top of page

Canaima Tepuis

Why a Wonder: The inspiration behind Arthur Conan Doyle's famous novel "The Lost World," the tepuis of Canaima National Park are dramatic tabletop mountains surrounded by cliffs on all sides. Each tepui is like an island floating above the plains of the Gran Sabana, an area of extensive grasslands in southeastern Venezuela.

Kukenán-tepui in Venezuela's Canaima National Park. Photo by Ian Plant.

Where: Canaima National Park is located in Venezuela's Bolivar state. Mount Roraima is the tallest tepui, reaching a height of 9,220 feet above sea level, and the two-day trek to the top is one of the most amazing hikes in the world. Plan to spend several days up top to explore the massive flat summit and its unique features. Nearby Kukenán is almost equal in height, and arguably even more photogenic. You'll need a good guide to ensure you get to Canaima and who can get you safely to the top (try Explora Treks The closest airport is in Santa Elena de Uairén, which is near the border with Brazil; from there a tour company can drive you to the trailhead for the hike into the wilderness.

The view from below of Mount Roraima. Photo by Henry Gonzalez.

When: Hiking here is easiest during the dry season from roughly December to April, although even during the dry season it rains often. The rainy season (May through November) is more challenging, but you are also more likely to get stunning views of massive waterfalls cascading off the sheer cliffs of the tepuis.

The top of each tepui has its own unique scenery. Photo by Henry Gonzalez.

Photography: From below, the tepuis rise dramatically from the grasslands, making excellent subjects for scenic landscape photography. Time permitting, plan one or more nights of camping below, and hopefully you'll get lucky with beautiful sunrise and sunset light.

A storm over the tepuis of the Gran Sabana. Photo by Henry Gonzalez.

A visit to the Canaima highlands, however, won't be complete unless you visit the top of Mount Roraima. There's a popular two-day trek to the top for the physically fit, but you can also look into chartering a helicopter to skip all of the hiking.

Crystal-clear pools on top of Mount Roraima. Photo by Henry Gonzalez.

On the top, erosion has sculpted the landscape to create fantastical rock formations, chasms, caves, and abundant reflecting pools. There is plenty of unique flora and fauna, as each tepui has its own ecosystem. You can easily spend days exploring the tabletop and still find new discoveries.

Interesting rock formations on the top of Mount Roraima. Photo by Henry Gonzalez.

Hikes to the cliff edges reveal some of the most uniquely dramatic scenery found on Earth. After a heavy rain, waterfalls plunge over the sheer cliffs of Roraima and other nearby tepuis, and if you are lucky, you'll find yourself floating above the clouds.

The view from the top of Mountain Roraima. Photo by Ian Plant.

You'll find plenty of use for wide-angle to short telephoto zooms. Just pack light, as the trek to the top is extremely challenging, and even if you take a helicopter, the surface area of the tabletop is massive, so you'll have to do some hiking to see the sights.

Waterfalls cascade down the sheer cliffs of the Canaima highlands. Photo by Ian Plant.

Learn More: Explora Treks can help you plan an expedition to the Canaima highlands, visit for more information.

© Henry Gonzales and Ian Plant

Do you have your own photos of this Photo Wonder? Feel free to share them in the comments below!

This post sponsored by Tamron.

396 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Get Weekly Wonders!


Explore Wonders on our interactive map

Screen Shot 2022-07-09 at 3.54.16 PM.png

Photo Masters


Learn how to become a better photographer from top photo pros!

Photo Therapy

Screen Shot 2022-11-30 at 11.02_edited.jpg

Grow through the power of Photo Therapy.

Breakthrough Vector small icon.png
bottom of page