South America is a wild, unique and surprising destination. However, after a few years wandering around the continent, I noticed that some countries are especially popular among tourists while others get barely a few visitors. Venezuela is one of them. This has its pros and cons, of course.
The transport infrastructure is very basic and there are almost no hostels in the country. But try to imagine a place like Angel Falls in Peru. It would be a crazy spot full of tourists, agencies, and gift shops (like Cusco, Machu Picchu, etc.).
Angel Falls has absolutely nothing to do with that. It must be one of the most spectacular places on earth, and you can enjoy it almost on your own. Seriously, I think there were, like, seven people total when I was there. I recommend that you visit this amazing place right now, while it is not touristy. Who knows? Maybe in a few years it will be as crowded as Iguazú or Perito Moreno.
Where are the highest waterfalls in the world?
Salto Angel is in Canaima National Park, in the state of Bolivar in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. The region is also known as Gran Sabana and borders Brazil and Guyana. It is a really beautiful place full of tepuys and rivers. Tepuys are table-shaped mountains that create surreal landscapes of endless waterfalls cascading from the rock cliffs.
If you want to experience what it feels like to hike one of those tepuys, do not miss the hike to Mount Roraima. It’s an unforgettable experience!
Is it safe to travel to Venezuela right now?
IMPORTANT UPDATE: The situation is getting worse year after year. While Angel Falls are very safe to visit, other places in the country can be potentially dangerous. Please check the current situation before you travel to Venezuela.
That’s a difficult question, but it’s the first thing everybody asks me when we talk about Venezuela, so I’m gonna get my feet wet and answer it. For the question of whether it is safe, the answer is: “not too safe”. But I’d say it’s not as bad as it’s portrayed to be. I think that by using a little common sense and taking precautions, it should be all right. Anyway, Rio de Janeiro is not a safe city, either. It’s the only place in the world where I have been robbed, and there are assaults and murders there every day. However, it must be one of the most touristy destinations in all of South America. And why is that? Well, they really know how to sell their image. So, you see this T.V. commercial of Rio, where guys are playing football on Ipanema beach, the statue of Christ is in the background and hot girls are dancing the samba and it looks like everything is just fine. What I mean is that you must be a little careful everywhere you go, but do not get paranoid. If you have already visited Brazil or Colombia, I think you are ready to travel to Venezuela. If you live there for 30 years, you might have some problems (though not necessarily), but if you are on a two- or three-week visit, everything should be OK.
How can I get to Angel Falls?
There is a little town within the huge Canaima Park that is also called Canaima. This town is the starting point of all tours to Angel Falls and other nearby attractions.
There are no roads to Canaima, so you must fly. The cheapest way to get there is by flying from Puerto Ordaz or Ciudad Bolivar. (Again, is it me or is that another place named after Bolivar?)
The flight is quite an adventure. They use very small aeroplanes (three to five seats) and they move a lot. The price used to be about $45 one way, but they updated price recently – It’s way more expensive now. Anyway, it doesn’t make much sense to talk about prices in Venezuela because its currency devalues at lightning speed.
Flying to Venezuela can be quite expensive depending on the airline. I recommend that you check out Skyscanner which shows you a calendar with the cheapest flights in each month.
Can I visit Angel Falls on my own?
No. You must go by boat upriver for more than three hours to get to Angel Falls, and only the guides know the way. It is also part of a protected reserve. The easiest, most logical, most comfortable and most economical way to get there is by taking a tour.
How much does it cost to visit Angel Falls? How do I prepare for the trip?
It’s difficult to know how much it would cost today. I paid about $80 for the tour, which typically lasts three days. This includes accommodation, food, guide and transportation (not including the flight P.Ordaz – Canaima). However, I’ve been told they changed the price, and it’s way more expensive now.
UPDATE: Prices change all the time in Venezuela, and I heard that doing this tour now can be very expensive.
It’s always cheaper to book the tour at the airport agencies in Ciudad Bolivar or Puerto Ordaz, and not in city agencies. You can also book it in the town of Canaima for the same price.
I know people who had booked it in Caracas, including flights, etc., and they paid more than $500. That is way too much. My advice is that you get to the Puerto Ordaz airport early, ask for prices from a few agencies, bargain a bit and book it there. This way, you’ll get to Canaima in the morning and can start the tour that day.
What do I see on the tour?
Although there are several options, most people go for the three-day, two-night tour. During that time you’ll visit Angel Falls (obviously), the lagoon of Canaima and several waterfalls like Hacha, Sapo and Sapito. One of the nights you’ll sleep in the camp near Angel Falls and the other you might sleep in Canaima or some other camp.
The three-day tour is well worth it. Everyone comes here with an obsession to see Angel Falls, but I promise there is much more. The whole region is incredibly beautiful. In addition to Auyantepuy, which is the mountain where Angel Falls is located, there are hundreds of similar mountains all around. The place is full of tepuys, waterfalls, rivers and lagoons.
What is the best time of year to visit this paradise?
This is an important factor to keep in mind when planning a visit to Angel Falls. The place is spectacular at any time, but the waterfall looks more exuberant with a great water flow.
The rainy season is usually between June and November. During this time, the water flow is usually greater, but you have more chances to experience a cloudy sky.
After November, it is very likely that the Carrao River will not be navigable anymore. The only way to see Angel Falls then would be by overflying the place.
We went there in July and although it had not rained much that year, we were able to go up the river and get to the base of Salto Angel. I admit that watching it from below is really impressive. Remember, it is a 979-meter fall. Almost a kilometer!
Is it worth taking the overflight?
Definitely. You can’t miss the overflight. If you can, tell the pilot to fly over the mountain, getting close to the top and passing just above the waterfall. Ufff … My hair stands on end just remembering it!
We paid about $25 for the flight, which lasts about 30 to 40 minutes. Seriously, it was one of the best investments I ever made. It must be more expensive now.
Should I bring dollars, pesos, bolivars, euros?
Above all, do not take money from the ATM. That’s because you’ll get the official exchange rate, and that would ruin you. Bring dollars or euros and change them in the black market.
When I say black market, please don’t imagine guys in an alley in Albania, dealing with AK-47s, bodily organs or opium, or trafficking in women. Almost everybody changes dollars in Venezuela. Ask in your hostel, hotel or any jewelry store and you will have your money changed in five minutes.
I highly recommend that you get a good insurance policy before you visit Venezuela. Trusted by thousand of adventurers, World Nomads is one of the best and more reliable options (without breaking your bank).
I hope this article has helped you. The Bolivar, the official currency (Bolivar, of course), devalues amazingly fast. If you have just visited Salto Angel or if you live in Venezuela and you think that some of the prices are not correct, I would appreciate it if you would leave a comment.
Did you enjoy “All you need to know before you visit Angel Falls, Venezuela”? Please, leave a comment!
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Hi, I’m Miguel; Adventure traveler, scuba diver and hiking lover. I have been traveling the world for the last 12 years and I hope my experiences, photos and hiking routes inspire you to travel the world too.
Michelle | michwanderlust says
Angel Falls looks spectacular! If the situation in Venezuela improves I’d like to go there someday, but right now I’ve been strongly advised to stay away by my Venezuelan friends. The papers describe the situation as “incipient civil war”, so am going to give it a pass for now. You’re obviously a lot braver than I am!
And I guess you must know why they name so many things after Simon Bolivar, right? ? It was the same in Ecuador and Colombia as well! It was really interesting to see the amount of history these countries share ?
Hi Michelle, it’s a beautiful country, it’s a shame that the situation is pretty bad now.. I hope it will be better soon!
Yes, same in Colombia and Ecuador, Simor Bolivar was very important in their history.
Thanks for your comment! 🙂
Hey Miguel. I went there twice, once as a kid and once as an adult. Two questions: are the companies flying there still private like weird names like Eco Canaima or Canaima Adventures or are there any airlines going? I know the landing strip is short so I flew in a DC-9 from WWII. Did one of the tours include going below Hacha Falls? That was really popular (and dangerous) back in the day. Your description of the place is right on. Canaima is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been and it was a privilege to go there. Thanks.
Hi Ramon! I don’t really remember the name of the companies, but it was just a couple of 5-seat planes basically. Yes, most tours go below Hacha falls.. awesome place! 🙂
Thanks for your comment!
I went in 2014 and we flew from Caracas to Ciudad Bolivar on an Embraer with some 100 capacity. Then we boarded a smaller plane but i remember it wasn’t that small. If you check youtube now in 2021 you’ll see morr recent videos and the runway has been extended allowing for larger planes to land.
Simon Jeppesen says
Did you have any problems to get food and other basic stuff?
There is shortage of food yes.. but you will always find something to eat. No worries!
Simon Jeppesen says
Thanks a lot Miguel 🙂 I have been travelled in Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico the I might do Venezuela as well. It’s easy to travel with busses around the country? Btw. If I can’t draw money from the ATM do I have to bring all money back from home?
Donald Shenk says
hey I’m from texas wife is from Ecuador
when do you think it will be ok for one gringo to visit. would it be a problem for me chilling in ciudad bolivar. been to brazil manaus cool laid back place for peacock bass.
could I come this year or next after maduro.
what website to book the planes from Houston or do I fly to ciudad bolivar and just look crazily jaja
Hi Donald, how are you? The situation has been much worse during the last few months.. I wouldn’t recommend that you travel to Venezuela right now.. which doesn’t mean that you’ll have problems if you go. Just not really recommended.
even boa vista brazil bus to border and get a guide to fly me from santa elena . indigenous people not as bad in santa elena than ciudad bolivar or caracas right?
Hi, I’m not sure if there are flights from Santa Elena to Canaima, maybe.. not sure. People in Santa Elena and Canaima are friendly. Safe travels.
Poorna Wickremasinghe says
Thanks for the wonderful article. is there a way to get to the top of the Angel falls? Are there any tours operating covering that?
Hi there, I’m not sure about that.. I don’t think there is a way to go up… I mean, there must be a way.. but not the regular touristy tours.. maybe you need to do some climbing. On the other hand, you can easily hike to the top of Mount Roraima.. it takes around 5 days and offers wonderful views!
Cira D. Apitz says
Hi, Miguel, they usually go up to the top on helicopters, but you need a permit from the government, Inparques, and even maybe, the National Guard. Otherwise, only the Yekuana and Pemon people know where to climb. Not so long ago I read something about the discovery of the trail used by Jimmy Angel and his companion to hike down after they crashed on the top.
Nice article, thanks for the info and the warnings, although as a Venezuelan, it causes me pain to see them and unfortunately, they are true.
Considering a backpacking trip to hike roraima and would love to tour the falls as well. Would most likely be me and a friend (college students). Would you recommend planning a trip or would you consider it too dangerous?
Hi Jason, It’s hard to tell… The country’s situation is not good. I know people who are traveling now and didn’t have any problems, but it’s definitely your call.
We are a group of 6 who wants to go to Angels falls in August 2019. Did you travel via Caracas with overnight stay and than to Ciudad Bolivar? Did you bring all cash money only and was it safe at de airport with the airport personnel
I traveled all around Venezuela carrying hundreds of dollars and never had any problem, but it’s not a safe country. Take extra precautions, never walk in the street when it’s dark, etc.. I stayed in Ciudad Bolivar, no problem. Airport personnel should be fine. If your bus is stopped by a militar control, be careful, tell them you have no dollars,, they might want to take some. Always change your money in the black market, this can be a liquor store, furniture store, etc. ask at you hotel, hostel, they will help you change your money. 🙂 Enjoy, it’s a beautiful country.
My wife and I are going to Brazil in June/July and we definitely want to see the Angel Falls. We are planning to visit the Amazon via Manaus and then head up to the Angel Falls. Do you perhaps know what would be the easiest/safest way to get to the falls from Manaus?
Hi Aubrey, how are you? The safest/easiest way would be crossing from Boa vista to Santa Elena, flying or taking the bus to Ciudad Bolivar and booking a tour in Ciudad Bolivar. But it won’t be easy or safe anyway as the current situation in Venezuela is pretty bad.. Civil war could start any time.. Have you seen the news? It’s pretty bad now. Not the best moment for this trip.
Thanks for your article it’s very nice and a good explanation of the falls. However I must say that the facts are not correct. Prices are wrong and I would not recommend going to Venezuela to anyone. I was there this March 2019. I went to Puerto Ordaz to book a tour or at least a flight to Canaima and then a tour. Nothing is under 500$ just the return flights are almost 300$ and the “3 day” tour which is really 2 nights and 1 day because you return in the morning of the 3d day by flight is over 500$. It’s sad that not even Venezuelans can go, cuz they raise prices only for tourists. Very sad
Thank you very much for your update. Prices change quickly in Venezuela, so it’s almost impossible to keep values right. I updated some info, so that other visitors have a better perspective of what they could find. I really appreciate your message.
Patricia Jones says
Thank you for the information. It would be great to go there.
Jingle Bustamante says
Hi! Is it safe to travel now to Venezuela? I would really love to see the Angel Falls.
Hi! Unfortunately traveling to Venezuela is not safe right now. Some people are visiting the country, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
Thank you for the post. The prices you mentioned are very low, what year you visited Venezuela??
Hi Anna, yes, I mentioned that prices are out of date, I was there years ago, today’s prices must be way higher.
Perla gates says
I love your post can’t wait to go 🙂