Saturday, 16 January 2016

A trip to Roroima Tepuy is a trip within yourself. Part II.

Ok, so I will now talk about the climb to Roroima tepuy. (Each tour is different, but I will talk a bit about the one I went on).

You leave San Francisco de Yuruani in some 4x4 jeeps’ that will take you up to Paraitepuy. Paraitepuy is a town located 1600  metres’ above the sea level (approximately), and the INPARQUES office is located here (This is the Venezuelan National Parks’ authority). You have to pay the entrance which I think it depends on whether you guys are nationals or foreigners… I paid Bs. 300. You then have to sign a ‘guest book’ just in case you get lost, authorities will know you were there (joking you can’t really get lost if you follow the path kids!)… You can also go to the toilets (please do, considering you will be camping it out for the next couple of days!).

Day 1: Paraitepuy – River Tök.

As everything in life, in your daily life, this journey depends solely on yourself. The first day’s journey is received as a starter for the magnificence that you will experience. Your connection to nature, the smells you will enjoy, it’s infinite colours, the souls you will feel, everything and I mean absolutely everything will amaze you and continue to do so, because everything will be unknown to you, and somehow you feel like you have already been there, and of course you have, you come from this earth you come from this soil you come from this amazing place. I set my own rhythm (this is such a beautiful word by the way, rhythm)… I was tranquil,  I wasn’t rushing, I knew I would reach my destination…On the first day we walked around 5 hours (but don’t believe me too much on this, as I don’t have good relationship with that thing we call time!)…I do know that you reach a height (and a high) of 1050 metres’ above sea level and you have to cross two rivers. (When doing this you have to take your boots off and cross them wearing socks, not barefooted).

 Day 2: River Tök – Base Camp.

So we left River Tök Camp really early, literally after breakfast and we arrived at Base Camp around 2pm. This camp is found at a height of 1870 metres’ above sea level. For me this was a little rough walk because in so many parts (and I mean parts are synonyms of hours here) you have to walk uphill (and let’s just say if I wanted to breathe then I wasn’t able to talk, haha). It was amazing how the weather and the flora started to change on this path…you start seeing beautiful endogenous orchids everywhere!!! It’s like an orchids’ heaven! This is literally a wedding between your being and nature, only to find out that it is also a birth, nature takes you in its belly and you are impregnated by her.

Day 3: Base Camp – Top of Tepuy.

Well, well, well… without a doubt this walk was a ‘’4 season’’…in other words, WHAT THE FUCK!?. Haha. Through my mind, body, spirit, soul, life, etc. Everything had occurred. It all started off as something really fun, there were lots and lots of rocks to climb, and we were really just messing around and playing all this time and we are two kids playing and going up those rocks and we did it pretty well…then in the middle of the road I started to feel a little bit sick (some people here call it the communist aunt, or miss tomato, I call it my menstrual period) came for a visit, and all my energies went on to observing my body and its change. Mago (the magician) was our tour guide, and he was lovely and really helped me out when he decided to take my (very heavy) backpack for a little while. We ended up reaching balcony I, then balcony II, and then the tears’ path (or paso de las lagrimas) which is one of the most impressive waterfalls I have ever seen in my life. You finally reach the top of the tepuy Roroima, at 2700 metres’ above sea level and your life changes even more.

Camping at the top of the Tepuy, for x number of nights


So, once you are up there you can visit these places: abyss (el abismo), the window (la ventana), the natural Jacuzzis (with quartz, for real, there are quartz all over the tepuy, please do not take any away, you will be searched once you come down), the maverick (which is the highest point of the tepuy), and something we didn't do was the triple point (which is where Guayana, Brazil and Venezuela converge.

Day 6: Descend from the top of the Tepuy up to River Tök.

We left around 7am and the 5 of us in the group (Annie, Susana, Juan Pablo, El Mago and I) had to remain close by because it was really foggy and it was drizzling a bit. Thanks to the universe we now had two guides, since Juan P was the first non-official Ecuadorian tour guide in the Roraima Tepuy!

Day 7: River Tek – Paraitepuy.

And this is when you start smelling everything again, haha.

Kukenam Tepuy on the left and Roraima on the right

Kukenam Tepuy

Canaima National Park


Welcome to Base Camp

Paso de las Lagrimas

What a beautiful light! 

Annie and I 

So, the tour we decided to go on only included: Mago as our guide, transportation from San Francisco de Yuruani-Paraitepuy-San Francisco de Yuruani’ (well, we ended up going down to San Francisco on a 4x4 with 8 guides, us 5 and 2 chauffeurs, amazing!) It didn’t include the food (so we had to take that ourselves) it didn’t include ‘porteadores’ (which are basically the guys who you can pay and they take all your shit), which meant we had to take EVERYTHING ourselves, everything we were going to need, our bags weighted about 8 to 10 kilos, I think.

Things I learned during this trek and physical dimension (and maybe useful information in other dimensions)

·                       You will not need 7 pairs of underwear. When packing, take the minimum amount of things.
·                    Be grateful, with your body for taking you to all these beautiful places, with your soul for being there, with the other folks in the trip for allowing you to be part of their trip as well.
·                  Listen to your breathing, it is a beautiful cycle!
·                  Competition does not exist. If I wanted to rest, I would do it, if I wanted to go faster, I would do it, If I wanted to cry, trust me I cried.
·                  Even though it sounded really REALLY tempting at the time, a Coke in River Tök for Bs. 700 will never be ok. (Too expensive)
·                  Take some ice teas or something to alternate with water.
·                  I didn’t die from drinking the river’s water, especially since we didn’t have those pills to ‘purify’ water.
·                  Puri Puri (a type of mosquitoes) are some freaks and unbalanced beings, but you learn to live with them.
·                  Take a sweater (a nice and warm one) with you. If not, you will have to ask your camping partner to hug you during the night because you are freezing. Haha.
·                  Do not think that your drying techniques will work out, especially when your tent is getting flooded. Accept things and situations as they come, haha.
·                  PLEASE THIS IS IMPORTANT, ALWAYS AND I MEAN ALWAYS pick up your rubbish, trash, garbage, shit (and I literally mean shit on this one). This includes all sanitary towels, tampons, etc. Those are not part of the Roraima.
·                  There is this rule in Roraima that if you poop, you have to bring your poop down with you, my friends. Haha. So you can buy some special things for storage that I don’t know what they are called, or you can do like I did, and meditate it out, that way you won’t go. Haha.
·                  If you have a piece of chocolate, (or any other snack) why not share it? Even if it’s with a stranger!
·                  Fill your water bottle all the time. Water is life.
·                  Love nature, love the earth, love the air, love the wind, the animals, humans, yourself, the stars you see, the moon that whispers to you, the rock that cuddles you, the sun that wakes you up, it is truly a magical experience.

Anything else I could tell you or write about what I saw, laughed, enjoyed and cried will never be enough and it will not do it justice to how this Paradise really is. I will leave some photographs for you to see and enjoy, see happiness through the camera.

And for those who like numbers:

This is the cost of the trip.

Tour:                                                                 Bs. 40000
Food:                                                                Bs. 4500
Travelling tickets:                                                Bs. 2300
Food in San Francisco de Yuruaní:                       Bs. 2500
Nonspecific things:                                             Bs. 2500
  Total:                                                             Bs. 51800 (approximately, December 2015).

******** Ps. As some of you may have heard Venezuelan economy is let’s just say not doing so well, so let me put this into perspective for all of you guys who live abroad and do not understand much of what is going on here (to be fair I sometimes don’t understand what’s going on in this country either)… The month’s minimal wage is Bs. 16,399….so, for people who have other currencies this amount of money will be a small amount of money…in other words for you guys is REALLY, REALLY, cheap. For us who earn and live with Bolivars as a currency, Bs. 51,800 (the total amount of the trip) Is something like 3 months’ of wage. We decided to do this trip really cheap, we basically saved as much money as we could, we were the definition of backpackers with not so much money, haha. But it was truly amazing. ********

And what’s best of all, this is found near us, here in Venezuela!!


Lots of blessings and love…
Travelling through these galaxies makes my world better!

A trip to Roroima Tepuy is a trip within yourself. Part I.

No, I have not made a mistake when typing Roroima, this is how it’s really pronounced the ‘oh so lovely’ Roroima Tepuy.

The savannah (or more specifically ‘La GRAN SABANA’ in Venezuela) has been for a lot of us a dream, we have seen it, perhaps, as a massive oasis, something we cannot truly comprehend nor live yet, something static, colourful, and with such a spiritual strength and a mystical enigma that can put your world upside down.

Maybe due to fears, insecurities, money related reasons, or simply because of lack of information, we have self-harm and cut our wings and we no longer feel like following any type of adventure nor any trip that allows you to walk within yourself, to yourself, whilst you breathe this beautiful live alongside others.

During September 2015, my friend Annie and I decided to go to the other side of our country (Venezuela) in order to get to know those sacred elements that the Gran Sabana is made of. From the moment we decided to go on this adventure we were doing our research and finding out information about the Roraima Tepuy. You know what the Internet is like: it gave us tons and tons of info, we read stories from people who had travelled to Roroima without a tour guide and who simply hired someone from the community once they got there, or some other people who would ‘sneak in’ a tour, and a lot of people who would say that you absolutely have to go with a tour guide because otherwise you would not survive and you would basically die. No, I’m not lying.

We also found tours relatively optimistic when it came to prices, others that made a home run hit (relating to prices), 5 days, 7 days or 10 days’ tours, tours that would prepare your coffee for you, the ones that would pick up your physiological needs, the ones that would give you a little present at the end, etc., etc., etc. We also had friends who had travelled before to the place (and whom I asked a massive amount of questions, so, cheers guys!)... let me just tell you that writing my thesis for a Political Science degree has been  easier than the amount of information we had and read in regards to this. And we still hadn’t planned nor decided our trip. Heck, we still didn’t even have the money neither in our hands nor in our bank accounts for that matter. Haha. *

So, Annie found out through Couchsurfing this group called ‘’Mochilas de Venezuela’’ (or Venezuelan Backpacks). In their Facebook group, a girl called Yulibeth had left a comment talking about Roraima’s expeditions. (We already were in the beginning of the December, and we wanted to make the trip in the middle of December). So, to make this story short (because the important thing here is to live and breathe the tepuys and for you guys to get to see even if it’s in photographs my beautiful country, but also our beautiful world), I contacted Yulibeth, who gave me Mr. Pedro’s number (Pedro is a guy who works with Roraima Productions’, another tour company). She tells me that I should give him a call because he really is a lovely and generous person and he likes to help people.

I have to admit that our first conversation was remarkably honest from both sides. He asked me how much our budget was and I answered ‘’Well, it’s Bs. 40,000 (December 2015 price) and this must include our return ticket to Maracaibo. We really don’t have much money, but we have received Roraima’s call and we know it’s our time to go, we can even do auto stop to get there if we can’t afford our tickets for transportation’’… I thought he was going to laugh at us and tell us to save up some money and to call him back later or something like that (considering that all the tours we had contacted before were asking Bs. 150,000 or more).

Instead of that, he was really worried about the idea of us doing auto stop and he wanted to help us because, well, there was an amazing connection between us and the universe is big and the Roraima mountain is magical (There’s no need for excuses when it comes to helping others)… A couple of days after we transferred the money to his bank account and we were ready to go, the countdown had begun. (Yeah, I am really aware that we made our own bets here when transferring that amount of money to a stranger when we the only references we had of him were given from another stranger, but, we ended up getting there and going to Roraima, if we hadn’t been so sure about it we would not have done it, but Pedro was really keen on helping us to get there, and to share that love that unites us all to nature, he wants us to share these lands that are not ours and that have been here for way longer than all of us have, even if we share them through these types of texts or photographs.

The next thing we needed to do was to find out about the airplane’s fares to get to Puerto Ordaz (a city near La Gran Sabana). It turns out that a ticket (with x airline) would be Bs. 10,000 minimum. Due to our almost nonexistent bank accounts and funds, we decided to go by bus. Now let me tell you something, the furthest I had been in my country was in Cumana (Sucre state), but I had never been on that side of Venezuela. Annie had previously crossed the border to Brazil so she knew how LONG this bus journey would be and how uncomfortable it was going to be for our bums. I have to admit I was an ignorant when it came to how BIG Venezuela really is, and I thought the journey would be maybe one day or a day and a half travelling.. HAHAHA Oh, shit I was wrong.

Day 11 leaving Maracaibo. Arrived in Caracas during day 12.

Day 12 leaving Caracas. Arrived in Maturin during day 13.

Day 13 leaving Maturin. Arrived in Puerto Ordaz on the same day (we travelled for 5 hours).

Día 13 leaving Puerto Ordaz and arrived in San Francisco de Yuruaní during day 14.

So, in Puerto Ordaz we had joined Pedro’s tour. Well, in reality we joined Ervis tour, a really funny guy who welcomed us and ‘adopted us’ as if we were his daughters and who wouldn’t stop talking about how impressed he was (and how crazy we were) because we decided to go by bus.

As it turns out, we are really lucky souls, and Pedro gave us the surprise that we would stay there in San Francisco de Yuruani for two days (this place is part of the Gran Sabana), and on the third day we would begin our climb. Let me quickly explain something, Canaima’s National Park is gigantic (it’s pretty much the same size of Belgium), and the two of us (alongside Susana another girl from Maracaibo and her Ecuadorian partner Juan Pablo, and a group of Italians and Venezuelans) would get to travel around to other areas inside the park.

By the way, in one of the stops we made (and where I ate the most expensive ‘empanadas’ ever but were really good), I read that the name ‘’Canaima’’ was used after Romulo Gallegos a famous Venezuelan writer wrote the novel named, you guessed it, ‘Canaima’…but what this word really means for the pemones (pemon means person, so we are all pemones…but this is also the name used for people who are indigenous to these lands and whom are also divided according to the language they speak, they can be Arekuna, Taurepan or Kamaracoto)…sorry for the sidetrack, in any case, the word Canaima represents what they believe or their conception of the devil, of evil, of a malign being that is thus representing all suffering, especially all the pain of the region and its people.

During these days we were able to rest a little bit, so we decided to do fun stuff too, like going to Jasper Creek (or Quebrada de Jaspe in Spanish and Kako Paru in Taurepan language) which is literally a Creek made of this beautiful stone Jasper, so everywhere you see, you see this colour…we also got to meet the ‘famous’ and solitary rock called grandpa Kueka (or abuelo Kueka) (and this is really important guys, if you don’t know anything about this I will leave a link at the end so you can inform yourself), we even went to Santa Elena de Uairén (furthest town on the south of Venezuela), and we crossed the border to Pacaraima in Brazil were we had a couple of well-deserved beers.

On the road 



San Francisco de Yuruaní

San Francisco de Yuruaní

This post continues, Part II: