The Sierra Nevada in Merida links the mountain range which separates Maracaibo Lake from the Llanos (plains) of Barinas state. In this expedition we climb to the summit of the mountain, crossing the border between the states of Merida and Barinas.
We cross the peaks of the mountains and descend the slopes of the Sierra Nevada, camping or staying in lodges on route. The lodges are part of the Tropical Andes programme, with whom we work, and are traditional houses adapted to provide comfortable.
Day 1: Just one hour after leaving our office by jeep we arrive at the Andean village of Mucuchies (2.980m) where we leave the main road and take the track to Gavidia village, where we startour ascent to Micarache (3.100m). The countryside is made up of tiny fields, lined with stone and grass in the hills, shaded by small copses of tall trees. We then start to walk for several hours until we reach the site of our first camp, by a stream (Los Morritos 3.000m). (1.5 hrs by jeep and 4 hours on foot) (-,L,D)
Day 2: After breakfast and packing up camp we set out towards El Carrizal. Leaving behind the high plateau we emerge into dense and little visited cloud forest, reached through narrow valleys. Occasionally we use dramatic suspension bridges to cross the rivers that feed into the mighty Orinoco River. Finally we arrive at the tiny Andean hamlet of El Carrizal (1.400m) whose population of 20 is totally isolated from civilization, without roads or electricity. The hamlet specializes in the production of coffee, avocado and oranges. (4-5 hrs walking) (B,L,D)
Day 3: In the morning we descend to another small village, Alto La Aguada, where we stop to explore the surroundings. We then continue to the small village of San Jose (1.000m) where we willspend the night. From San Jose we can enjoy lovely views of the plains and the town of Barinas in the distance. As in El Carrizal we will spend the night in some of the local houses. (4-5 hrs walking) (B,L,D)
Day 4: We continue our journey down the slopes of the Sierra Nevada until we reach 400m above sea level, in the state of Barinas. The mountain path comes to an end in the small village of Canagua where we will spend our last night. (4-5 hrs walking) (B,L,D)
Day 5: After breakfast it takes just an hour to descend to Las Palmas where our vehicle will be waiting to take us along the Panamerican Highway to Merida. (1 hr walking, 3 hrs by jeep). For an extra charge white water rafting can be organised as part of this tour for a minimum of 6 participants. (B,-,-)