By Florin R. Ferrs (Frugal frequent flyer & international airfare expert)
Start your South American adventure with vayama’s discounted airfares to all South American Countries. You can fly into one South American Country, return home from another, and use buses and inexpensive puddle jumper flights in between.
Los Nevados : A one street town high up in the Andes.
Los Nevados is a one street town located high up in the Venezuelan Andes at 2700 meters above sea level. Los Nevados is the highest town in whole country, has only one street and relies on a single gas powered electricity generator that gets shut off at 10pm, right after the popular nightly soap operas end.
The only way to reach Los Nevados is by Jeep on a dirt road carved with shovels and pick axes. An alternative exit route includes a full day hike up to the closest mountain pass and then a hike down to the penultimate cable car station, located at 4045 meters above sea level. You can only travel uphill from Los Nevados by foot, assisted by cargo mules that carry your gear and allow you to hike light in the thin air.
Once you reach the cable car station the view is absolutely spectacular. This is the highest cable car in the world and the cable car station is within view of the glacier on the summit of Bolivar peak at 5000 meters above sea level. It’s another full day hike to get off the mountain so you have to spend the night at the cable car station and start trekking downhill early the next day.
The cable car station watchmen attach a rudimentary cable car called garrucha (a wheelbarrow with pulleys) to the existing cables and shoot it downhill to reach the state capital, Merida, fast. They also use the same garrucha to bring goods back up to keep Los Nevado’s only food shop stocked.
There is only one hotel in Los Nevados, it has a wraparound balcony that offers spectacular views of the surrounding peaks and glaciers, but no restaurant or bar, just a church across a tiny plaza. You can dine with a local family and then retire to your hotel, which is totally self service. You get a key to the front door and you can expect to be the only guests in the entire hotel as very few tourists ever get up there. The hotel has six rooms with beds and hammocks, but sleeping can be difficult due to the altitude. Still, it’s a perfect place to relax and get away from the modern world. The hike up to the cable car station is fun, it skirts high Andean lakes and you will be able to admire exotic Andean flora, like the frailejon ( a furry aloe vera plant).
Los Nevados is a truly off the beaten track, get there for less with vayama’s cheap tickets to South America.
How to Get There: Book a flight to Caracas and then take the 12 hour overnight bus to the city of Merida, then a Jeep up to Los Nevados.