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Guainia: Kingdom of the Great Snake

Created with Sketch. Inírida, Guainia, Colombia
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Duration

7 days / 6 nights

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Tour Type

Daily Tour

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Group Size

4 people

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Languages

English, Spanish

Overview

Are you ready for a walk on the wild side? The department of Guainia is one of Colombia’s most sparsely-populated and least visited regions. It is located in the dense Amazonian jungles of the east and on the border with Venezuela. Most of this department is covered in dense jungle and crisscrossed by mighty rivers like the Orinoco, Atabapo, Guaviare, and Inirida. Most of the population consists of distinct Indigenous groups such as the Puinave, Curripaco, and Sikuani.

On this immersive tour to the region known to locals as “The Kingdom of the Great Snake,” you will visit a diverse range of ecosystems and Indigenous communities. During the adventure you will learn about Indigenous cultures and customs, as well as gastronomy and artisanal crafts.

The trip also includes two nights camping on a stunning white-sand beach off the Inirida River, a visit to the iconic Mavecure Hills, and a tour of the Estrella Fluvial, the meeting point of the Guaviare, Atabapo, and Orinoco Rivers. 

 

Local provider: Orinoco Nature Trips

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HIGHLIGHTS

  • This is YOUR chance to explore one of the least visited regions of Colombia, which has only just begun to open up to outside visitors.
  • Climb the majestic Mavecure Hills at dawn to enjoy a spectacular 360-degree sunrise panorama over the endless jungles of Guainia
  • Camp on white-sand beaches in the jungle, in the shadow of the Mavecure Hills
  • Visit Indigenous communities, where you will have the unique chance to learn about their cultures and customs first-hand
  • Spot pink river dolphins and fish for piranhas in ‘The Black Lagoon’

Itinerary

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Day 1
Day 1

Day One

Our journey to the Kingdom of the Great Snake begins bright and early in Bogota. There we will catch our flight to the regional capital of Inirida (the flight is roughly 1hr30min), a small city with a population of roughly 18,000 people located on the banks of the Inirida River. 

Upon arrival, we will drop our bags off at a comfortable hotel, and then head out to enjoy our first activity: a boat trip to the nearby Laguna de las Brujas (or ‘Witches’ Lagoon). This is a large jungle lake located just 5 minutes from the urban centre of Inirida. Known to the Indigenous natives as ‘Chalchuapa,’ this gorgeous blackwater lake is the focus of many local myths and legends. It is also home to a population of pink river dolphins, which we should be able to observe. There will also be time to fish for piranhas, take a dip in the cool waters of the lagoon, and observe some of the many bird species of that make their homes in the surrounding area. 

This evening there will be time to relax in the hotel after a long day of travel.

Day 2
Day 2

On the morning of Day 2, there will be a visit to the nearby Curripaco Indigenous community of Sabanita. There, we will enjoy a walk along the Jipana trail through the forest with a local guide from the community. Our guide will explain the local flora and fauna. We will also observe several species of palm trees endemic to the Amazon region, and learn about the way that these plants are used by the Curripaco people. Throughout the walk, our guide will regale us with stories of his ancestors and their traditions, and we will learn about how the community uses palm fronds to make the roofs of their houses. 

After your traditional lunch in the community, we will return to Inirida. Our river transport will be waiting for us at the docks. Once we’ve boarded our fast-boat, it’s off to the south and down the Inirida River to the Puinave community of El Remanso, which sits in the shadows of the ancient Mavecure Hills. This is one of the most iconic sights you will see in the region. 

We will arrive at the hills by mid-afternoon, where we will set up camp at the stunning white-sand river beach overlooking the giant rocks. This comfortable and well-equipped campsite will be home for the next two nights. In the late-afternoon, we can take a walk around the forests surrounding our campsite, go fishing or swimming in the gorgeous coffee-coloured waters of the river. Or, simply relax on the beach and enjoy the peace and quiet of this wild and isolated place. 

Day 3
Day 3

On the morning of day 3, we will get up with the dawn and head further south along the Inirida River. There we will visit the community of Zamuro. Get ready for some adrenaline with the impressive river rapids of Zamuro and Coalet. These rapids are one of the Inirida River’s great hidden secrets and we will have plenty of time to enjoy them, as well as spending the day with a local guide from the community. An important part of the local economy is the collection of endemic Amazonian fruits such as manaca and ceje. During your visit you will accompany community members on a walk through the forest in search of these unusual and delicious fruits. There you will sample them while learning how they are used and prepared. 

We will return to our campsite at El Remanso in the mid-afternoon, and enjoy another evening by our campfire on the beach. In the evening you can sit back and marvelling at the spectacle of thousands of stars lighting up the night-sky - as this area features great views of it. 

Day 4

Over the past couple days, we have been camping in the shadows of the mighty Mavecure Hills. They are three giant rocks jutting out of the jungle, which form part of the oldest rock formations in the world, the Guiana Shield. Early this morning we will finally set foot on one of these rocks, with a dawn hike to the summit of the smallest of the hills, Mavicure. We will arrive at the summit of the hill in time to enjoy an incredible sunset over the surrounding jungle, as well as an amazing view of the other two hills, Mono and Pajarito. There will be plenty of time to relax at the summit and drink in the truly astounding view, which must surely qualify as one of the best in all of Colombia.

After descending the hill in the mid-morning, we will return to our campsite for some rest and relaxation (maybe a cooling dip in the river if you feel like it) and some lunch, before we jump back in the boat and return to Inirida. 

Tonight, at our hotel there will be a very special cultural event with members of a local Indigenous community. You will be able to enjoy their ceremonial dances, sample some of their traditional gastronomy, and learn more about their cosmology and traditions. 

Day 5

On the morning of Day 5, it’s back on the boat. We will journey down the Inirida River to the Estrella Fluvial de Inirida. This is the meeting point of three mighty rivers on the border with Venezuela. We will pass the confluence of the Inirida River with the Guaviare River, before eventually arriving at the point where the Guaviare and Atabapo Rivers merge into the Orinoco. 

During the day we will visit river beaches along the Atabapo and the Orinoco, spend some time in a natural reserve which protects some of the most threatened endemic flora and fauna of the region, and enjoy the epic panoramas of one of the longest rivers on the continent. 

In the late afternoon we will return along the Guaviare and Inirida Rivers to the city where we will spend the night. 

Day 6

Today, you will take a 50-minute journey to Laguna Negra (‘The Black Lagoon’), which consists of 25 minutes by boat and the same again on foot through the jungle. It's called the Black Lagoon because of the dark colouration of the water which, on clear days, acts as a perfect mirror to the sky above and makes for some truly spectacular panoramas.
During our trip to the lake we will be able to observe pink river dolphins. There we will also pay a visit to a local community. In the afternoon we will head out by road from Inirida to the community of Coco Viejo, a Curripaco village located at the point where the Guaivare and Inirida Rivers meet. The community and its leaders are considered the guardians of ancient petroglyphs carved on the smooth boulders clustered on the river bank. You will have the opportunity to visit these important cultural artifacts in the company of a local storyteller who will shed more light on the symbology behind the geometric patterns and figures. Coco Viejo is also a community of artisans who specialise in unique pottery made from clay taken from the river. We can also visit the ovens where these pots are fired by the local craftspeople. There, you will have the chance to purchase some local souvenirs.

Day 7

Our flight back to Bogota is in the early afternoon. There’s time for one last adventure before your time in this magical region of Colombia comes to an end. We will head out to the community of Rincon de Cano Vitina, another Curripaco community, located in the white-sand plains to the south-east of Inirida. Here you will be able to observe the iconic ‘Flor de Inirida’ (Flower of Inirida), a gorgeous and unique flower which is the symbol of the region. We will also learn about the unique biodiversity of these white-sand forests and plains, and be able to observe some of the rare birdlife that exists there.

In the early afternoon we will catch our flight back to Bogota and our time in The Kingdom of the Great Snake will have come to an end. 

Included/Exclude

  • Travel insurance
  • All meals 
  • Hotel and camp accommodation
  • Entrance to Indigenous communities
  • All activities specified in itinerary
  • River and land transport
  • Internal flights
  • Snacks & drinks during the activities
  • Local bilingual guide
  • Additional activities
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • International flights

Tour's Location

Created with Sketch. Inírida, Guainia, Colombia

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Created with Sketch.
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Colombia Eco Travel

Member Since 2019

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