Sierra Merida Adventure

Sierra Merida Adventure information and booking

from
$3390
  • Duration
    15 days
    Days
  • Group size
    6-16
    Persons
  • Difficulty
    Moderate - Challenging
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Schedule Details

Summary
  • 15 day trip
  • 4 day trek
  • 2 days rafting
  • 8 nights hotel
  • 3 nights camping
  • 3 nights ranch/dormitory accommodation
Equipment Required
Specialist gear required include walking boots and day pack (a comprehensive gear list is provided in the pre-departure information provided on booking).

Highlights

  • Trekking in the Sierra Nevada de Mérida - the Venezuelan Andes
  • White water rafting the Acequia and Siniguis rivers
  • Wildlife viewing and birdwatching opportunities
  • Exploring the white sand beaches and coral reefs of Morrocoy National Park

Tour description provided by World Expeditions

This itinerary has been designed around the adventure playground of the Sierra Nevada de Mérida, the highest mountain range in Venezuela, part of the northern extent of the Andes Mountains. We'll enjoy safaris on land and by boat in a landscape of flat plains interlaced with rivers, teeming with tropical birds, animals and reptiles (including the anaconda). This area is renowned for its fauna, said to be as abundant as the Pantanal in Brazil! Our adventure moves to the water as we white water raft along two different river systems under the guidance of our expert rafting guides. Meeting our high mountain guides at the trailhead in Mucuy National Park, we commence the trekking component of our adventure to Lake Coromoto, an area of beautiful cloud forest vegetation, huge ferns, tall trees, bamboo, streams and rivers. We continue high above the tree line to Verde and Timoncito Lakes to enjoy the stunning views of the high peaks, before ending our trek in the picturesque Andean village of Los Nevados. Returning to the city of Merida, a flight to Caracas and road transfer brings us to a beautiful area near Morrocoy National Park to enjoy the azure waters dotted with coral islands. Our journey culminates in Colonial Tovar, a unique town set in cloud forest featuring Black Forest style architecture which was founded in 1847 by a group of German settlers and a charming place to end our trip.

What's included

  • 13 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 7 dinners
  • Internal flights caracas/barinas and el vigia/caracas valued at $175 usd
  • Airport transfers on day 1 and day 15
  • All internal transportation
  • Expert bilingual guide
  • Group medical kit
  • Good quality accommodation
  • Group camping equipment - including tents and cooking equipment
  • Porters to carry personal gear
  • All rafting equipment including life jackets and helmets
  • Sightseeing and site entrance fees as listed
  • Mountain guide for trekking portion
  • Rafting guides
  • Note: sleeping bag (4 season) and thermarest not included

Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive <a href="http://lonelyplanet.com/venezuela/caracas" class="partner" title="Caracas">Caracas</a>
You will be met on arrival and transferred to the group hotel. The remainder of the day is free to acclimatise and take in your first impressions of Venezuela. Caracas is a large modern city, and like anywhere else in the world, you should be careful when walking after dark, and should avoid walking alone. A group briefing with your tour leader will be held at dinner. Overnight Hotel Avila.
Day 2 Fly to <a href="http://lonelyplanet.com/venezuela/barinas" class="partner" title="Barinas">Barinas</a>, transfer to Canafistola Ranch
Flight to Barinas (1 hr) Transfer to Canafistola Ranch (3 hrs). The ranch is a working cattle farm. This area is famous for its fauna, as abundant as the Pantanal in Brazil Here we can expect to see anacondas, caiman, dolphin, giant otter, giant anteater, capybara, piranhas, jabiru storks, fish eagles, mata mata turtle (Chelus fimbriatus), and about 65 of the 750 species of birdlife that inhabit the region. We stay in dormitory accommodation (either in beds or in hammocks). On arrival we have lunch, and afterwards have an afternoon vehicle safari for animal and bird spotting.
Day 3 Safaris by vehicle and boat
This morning we will undertake a vehicle safari, and in the afternoon enjoy a river safari by boat. The landscape is flat plains, with rivers and flooded areas teeming with tropical birds, animals and reptiles. Overnight ranch accommodation.
Day 4 To the Acequia river for an afternoon of white water rafting
After breakfast we drive back to Barinas (3 hrs) and continue to the Acequia river (1 hr) for an afternoon of white water rafting. After you have received the safety instructions and training we will raft down a tropical Grade 2+ to 3 river with beautiful rainforest on both sides of the river. With a little bit of luck we might see some wild animals (iguanas, river otters) and exotic birds such as toucans, parrots or macaws. We stay in dormitory style accommodation (in beds) in a beautiful setting next to the river.
Day 5 White water rafting, transfer to Apartaderos
After breakfast we will drive around 30 minutes to the entrance point of the Siniguis river with its amazing emerald colour. This river offers some of the best white water rafting in Venezuela. From Caño Grande down to the road we will have one rapid after the other. Grade 4 plus to even more exciting Grade 5 depending on the water level of the day. Around 3 to 4 hours of white water rafting excitement with our extremely professional river guides. After lunch we set off for the paramo (high altiplano) and the Andean colonial town of Apartaderos (4 hrs drive). Overnight hotel at 2500m altitude.
Day 6 To Mucuy National Park, trek to Lake Coromoto (walk approx 5-6 hrs)
We transfer to the town of Tabay (1 hr) and to the trailhead in the Mucuy National Park. Here we meet our porters and high mountain guide and begin the trek to Coromoto lake. This is an area of beautiful cloud forest vegetation, huge ferns, tall trees, bamboo, streams and rivers. We arrive at Lake Coromoto (3200m; 5-6 hrs) where we camp for the night next to a trout-filled Andean lake.
Day 7 To Lake Verde (walk approx 5 hrs)
Today we trek to Lake Verde, one of the largest lakes in the area (4000m; 5 hrs). As the route takes us above the tree line we begin to see high altitude vegetation, the peaks high above us as the route becomes steeper and rockier. Overnight camping.
Day 8 To Lake Timoncito (walk approx 8 hrs)
Today we trek to Lake Timoncito (4600m; 8 hrs). Overnight camping.
Day 9 Trek to Los Nevados
We have a long walk down to the picturesque and remote Andean village of Los Nevados (2700m). Overnight rustic but comfortable hotel.
Day 10 To Merida
Transfer to Merida along a breathtaking mountain track hugging the cliffside by 4WD jeep (4 hrs). Merida has a relaxed atmosphere being a university city, and has the world's highest and longest cable car which offers amazing panoramic views of the surrounding snow-capped mountains including the country's highest peak - Pico Bolivar (5007m). Overnight hotel.
Day 11 Fly from El Vigia to <a href="http://lonelyplanet.com/venezuela/caracas" class="partner" title="Caracas">Caracas</a>, drive to Chichirivichi
Transfer to airport in El Vigia (2 hrs drive) for our flight to Caracas (1 hr). Transfer by minibus to Chichirivichi de la Costa (4 hrs drive). This is a National Park with coral islands, which we will visit over the next days. Overnight Hotel Cocolandia.
Day 12 to 13 In Morrocoy National Park
In Morrocoy National Park, visiting coral island beaches and cays. Optional snorkeling and scuba diving available. The park is renowned as one of Venezuela's richest bird-breeding grounds with a large variety of wading birds and waterbirds. Overnight Hotel Cocolandia.
Day 14 To Colonia Tovar
Drive to the mountain village of Colonia Tovar (4 hrs) which is set in the cloud forest at 1800m altitude, and was founded in 1847 by a group of German settlers who were forgotten for nearly 100 years. Today it has Black Forest German architecture, and blonde-haired and blue-eyed inhabitants. Afternoon free at leisure to explore this quaint village. Overnight Hotel Freiburg.
Day 15 In <a href="http://lonelyplanet.com/venezuela/colonia-tovar" class="partner" title="Colonia Tovar">Colonia Tovar</a>, trip concludes
The trip concludes after breakfast with a departure transfer to Caracas Airport.