Canaima National Park

The Canaima National Park is a vast expanse of pristine nature, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, offering a window into surreal landscapes and unparalleled biodiversity. This park, located in southeastern Venezuela, is not only distinguished for hosting the Angel Falls, the tallest waterfall in the world, but also for its mighty tepuis, rich flora and fauna, and the indigenous communities that preserve their millennia-old traditions.


Canaima National Park
In 1962, the crucial decision was made to protect over a million hectares of this rugged and fascinating terrain, creating Canaima National Park on June 12, 1962. However, it was in 1975 that a more significant step was taken to expand the protected boundaries, encompassing over three million hectares of jungle, savannah, and valleys. With this expansion, the protected area became one of the largest parks or protected areas in the world.

The place is home to unique geological formations known as "Tepuis," flat plateaus from which impressive waterfalls plummet. The most celebrated of all is the Angel Falls, with its towering 979 meters drop, boasting the title of the tallest waterfall on the planet.

This park is not only filled with biodiversity and breathtaking landscapes but also holds in its history an invaluable commitment to the conservation and protection of one of the most extraordinary environments on our planet.

UNESCO World Heritage Site

Canaima National Park in Venezuela holds immeasurable value, it has been recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Site since 1994. This recognition is due to its geological uniqueness and its cultural and ecological significance.

At the heart of the park, mighty tepuis rise, impressive rock formations that tower above the jungle like natural monuments. These million-year-old plateaus, with their sheer walls and flat tops, are a unique wonder in the world, attracting scientists, adventurers, and nature lovers alike.

Among the most prominent tepuis are the towering Mount Roraima, which, although the tallest, is also considered one of the most accessible to climb, and the emblematic Auyan-tepui, home to the famous and spectacular Angel Falls, the highest on the planet.

These tepuis are much more than simple geological formations; for the Pemon people, who have inhabited this region since time immemorial, they are sacred. The Pemons maintain a deep spiritual connection with the tepuis, believing them to be the dwelling place of spirits called "Mawari," endowing the park with incalculable cultural and spiritual value.

Canaima is a remote natural refuge, far from civilization, with few access roads and communication. Here, the primary mode of transportation is by canoes, navigating the winding rivers that cut through the dense jungle, offering a unique and unforgettable experience for those who venture to explore this earthly paradise.


Location and Extent

With an area covering more than 30,000 km², the park stretches across the Bolívar state, reaching the borders with Brazil and Guyana. Its geography is varied, dominated by huge rock plateaus known as tepuis, creating a unique landscape in the world.

Key Geographic Features

The tepuis, rocky formations that rise steeply from the jungle, are perhaps the most notable and symbolic features of the park. Among them, Mount Roraima and Auyantepui dominate the landscape, with the latter being home to the Angel Falls.

Tepuis: The Unique Terrain of Canaima National Park

Canaima National Park is a vast territory characterized by its unique terrain, mainly dominated by towering tepuis. These plateaus have distinctive features, such as their sheer walls and virtually flat mountaintops, although some tepuis may vary in morphology.

Tepuis in Canaima, Venezuela

From a geological standpoint, tepuis are remnants of ancient sedimentary coverings composed of extremely old sandstone, overlaid on a base of even older igneous rocks, mainly granite, with an age of almost 3 billion years. Numerous endemic species of both flora and fauna inhabit these summits, some of which are considered "carnivorous" due to the scarcity of food, mainly insects, at these heights.

With a geological age ranging from 1,500 to 2,000 million years, tepuis are one of the oldest formations on Earth, granting them exceptional scientific and natural value. Among the most recognized tepuis are Auyantepuy, where Angel Falls originates, Roraima, Kukenan, and Chimantá, among others.

In addition to the tepuis, Canaima National Park also harbors a mountainous formation that includes the Supamo and Carapo ranges. This area is largely covered by dense jungle characteristic of the Guiana Shield, adding even more diversity and beauty to this unique landscape in the world.


The hydrography of Canaima is impressive and vital to its ecosystem. The park encompasses the entire basin of the right bank of the Caroní River, a river network that feeds numerous rivers and streams winding through the dense tropical rainforest.

Two of the world’s most famous and tallest waterfalls are located within this park: the Angel Falls and the Kukenán Falls. These incredible waterfalls, along with many other smaller falls scattered throughout the area, are an integral part of the landscape and natural beauty of Canaima.

The Caroní River and its tributaries provide not only a vital habitat for a variety of aquatic and terrestrial species but also a crucial source of freshwater for the park’s flora and fauna, as well as for the human communities that depend on these natural resources for their livelihoods. The hydrography of Canaima National Park is a testament to the magnificence and importance of this unique ecosystem in the world.

Angel Falls: The Tallest Waterfall in the World

Angel Falls, (in Spanish: Salto Ángel), also known as Kerepakupai Merú in the indigenous Pemon language, is an impressive waterfall located in the heart of Canaima National Park in Venezuela. With a height of approximately 979 meters and uninterrupted free fall, Angel Falls is recognized as the tallest waterfall in the world.

This natural wonder, descending from Auyantepuy, one of the plateaus in the region, offers a spectacular view and an unforgettable experience for those who have the opportunity to contemplate its imposing beauty. Surrounded by the lush vegetation of the tropical rainforest, Angel Falls is an emblematic symbol of the splendor and magnificence of Canaima National Park.

Kukenán Falls: A Natural Wonder in Canaima

Kukenán Falls (in Spanish: Salto Kukenán) is another impressive waterfall located in Canaima National Park, Venezuela. Located on Kukenán Tepuy, this waterfall has an approximate height of 674 meters and is one of the standout destinations for adventurers and nature lovers.

What makes Kukenán Falls particularly fascinating is its spectacular surroundings, surrounded by the imposing presence of the tepuy and the lush vegetation of the jungle. The waterfall cascades from the top of the tepuy, creating a breathtaking visual spectacle and an unforgettable experience for those privileged to witness it.

Kukenán Falls stands out for its beauty and its importance in the ecosystem of Canaima National Park, adding even more charm and diversity to this wonderful destination in Venezuela.


The climate in Canaima National Park is typically tropical and humid, with high temperatures prevailing almost year-round and abundant rainfall from May to November. During these months, the park, especially Angel Falls, exhibits its most impressive splendor, making them the best time to visit.

Temperatures are generally pleasant throughout the year, with average lows around 24°C in January and highs close to 28°C in August. The rainiest months are May, July, and June, while it is recommended to visit Canaima during January, February, and March to enjoy more stable and comfortable weather conditions.

Best Time to Visit the Park

The climate in Canaima is generally humid tropical, with a rainy and a dry season. The best time to visit is during the dry season, from October to April, when the roads are more accessible and the views of the waterfalls are spectacular.


Flora: Endemic Species and Conservation

Heliamphora pulchella
The diversity of flora in Canaima is extraordinary, with a notable number of endemic species adapted to life on the tepuis. The conservation of these unique species is a priority for the park.

Fauna: Diversity of Animal Species and Birds

The Gran Sabana, located within Canaima National Park in Venezuela, is the habitat of numerous animal species. With over 300 endemic species just in this region, it represents a unique ecosystem in the world.
Fauna of Canaima National Park
Among the endemic genera that stand out in the Gran Sabana of Canaima National Park are: Achnopogon, Chimantaea, Quelchia, Tepuia, Mallophyton, and Adenanthe. These genera are representative of the exclusive botanical richness of this region, showcasing the diversity and adaptation of plants to the particular conditions of the environment.

Additionally, it is important to mention the abundant presence of insectivorous species, especially from the genera Bromelia, Drosera, Heliamphora, and Utricularia. These plants have developed specialized mechanisms to obtain nutrients from insects, reflecting the complexity and interconnection of the different components of the ecosystem in the Gran Sabana.

Preserving these unique habitats is fundamental to protecting the biological diversity of the region and ensuring its conservation for future generations.
White-throated Toucan (Ramphastos tucanus)

  • Giant Armadillo (Priodontes maximus)
  • Giant Otter (Pteronura brasiliensis)
  • Giant Anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla)
  • Puma (Puma concolor)
  • Jaguar (Panthera onca)
  • Two-toed Sloth (Choloepus didactylus)
  • White-faced Saki (Pithecia pithecia)
  • Red-handed Titi (Chiropotes satanas)
  • Roraima Tepui Endemic Rodent (Podoxymys roraimae)
  • Tepui Marsupial Endemic (Marmosa tyleriana)
  • Harpy Eagle (Harpya harpyja)
  • Scarlet Macaw (Ara nobilis)
  • Brown-hooded Parrot (Pionus fuscus)
  • Yellow-banded Poison Dart Frog (Dendrobates leucomelas)
  • Caribbean Iguana (Iguana delicatissima)
  • Hummingbird (Trochilinae)
  • Various species of Toucans (Genus Ramphastidae)
  • Bothrops atrox (Lachesis muta)
  • Various species of parrots and macaws

The richness and diversity of fauna in Canaima are a testament to the importance of this ecosystem and its crucial role in conserving biodiversity in Venezuela and worldwide.

Ecosystems: Jungle, Savannas, and Tepuis

La Gran Sabana, Venezuela
The ecosystems of Canaima are varied, ranging from dense tropical jungles to vast savannas and the unique environments of the tepuis, each with its own set of adapted species.

Main Attractions

Angel Falls: World’s Tallest Waterfall

The Angel Falls, with its impressive 979 meters of freefall, is not only a breathtaking sight but also the heart of the park. Its imposing presence attracts visitors from around the world.

Tepuis: Roraima, Auyantepui, and Others

The tepuis are ancient witnesses of geological evolution and offer unique climbing and trekking experiences for adventurers. Roraima, in particular, is a popular destination for its alien landscapes and unique biodiversity.


Auyantepui, mentioned earlier for being the home of the impressive Angel Falls, not only stands out for this hundreds-of-meters waterfall but also offers a series of natural wonders to discover.

With a height of around 2,500 meters, Auyantepui is one of the most iconic and recognized tepuis in the region. Its distinctive flat plateau and imposing vertical walls create a spectacular and unique landscape. In addition to being the setting for Angel Falls, Auyantepui hosts extraordinary biodiversity, with plant and animal species that have evolved uniquely in this environment.

Adventurers and nature lovers are drawn to Auyantepui to explore its trails and enjoy unparalleled panoramic views. However, it is important to note that expeditions to the top of Auyantepui require meticulous planning and a high level of preparation. It is strongly recommended to have expert guides who are familiar with the area and can ensure safety during the ascent.

Tepuy Kukenán

Tepuy Kukenán is another wonder of Canaima National Park, rising with imposing grandeur in this spectacular natural landscape. With an approximate altitude of 2,680 meters, this tepui stands out for its impressive vertical walls and flat top, as well as its striking height that makes it stand out on the horizon.
Located near Mount Roraima, Tepuy Kukenán Tepui is also famous for its distinctive waterfall known as "La Ventana," which forms when it rains and water flows along the edges of the tepui, creating a fascinating visual spectacle.

As with Auyantepui, exploring Kukenán requires adequate preparation and is generally done through organized excursions. Those who manage to reach the top are rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views and the feeling of being in front of a landscape that captivates the senses.

Canaima Lagoon

Laguna de Canaima, a splendid body of water, is one of the must-see attractions of Canaima National Park. This beautiful lake is a true natural spectacle and a major attraction in the region. It is formed by the convergence of the Carrao, Kavak, and Venamo rivers, creating a magnificent scene with serene waters surrounded by lush vegetation.

Known for its turquoise hues and sandy bottom, Laguna de Canaima exudes a paradisiacal aura. From its shores, one can enjoy a spectacular view of the surrounding tepuis, including the imposing Auyantepui.

In addition to its stunning beauty, Laguna de Canaima offers the opportunity for boat rides, relaxation on its tranquil shores, or simply indulging in the serenity and magic of the surroundings. It is another must-visit destination for those looking to connect with nature and enjoy the amazing landscapes offered by Canaima National Park.

Lakes, Rivers, and Waterfalls

In addition to Angel Falls, the park boasts numerous lakes, rivers, and smaller waterfalls that create dreamlike landscapes, such as Laguna de Canaima and Salto Sapo, perfect for exploring by canoe or on foot.

Tourist Activities

From guided jungle excursions and canoe rides along winding rivers to climbing the imposing tepuis, Canaima offers a wide range of activities for adventurers of all levels. Observing the rich biodiversity of the park is another must-do activity for nature lovers.

Undoubtedly, the highlight is Auyan-Tepuy, an imposing flat plateau from which the world’s tallest waterfall, Angel Falls, cascades down. This natural spectacle is a must-visit for everyone exploring the park.

In addition to Angel Falls, the park is home to other places of great interest, such as the Kukenán Falls, which although shorter, are no less spectacular. Other highlights include the Laguna de Canaima (English: Canaima Lagoon), Salto del Sapo, Salto del Sapito, Salto del Yuri, Mayupa Rapids, Uruyén Cave, as well as the indigenous villages of Kamarata, Kavac, and Kanwaripa.

Canaima National Park is full of hidden gems: hidden waterfalls, winding rivers, and indigenous settlements that add a cultural touch to the experience. To explore these places, it is essential to have the experience and local knowledge offered by adventure companies operating in the area. These companies not only guarantee a safe adventure but also enrich the experience with their local wisdom.

Indigenous Culture

The indigenous communities of Canaima, mainly the Pemon people, are guardians of a rich cultural heritage. Their traditions, mythology, and crafts offer a deep insight into the connection between man and nature and are an essential aspect of the Canaima experience.

Access to Canaima National Park

The city of Santa Elena de Uairén stands as the main gateway and the most convenient access point to Canaima National Park. This city serves as the ideal starting point for exploring the natural wonders offered by the park, as it is located nearby and serves as the closest inhabited hub.

From Santa Elena de Uairén, numerous excursions and expeditions depart daily to different destinations within Canaima National Park. Whether you want to visit the spectacular Angel Falls, explore the imposing tepuis, or immerse yourself in the beauty of Laguna de Canaima, this is the perfect starting point for your adventure.

Travelers will find a variety of transportation options and tourist services available in Santa Elena de Uairén, making planning and organizing their trip to Canaima National Park convenient.