Tag Archives: Cloud forest

Postcard from Henri Pittier National Park

14 Sep

Henri Pittier National Park has always been appreciated for its natural beauty and diverse ecosystems and in 1937 it became the first national park in Venezuela. It was created to protect the cloud forest and marine coastal environments from land clearance for agricultural purposes, and was quickly recognised for its great variety of plants and wildlife. The park covers 1078 square kilometres of rolling coastal mountain ranges, beautiful bays of golden sand and turquoise waters. It’s justifiably earned a top spot on any backpacker’s Venezuelan adventure. The park ticks all the right boxes with stunning coastlines, well preserved colonial villages with funky budget accommodation and tasty food options, trekking trails through lush mountains and the chance to spot rare animals and birds in the wild.

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Struck by lightning – the Catatumbo phenomenon

27 Aug

They say that fact is often stranger than fiction and this was certainly the case with ‘Catatumbo’ – a mind blowing phenomenon found nowhere else in the world apart from the shores of Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela. It’s here where lightning strikes, almost nightly in season, but in complete silence, without any thunder. During intense periods, clouds can reach more than five kilometres in height and flashes are so bright and consistent (up to the 280 times per hour) it’s possible to write your travel journal by! We’d been reliably informed that mother nature puts on an unforgettable show that had to be seen with our own eyes to be believed.

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Pilgrimage to Machu Picchu – The Salkantay trek

21 Oct

Machu Picchu is considered to be one of the new 10 Wonders of the World and the legendary Inca Trail, a 4 day and 3 night trek following the old Inca road, is the most popular way to reach the site, taking in several smaller archeological sites along the way and reaching Machu Picchu for sunrise on day 4. Over the last 10 years or so the Inca Trail seems to have become a victim of its own success. Several years ago it became necessary to limit the number of trekkers using the trail as the sheer volume of traffic meant that the ruins were being damaged, litter was becoming a problem and sanitary conditions were appalling. The quota is now 500 people per day, which, along with trekkers, includes guides, porters and cooks. The measures taken were required to preserve Machu Picchu, but the outcome has been devastating for the humble backpacker with prices for the trek going through the roof and the waiting list to join the trek extending to 5 or 6 months in some cases. With all of this considered, we decided to try one of the many alternative treks, which offer equally as stunning scenery and the chance to visit small villages before ending up at Machu Picchu on the ultimate day. The alternative trek we chose was the Salkantay trek which traverses snow-capped mountain ranges, passes turquoise lagoons and hot springs, and descends into lush jungle before spending one night at a small town called Aguas Calientes and rising early the following morning for sunrise at Machu Picchu.

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