Welcome to Parque Nacional El Ávila

A dozen entrances lead into the park from Caracas; all originate from Av Boyacá, commonly known as Cota Mil (closed to traffic on Sunday between 6am and 1pm, it's a popular place for riding bikes and jogging) because it runs at an altitude of 1000m. Because of safety concerns, solo hiking is not recommended; check with park staff about camping.

There are plenty of options for a half- or full-day hike. One recommended way is to catch a bus from the east side of Plaza de Francia in Altamira (by the Hotel Caracas Palace) to the Sabas Nieves entrance, from where it's a 300m hike up to the ranger post. From there, you can pick up an easy-to-handle nature trail along the southern slope that passes a series of streams, waterfalls and caves. Another trail from Sabas Nieves climbs the mountain, one of four main ascents to the park's highest points, Pico Oriental (2640m) and Pico Naiguatá. One of the most scenic routes is along the Fila Maestra, following the crest of the Ávila range from Pico de Ávila to Pico Naiguatá and rewarding hikers with splendid views toward both the valley of Caracas and the Caribbean Sea.

If hiking isn't your bag then one option is taking a 4x4 jeep taxi (US$6 per person return) from outside the Hotel Ávila to the mountain hamlet of Galipan. The almost vertical 30-minute drive takes you over the top of the mountains and deposits you in Galipan, which has incredible views over the coast and where there are several restaurants catering to day-trippers. Picks of the bunch are Granja Natalia and Recoveco, both of which have some of the best food in the country. Reserving a table in advance is essential.

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Parque Nacional El Ávila in detail

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