Climb the colossal Mount RoraimaCanaima National Park, Venezuela
A colossal tabletop mountain that broke through the earth's crust two billion years ago, Mount Roraima looks like something from an Avatar set. With a 2,810-metre summit surrounded by 400-metre sheer cliffs, Roraima forms one of South America’s most striking landscapes. And you can climb it. The mountain crosses the borders of Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana, but is most often tackled from the north-west in Venezuela.
The trek begins in Pareitepuy, where you traverse open savannah landscape, crossing rivers and fields of orchids, before climbing through a cloud forest and ascending a natural staircase up the cliff face. Once on the plateau, pray for a clear view (the summit is usually cloaked in cloud), but don’t be dismayed if it’s a whiteout as there's plenty more to see. Explore curious rock formations, caves, gorges and waterfalls, and keep your eyes peeled for black frogs and carnivorous plants.
Six-day treks cost about US$285, including transfers, guides, meals, camping equipment and porters.
You’ll need a medium to high level of fitness to make it to the top of this storied peak.
It’s best to go with an experienced tour guide, as conditions on Mount Roraima can be unstable and wet, while the tracks can be hard to follow. Because of the consistently damp conditions, don’t forget to waterproof everything.