This expedition takes us into the Amazon traveling by boat to the sacred Autana Mountain, which according to legend of the local indigenous, the Piaroa, is said to be the trunk of the ”Tree of Life”.
Visit the Amazonas, the largest state in Venezuela, it covers one fifth of the country but “houses” less than 1% of the country’s total population many of them indigenous people from a number of tribes and living in the vast expanses of jungles and rainforest. Now this is a real “head on” cultural experience starting in Puerto Ayacucho the state’s capital. You will see indigenous everywhere from the time you arrive, visit the indigenous market in the town centre with some of the best souvenirs, handicrafts and art that you can buy anywhere in Venezuela followed by a visit to the local Indigenous museum.
Our expedition will take you cruising along the Orinoco River which separates Colombia with Venezuela, then along the Sipapo and Autana rivers in a “bongo” (covered long boat), stopping for lunch and a refreshing swim at Isla Raton in the middle of the river – our destination the magical / mythical mountain of Autana Tepui, bordering a number of different indigenous territories such as those of the Piarao.
Arrival in Puerto Ayacucho, transfer to a local hotel for the night. During the balance of the day we can visit the town centre with its plaza full of indigenous people selling their handicrafts and art followed by a visit to the local indigenous museum and scheduling permitting visit Plaza Bolivar and the local cathedral with its impressive hand painted walls and ceilings (some painted by the local governor of the state – an artist in his own rights).
Overnight at a local posada or hotel (no meals).
Following breakfast, transfer by van or car to the local port of Puerto de Samariapo to board our “bongo” for our river boat ride. We will stop along the way for a swim and for lunch at Isla Raton, a rocky outcrop with a stony beach. Continuing on we will see many Piaroa communities along the banks of the river and at one stage before leaving the Orinoco River, even the border of Columbia in the distance.
The river boat ride is about 5 or so hours, either side lush rainforest rises up from the banks, occasional indigenous communities or of course many species of river birds, birds of prey and other exotic species take to the air along the way.
Late afternoon we arrive at our destination, A Piaroa community alongside rapids and a wide stretch of the Autana River with views of the Cerro Autana in the distance. Here we sling our hammocks in the designated churuata and maybe take another swim before dinner. (L,D)
Early breakfast and coffee at the camp we take off to meet some of the locals in the pueblo (village community) and see how they survive deep in the interior. They are hunters and fishermen but have been touched by western society, wearing westerners clothes – they are a little timid so it helps break the ice if you learn a few basic words to make them smile and warm to you.
Now it’s time for our ascent to the top of the mountain in the distance strategically placed between two larger mountains both impressive but Autana stands out! We will cross the river by boat and take a path to the top enjoying the sounds and sights of the rain forest as we ascend to the highest point – it’s about a 2-3 hour hike / trek. The way is moderately easy save the last few hundred metres when real care needs to be taken to climb a vertical path. The trek is worth it – you will see for yourself when you reach the summit. WOW!! Breathtaking!!
We will be sat between two huge mountains and above the rainforest and rivers below.
After enjoying some time at the summit we will return back to base camp for a swim and a hot dinner, probably bbq but if a nice fish has been caught well…..(B,L,D)
Very early in the morning we will return by bongo (photo below) back to the port and Puerto Ayacucho for our flight to Caracas.
Transportation to and from Autana. Either by bus, private car or air.
Accommodation: Posada / hotel in Puerto Ayacucho – 1 night. 1 or 2 nights in hammocks – Autana.
All transfers in Puerto Ayacucho.
River boat transfers by “bongo”.
Meals: as described in program itinerary.
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