Venezuela is a land of sheer beauty.
The southeastern Gran Sabana region is studded with dramatic table-top mountains known as ‘tepuis’. In the language of the region’s indigenous Pemon people, this means ‘House of the Gods’. Their towering height and vertical flanks make most impossible to climb, but the summit of 2,180-metre-high Roraima can be reached on foot.
Gran Sabana is also home to the spectacular Angel Falls, the world’s highest waterfall. You’ll need to hike through forests and cross open plains to reach it, but the sight of white, foamy water plummeting nearly 1,000 metres down the face of a precipitous cliff is one definitely worth seeing.
And that’s not all. In the far west lie the final few peaks of the epic Andes Mountain Range, and the old city of Mérida makes a perfect base for exploring the region’s cloud forests and rocky valleys.
But it’s not all dizzying heights and sheer drops. You can keep your feet firmly on the ground in the low-lying and wildlife-rich grasslands of Los Llanos to the west, or anywhere along Venezuela’s Caribbean coastline. You’ll find many a white-sand beach here, and if you’re willing to sail the extra 90 miles, the Los Roques archipelago offers even more tranquility, and is a nirvana for snorkellers and scuba divers.
Caracas, the throbbing capital, is busy and noisy but full of grit. Amble between contemporary art galleries and old museums, go partying in Las Mercedes, or take the modern cable car to the top of Mount Avila for sweeping sea views.
For somewhere to stay, you can choose from a fairly good range of hotels, apartments and guesthouses in Caracas and Isla de Margarita, another of the offshore islands.