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.
This tour is an exploration of the Venezuelan Andes and Llanos. Located in the Orinoco River Basin, they are one of the world’s richest tropical grasslands - an area decorated with colourful flowers and low-lying plants and shrubs. This rugged “cowboy country” is teeming with wildlife, harbouring more than 50 species of mammals and over 300 species of birds.
Begin your adventure in the city of Merida, a Spanish city in the Andes Mountains of north-western Venezuela. The city is majestically framed by the snow-capped ‘Five White Eagles’ peaks, of which the tallest is Pico Bolivar.
Then journey through mountainside villages, shimmering lakes, and streams brimming with life. Having dipped our toe into the spectacular sights and sounds of the Andes, we will explore the vast plains of the Llanos and marvel at the spectacular array of wildlife and ecology.
This tour is a dream for naturalists, birdwatchers and everybody who wants to discover nature close-up, with the guidance of professional naturalist guides.
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.
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)
The true price is customised based on final choice of hotels, travel dates, and other custom preferences. All prices exclude international flights.
Price Includes: hotels, airport transfers and transportation within the country, unique experiences guided by local experts and 24X7 support during your trip.
Make this your holiday
Overview Venezuela is a country of striking natural beauty; it has the white-sand beaches in the north, the steamy Amazonian jungles in the south, ranges of the snow-capped Andean peaks in the west, and a beautiful Gran Sabana plateau, with its strange flat-topped mountain in the east.
Venezuela also has a few geographical superlatives; it has the world's highest waterfall, South America's biggest lake and the third longest river. It also has jaguars, armadillos and some of the most spectacular landscapes you'll ever see.
Although Venezuela is geographically a part of South America, it has the feel and flavour of a Caribbean country. Its vast palm fringed beaches could easily be mistaken for that of some paradisiacal Caribbean island, and at night the discos in Caracas come alive with rhythms from all over the Caribbean.
Where to go Caracas: Venezuela's capital is a city of soaring skyscrapers and crumbling shanty towns. It is also a surprisingly green city, spread along the fringes of the lush Avila National Park, and is one of Latin America's most cultured capitals, with superb modern art galleries and a thriving theatre scene.
Isla Margarita: Venezuela's prime island beach resort and one of the Caribbean's most popular budget destinations for Europeans and North Americans who want to enjoy sun and surf without seriously denting their wallets.
Islas Los Roques: A corner of paradise is how most visitors describe the archipelago of Los Roques, lying approximately 166 km north of Maiquetía, a small plane flight of about 40 minutes. With some 40 islands and cays large enough to bear names, pristine white sand beaches and crystalline waters, it is one of the country's most popular yet idyllic hideaways.
Orinoco Delta: For millennia, the world's eighth-largest river, the 2,140-km long Orinoco has surged towards the Atlantic, creating some 44 metres of new land each year. With the opening of tourist lodges in the interior of this water wonderland, visitors have a chance to observe its abundant fauna and learn about its original and principal inhabitants, the Warao people.
Angel Falls: The star attraction of Canaima National Park in the vast Gran Sabana, this is the highest (978 metres) and longest (807 metres) free drop of water in the world. The whole region draws adventure seekers, for exploration of its tannin-dyed rivers and mysterious flat-topped tepuyes (plateaus).
Mount Roraima: The biggest and most famous of the hundreds of tepuyes that dominate the horizon of the Gran Sabana in southern Venezuela. Climbers explore its labyrinthine surface, which is pitted with potholes, filled with lush carnivorous plants and bristling with age-worn rockscapes.
The Llanos: Covering nearly a third of Venezuela, from the base of the Andes to the delta of the Orinoco, the vast plains or llanos comprise enormous expanses of land occupied only by huge ranches or hatos. Some of the hatos have established ecotourism camps geared up for safaris of the region's impressive wildlife.
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 is more pleasant and 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.
On the coast, there is less rain and fewer mosquitoes, if slightly higher temperatures. In the Andes, it is more difficult and uncomfortable to climb the popular snowcapped peaks in the wet season, when freezing rain and snow are frequent. In Los Llanos, wildlife spottings are 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. Travel in the Guayana region is more comfortable during the dry season, though Angel Falls tends to be fuller and therefore more spectacular during the wet season.
Venezuelans are great travellers and like to visit their friends and families during the holidays, especially during Christmas, Carnaval (days before the Ash Wednesday) and Semana Santa (Holy week before Easter Sunday). However, these periods are also colourful and entertaining. The average temperature in Venezuela is about 27C, but cooler temperatures prevail at higher elevations, especially in the Andes, where jackets are needed.
Visa Visas for Venezuela are not required by British and other EU countries, Australian and Canadian citizens. However, they require a tourist entry card, which is issued free of charge by an authorised air carrier on presentation of valid air tickets (including return or onward ticket) for stays of up to 90 days. Foreign nationals arriving by sea or land do need a visa in advance from a Venezuelan Embassy or Consulate.
For British Citizens: British nationals arriving by air, can enter Venezuela for up to 90 days on a tourist card issued on arrival. You must have a valid return ticket. If you are arriving overland, or by sea, you must get a visa in advance from your nearest Venezuelan Embassy or Consulate.
Passport validity: Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months for entry into Venezuela.
Visa information source: www.gov.uk