Mérida is a city in Venezuela’s Andes mountains, northwest of the country. Located in a lush mountain valley along the Chama River, its known for its Spanish colonial architecture. The palm-shaded Plaza Bolivar is dominated by a statue of Simon Bolivar. To the south, rise the twin stucco bell towers of the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, built in 1786. To the north, in Beethoven Park, 16-bell carillon hourly chime excerpts of the composer's work.
Begin this Venezuela Andes tour in the Spanish city of Merida. It serves as a base for outdoor activities in the nearby Sierra Nevada and Sierra La Culata national parks. Visit the Páramo region of the higher Andes and visit the Andean villages. Then explore Llanos, the vast plains known for its wildlife that includes a variety of birds and mammal species; capybara, the world’s largest rodent, opossum, tapirs, ocelots and magnificent jaguars.
TRAVEL UNTAMED ON THIS 6-DAY VENEZUELA ANDES TOUR…
And, learn salsa where locals are eager to teach how to dance.
Venezuela Andes & Llanos
Merida, the Andes and the Llanos
(6 Days – Travel Any Day)
Day 1 – Arrive
Caracas Meet and greet at the airport and take a private transfer to your hotel.
Overnight: Hotel Alba Caracas.
Day 2 – Transfer
Mérida Transfer to airport for our flight to Mérida in Andes. Meet and greet on arrival and transfer to a charming posada in the heart of Merida’s colonial district. It’s known for its Spanish colonial architecture, its parks and squares, and as a base for outdoor activities in the nearby Sierra Nevada and Sierra La Culata national parks. If time permits, take a guided tour to local villages, to the coffee and sugar cane plantation or to the Páramos.
Overnight: Posada Casa Sol (B)
Day 3 – Private Hike & Tour
Andes Explore the Páramo region of the higher Andes and visit the Andean villages where a special type of mountain dog is bred. At Laguna Mucubají, we will hike for about 2 hours to Laguna Negra – a beautiful glacial lagoon at 3,000 meters, whose dark waters mirror the surrounding landscape. We will visit the biological station of Mifafi, working to protect the endangered Frontino Bear, and to reintroduce the Condor to the Venezuelan Andes. Then drive along Pico El Aguila, at 4,100 meters, the highest mountain pass in the Venezuelan Andes, marvelling at the spectacular views.
Overnight: Hotel Los Frailes (B, L, D)
Day 4 – Wildlife Tour
Llanos After breakfast we will wind our way down to the Llanos, the vast plains which dominate the central area of Venezuela. It is an incredible place to see wildlife. There are a variety of birds and mammal species, including the well-known capybara, the world’s largest rodent, opossum, tapirs, ocelots and magnificent jaguars. The local rivers are inhabited by fresh-water porpoises and the largest American crocodile, the Orinoco caiman, among a variety of other tropical species.
Enjoy your stay at a working cattle ranch, whose mission is to protect the spectacular wildlife of the Llanos. Morning and afternoon animal-watching excursions are done on open trucks, boat, or on foot.
Overnight at Hato el Cedral (B, L, D)
Day 5 – Working of a Ranch
Llanos Today we will enjoy a full day of animal watching and learn the working of ranch.
Overnight at Hato el Cedral (B, L, D)
Day 6 – Transfer
Caracas After breakfast, we will transfer to Barinas airport for our flight to Caracas. (B)
Make this your holiday
Getting There The Avior and SBA Airlines offer direct flights to Miami but not to any other US or European destinations. European carriers such as Air France, Iberia and Air Europa operate direct flights from mainland Europe. Nearly all international visitors arrive at Caracas' Aeropuerto Internacional Simón Bolívar in Maiquetía, 26km from Caracas. The national carrier is Conviasa.
When to go Venezuela’s proximity to the Equator allows few climatic variations making it a year-round destination. The best time however, is the dry season, which runs from December to April. The wet season runs from May to November and is not all that bad for some sights, including the famous Angel Falls that are certainly more impressive in the wet season.
In Los Llanos, wildlife spotting is much more abundant during the dry season, when the animals congregate at the few watering holes, and hordes of pesky mosquitoes make walking very unpleasant during the wet season. Also Guayana region is more comfortable during this dry season, though Angel Falls tends to be fuller and more spectacular during the wet season.