Paragliding over the Andes & Teleferico,The Worlds Highest Cable Ride

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South America » Venezuela » Andean » Mérida
June 17th 2008
Published: July 14th 2008EDIT THIS ENTRY

Safe FlyingSafe FlyingSafe Flying

Karen soaring through the air
Our journey to Merida was one of the longest we´ve endured in South America (so far that is.... wait until we get to Brazil!!!). We were up at 6am to get a flight from Quito to Caracas and we were hoping once we arrived in Caracas that we would be able to get a flight from Caracas to Merida....... but no such luck. Caracas airport was a bit mad too! Loads of guys roaming around trying to get you to change cash or purchase some tour!

When we found out there was no flights it was time for plan B.... an overnight bus :-) We managed to get a taxi (after a bit of haggling) to take us to the bus terminal for our night bus to Merida. When we arrived we bought tickets on a comfy buscama (bus with reclining seats). We were waiting about 3 hours in the bus terminal for the overnight bus. Before the bus took off loads of locals hopped on to sell food/drinks. We were starving so ended up purchasing some type of pancake filled with cheese.... they absolutely love cheese in South America!! Paul devoured his while I on the other hand opted
Lauch zoneLauch zoneLauch zone

Karen ponders the area where in the following few minutes we will be soaring 1Km above ground!
to remove the cheese and just eat the pancake :D

We had heard that buses in South America tend to be really cold because of the air conditioning and our bus was no different. The air conditioning was on full blast on night and although both Paul and I had brought extra jumpers, we were FREEZING! We ended up having to switch buses in the middle of the night due to some technical difficulty :-( And there was hardly any seats on the other bus so Paul and I ended up separated - Paul at one end of the bus, me at the other end. Plus I ended up behind the 'worlds most annoying person´ - a guy who persisted in playing crappy music on loud speaker on his phone for most of the night!

When we finally arrived in Merida we were knackered and to make matters worse the hostel we thought we were staying in was all booked out! We wandered the streets for a while and then ended up splurging a bit on a lovely guesthouse called Casa Sol :-) After sleeping for a few hours we went for a wander around the town and
Take off!Take off!Take off!

The moment that Karen left the ground
inquired about doing some Paragliding for the following day. That night we treated ourselves to some really good pizza followed by a well earned early night!

The following morning we woke to gorgeous weather. Merida is a really pretty city full of lots of old buildings and churches. More importantly it´s home to an ice-cream shop/cafe that holds the Guinness World Record for the most flavors of ice-cream in the world. We´d definitely recommend visiting it if you´re in Merida. They have any flavor you can think of - from chocolate to sausage.... yes sausage!!!

That afternoon we took a 1 hour truck ride to the Andes for our paragliding. It was a really cool experience, although taking off was a bit nerve racking. Overall the experience was really relaxing.... definitely not like a sky dive. It doesn´t have the same thrill associated with it but the views were amazing and you´re gliding through the air for about 30/40 minutes looking at some spectacular views of Merida. Paul took some great photos mid-air :-)

On our last day in Merida we visited the Teleferico... which is the worlds highest/longest cable car. You can up to over 4700
The view from aboveThe view from aboveThe view from above

Me with my feet up! Up 1Km that is!
meters but take some warm clothes because it gets really cold at that height!! We even got to see some snow at the top despite the cloud! The views of Merida are amazing.

Our next stop is Cuidad Bolivar where we´re going to book a tour of Canaima and Angel Falls.... but this is where the really long bus journeys start!!!

- By Karen & Paul

Additional photos below
Photos: 14, Displayed: 14


To close for comfortTo close for comfort
To close for comfort

Another para glider passes four feet directly under. I was a bit nervous at this point!
The view!The view!
The view!

Pretty breath taking views up there!
The two of us in sunny MeridaThe two of us in sunny Merida
The two of us in sunny Merida

Nice to stroll around Merida on a beautiful sunny day

Proof that I was para gliding
The TelefericoThe Teleferico
The Teleferico

The worlds longest and highest cable car system. 12Km long and 5000m high.
The cable carThe cable car
The cable car

It took four cars to get to the top. Each station was about 3Km apart
At the top - 5000mAt the top - 5000m
At the top - 5000m

Couldn't see much with the cloud cover and it was absolutely freezing. Great fun though!
Karen's big freezeKaren's big freeze
Karen's big freeze

While we were up there Karen reminded me on many many occasions how cold it was! :)
Us in the cable carUs in the cable car
Us in the cable car

This was before we got to the freeze zone!
The way downThe way down
The way down

The view of Merida in the distance as we make our descent.

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