a time limited visit to this unique place so I prefer we maximize our experience with very limited hassles.
Please do note that there are 2 nights spent on overnight buses (duration of about 9+ hours). This is a sample of "roughing it" but yet precisely the adventure a true backpacker would want to experience.
Option 1: $2160 ($2050 tour price + ~5% booking fees)
Option 2: $1400 ($1330 tour price + ~5% booking fees)
Tour price basically includes everything (except for a few short transfers & meals):
Standard accommodations in Los Roques, Margarita Island, and tenting/huts for the 3 day Angel Falls & 6 day Roraima trek; plus overnight in Caracas & Ciudad Bolivar; all domestic flights; all meals for the Angel Falls & Roraima tours except for breakfast on first day and dinner on last day for each tour; all land transfers; overnight buses; all camping and cooking equipment (tents, mats, sleeping bags), plus porters and English-speaking guides.
Porter for Roraima: $320 or $160 if you want to share with another person.
Optional activities- there are a few for the beach portion and also for Canaima National Park area. This info will be provided to confirmed attendees.
HOW TO SECURE YOUR SPOT:
1. A 50% deposit is required to secure your spot. See payment links below. DEPOSIT IS DUE SEPTEMBER 15, 2012. Any booking after this date will be subject to availability.
2. A reservation/liability/health form needs to be completed.
3. For Roraima, I need to get a sense of your hiking/backpacking experience so you'll need to email me to discuss this portion unless I have hiked/backpacked with you within the past year.
Deposit due for Option 1: $1080
Payment can be made via this paypal link for Option 1:
Deposit due for Option 2: $700
Payment can be made via this paypal link for Option 2:
Deposits are NON-REFUNDABLE.
Deposit due date: September 15, 2012.
Balance due date: November 1, 2012
Cancellation policy: Cancellations made by November 21, 2012, refund is 70% of total tour price (minus any fees (5-6%) incurred for my having to get the funds from operator to you). No refunds if cancellation is made on or after November 22, 2012.
Accommodations: Both Angel Falls tour and Roraima trek require sleeping out in the wilderness the entire time which is included in the tour/trek price. For Los Roques and Margarita Island, we'll be staying in budget to moderately priced accommodations.
Flight: You are responsible for booking the international flight. You fly into Caracas from DC area. The flight is from $1100 and up. Go to www.kayak.com to check out flights. The tour price includes all domestic flights.
Bus: We're looking at a round trip overnight bus ride from Ciudad Bolivar/Pueto Ordaz to Santa Elena (the starting point for Mt. Roraima trek). Bus ride is about 9-12 hours one way. The cost is included in the tour price.
Insurance: Insurance to cover trip costs, medical and emergency evacuation is HIGHLY recommended.
Hope to trek with you in Venezuela!