Venezuela is a country with shockingly diverse landscapes.
Los Llanos is a region that’s seasonally flooded but right now is the dry season. It’s mostly open savanna and is generally full of wildlife. I climbed this tree to get some better photos of the Howler Monkeys who didn’t quite howl at my encroachment on their territory but let open plenty of intimidating grunts whilst shifting about the tree to get better views of me – which was ideal for me with the camera (prob have to click on the monkey pic to appreciate it).
Another great treat in Los Llanos was going to see river dolphin on a boat trip – Clare swears they were pink (one of the two river dolphin types in the continent) but I’m not too sure…
The South American music scene has managed to keep on surprising me with another quite unique style here – Joropo – almost rapped by country folk about how they’re humble horse-riders etc; and this is over music including a harp. You can have a listen at some point; I’ve got a view CDs (pirate of course, it’s almost the only way to buy music).
So we headed off to the far north east corner of the country which is a stunning coastline. We managed to get to some isolated parts with empty long beaches backed by hillsides of tropical forests. However, these areas are known for being a bit dangerous and so we weren’t able to properly enjoy them; more kind of travelling (hiking/boat) through them. The ones we did make good use of were very typical carribean, lined with palms and mostly empty too, in the region around a fishing village (pic below).
Further west in a more popular coastal region we went on a couple of boat trips to visit some excellent beaches and islands – enjoying some of my favourite snorkelling ever over coral reefs. They were different to anything else I’d seen because of the varieties of coral of so many shapes and colours – an underwater tropical garden.
We also saw loads of dolphins from the boat, plus I jumped of a cliff/rock into the sea – my highest crazy/stupid (but not my last!) leap of about 8-9m.
The theme since the coast has been waterfalls. I’m in the Gran Sabana; a beautiful natural region of rolling plains, palm forests and dotted with table-top mountains from where most of the rivers round here are born. A great 2 day tour took a fun group of us to loads of varied waterfalls – a wide ribbon one (6m high, 60m wide), a tall classic one and numerous smaller falls some with natural water slides and a couple flowing over bright red jasper rock. Plenty of fun was had swimming and jumping off the higher rocks. I also purchased a cool mini blow-dart pipe….sweet.
By the way, my switching from “we” to “I” is because Clare set off for Brasil today whilst I’m hanging around in Venezuela to go on a 6 day trek tomorrow. Wandering along earlier I saw Spurs Vs Man U on a TV in a kind of bar so sat down, ordered my BBQ/grill chicken and sat through my first English footy match since March or April. Well, I managed to catch 60 mins or so – enough to confirm Spurs were gonna lose – when the president suddenly appeared on the screen. Hugo Chavez was being driven on a procession of horses, cars and security through some big avenida, waving at the crowds. Five mins later he was still saluting and waving so I guess the TV channel agreed with me that Spurs had no hope of a comeback and so gave up on the game.
Feels like the final leg of the trip now. We don’t have enough money to stay on so should be back in Blighty mid March. Before that though there’s plenty going on…so you’ll probably be treated to a few more entries yet…