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Río Catatumbo (2 day excursion)
   
 
The mysterious Relampago del Catatumbo (Catatumbo lightning) is a unique natural phenomenon. Its cause is unknown. Centered on the mouth of the Rio Catatumbo at Lago de Maracaibo, the phenomenon consists of frequent flashes of lightning with no thunder. The luminosity and frequency of the lightning have diminished over the last decade and it can stop for days, but on clear dry nights it is still a special experience.
 

 
 

 

  Our Catatumbo tour starts in Merida. We dirve through the region south of Merida and visit some typical villages, like Lagunilla, La Trampa and La Azulita. It is possibile to see coffee and sugar cane plantations on the way. We arrive in the lowland of the region known as Sur del Lago (the southern region of Maracaibo lake). We reach Puerto Concha, a small fishing village, at the border of Rio Concha (a river that enters Maracaibo lake). Our boat trip starts here, through the Las Cienagas de Juan Manuel National Park. On the way to the Maracaibo lake among the rich tree vegetation, around the river, it is possible to see the red howler monkey and several endemic species of birds. Arriving at the mouth of the river of Maracaibo lake we will find some palafitos (houses on the water) where we will spend the night sleeping in hammocks. These palafitos are in one of the best spots to observe the Catatumbo lightning at night.
  The second day, we will take a short visit, by boat, to the lake shore and look for dolphins, caimans and maybe the fishermen fishing crabs. After that our “lanchero” (boat driver) will take us back to Puerto Concha. From there we will start our drive back to Merida going a different way then when we came.

 
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