Angel Falls & Canaima Angel Falls & Canaima

Locked away in a rain-forested canyon, Angel Falls is the world’s tallest waterfall.

Angel Falls is so isolated that despite a first report in 1910 it was not finally known to the outside world until 1935 when it was seen by bush pilot Jimmy Angel, the far from celestial being after whom the falls are named. Angel only confirmed the falls' location in 1937 when he crash-landed nearby on a search for gold.

Jimmy Angel

Angel's story is an entertaining one. A Canadian air-force pilot of the First World War, he was in a bar in Panama when he met geologist and explorer J.R. McCraken. McCraken contracted him to fly to the Gran Sabana, landing on the summit of a tepui, or table mountain. Here McCraken settled down to a day's serious gold-panning, extracting a sack of nuggets so heavy that Angel was worried the plane could not take off. When it was time to leave, the plane waddled as best it could over the sheer edge of the tepui then dived alarmingly before Angel could level it out. He coaxed it back to Caracas, where McCraken settled the second half of Angel's hefty $3,000 fee.

Clearly no fool, McCraken did not give Angel a map but simply directed him as they flew. Angel later scoured the area on his own account, but though he found the falls that bear his name, he never located McCracken's lode again.


Auyán-tepui, the mountain from which Angel Falls plummets, is the largest in area of the hundreds of tepuis (sheer-sided flat-topped mountains) scattered over the Gran Sabana and the Orinoco rainforests.

The falls pour into the side of a deep canyon that splits the mountain almost in two. At the canyon's bottom runs the Río Churún, a pleasant fast-running river which winds around rocks and boulders through the forest of the canyon floor, between the mountain's massive orange, red and mauve walls; here sparkling with quartz in the sunlight, there lowering broodily in the gloom of the shadows.

Getting up close to Angel Falls

An exciting way to see Angel Falls is to travel up the Churún river by dugout when its waters are high enough, mooring opposite the face of the falls, which are an hour and a half's walk away on a jungle trail.

You can stop at a lookout point in front of the falls, or continue to their base for an exhilarating dip in the pool below the cascade, billowing and tumbling over itself from an impossible height above you. Wildlife is never far away: sightings on our most recent trip included a sloth swimming across the river.


To reach the falls you generally fly to the tourist village of Canaima where there is a small selection of lodges. Canaima's location is seriously beautiful: to the side of a lagoon fed by two sets of handsome waterfalls, with a backdrop of two fine tepuis.

A boat trip around the lagoon is very worthwhile, with the option of walking behind one of the waterfalls - an impressively deafening experience. River trips to the foot of Angel Falls start nearby.

From Canaima you can also take scenic flights to see Angel Falls from the air. If the jungle adventure to reach the foot of the falls is not for you, then this is an excellent way to experience their sheer scale and the romance of their remote location.

Gran Sabana

To the east more tepuis stand like sentries across the landscape, but the next village of any size is far-away Kavanayén in the heart of the Gran Sabana, perched on the edge of an escarpment overlooking the forest. If you are looking for a real adventure we occasionally run a jungle expedition across this uninhabited forest with guides from the Pemón community.

Start planning your trip to Venezuela

Let us know what kind of trip to Venezuela you are most interested in, and when you are thinking of travelling. Our travel experts know Venezuela extremely well, and will be delighted to offer some initial ideas and advice, and to develop a more detailed design for your holiday as your ideas evolve.

Call us on 020 7281 7788 ( Mon-Fri 9:15-5:45). Or we'd be happy to call you back.

Our brochure for Venezuela is packed with ideas and information to help you plan your trip.

Your personal information will be kept safe and never passed to others. You will receive an email acknowledgement and our occasional email newsletter from which you may unsubscribe at any time.

Holiday designs that visit this region

'Venezuelan Odyssey'

Venezuela - Touring and wildlife

Great wildlife experiences, magnificent scenery, picturesque towns and villages with insights into daily life beyond the cities. We see the truly spectacular Angel Falls and journey into the secluded world of the Orinoco Delta.

14 nights

'Natural Venezuela'

Venezuela - Touring and wildlife

0ur 'grand tour' of Venezuela, featuring all the classic highlights and many little-known gems, with the accent on wildlife, maginificent landscapes and relatively comfortable travelling. Local guides are with you to help everything run smoothly.

18 nights

'Mt Roraima'

Venezuela - Walking and active

14 nights from £2050

'Gran Sabana Discovery'

Venezuela - Walking and active

Discover the wonderful landscapes of table mountains and waterfalls in Venezuela's remote Gran Sabana region, including a visit to Canaima and Angel Falls.

9 nights from £1855

'Trek to the Lost World'

Venezuela - Walking and active

Trek to the amazing summit of the Lost World - inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's adventure yarn, the movie 'Up' and many more. Then journey by boat to the foot of Angel Falls - the world's tallest waterfall.

12 nights

'Pure Beach with a Dash of Adventure'

Venezuela - Beach and relaxation

from £2065

Here’s what our clients say about their experiences of Venezuela with Geodyssey.

Loved the place and the people.

Other parts of Venezuela