Ciudad Bolivar + Day Trip to Angel Falls

Ciudad Bolívar is a city in Venezuela and the capital city of Bolívar state.  In addition, it’s the stop off point for flights to Angel Falls.  Things to do in Ciudad Bolivar include;

  • Day and overnight trips to Angel Falls and Canaima National Park
  • Mirador Angostura
  • Cerro El Zamuro (and view of the city)
  • Orinoco Botanical Garden
  • Mining and Geology museum
  • Jesus Soto museum of modern art

Personally I only really found Angel Falls and Canaima park worth visiting here, it’s quite an unstable city and I cannot recommend enough that you have travel insurance before visiting Venezuela.  As a matter of fact, I was robbed by police when I entered the city!

I stayed at the Hotel La Cumbre which is a short walk from downtown but a great hotel.  In fact I was walking to a point of interest a few blocks away and they were concerned for my safety so drove me there and back to the hotel.  They’ll also offer sound advice on getting to Canaima National Park and Angel Falls.  Most importantly, the hotel has a good restaurant, bar and rooms.

How to get to Angel Falls and Canaima National Park

To get to the falls, you need to organize a flight from Ciudad Bolivar.  You can either go to the airport and look for something with Avior or Rutaca airlines.  Alternatively, check around in the local hotels / tour agencies for organized day/overnight trips to the Falls.

Angel Falls

Ciudad Bolivar - Angel Falls, Venezuela

Known in Spanish as Salto Angel, Angel Falls are 979 meters and the highest waterfalls in the world.  Some say they should be a natural wonder of the world.  I found the Iguazu Falls on the Argentina / Brazil border and the Kaieteur Falls in Guyana more impressive but still, you’ve got to admire a 979 meter drop.

Flight from Ciudad Bolivar to Angel Falls and Canaima National Park

Ciudad Bolivar - Flight from Ciudad Bolívar to Angel Falls

The views on the flight from Ciudad Bolívar to the falls were probably just as beautiful as the actual falls!  The flight is around an hour and should cost you less than $200 return, including a circling of the falls and also a stop over at Canaima National Park with more falls and lakes to see.  Finally, it’s possible to fly to Canaima National Park from Ciudad Bolívar with Avior or Rutaca airlines.

Canaima National Park – UNESCO Site

Ciudad Bolivar - Canaima National Park, Venezuela

Canaima National Park is a UNESCO world heritage site which features several points of interest;

  • Angel Falls
  • Table top mountains
  • Lot’s of lakes and waterfalls with colorful flora and fauna
  • Wildlife including anteaters, armadillos, porcupines, capybaras, tapirs, sloths, otters, jaguars and pumas
  • Birds including, cocks of the rock, vultures, white bellbirds, paradise tanagers, wrens, bananaquits, great kiskadees, capuchins, hummingbirds and parrots
  • 3 day hiking trips to the base of the Angel Falls
  • Basic hotels and restaurants at the Canaima landing strip

Canaima National Park is much safer than Ciudad Bolivar.  For this reason, I recommend you stay at the park.

How to get from Ciudad Bolivar to Colombia

Overnight bus from Ciudad Bolívar to San Cristobal, 18 hours, 320 BolivarsOvernight bus from Ciudad Bolívar to San Cristobal, 18 hours, 320 Bolivars

I took a Barinas overnight bus to the border town of San Cristobal.  The police checked the bus in the middle of the night, but this time they did not rob me like on the bus to from Santa Elena to Ciudad Bolivar.

From the bus station in San Cristobal there are regular local buses to the border, it’s too far to walk.  You need to ask the bus driver to stop at the police station for the exit stamp as it is quite a way before the border.  Then, after you get the exit stamp, you’ll easily find a motorbike taxi to take you to the Colombian side of the border.  The Colombian immigration were very friendly and an entry stamp was quick and easy.

I changed my leftover bolivars back into US dollars on the border bridge, I actually sold them for more than I bought them for.  I don’t know how safe it is there though, so I wouldn’t do it on a regular basis.  They also change money in Cucuta bus station at a decent rate.

How to get from Cucuta to Bucaramanga

Bus from Cucuta to Bucaramanga, 6 hours, 31,000 pesosBus from Cucuta to Bucaramanga, 6 hours, 31,000 pesos

From the Colombian border, I took a shared minivan to the Cúcuta bus station.  Then I took a Bolivariano bus to Bucaramanga, which is a 6 hour journey.  There are some bad/unsafe bus services leaving from Cúcuta,  I recommend Bolivariano or Copetran, these are friendly and honest services.  What is an unsafe bus?  An unsafe bus is one which randomly stops to pick up random passengers who could rob you.  Alternatively, a bad bus is one where your baggage has a high chance of going missing.  For this reason, I emphasise you should go with either Bolivariano or Copetran.

Lastly, I was sat with a Colombian on the bus who had also been traveling in Venezuela.  He told me he was taken off a bus by the police and checked for money, they do it to all foreigners.

Bucaramanga to Medellin

2019-01-17T14:28:41+00:00November 10th, 2016|South America, Venezuela|10 Comments


  1. Fiona Mai January 24, 2017 at 7:32 pm - Reply

    You said that Angel Falls and Canaima park worth visiting were the only two worth-visiting attractions, and that the city was quite unstable. Do you think I should visit this place if I only have 4 days in Venezuela? And I’m a female lone traveler as well…

  2. Kari January 24, 2017 at 7:38 pm - Reply

    Angel Falls looks spectacular in your photo! It is somewhere I have always wanted to see. I hope to someday soon see Venezuela in person but until then your photos will have to tide me over 🙂 Thanks for your advice, and Happy Travels to you in 2017 🙂

  3. Stacey January 24, 2017 at 7:42 pm - Reply

    Wow someone mentioned the hikes through Venezuela today and I’m so interested! It’s such a shame that it feels so unsafe. I would definitely need to book a tour

  4. Raymond Carroll January 24, 2017 at 9:01 pm - Reply

    You’ve been about, James, eh! South America sounds nuts! My wee pal ‘Chop’ is married to a Bolivian and he was over there in the summer. He posted some excellent pictures on facebook. He met his wife about 10 years ago when he was touring South America and he said that every country he passed through was mental. With sights like the’ Angel Falls’, it’s a pity that most South American countries are so dangerous. Good post.

  5. Kassie January 24, 2017 at 10:32 pm - Reply

    Wow! Angel Falls looks absolutely amazing. Is the only way to get there via plane? So strange that you can’t take a bus or something. Though it doesn’t sound like bus travel is too safe. I want to explore South America but I’m a bit nervous to get too far off the beaten path as a solo female traveler.

  6. Katie January 25, 2017 at 10:23 am - Reply

    The Angel Falls looks absolutely incredible! We fell in love with Niagara falls a few years ago but this falls is a whole other world! Just amazing 😀 Bucket list is getting far too long!

  7. Caroline January 25, 2017 at 1:26 pm - Reply

    Oh my gosh, that airplane view is amazing! I mean, just look at that river meandering 😮
    I personally would love to visit South America but it’s a new region for me and I’ve heard a lot of horror stories… So it’s good that you highly recommend travel insurance in case of anything. Also, considering that the country isn’t the safest, it’s great that you’ve included honest services so I’ll definitely look into them whenever I plan to head over.

  8. Dan January 25, 2017 at 3:33 pm - Reply

    Angel Falls looks incredible! Do you know why the rocks are a reddish color? And your photo from the airplane is amazing! Note to self: Pick window seat when I fly there!

  9. Jenni January 26, 2017 at 3:24 pm - Reply

    Its one of my dreams to go to Angel falls and your photos really do it justice also now I want to visit more of Venesuela I like the look of the Canaima National Park too. 6 hours is a long time on the bis was it crowded or a comfortable journey?

    • James Smith January 28, 2017 at 5:03 pm - Reply

      The bus is great, lot’s of space. You’ll have to fly into Canaima National Park though, it’s about an hours flight from Bolivar City.

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