Southern Venezuela is a largely uninhabited and wild region of tropical forests and jungle rivers. The region is home to several ancient indigenous tribes, including the Piaroa, Pemón, and Yanomami, who still live an often-nomadic lifestyle based on hunting and gathering. This area is home to vast expanses of forest, including Canaima National Park, the largest national park in Venezuela, and the sixth largest in the world, as well as Angel Falls, the highest waterfall on the planet, and a series of stunning steep-walled flat mesas called tepuis. Much of this region is also known as the Gran Sabana, or "Great Plains," as it features large stretches of flat savannah broken up only by these imposing tepees.

Puerto Ordaz was named after the Spanish explorer Diego de Ordaz. De Ordaz arrived in the area in 1531, while searching for gold. While he never found the treasure he was seeking, he stumbled upon an area that was rich in many other ways. The city lays near the confluence of two major rivers, the Caroni River and the Orinoco River.

The river delta is full of greenery, the result of fertile, well-nourished land. Three parks, Parque Cachamay, Parque Loefling, and Parque La Llovizna, showcase the area's flora and fauna. The industrial zone located on the Southern bank of the Orinoco, 17 km to the west of the confluence of this with the Caroní, was chosen for its proximity to the iron mineral deposits , the availability of electricity, the transport facility that the river and the wind direction offers, so that neither the smoke nor the industrial scent reaches Puerto Ordaz or San Felix. The production of iron, steel, aluminium and ferroalloys are concentrated in this area.

The hydroelectric potential of the Caroni River, is one of the greatest in the world, converting the Guri Dam into the cornerstone of Guayana´s industrial development. About 2 to 3 hours drive from Puerto Ordaz towards San Feliz via Piacoa you will find the ´´Castillos de Guayana´´, the fort of San Francisco built between 1678 and 1681 and the San Diego Fort built in 1747, constructed on the rocky hill South of the Orinoco River to protect San Tomas of Guayana by land and sea from the constant raids and attacks of pirates in search of the ´´El Dorado´´.



Jungle. lagoon, waterfalls..One of the most beautiful place in Venezuela is Canaima lagoon and its surroundings. The lagoon is fed by several small water falls: Hacha, Wadaima, Golondrina and Ucaima. On the back you can see 3 "tepee", those flat top mountains, that distinguish this region, they are called Nonoy-Tepuy ("Zamuro" or Vulture), Kuravaina-Tepuy ("Venado" or Deer) and Topochi-Tepuy ( Blowpipe).

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You can enjoy the boat ride on the lake in a "Curiara" - those long canoes used by Indians - and get a closer view of the waterfalls.

Very near to the Canaima lake, from a branch of the Carrao river, you will find one of the most beautiful waterfalls in all the region: The Sapo (Frog) Fall. The amount of water is really impressive, specially in the rainy season (May to November).

From here there is a beautiful view across the river where you can see the 3 tepees of Canaima: Zamuro (Vulture), Venado (Deer) and Cerbatana (Blowpipe). During the dry season, you can cross to the other side by walking over some stones, during the rainy season you can go below the falls and behind the curtain of water.. Once you cross the Sapo, you can walk to a second water fall, called Sapito (Little frog). It is also a beautiful waterfall with different colours water due to the minerals on the rock bed.

Table top mountains..waterfalls..lost world of flora and fauna . In the western part of Canaima National Park, is the Auyantepuy, one of the largest and better known "tepuy" (A flat top mountain ending with vertical walls). From this tepuy is where the Angel falls are formed. The fall is 979 meters high (around 3000 ft.), and is the highest waterfall in the world. Angel Falls is the Eighth Wonder of World. It's Venezuela's most touted tourist attraction, and rightly so. The falls plunge for a near free-fall kilometre, some twenty Niagaras piled atop one another. There are two ways to see the Angel Falls. One of them is from the air in an small airplane. The other one is an excursion that starts with a 3 hour and a half navigation upstream the Carrao River, and then the Churun river. From there, a one hour walk through the jungle takes you to the base of the falls. The Angel Falls were named after the American aviator that discovered them in 1937. However, the local Indians, the Pemones, already knew it and called it the Churún Merú.

Mountain trekking…MT. RORAIMA, located on Venezuela's border with Brazil and Guiana, is the highest of the tepees (flat-topped mountains) in the Gran Sabana, topping out at 2810 m. It was the inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novel "The Lost World", which has made it the most famous of all the tepees. Roraima has become a popular trek, completely non-technical, but moderately strenuous even with porters to carry most of your gear..

The ascent normally requires two and one-half days of hiking from the Pemón village of Paraitepui; the downhill return hike can be done in two days. Hikers should spend a *minimum* of two nights on top of Roraima, in order to have at least one full day to explore its fascinating and other-worldly topside; two or more days on top would be even better.

Typical Roraima trekking itinerary: The town of Santa Elena is the usual start off point for Roraima treks. Trekkers can reach Santa Elena by air (A few airlines has scheduled flights (in Cessna 206s!-- several days --a week, originating in Ciudad Bolivar or Puerto Ordaz), or by car south across the Gran Sabana from Puerto Ordaz. A good way to see the country is to fly in and go by highway on the way out, or vice-versa. It is also possible to arrive Santa Elena from Brasil, a few kilometres by road to the south. In any case, it is advisable for trekkers to plan to spend a night in Santa Elena finalizing their Roraima plans, and getting off to an early start the following day. For comfortable overnighting, we recommend our Yakoo Lodge a short distance outside Santa Elena. See our Roraima trekking page.