Tag Archives: Merida

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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The ride of your life – Paragliding in Merida

18 Aug

“Enjoy the ride of your life” advertised a large poster depicting an athletic young couple paragliding high above the Andean mountain city of Merida. We stopped in our tracks and stared at the image of them soaring gracefully in the sky, the wind in their hair whilst their tanned and toned bodies effortlessly manoeuvred the wing above their heads and before we could stop ourselves we were booking our own paragliding (tandem) flight. The reality, as we stood on the precipice with harnesses squeezing us in places not designed to be squeezed while strapped to the front of our instructor like baby kangaroos, was quite different. Red faces, sweaty palms and a total lack of co-ordination as our legs turned to jelly. “Are you ready?” yelled the instructor in our ears and just as we were about to shake our heads, we felt a force from behind and we were running down a mountain before launching ourselves off its steep side.

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A tale of two cities…seperated by the world’s longest mountain range

10 Aug

The Andes mountain range is one of the world’s most wondrous spectacles. It is the longest continental mountain range in the world stretching the entire west coast of South America for 4,500 miles or 7,242 kilometres and spanning seven countries – Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela. The range has the highest mountains on the planet, outside of the Himalayas, the tallest of which is Aconcagua in Argentina (6,962m), plus over 50 volcanos reaching 6,000 metres, including the world’s highest, Ojos del Salado (6,893m). Filled with glaciers, lakes, ski fields, the ruins of lost civilisations, thriving cities and indigenous communities amongst other things, these mountains truly are a special place. Our small claim to fame in all of this was travelling the whole length of this incredible range in just over 8 months – from the city of Ushuaia at the ‘world’s end’ in the south of Patagonia, to the city of Merida in the north of hot blooded Venezuela. Continue reading

Venezuela – falling off the tourist radar

21 Jun

Venezuela, or officially “The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela”, is one of the most beautiful and diverse countries on the planet but it remains hugely under-visited by international travellers. It is incredibly diverse with habitats ranging from glistening Caribbean coast to Amazon jungle, and snow-covered Andes mountains to dry desert-like plains. The sheer variety of activities would wear out even the most enthusiastic outdoorsy types and vibrant festivals and pumping samba clubs will keep the party owls up all night.

So why is it so far off the tourist radar?

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