This expedition takes us into the Amazon traveling by boat to the sacred Autana Mountain, which according to legend of the local indigenous, the Piaroa, is said to be the trunk of the ”Tree of Life”.

Imagine this…

Visit Amazonas, the largest state in Venezuela, it covers one fifth of the country but “houses” less than 1% of the country’s total population many of them indigenous people from a number of tribes and living in the vast expanses of jungles and rainforest. Now this is a real “head on” cultural experience starting in Puerto Ayacucho the state’s capital. You will see indigenous art all over from the time you land at the small airport, visit the indigenous market in the town centre with some of the best souvenirs, handicrafts and art that you can buy anywhere in Venezuela followed by a visit to the local Indigenous museum.

Our expedition will take you cruising along the Orinoco River which separates Colombia with Venezuela, then along the Sipapo and Autana rivers in a “bongo” (covered long boat), stopping for lunch and a refreshing swim at Isla Raton in the middle of the river – our destination the magical / mythical mountain of Autana Tepui, bordering a number of different indigenous territories such as those of the Piarao.

Overnight in hammocks in churuatas on the edge of a Piarao community and visit with the locals in their houses. The Piaroa’s of the community are somewhat timid but learn a few words and see their faces open up with big “toothy” smiles! Led by our indigenous guide we will hike deep into the rainforest until we reach a peak in the middle of two impressive mountains / tepuis – approx 2-3 hours to the top. From this stunning vista you will see the surrounding rainforest way below, the winding river of the Autana and two stunning mountains, one of which is Autana Tepui, all up close and personal. Such a beautiful, peaceful place, so full of energy.

Making the Autana Tepui Expedition a Reality

Let Angel-Eco Tours be your guide on this four day trip into the Amazonas to Cerro Autana, or the “Tree of Life” situated in the Venezuelan state of the Amazonas near the Columbian border.

The Tepui Cerro Autana was declared a natural monument in 1978. It is one of the table-top mountains of southern Venezuela and stands about 1.300 mts high. Inside the mountain, there is a huge cave that measures approx. 395 mts long by 40 mts high and consists entirely of quartz. Check out this amazing video of a Venezuelan micro light pilot that flew through the mountain!

The state capital is Puerto Ayacucho. The capital until the early 1900s was San Fernando de Atabapo. Although named after the Amazon River, most of the state is drained by the Orinoco. Amazonas State covers a total surface area of 176,899 km2 and, in 2007, had a population of 142,200. Its density is of 0.8 inhabitants per km2.

Leaving Puerto Ayacucho we will drive approx one hour to the port of Puerto de Samariapo and board our “bongo”, a typical native boat with a roof to conclude our journey up river primarily on the Orinoco, then the Sipapo and Autana Rivers. En route we will see many Piarao communities and will stop for lunch and a refreshing swim at a beautiful spot in the middle of the river, a rocky outcrop with a “sandy” beach. The river journey is about 5 hours and can be made more comfortable by hammocks being strung inside the boat itself.

Upon reaching our destination, at the foot of a small Piarao community, we will set up our base camp for the next couple of nights, stringing our hammocks in small churuata dwellings (indigenous huts) before maybe enjoying a swim and a nice tasty hot meal. Early morning, although not too early, we will rise and visit the local community and see how they survive in this faraway place – life is not easy for them. Depending on the weather conditions we will then either leave promptly for our jungle ascent of the hill in front of Autana or take a short cruise upriver to a local waterfall.

The hike up the mountain is a good 2-3 hours of medium pace, it’s a gentle rise until the last few hundred metres and one can hear the sounds of the jungle/rainforest around us, screaching macaws, parrots, many other exotic birds, howler monkeys and frogs even. Along the trail we are sure to see a lot of flora and fauna, including poison dart frogs lining the route – and maybe a small tarantula or two….

The views from the top of the mountain are simply breathtaking and well worth the climb. To one side you have a huge mountain with two peaks and to another Autana itself – simply incredible both covered in towering rainforest in its entire splendor.

Get inspired – see trip photos!

Read the detailed itinerary

Combine this exciting wildlife tour extension with the Orinoco Delta, La Cueva del Guacharo, and Los Llanos for more days of full on wildlife and amazing nature experiences. In fact it’s a great side trip to compliment many of our programs.

Trip Summary
When to go

Guided tours run year-round Normally 4 or more required for trip to run please enquire about departure dates.


Prices upon request. Price will include all meals except dinner on first day and breakfast on day two. Includes English speaking tour guide, accommodations and transport. Hammocks provided too.


4 days / 3 nights from Caracas. Other destinations are able to link through Caracas.


The river boat cruise poses no issues for travellers but the trek / hike to the summit of the mountain on day 3 is quite challenging, for this reason we insist on insurance being taken out or waivers being signed.


Various: beds in hotels and hammocks in churuatas near a local indigenous community (Piaroas).

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