By: Katherine (Katie) Parker
Canaima National Park or Parque Nacional Canaima in Spanish, is
located in south-eastern Venezuela, which borders Brazil and Guyana.
It is located in the state of Bolívar in Venezuela.
It was established on June 12, 1962 with 2.5 million acres and now has
7.4 million acres.
It is the second-largest park in the country and is about the size of the
state of Maryland.
It is home to the Pemon Indians who named the park and its meaning
is “spirit of evil”.
Canaima National Park became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1994.
The park through its river system supplies most of Venezuela’s power.
The park is actually relatively remote with only a few roads.
Most transportation within the park is done by light plane, by foot or canoe.
The park has suffered from several wildfires.
Canaima Park in the Spotlight
The park was the inspiration for the novel “The Lost
World” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
The Oscar winning 2009 movie “Avatar” was filmed in
the park using Mount Roraime-the tallest in the park
and has a “tabletop” appearance.
Some attractions for not only tourist but locals are:
Laguna de Canaima
Salto Hacha (waterfall)
Salto El Sapo (waterfall)
Salto Yuri (waterfall)
Cucurital River jungle and grasslands
Isla de la Orquìdea (orchid Island)
People are able to reach such destinations by air from four camps that also provide lodging and meals.
Angel Falls or Salto Angel are home to this park which are
the highest uninterrupted waterfall in the world.
The falls are named for an American flyer-Jimmy Angel as
he was searching for gold and ended up discovering the
The falls drop from the Devil’s Mountain into the Devil’s
With it’s “tabletop” appearance and a staircase like ramp which takes you to its
top, Mount Roraima was made famous by the novel “The Lost World”.
This unique mountain is on the list of many climbers and is regularly climbed.
It is the highest mountain in the region.
Here you can climb the highest “tepui” (flat-topped mountain edge) 9,219 feet.
The “Prow” of Roraima wasn’t climbed until 1973.
Many unique and wild species can be found in this beautiful area.
The Pemon Indians
The Pemon people named Canaima “spirit of evil” and are the main inhabitants of the
The Indians do not believe in a natural death but instead create a symbolic character to
describe their disappearance from the world. In this case the Pemon’s character is
“If an Indian has pneumonia, they say that Canaima has blown on his chest.”
They believe that they have a relationship with the tepuis(table-top mountains).
The Pemon language is spoken by 5,000 people and has two dialects-Taurepan and
They have developed some hotel locations which are visited by many Europeans.
Wild & Plant Life
In Canaima Park has such wildlife as the puma, three-toed sloth and
The park also has many birds such as the Blue-cheeked Parrot.
Plant life includes forests and grasslands which are the most common.
The jungles and forests of the park contain many heterogeneous
Many of the plants that grow on top of the table-top mountains are
found no where else on the planet.
Climate & Geology
Most of the park falls under of the Equatorial Climate with sunshine and much
The dry season lasts from January to March and the rainy season is from April
Zero degrees centigrade has been registered on the top of some of the tepuys.
Here at Canaima Park the most ancient rock formations in the world’s
geochronology are located.
The rock formations belong to the Guayana Shield and are assumed to have
been formed between 1.5 million and 2 million years ago.
Canaima National Park houses and protects the populations of five endangered
Nearly half of the neotropical migratory birds go to the park in the winter.
Canaima Park is a priority site for conservation.
Canaima protects about half of the Caroní River watershed which in turn fuels the
Guri hydroelectric dam which powers Venezuela’s industry.
The park is more than just a beautiful destination to visit, but a safe haven for many
animals and a home to many plant life. It’s also home to the unique Pemon people
and the world’s biggest waterfall.