Niquitao

The Monumento Natural Tetas de Niquitao (Natural Tits of Niquitao-Guirigay Monument) is located in the States of Merida and Trujillo, part of the Andes, temperatures range between 37 and 59°F at an altitude between 6,500 and 13,150 ft.

The first days of the year are the perfect time to leave the city and obligations, into nature. This year, I decided to go unusual sites for regular vacationers, thereby avoiding the known holiday traffic jams. We start in one vehicle, without prior route, only with the aim of visiting and camping in Niquitao tits.

We left Caracas in the afternoon, bound for Guanare. Reaching this town, our first impression was totally unexpected, the city was beautifully adorned with Christmas lights and wore a festive square where many people walked and had fun around his acoustic shell. After locating a hotel where to stay, we walked a bit avenues, impressed by its modern LED traffic lights, which have digital stopwatches telling the driver the remaining seconds for changing light. We had dinner and went to sleep to seize the day. After a quick breakfast, we set out to visit the National Shrine of Our Lady of Coromoto, masterpiece that reaffirms the faith of Venezuelans in their patroness, was inaugurated under the blessing of Pope John Paul II during his visit in 1996. The Basilica's architecture is great, but I think is not getting the maintenance that it deserves.

We continue our way in direction to Boconó, Venezuela's  garden city, crossing the villages of Biscucuy and Mosquey city. Our intention was to camp at the Laguna de los Cedros, within the National Park Guaramacal, but the number of tourists made us drop the idea, so we took the day touring the park and its views, reaching the relay antennas of broadcasters starting to feel the cold at their 11,100Ft. Upon reaching Bocono and after getting an inn to spend the night, we set out to find where to eat and to explore its Plaza Bolivar, admiring her church and the wedding that was taking place. After a while, the night we were forced to repair forces to start our journey the next day.

We take the road that leads to Tostos-Niquitao, turning aside by a dirt road located just before the bridge over the river Burate. Henceforth, the use of 4 × 4 is essential to climb steep slopes, the landscape is leaving the river behind and gradually began to notice much change in temperature and vegetation. We could admire shrubs and trees typical high mountain or cloud forest, through crops of strawberries and farmers houses up to a landscape composed moor or subalpine vegetation dominated by the known frailejón.

These mountains are covered of Frailejones and obscured by the intense fog that appears and disappears in seconds, we were leading to the diversion of Picacho (as known in this area the peak of the Tetas de Niquitao) where we continue to the lagoon, just after Pozo Arenales. A little further up the road finish, then you should leave the vehicle and walk to the top. As we were alone, we preferred to return to the lake and make camp with some natives who enjoyed in the  afternoon. Only we did not imagine that anyone else would spend the night there due to the intense cold. We enjoyed a delicious BBQ, taking advantage of the heat of the coals to diminish a little the 51ºF we felt when were just 4:00 in the afternoon. At this elevation (11,400 FT), then we  could imagine the cold that we would have to endure for the night.

Between glasses of wine and pictures of an incredible sunset, the hours passed, while the "go and come" of the clouds looked like indecisive waves on a beautiful frailejones beaches. The moon accompanied us most of the night, until the clouds did not hold more and dropped a big rain for most of the morning  lowering the temperature to just 39 ° F. The next morning, after a brief breakfast and pick up the camp, we started our return by the same route to the black road leading to the town of Niquitao. Hence we continue dodging dirt or stone and few stretches of asphalt or concrete, enjoying the beautiful views that give us the Andean producers of vegetables fields and various fruits. We went through the towns of El Potrero, Misun, and Pajarito of Misuy we turn left and continue through the Sierra de la Culata National Park, to the town of Santo Domingo, where we seek accommodation to relax after a day of soul enriching views.

The next day, we headed to Merida, but our sadness and all Venezuelans, the Cable Car is closed due to lack of maintenance, something that should not happen in a country with so much wealth. Displaying diminished our options, we chose to visit the Paramo de la Culata and enjoy the famous Eco Wild Agrotourism and Adventure  Park , there we rented an ATV  and make the tour of the park with the company of guides who shown the various activities there are; rose crops, potatoes, strawberries, carrots, livestock and hatchery trout (fish farming) are developed.

After an hour and a half ride, we took road to our next destination, Trujillo. Passing Pico El Aguila near 12 at night to continue down Valera, where the fatigue forced us to look for lodging to continue the next day. In the morning we continue our way through the city of Trujillo to climb the monument of peace, after a great lunch and a little climb, we arrive at La Virgen de La Paz and spent some time enjoying his greatness, watching the privileged views of this region. And at 4 pm, we decided to head back, but not to Caracas, after so many days surrounded by mountains and cold, a scale of two days in our favorite beach Cuyagua, was the icing on the cake for an exceptional holiday. This journey, increased further personal desire to know every corner of the world and enjoy the simplicity and beauty that nature offers us, until next time ...

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