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Pan de Azúcar (2-3 day excursion)
   
 
  Sierra de la Culata National Park, to the north of Mérida, is particularly noted for its desert-like highland landscapes. Heading towards Pico Pan de Azucar makes for a good hike, where you are greeted with incredible mountain views. Weird and wonderful frailejones (espeletia), sparkling waterfalls, crystal clear rivers and streams, mountain lakes, the destination peak with its sandy cone shaped summit, with a scenery that bring to mind lunar landscapes, and natural hot springs.
  This tour doesn’t require mountain experience or technical equipment, but good physical condition is highly recomended.
 

 
 

 

  On the first day a short 50 minute jeep drive will take us to a mountain area known as El Valle - La Culata and to one of the national park entrance (3000 mts). Here we start our hike and we say goodbye to civilization for the next 3 days. Don’t be surprised if you feel a bit out of breath from the first step, we are already over 3000mts and rising! The trail alternates between open green meadows and dense frailejones (unique plants with thick, soft and fuzzy leaves, in the same family as the Edelweiss of the Alps). We camp for the night next to a crystal-like waterfall at an altitude of 3800 mts.
  The second day our hike continues up to the base of the peak, where we will leave all the equipment. We proceed to hike slowly up to the summit of Pico Pan de Azucar, working our way up a sandy trail and through huge frailejones (up to 3 meters!). At 4400mts the frailejones stop growing and we continue to the top through a sandy, desert-like scenery. At last the summit!! 4640mts. On top we enjoy a beautiful view of mountains, valleys, lakes, and on a really clear day it’s possible to see as far as Lake Maracaibo to the north and the big peaks of Sierra Nevada National Park to the south. The descent will follow more or less the same route as the that used for the ascent. We pick up our equipment and continue our hike to the East down a delightful path passing idyllic mountain lakes. We camp for the night engulfed by a beautiful mountain scenery..
  The third day we continue our hike for a few hours in order to reach the natural hot springs of La Musui. At an altitude of 3500mts they are the highest hot springs in Merida. It is a special feeling to take a soak at this altitude with an amazing view of the high peaks in the neighboring Sierra Nevada National Park. This is the ideal place to relax our muscles after 3 days of hiking. A short hike (aprox. 30 min) brings us to the road where a jeep will be waiting to drive us back to Merida.

 
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