Pittier National Park
Where the Rainforest Meets the Caribbean
a few hours west of the Venezuelan capital of Caracas lies another
gem of the country’s 43 national parks:
Henri Pittier National
Park. Thanks to the pioneering efforts of Swiss biologist Henri Pittier, who worked to preserve the area from deforestation and
burning, the mountainous region along the northern coast became
Venezuela’s first national park in 1937.
called Rancho Grande, the park has been known as la Parque Nacional
Henri Pittier since 1953. The park covers 107,800 hectares (416
sq mi) and extends south from the Caribbean coast into the mountains
almost as far as Maracay, the capital of Aragua State. The less-developed
Caribbean side includes crescent bays and beautiful beaches at
Cepe, Cuyagua and Choroní. Along this coastline are many
excellent spots for snorkeling, diving, relaxing on deserted beaches
or simply enjoying hikes into the surrounding rainforest. The
park’s dramatic topography is characterized by steep slopes
covered with deciduous and tropical forest and cloud forest at
flora flourishes in the park – arboreal ferns, bromeliads
and ornamental plants, including the rare, endemic Gunnera pittierana.
Animal life is equally diverse and the park is home to puma, ocelot,
howler monkeys, otter, brocket deer, tapir, kinkajou, coati, tree
porcupine, snakes, lizards and the marsupial frog. But the park’s
wildlife truly shines in its bird diversity.
the park lies on a significant migratory route, the bird population
is incredible. Some 550 species (more than 40% of
1380 bird species)
have been identified here, one of the highest recorded species
densities in the world. The list includes curassows, parakeets,
hawks, eagles, kites, toucans, oropendolas, parrotlets, owls,
bellbirds, manakins, jays, caciques, chachalacas and woodpeckers.
Portachelo Pass is the lowest point on the ridge, and is used
as the crossing point by thousands of migratory birds each year,
making it the best birdwatching spot in the entire park.
biological research station (Estación Biologica de Rancho
Grande) and zoological museum are located within the park and
open to visitors. The park can be reached by bus or taxis from
Maracay, and is a popular venue for hiking and camping. The rainy
season is from April to November, and the dry season from December
in seeing more of Henri Pittier National Park? Angel-Eco Tours
offers multi-day packages to its
Lagoon Lodge located along the Caribbean shoreline – whether
you want to dive, snorkel, hike, birdwatch or paddle, you'll
find plenty to do and plenty to see.