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Venezuela & Guyana
Touch the Top of a Tepui
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, a 1912 novel about four adventurers who discover a mesa inhabited by ape-men and dinosaurs, is considered an early work of science fiction. The author’s inspiration: otherworldly 9,000-foot quartzite mesas (tepuis) in the eastern Venezuelan jungle. "The top of the tepui is one of the most intriguing places, a labyrinth of caves, crevasses, and little pools," says Mountain Travel Sobek guide Sergio Fitch-Watkins. Sobek’s trip—one of 40 new itineraries for 2009—is a nontechnical expedition into a corner of the continent unknown even to most South Americans. After exploring the rain forests and savanna of Venezuela’s Parque Nacional Canaima, travelers summit 9,094-foot Mount Roraima, the world’s highest tepui. Over the next week, Fitch-Watkins leads the group to still more unusual landscapes (like valleys scattered with crystals) and Pemon villages with unusual culinary tastes (try the termites).

Outfitter: Mountain Travel Sobek;
Price: $5,245
Length: 11 days
Departs: March, July, November
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