Angel Falls
Angel Falls

Angel Falls is the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall. Located in Canaima National Park, the second largest national park in Venezuela, the waterfall tumbles from a cleft near the summit of table top mountain Auyán-tepu into what is known as Devil’s Canyon, 3212 feet (979m) below. The falls are a tributary of the Carrao River, itself part of Venezuela’s Orinoco River system. Considered among the world’s most dazzling natural wonders, Angel Falls are a truly unforgettable spectacle.

History of Angel Falls

Before the mid-1950s, the falls were an unknown wonder. Even the indigenous Kamarakotos Pómon tribe who occupied the valley beside Auyán-tepu stayed away, believing that Angel Falls’ remote location harboured malign spirits.

In 1933, air-borne American gold prospector James Crawford (‘Jimmie’) Angel discovered Angel Falls accidentally, flying over the mountain in his Flamingo monoplane while in search of a valuable ore bed.

In 1937, Jimmie returned to the falls, his second wife, Marie, and acquaintances Gustavo Henry and Miguel Delgado also aboard his jittery, fixed-wing plane.
Although Jimmie landed his plane successfully on Auyán-tepu’s heart-shaped summit, the plane’s wheels became submerged in mud, and Jimmie’s aircraft remained marooned atop the mountain until 1970.

For 11 days, the group trekked across rough terrain, having to ration their limited food supplies, until they reached a small settlement at Kamarata. Word spread of Jimmie’s exploits and the falls’ were duly named after him. The tale piqued international interest in Angel Falls and many scientific investigations followed.

Canaima National Park was founded in 1962. In 1994, UNESCO named it a World Heritage Site.

Visiting Angel Falls

Canaima National Park, with its breath-taking variety of tropical wildlife an awe-inspiring vistas, is the gateway to Angel Falls. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is only accessible by air; there are no overland routes into the park.

Rutaca and Avior airlines provide flights to and from the airstrip at Canaima camp. Passengers fly over dense swathes of deep jungle, much of which remains untouched by man, as well as ancient mountains, and many snaking rivers.

Before flying out, travellers must prove that they have been vaccinated against yellow fever. Visitors to the park generally fly from the colonial town of Ciudad Bolivar or Venezuela’s capital, Caracas. (It is also possible, though costly, to charter a private plane.)

Angel Falls (Salto Angel) is marked in the top left of the map in blue

Upon arriving at Canaima camp, an entry fee of approximately $4 is levied. Situated roughly 50 kilometres from Angel Falls, the Canaima camp is framed by several (lower altitude) waterfalls, which flow into a beautiful, mineral-stained lagoon edged by sandy beaches. Excursions to Angel Falls proceed from the camp, while tourist accommodation is situated a short Jeep ride away.

Having reached the park, a popular way to get to Angel Falls is by boat, though visitors can also fly from Canaima airstrip to Canaima lagoon. Motorised canoes travel upstream between May and January. Journey times vary, though, on average, it takes about five hours to reach the falls from camp. Winding waterways, edged with dense forest, teem with exotic wildlife; canoes zoom over boulders through rapidly flowing sections of river and those on-board are liable to get wet. From the lagoon, visitors then trek through lush, Venezuelan jungle, to various viewing points. If the flow of the falls is gentle enough, tourists are encouraged to swim in pools formed by the plummeting water.

Trips to Angel Falls can be booked in advance through various tour operators. Park lodges also run scheduled trips that can be booked upon your arrival at Canaima camp.

Things to do at Canaima National Park

Canaima National Park is approximately the size of Belgium. Duly, there are many things to see and do. The park is home to more than 550 species of bird, 500 species of orchid, ocelots, pumas and much more besides.

As well as opportunities to plunge into natural jacuzzis and bask on the shores of wide lagoons, visitors are encouraged to take part in hikes, boat trips and excursions into indigenous villages, all of which can be booked both in advance and through park lodges upon arrival. Tours last from an afternoon to a number of nights and different tours cater to different hiking abilities and interests.

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Angel Falls

Roraima, a table-top mountain near the park’s Guyana/Brazil border, is the tallest tepui in the park and extremely impressive. This slumbering giant measures 2,810 metres at its highest point and remains a favourite among those hungry for heart-stopping views. A trek to its summit takes five days. A guide is essential and can be hired from Canaima camp.

A famous “walkway” between the Sapo (“Frog”) and Sapito (“Little Frog”) Falls offers visitors to Canaima National Park the opportunity to walk behind cascading curtain of water, while Kevác Canyon and its dramatic waterfall, La Cueva, are located northwest of Kamarata – an old Pómon village. A miniature indigenous-run resort comprising a handful of thatched huts is also situated in this region. Here, you’ll discover a small shop, guest accommodation, and a tiny airstrip.

When to Visit Angel Falls

Angel Falls are best seen between the months of May and November. Between December and April, rainfall is much more infrequent and the falls all but evaporate, diminishing to a dribble.auyantepui-with-angel-falls

Where to stay near Angel Falls

There is a range of accommodation available to park visitors, the majority of which is situated just a short Jeep ride from Canaima camp. Camping is forbidden in Canaima National Park.

Interesting Facts about Angel Falls

  • Angel Falls is in fact the highest waterfall in the World. In Spanish it’s name is Salto Angel and it falls from a height of 3230 feet with an uninterrupted drop of an incredible 2647 feet.
  • During the rainy season, Angel Falls creates its own weather. At certain times of year, those within a one-kilometre radius of the falls can feel mist settling on their skin.
  • Angel Falls is three times as tall as Paris landmark, the Eiffel Tower.
  • Canaima National Park is divided into two sections: west and east. Angel Falls is located in the western sector.
  • Tourists have only been permitted to visit Angel Falls since 1990. The first visitors to Angel Falls stayed in the Boulton Camp, which is now known as Campamento Canaima.
  • Jimmy Angel’s plane can be seen at the Aeronautics Museum of Maracay.

 

 

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77 COMMENTS

  1. […] Devil’s Canyon (Angel Falls) – Canaima National Park, Venezuela […]

  2. If some body wants to go “The Angel Falls” then first you have to know that it can be best seen between the months of May and November…….Thanks

  3. I lived in Venezuela during the late 1950’s thru to 1970. I visited the falls in the early 70’s. don’t remember the exact year, though I believe it was 72 or 73. Stayed in a camp run by “Jungle Rudy”. don’t know way the article says thast visitors have only been allowed since 1990.

    • Jungle Rudy, a Dutch Veterinarian and his family entertained us with Toucans, Lapas monkeys etc
      When I lived there in 74-75 . Wonderful experience in a wonderful country at the time.
      A good friend of USA then. Lived on mangos, piranha, caiman , wild boar and turtles with the natives.

  4. I saw angel falls at the age of 16 as i was lucky enough to have been chosen by my school to fund raise the whole trip whilst they had planned it. The feeling you get stood at the bottom of the falls is truly immense and i HIGHLY advice anyone to go see it. Also Jimmie Angels plane is no longer in the museum, its situated outside the airport in cuidad bolivar. :)))

  5. I’ve been there, beginning of the 2000’s. I flew from Caracas on a mosquito-like plane. About what to do, it’s an encounter with nature. You go there to amaze yourself not only with the tallest waterfall, but to enjoy the quiet nights, to admire the sight of the lagoon under the moonlight and, of course, to boost your adrenaline level during your ride on a piragua (canoe), in your way to the base of the fall. Definitively, a must for a wonder-searcher… One advice: be prepared for the mosquitos!

  6. Thank you for giving such a good information. Angel falls is really a nice place. I have fallen in love with this place. I will also write about this place in my blog. I have also written about many other good places to travel but this is really a good one.

    • My in-laws are from Venezuela and they don’t even dare go back right now because it is so dangerous… I wouldn’t recommend anyone going right now, sadly.

  7. Angel Falls looks amazing and I hope one day i can go there. The facts helped me with a geography project. Thanks.

      • Wow the photos of angle falls is very beutiful I loved to see it . It was my homework given by my teacher. I wish that I should also go there and enjoy the falls seeing in reality 😉

  8. I flew over angel falls in 1962 in a piper 150 float plane and saw jimmy Angels plane still there. I also saw a second small plane that had crashed there. The men were rescued and flown to the u.s. Later by Arthur Godfrey. I left Venezuela in 1966.
    Ken johnsen

  9. Seems like the Smithsonian should have Jimmy Angel’s plane, but oh well. I went in December 1987, flew in a single prop 4 seater, very close to the Falls. Getting there was equally interesting. Hundreds of miles of unspoiled forest broken only by threads of river and tiny clearings.

    The tepuis were fascinating. I had remembered Edgar Rice Burroughs novel The Lost World describing the isolated dense plateaus which harbored dinosaurs and imperiled the little band of crash survivors. Absolutely spot on. Primitive nature at its most mysterious still permeates the area. We slept in hammocks, bathed in the river before breakfast, and ate fresh eggs and newly slaughtered huge!! free roaming chicken for lunch. The best chicken I’ve ever had. The host family of the small compound still used a blow dartgun to kill smaller wild animals, I saw them do it!

    It is still my favorite best vacation ever.

  10. Angel Falls crashes down inside great tepui, a vast C-shaped open-centered geological formation that rises high above the surrounding jungle. The tree covered mountain top of the tepui has its own environment yet also is jungle thus gathering sufficient water to create Angel Falls. My opportunity to view Angel Falls was while flying north from Brazil. The spacious inside of the tepui was so vast our plane could fly inside of the spectacular open centered tepui several times at different altitudes for lots of photos. Truly a site to see.

  11. As a consequence of many years of very corrupt government and judiciary including the police, personal security is a huge problem for both residents and those few foreigners who dare to travel to Venezuela now. I have been there many times on both business and touring and to see what has happened to what used to be one of the most beautiful and prosperous countries in the world is truly heartbreaking. Unless you have arranged for someone to pay the ransom you might never be seen again when you get kidnapped. My suggestion is to read about the place, look at the many videos and pictures and leave it at that. It’s all very sad.

  12. Due to the dangers involved in visiting this country and the tricky access to view the waterfall wouldn’t it make more sense for the Americans to buy up this area and move the whole thing to somewhere in California. That way a lot more people would get to see them without risking a trip to Venezuela.

    • Moving it to California wouldn’t solve the problem. California is following in Venezuela’s footsteps of Socialism and Communism. Born in S.F. and lived there 43 years. Streets are filled with recently released inmates and illegals. Try Texas.

  13. This is a brilliant post, thank you for sharing these great tips on south america. I think you are right with mentioning the information which is useful and very informative for all of us. I am sure many people will come to read this in future.

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