Few organized adventure sports are regularly practiced in this region. Despite the scores of rivers, with ample rapids and white water, no one yet is offering any rafting or kayaking in the area. Aside from the relatively soft adventures mentioned below multiday treks around the region, including climbs of Auyántepui and Roraima, are possible. If you're interested in a multiday trek, you can ask one of the local tour operators in Canaima, or try Akanan Travel & Adventure (tel. 0212/715-5433 or 0414/116-0107; www.akanan.com), Cacao Expeditions (tel. 0212/977-1234; www.cacaotravel.com), or Lost World Adventures (tel. 800/999-0558 in the U.S., or 0212/577-0303 in Caracas; www.lostworldadventures.com).
With an uninterrupted drop of 807m (2,648 ft.) and a total drop of 979m (3,211 ft.), Angel Falls is an impressive sight -- and as you are already aware, the tallest waterfall on earth. The vast majority of tourists who visit Angel Falls get to see it only from the window of their airplane. Almost all flights to Canaima, both commercial and charter, attempt a flyover of the falls. However, given the fact that Angel Falls is located up a steep canyon that is often socked in with clouds (especially in the rainy season), the flyovers are sometimes either aborted or offer limited views. Moreover, even on a good day, when the plane makes a couple of passes on each side, the view is somewhat distant and fleeting. If for some reason your flight doesn't make the pass in front of Angel Falls, you can arrange for a quick flyover for BsF150 to BsF260 per person, with a minimum of four persons. Ask at your hotel or check at the airport. Be aware: If you choose to purchase a flyover trip to Angel Falls, most operators will not refund your money, even if you don't catch the slightest glimpse of the falls.
If you want to really enjoy the splendor of Angel Falls, you'll have to take a trip there in a boat. Almost all the hotels and tour agencies in Canaima offer 1-, 2-, and 3-day tours to Angel Falls. As the route and distance traveled are the same, the only difference is the amount of time you actually spend at the falls -- and whether or not you spend a night or two in a hammock at one of the rustic camps, near the base of the falls. Typically the tour begins at 5am with a pickup at your hotel and transfer to the tiny port atop Ucaima Falls. From here, you travel up the Carrao River, with a portage around some particularly rough rapids, to Isla Orquídea or another camp for a breakfast stop. After breakfast, it's back into the boats and on to the narrow Churún River, which snakes up Cañón del Diablo (Devil's Canyon) and over scores of rapids to Isla Ratoncito (Little Mouse Island) at the base of the falls. On average, the upriver journey takes 4 to 5 hours. Keep your eyes peeled and you might see a toucan, cock-of-the-rock, or some howler monkeys. Once at the base, you'll still need to hike for another hour or so uphill through tropical forest to reach the pools at the foot of the falls. The hike is somewhat strenuous and can be slick and muddy, but a swim in the refreshing pool at the foot of the massive falls makes it worth the effort. Back on Isla Ratoncito, you'll have lunch before boarding the boats once again for the trip back to Canaima. With the current, the trip is a bit faster and you should even get to visit Salto El Sapo before being dropped back off at your hotel around sunset.
Multiday tours sometimes leave later in the morning or afternoon, sacrificing a visit to the falls on the first day. However, once there, you get to spend a longer time at the foot of the falls, and/or visit the falls on consecutive days. Moreover, because of positioning, the sunrise and early morning sun directly hits the falls, while in the afternoon they are more backlit, with the sun setting behind Auyántepui.
Day tours from Canaima range from BsF215 to BsF538 per person. Two-day, one-night tours to Angel Falls can cost between BsF300 and BsF600. Be careful about trying to save a few dollars: Paying more for a respectable operator will often get you a boat with two working engines (required by law, but not always the case in practice), a more experienced captain (important, given the nature of the rivers), and a better and truly bilingual guide.
Other Area Falls
Several distinct and impressive falls work together to form the Canaima lagoon. All of these are easily visited in organized boat trips out of town. The most popular of these falls is Salto El Sapo, which is located on the backside of small Anatoly's Island, on the north end of the lagoon. A visit to Salto El Sapo includes a 15-minute hike across the island, from the foot of Hacha Falls to the base of Salto El Sapo. After a swim in the pool here, you are led along a path that passes behind the falls (be prepared to get wet), then up around the other side, with a visit to the smaller El Sapito Falls, and then (when the water level permits) across the top. Walking behind El Sapo Falls in the rainy season is very impressive. Tours to Salto El Sapo often include lunch, or at the very least a refreshment.
Hacha, Golondrina, and Ucaima falls are located in a neat row fronting the lagoon. They can be observed and enjoyed from just about any point along the edge of the lagoon or by dugout canoe. At a 15-minute hike uphill from the small village, you'll find a little lookout built as part of the small hydroelectric plant on the top of Ucaima Falls. It's not Niagara, but it's a pretty good view. A 10-minute drive and then a 15-minute boat ride downstream are the wide and roaring Yuri Falls. A visit to Yuri Falls usually includes a short but interesting walk through the forest. All the hotels and tour operators in town offer trips to these waterfalls, in half- and full-day combinations, which often include a little bit of hiking, a little bit of swimming, and lunch and/or refreshments. Prices range from BsF75 to BsF150 for a half-day tour, and from BsF125 to BsF250 for a full-day tour.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.