FINALLY!! I was waiting for that moment a long time ago! After 4 of my friends and I decided to go to Canaima National Park for a week, I couldn’t wait any longer. I’ve seen pictures from friends and family and Gran Sabana looked so gorgeous that I was dying to go there. But, naturally, being there is not the same as looking at a picture or even videos. The experience of driving through those beautiful views, looking at the tepuys so close to me, breathing nature, it was something that I have to do again and again… and again! So, when are we going again??
The trip was amazing, first because of crew (great friends) and of course, the whole time that we spent in Bolivar state. We drove for about 5 hours from Lecheria, Anzoategui to Puerto Ordaz, Bolivar. The only thing we needed to worry about, was getting the gas tank full every time we could. After El Tigre in Anzoategui, there was any gas station for a long time. We kept driving and arrived at Bolivar state. How did we know? We needed to pass by the Orinoco River and the newest bridge over the river made us stop and take pictures. One thing I have to add, the roads in Bolivar state are in great conditions! *clap clap for another state in Venezuela!* Great for road trips! From Puerto Ordaz to the entrance of Gran Sabana it was going to be another 6 hours. So we decided to spend the night in Guasipati, only 3 hrs away from Puerto Ordaz. Guasipati is a small town on the way. We didn’t like the hotel where we spent the night, however, we weren’t waiting for a 5 star resort. It was pretty messy and from 1-5 of cleanliness, maybe a 2 1/2. But I guess all the hotels by that area were going to be the same, besides it’s just to spend the night. So, don’t mind about it! Just lock yourself in by night! Next morning, we found the only place where we can had breakfast and it was so good! Yummy ‘pastelitos’ and passion fruit juice! The name of the place Joy Full, can’t miss it because it’s on the route you’ve been for hours!
After few hours we finally arrived at La Piedra de La Virgen where they welcomed us to Gran Sabana! (well, it was just a sign that said so). Gran Sabana is part of the Canaima National Park. The drive from there to our next stop is the worst! I mean, the road is not damage at all, but a LOT of curves in a very narrow way. Another thing I have to add, there are a lot of security (National Guards) on the way, I guess that’s a good thing. Once we were over that curvy road, the view in front of us was delightful! We stopped at the Soldado Pionero. From there you can have a nice 1st look at one of the tepuys (far view, but good). That stop is not of a big deal, but just the beginning of a great trip ahead! So keep your cameras with you all the way!
On the way to Santa Elena de Uairen (the last city before crossing to Brazil), there are a lot of amazing spots to stop and enjoy nature! Falls, rivers, ravines, and just the entire way made us keep the cameras out to take pictures and capture great clips. Seriously, do not miss any second!
Some of the places where we took a walk or it’s just great for pictures: Kama Meru, Rápidos de Kamoiran, Quebrada de Jaspe and Soroape. Of course, there are a lot more, but hopefully next trip I’ll get to know more. (I’m not kidding, when are we going??)
From Soldado Pionero to Santa Elena de Uairen, it’s about 3 hours without stopping, but obviously you will want to stop everywhere! Just remember to keep the gas tank full! (see below to know where we pump it and we were fine!)
In Santa Elena de Uairen, we stayed with Ruta Salvaje and they even have plans for different things you can do while visiting Gran Sabana. We even went rafting with them! So much fun!
They took us to San Francisco de Yuruani, a small town we passed by on our way to Santa Elena. There is a cascade where we walked inside a water fall, water was cold, but worthy. Then, there is lake and then the rapids. Another day, very early in the morning enjoying a beautiful sunrise, with Ruta Salvaje as well, we did paragliding so we can have a better view to show you at Acceso Total 29! and well… it’s always fun to do those kind of things.
At San Francisco de Yuruani, by the road, there is a small local market with lots of handcrafts and beautiful souvenir you can get for yourself or to take to family and friends (let them know what they are missing!)
Without a doubt, you can’t be in Gran Sabana and forget to spend some time during the night watching the stars! I think we saw about 7 shooting stars and even the milky way was noticeable!
In less than 30 minutes from Santa Elena, we were visiting Brazil! Well, a very tiny spot of the country. We stopped at the border line and took some pictures with both flags. Later, we had lunch at the small town in Brazil. It’s not a big place and it’s not beautiful, but at least we ate churrasco, drank caipirinhas and had a great time. One of my friends even dance samba with local girl.
TIPS for gas: This is very important if you’re doing a road trip to Santa Elena de Uairen:
* If coming from Puerto La Cruz, at El Tigre: full tank. There’s nothing until you get to Puerto Ordaz.
* Pump it again in Puerto Ordaz. Doesn’t matter how much you have in the tank, do it!
* At Km 88 (San Isidro) after El Dorado, Pump it again! it’s the last one for the next 80km ahead (or so)
* At Rapidos de Kamoiran they have a gas station, plus a small place to eat. This is the only place for gas on the road before Santa Elena.
* Once in Santa Elena, there are 2 gas station, it all depends on the car’s tag to know which one to use. But ask first, because usually (or at least during high season as we went) tourists can go first.