* Ubication Aragua and Carabobo State
In the Coastal Range, encompassing
both slopes in the states of Aragua and Carabobo.
* How to get there
By land from Maracay, taking the
road east to Choroní (44 km.), or west to Ocumare de la Costa, Turiamo, Cata.
Henri François Pittier has the
honor of having started the history of the national parks in Venezuela. This park, which
attracted him in 1919, has an irregular and abrupt topography which greatly influences the
regimen of temperatures and precipitation, defining every altitudinal level. Its
geological constitution is basically metamorphic igneous rock. The highest elevation is
2,436 m. Likewise, there are environments of rocky shore. Its altitude ranges from sea
level to 2,430 m. at the Cenizo Peak. It has an important hydrographic network and, due to
its physical characteristics and the diversity of areas, it is an exceptional environment
for certain migratory birds and fish.
The different altitudinal levels
make for abundant vegetation formations, the most important of which are the xerophytic
forest, dry shrubby deciduous forest, savanna vegetation, and cloud forest. The ascent to
the summit and the descent towards the coast offer the opportunity of getting to know the
biotopic splendor it encloses. In the highest altitudes and up to 1,500 m., the humid
tropical forest dominates; palm trees are abundant, particularly the "holy" palm
and the "prapa" palm, the cupey, the cobbler-shrub, etc. Likewise, there are
several species of ferns, orchids, epiphytes and bromeliads. The cloud forest is between
800 and 1,500 m., with species such as "The Children", the leadtree, different
species of Ficus, etc. Likewise, there are ferns, gesneriads, ericaceous plants, araceous
plants and rubiaceous plants. A grass with gigantic leaves called Gunnera pittierana,
known only in this country, grows here. At 700 m. there is the deciduous forest with trees
such as the trumpetwood, the wild cotton, the strangler fig, the Tree hibiscus, etc.
Towards 400 m., savanna vegetation predominates; between 400 and 200 m., the shrubby
forest; from there to 10 m., xerophytic vegetation and, finally, the mangroves along the
Approximately 520 species of birds,
which represent 41.6Tlf. of the national total and 6.5Tlf. of the world total, inhabit
this park. This habitat is of unique importance for the migratory species of birds. At the
summit is the Portachuelo Pass, at an elevation of 1,128 m., and due to its V shape, it is
the main route for migratory birds and insects which, after flying over the sea, cross the
continent from Argentina to Newfoundland. According to studies of the Rancho Grande
Biological Station, founded by Pittier himself and which functions in the park,
approximately 75 species live in the summer forest. For example, the Chachalaca, the
Pale-vented Pigeon, the Orange-winged Parrot, the Squirrel Cuckoo, the Common Potoo, the
Rufous-tailed Jacamar, manakins, tinamous and the Lance-tailed Manakin, etc. Another 200
live in the cloud forest, among them the Highland Tinamou, the Helmeted Curassow, the
Band-tailed Guan, the Buff-fronted Foliage-Gleaner, the Black-and-white Owl, the
Black-faced Anttrhush, the White Hawk, etc. Another 100 live in the humid forest, among
them, the Gray Tinamou, the Guan, the Lilac-tailed Parrotlet, the Black-and-white Owl, the
Black-faced Anttrhush, the Bellbird, the Wire-tailed Manakin, the Green Jay, the Cacique,
etc. Another 68 live in the subtemperate forest, among them, the Band-tailed Pigeon, the
Andean Nightjar, jacamar, greenlet, etc. Among mammals there are the tapir, the giant
river otter, the puma, the margay, the paca, the Kinkajou, the raccoon, the giant
anteater, the porcupine, the brocket deer, etc. And also, beware, reptiles like the
fer-de-lance, "Tigra Mariposa" (Bothrops venezuelensis), the coral snake, the
rattlesnake, garter snakes, etc.
Due to its easy access by road, the
park is vulnerable by the roadside. Take the necessary precautions, do not go into the
forest without a guide, respect the marked areas and do not remove plant or animal
species. A special permit from INPARQUES is required to spend the night and conduct
research in the park.
There are lodging facilities for
researchers at the Rancho Grande Biological Station. The entrance to the station is 20 km.
away from Maracay, by the western road. On the eastern slope there are two recreational
areas with picnic and swimming facilities. One of them, Guamitas, is located on the shores
of the Limón river; the other one, Las Cocuizas, is 6 km. from Maracay, on the road that
leads to Choroní. In Choroní and Puerto Colombia there are several inns in a unique and
beautiful colonial environment, facing a beach with transparent and calm waters and the
memories of old coffee and cocoa plantations. From there, there are boat trips to the
village of Chuao, famous for its cocoa. Following the road towards the bay of Cata,
comfortable lodging can also be found in Cata, Ocumare de la Costa, Turiamo.
Temperatures range from 12° C to
24° C. Rainy season from May to November, dry season from December to April.
Tlf. (043) 41.39.33. Fax 41.99.09 * (02) 285.50.56 *43.60*48.59. Fax 285.30.70.