How to visit Angel Falls and Canaima National Park

By Joan Torres Leave a comment Last updated on April 8, 2024

Visit Canaima

Canaima National Park (Parque Nacional de Canaima) is a national park that spreads out across the Gran Sabana region of Bolívar State, in south-eastern Venezuela.

The park has been named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, mainly due to the table mountains – locally known as tepui – that cover 65% of its surface area, constituting a unique bio-geological entity.

Canaima National Park, however, is more popularly known for being home to the world’s tallest uninterrupted waterfall, a 979-meter drop flowing from the top of Auyantepui, one of the many tepuis this park national is famous for among geologists and biologists alike.

This waterfall is called Angel Falls, or Salto del Ángel in Spanish, and has today become the No. 1 tourist attraction in all Venezuela.

In this guide, you will learn how to plan your trip to Angel Falls and and Canaima National Park.

Trip to Angel Falls

🛫 How to get to Angel Falls and Canaima National Park

Canaima is actually a village, or more precisely, an indigenous settlement built in the middle of the jungle, on the shores of Lake Canaima. It’s inhabited by the local indigenous group, the Pemon, who live across Venezuela, Guyana and Brazil, although mainly in the Venezuelan Gran Sabana.

There are no roads connecting with the village so, as of today, the only way to travel to Canaima is by flying in from Caracas.

Gran Sabana of Venezuela
The Gran Sabana of Venezuela

How to get to Canaima from Caracas

Conviasa is the only airline flying from Caracas to Canaima, operating 2 weekly flights between both destinations: Thursday and Sunday.

This means that your stay will either be from Thursday to Sunday, or from Sunday to Thursday.

Obviously, you can stay longer if you want to but technically, camping is strictly forbidden, plus accommodation is ridiculously expensive, so the length of your stay is completely up to you and the rate you manage to negotiate with your campsite.

How to book your flight ticket from Caracas to Venezuela

One of the difficulties of traveling to Venezuela is that you can’t book your domestic flights online. Instead, you have to go to the actual airline office at the airport and purchase your ticket in cash.

That or hire a local travel agency to do it for you, for an additional fee.

I paid around 150 USD for a round-trip ticket from Caracas to Canaima, from Sunday to Thursday, but prices may change depending on the season.

🏨 Where to stay in Canaima and how to book your accommodation

Travelers making a trip to Angel Falls are technically required to book accommodation in Canaima for their entire stay.

To be honest, upon arrival, there isn’t anybody checking whether you’ve already booked accommodation or not, but since camping is not allowed, you’ll have to stay in a lodge anyways, and so booking in advance is highly recommended.

Today, there are around 10-15 lodges scattered along the shores of Lake of Canaima.

To book a room, just contact the property directly.

Typically, the lodges all only sell 4 or 5-day packages that tend to include:

Note that prices are always per person.

Except for 2 or 3 lodges, all of them try to attract the Venezuelan elite, charging similar sums to 5-star hotels in European cities, although they are far less luxurious.

Travel to Canaima
The Lake of Canaima, most lodges are located around this lake

Some of the most popular luxury lodges are:

These lodges dominate the accommodation scene in Canaima, all of them charging around $1600 per person for the previously mentioned package.

Mid-range lodges in Canaima

Then, there are 2 campsites which are a little bit cheaper but still far exceeding any backpacking budget, charging around $1000 for your stay:

Budget campsite in Canaima

The only proper budget campsite in Canaima is Campamento Wey TuPu, which is run by a Pemon family, unlike most other lodges, which are run either by people from Caracas or by foreigners.

That’s where I stayed, and I couldn’t have been happier.

While it’s true that the rooms and facilities were very modest and basic, I felt I was giving something directly to the local community, plus the local family was absolutely lovely and accommodating.

Moreover, the day you visit Angel Falls, you will be sleeping on a hammock right in front of the waterfall, and you will be staying at the same place, eating the same food and using the same toilet as people who paid $1500 to stay in one of the luxury lodges.

In Wey TuPu, I paid $480 for the whole package, excluding flights and the entrance fee to the park, which was $40.

Warning: The Lodge Mafia in Canaima National Park
Depending on the week or season, you won’t be able to book your flight from Caracas to Canaima with Conviasa unless you have a reservation in one of the fancy luxury lodges. The reason for this is that they have an agreement with the airline under which they get the right to reserve all seats for themselves. This means that if you’ve made a reservation at the indigenous lodge of Wey TuPu, the airline might potentially reject your booking, as sad as it sounds.

⛅ Best time to visit Angel Falls and Canaima

Best season for your trip to Angel Falls and Canaima National Park: June to November

June to November is the rainy season, when Angel Falls is at its fastest-flowing.

Dry season: December to May

December is when the dry season starts and the later you travel to Canaima, the less water you’ll find, to the extent that at the very end of the dry season, the boats might not even depart to Angel Falls due to the low level of the river.

I visited Canaima in the month of January. There wasn’t a lot of water but everything was pretty amazing anyway. Another advantage is that you always get clear skies, while during the rainy season, Angel Falls can be shrouded in clouds and mist.

How to get to Angel Falls
This is how Angel Falls looks like in January

🛖 How to plan trip to Angel Falls: Things to do in Canaima National Park

Typically, this is the itinerary most lodges will be offering you, including Wey TuPu.

Day 1 – Arrival and tour around Canaima Lake

After lunch, your guide will probably take you around Canaima Lagoon on the canoe, visiting impressive waterfalls such as Salto del Hacha or El Sapo, with an opportunity to hike just behind the water curtain, which is pretty amazing.

Day 2 – Trip to Angel Falls

Trips to Angel Falls are always made in a canoe that can fit up to 10 passengers.

The whole boat trip takes around 5 hours, with a picnic stop included.

Remember that at the end of the dry season, the trip can take longer and you are likely to walk for the last kilometers.

There are a few campsites near the waterfall, all of them pretty basic and featuring a few dozen hammocks. Some of the fancy lodges – like Waku Lodge – have their own campsite offering a bit more comfort, but not all of them. Customers from Ara Merú for example, were staying in the same site as us.

Day trip or overnight stay?
Some campsites offer the possibility of visiting Angel Falls on a day trip, but I think that’s a big mistake since you’ll basically be spending the whole day in a canoe, with little time to enjoy one of the most amazing natural wonders in the world.

How to visit Angel Falls
This is the view from the campsite I stayed at

Day 3 – Hike to Angel Falls viewpoint and return to Canaima

After breakfast, most travelers will hike up to a viewpoint located nearly at the foot of Angel Falls.

The hike takes around 2.5 hours (round-trip).

After that, you’ll head back to your campsite for lunch, and then back to Canaima on the canoe.

Day 4 – Free day for extra activities

If you are in Canaima from Thursday to Sunday, you’ll be departing on day 4, but if you’re there from Sunday to Thursday, you will have day 4 to keep enjoying the national park.

Most travelers just sit around and relax for the entire day, while others climb one of the tepuis which are close by. There’s also the option of doing a helicopter tour over Angel Falls, but that costs $500 per passenger.

I chose to spend the entire day walking around the lake and the village, where I got a chance to observe a tapir that had just sneaked into town.

Day 5 – Departure

The final day is departure day to Caracas.

💰 How much does a trip to Angel Falls and Canaima cost?

Since all the various campsites will sell you the whole package, the total cost for traveling to Canaima is pretty straightforward to calculate:

Flight ticket: Around $150
Entrance fee to Canaima National Park: $40
Accommodation: from $480 to $2000

❗ More information for traveling Canaima National Park and Angel Falls

📢 In my Travel Resources Page you can find the list of all the sites and services I use to book hotels, tours, travel insurance and more.

Bring your own alcohol

Alcohol is crazy expensive in Canaima, like $4 for a 20cl beer bottle at the supermarket.

I strongly recommend bringing whatever you want to drink inside your checked-in bag. I don’t know how it works in other lodges but in ours, Wey TuPu, they allowed us to put our beers in the fridge.

Is there internet in Canaima?

There isn’t any internet data but the Wi-Fi in the different lodges works OK.

Is Canaima very touristy?

It’s a touristy place, yes, but due to the hefty price tag and the current situation in Venezuela, there aren’t a lot of people, or at least it didn’t feel that way during my visit.

As a traveler, I am not particularly happy about what Canaima has become – like some sort of an eco-park for the wealthiest Venezuelans – but perhaps it’s precisely that exclusivity that has managed to keep Canaima free from the crowds.

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Angel Falls

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