While Santa Fe is chilled and has an OK beach, it's the boat rides to the islands that you come here for. Jump on a boat and head to the islands where you can eat fresh oysters from a man just walking round with a bucket of them and some limes, stroke the huge lizards and then pop back on the boat for some snorkelling in some beautiful, marine life abundant coral reefs - perfection.
Eight years ago when we went it was still relatively unknown and quiet - pure bliss.
Parque Nacional Mochima
Google map: bit.ly/rnZLpb
I know you can only take a 10kg bag plus handbag on the six-seater planes (my stuff wasn't weighed), but be aware that anything you need to buy in Canaima i.e. booze is amazingly expensive. Beers 10Bs a can. I paid 80Bs for two rum & cokes...
Do a bit of research into where you will be staying in Canaima. There are a couple of very swish places with fantastic views, but the rest are more basic. I overheard some European people in a group who were very unhappy with their accommodation taking into account the price they had paid."This is just NOT good enough..."
If you go up to stay at Angel Falls expect things to be basic. There will be food and "some" water. Take any booze but also take some extra water for cleaning your teeth etc. Don't forget the guide companies have to lug the stuff up there.
(Ear plugs are a must... snorers...)
I also recommend taking the tractor & trailer option on the way up; the walk is a bit of a slog. In the canoe our guide allowed us to spend some of the trip sitting on our life-jackets, but other groups were not allowed to, the nearly three hours sitting on a small hard wooden bench is not much fun... Shoes get wet...
I went to Canaima in August 2009. There were lots of mozzies. We didn't have to portage on the river trip up to Angel Falls but the boat was bottoming a lot. I can imagine that in drier times of the year there would be considerable scrambling up through the rocks. I was told that earlier in the year tourists were arriving with no idea that due to the lack of river flow it was impossible to get up to Angel Falls. The locals in Canaima had to put up with a lot of criticism when, in their opinions, the European travel agents should have been informing their clients.
We arrived in the afternoon and trekked up to the viewpoint (me 50 mins, my wife 1.30 hrs) - sunny and clear. The next morning the falls were covered in mist... tough on the group that had stayed the night with the plan to trek up then.
Of the gift shops the one nearest the airport was the most reasonably priced.
All in all we had a great visit. We had a great time.
A yoga retreat on a cocoa plantation, next to a small chocolate factory. Run by a Californian Venezuelan, you can practice yoga and meditation, have a massage, wander through the plantation, swim in the splash pool, and relax watching the humming birds.
Food is excellent and imaginative, while chocolate is not obligatory, but recommended. Outings can be arranged to palm-shaded sandy coves or hot springs.
Just four self contained rooms at a very reasonable all-in price, especially if you make sure to take dollar or euro cash, rather than credit or debit cards to Venezuela.
Formerly known as Hacienda Bukare, PariaShakti is five miles from Rio Caribe, a pretty fishing village you can reach in half an hour by communal taxi or bus from Carupano on the north east coast.
or write to Greta Sanchez at email@example.com.
Tel: 0058 0426 8196035
or 0058 0294 4163678
Head into the Los Llanos back-waters for a few days - one of the most ecologically rich areas on the planet.
You'll be sure to see Cayman, Piranhas, Anacondas, pink river dolphins, and thousands of bird species.
Mostly national park wilderness of rainforests and cloud forests in the north east corner of Venezuela running down to tropical beaches. It's a gigantic botanical garden teeming with wildlife such as the scissor-tailed hummingbird, white-throated barbtail, and Venezuelan parakeet. There are also two and three-toed sloths and anteaters.
Stay at Hacienda Bukare above the seaside town of Río Caribe, a beautifully run cocoa plantation that lies right on the edge of the jungle. We also took a boat tour of nearby Turuepano national park - a vast, swampland, whose canals are populated by caimans, fresh-water dolphins, manatees, otters and piranhas.
Send your feedback or queries to firstname.lastname@example.org