The simmering heat remained with me as I left the Orinoco Delta and made my way north towards the Caribbean sea. Even the local people were feeling it and the it was not uncommon to see children playing in portable swimming pools and picnics by the river but my favourite scene was a woman lying in a hammock cooling herself down with a garden hose – absolutely classic!
Being the Easter break things were a lot busier than usual and there were a lot of people on the roads enjoying their holiday. Unfortunately it meant a relaxing time on Playa Colarado was permeated with crowded beaches, constantly loud music and most disappointedly streams and streams of rubbish littering this beautiful area. However, determined for a good beach I did manage to find (although the route to get there was most unpleasant and stinky) an almost deserted cove and got to enjoy a more relaxing time on the beach while watching the small crabs run up and down the beach.
Leaving Playa Colarado we visited the main city of Caracas before once again heading for the sea. This time we went to the sleepy town of El Choron near Puerto Colombia. The town was full of character with old buildings, wooden fruit stalls and other small shops.
As much as I did not want to leave the beach the thrill of seeing some exotic animals was too exciting. So it was off to Los llanos (meaning the flat plains). Besides the beautiful bird life (I think we saw over 50 varieties of birds) I was extremely lucky to see a giant Anteater who unfortunately was far too fast to take a decent photo off and an Orinoco crocodile having its lunch.
The days were scorching hot but unfortunately we could not swim as the rivers are filled with cayman and piranha. A little less piranha now as we caught a few for our dinner that evening. In between spotting wildlife and catching fish we came across a Mata-Mata turtle – a wonderful find as this prehistoric turtle is not seen very often. Our guide picked it up to show us how its heads curls sideways into its body and I could not believe the stench. This is the reason why these turtles still remain today as the locals will not eat them because of the smell – aren’t we lucky!
One of the evenings we set off on the river in search of the night animals. You can´t really see too much on the river at night and it was not long before I had my feet on the chair in front of me as fish constantly jumped into our boat – I was not sure if it was going to be a fish that could easily bite off my toe or those sneaky silver dollar fish just trying to scare me. It was a little tense for a while as we waited for another fish to hit us but all was forgotten when we spotted it – an anaconda – just a head as it was taking a breath of air. Our guide was in the water in a flash and after about 5 to 10 minutes had finally wrestled it out of its underwater cave for us to see. It was about 3 meters in length and a lot skinny than I had expected but it was still an Anaconda. Everyone got a chance to drape the snake around their necks and take lots and lots of photos – sorry to disappoint you all but I declined the offer and watched everyone else as they squealed in delight.
After we had got our fill of excitement it was off to the town of Merida, nestled in the Andes, to party at El Hoyo del Queque – described as the best bar in the world. We got to salsa all evening to the Latin American beats which was great fun.