Mount Roraima Travel Guide

Mount Roraima, a 6 days mystified hiking experience not to miss in a life-time. A real lost world cut off from civilisation.

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All the info to prepare your trip to Mount Roraima. How to get in, maps, activities...
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Mount Roraima, also known as Tepuy Roraima and Cerro Roraima is the highest of the Pakaraima chain of tepui plateaus in South America. First described by the English explorer Sir Walter Raleigh in 1596, its 31 km2 summit area consists on all sides of cliffs rising 400 metres (1,300 ft). The mountain also serves as the triple border point of Venezuela (claiming 85% of its territory), Brazil (5%) and Guyana (10%).

Mount Roraima lies on the Guiana Shield in the southeastern corner of Venezuela’s 30,000-square-kilometre (12,000 sq mi) Canaima National Park forming the highest peak of Guyana’s Highland Range. The tabletop mountains of the park are considered some of the oldest geological formations on Earth, dating back to some two billion years ago in the Precambrian.

The highest point in Guyana and the highest point of the Brazilian state of Roraima lie on the plateau, but Venezuela and Brazil have higher mountains elsewhere. The triple border point is at 5°12′08″N 60°44′07″W, but the mountain’s highest point is Maverick Rock, 2,810 metres (9,219 ft), at the south end of the plateau and wholly within Venezuela.

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Today this unusual looking mountain can be visited by anyone having the will to discover it. The ascend starts in the Pemón village of Paraitepui which can be reached via the town of Santa Elena. Getting to Mount Roraima is possible by taking a plane to Santa Elena de Uairén airport. This is a town in Venezuela, very close to the border.

From here on, you will see there are buses or shuttles that can get you close to the ascending point the village of Paraitepui.

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GET AROUND

Hiking here is not hard and you can also get help from the indigenous population, as they organize tour guides in exchange for a small sum of money. If you are on your own however, try to reserve at least four days for this fantastic journey, as there are plenty of things to see and enjoy up there. Mount Roraima is said to have some of the most fascinating hiking trails in the world.

You should not leave after 2 p.m. from the village as trekkers are no longer allowed after this hour. At the beginning of your climb, your baggages will be strictly checked and you can not take more than 15 kilos with you. So careful how you organize things. Being given that this is a national park , you are not permitted to take rocks or plants along the way.

The top of the mountain measures 2772m, it offers amazing landscapes and establishing a tent around here is possible. However, you should know the weather changes suddenly in this area so be prepared.

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Roraima has become a popular trek, completely non-technical, but moderately strenuous even with porters to carry most of your gear, and more than moderately strenuous if you are going without porters. The Venezuelan park service, INPARQUES, requires that you take a guide; we recommend that you hire porters, too, for not only will the use of porters make your trip easier, you will be helping the Pemón Indians earn cash income that is otherwise hard to come by.

The ascent normally requires two and one-half days of hiking from the Pemón village of Paraitepui; the downhill return hike can be done in two days. Hikers should spend a *minimum* of two nights on top of Roraima, in order to have at least one full day to explore its fascinating and other-worldly topside; two or more days on top would be even better.

Trek day 1:

In the morning we leave Santa Elena for a 2 hours drive to the last Indian Village before Roraima. Paraitepuy is 1600 m above sea level and will be our starting point for the trekking to the Lost World. We will walk about 5 hours through open savannah before reaching the Kukenan Camp at a height of 1050m. We need to cross two rivers, which can be tricky because the Kukenan River grows after rainfall to a respectful stream. Our experienced guides will help with the first adventure crossing the river.

Trek day 2:

After a good breakfast we start a five-hour walk to the Base camp, which is 1870m above sea level. The walk also requires 2 hours uphill walking. On our way we will cross smooth hills in the savannah and beautiful landscapes covered with orchids and carnivores. In the afternoon we will reach the Base camp.

Trek day 3:

After having breakfast in the camp we start off to the tough part of the day: a 2-hour steep hike in the jungle. Afterwards we will be exhausted but amazed by the beauty and the overwhelming number of bromeliads, ferns and other rare plants. Finally we can touch the wall of the Roraima Mountain and a small waterfall will bring us our much needed refreshment! From there we need another hour to ninety minutes to reach the top, which is 2700 meters above sea level. The path leads us through the jungle and over stones of different forms and shapes. Stones looking like sea turtles or dragonheads welcome you finally at the top. A light lunch will be served at the camp. Now we have the whole afternoon for discovering the closer area around the camp. The evening will end with a delicious meal served by our guides.

Trek day 4:

The whole day we will discover the mystical top of the Roraima and feel the magic related to the mountain. We will find thousands of faces and sculptures in bizarre stone formations, some might remind us of lizards or Fidel Castro, others will seem to us like fantasy creatures or fairy tale witches. We will be amazed by the valley of crystals and the fantastic view from the top of Roraima to the valley. When the fog rises up the mountain we can feel the mystery. And do not be surprised when you feel like you are walking on the moon because the surface looks just alike. A light lunch will be given on the way and a delicious meal will be served at the camp in the evening.

Trek day 5:

In the morning we will have a last chance to take some pictures before you descend the mountain again to reach the campsite at Rio Tök. Today we have to walk about 7 hours downhill that means from 2700m down to 1050m above sea level. Shortly before the camp we have to cross the two rivers from the first day again. A light lunch is given on the way and at the camp there will be served a warm meal. At the end of the day we can enjoy a great swim in the river with a fabulous view to the Kukenan and Roraima mountains.

Trek day 6:

After the last four hours of walking we will reach the Indian village Paraitepuy again. Please watch out! Every tourist is searched for crystals by the park rangers. The crystals are a lot more beautiful on the top of Roraima then in your apartment at home! Our Toyotas are already waiting for us with cold drinks and lunch. After lunch we go back to Santa Elena. In agreement of the group there is a short stop at the Quebrada de Jaspe with its brilliant red shining Jaspe stones.

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AGENCY

Agencies can be found in Santa Elena, Backpacker Tours seems the best in its category.

Backpacker Tours: In May 2015, price was 35.000 Bol. for a 6 days tour with 6 people and 5 porters. Santa Elena de Uairen, +58-289-995-1430, [email protected]

The different stages of Roraima Trekking.

Since long before the arrival of European explorers, the mountain has held a special significance for the indigenous people of the region, and it is central to many of their myths and legends. The Pemon and Kapon[disambiguation needed] natives of the Gran Sabana see Mount Roraima as the stump of a mighty tree that once held all the fruits and tuberous vegetables in the world. Felled by Makunaima, their mythical trickster, the tree crashed to the ground, unleashing a terrible flood. Roroi in the Pemon language means blue-green and ma means great.[citation needed]

In 2006, Mount Roraima was the destination for the award-winning Gryphon Productions two-hour television documentary The Real Lost World. The program was shown on Animal Planet, Discovery HD Theater and OLN (Canada). Directed by Peter von Puttkamer, this travel/adventure documentary featured a modern team of explorers (Rick West, Hazel Barton, Seth Heald, Dean Harrison and Peter Sprouse) who followed in the footsteps of British explorers Im Thurn and Harry Perkins who sought the flora and fauna of Roraima in the mid-19th century. The adventures of those explorers may have inspired Arthur Conan Doyle’s seminal book about people and dinosaurs, The Lost World, published in 1912.

In 2006, The Real Lost World team were the first scientific team to explore the caves of Roraima, only recently discovered. Inside they found intriguing “carrot” formations growing in the 2 billion year old caves. Hazel Barton returned in 2007 on a NASA funded expedition to investigate the features growing on the cave walls and ceiling: evidence of extremophile cave microbes eating the silica-based walls of the cave and leaving dusty deposits on ancient spiderwebs, forming these unique stalactite type shapes.

In 2009, Mount Roraima served as inspiration for a Disney/Pixar animated movie Up. The Blu-ray version of the movie disc bonus footage features a short film (called Adventure Is Out There) about some of the Pixar production team going to Mount Roraima and climbing it for inspiration and ideas for the making of Up.

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Mount Roraima is the highest of the Pakaraima chain of tepui plateaus in South America. The mountain also serves as the triple border point of Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana. Since long before the arrival of European explorers, the mountain has held a special significance for the indigenous people of the region, and it is central to many of their myths and legends.

Travel and tourism in Mount Roraima. How to get in, maps, activities to do, where to eat and sleep. Download the Free Mount Roraima Travel Guide.


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Michel Piccaya

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As a freelance travel photographer, Michel Piccaya has been on the road worldwide for more than 20 years, exploring the most incredible itineraries. He’s currently based in Brussels however never stays at home for a long time !

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