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The Paria Peninsula


The Paria Peninsula is one of Venezuela’s hidden gems—a lush green landscape of small hills, farms and isolated hamlets that gives way to luxuriant cloud forests as the peninsula grows more mountainous and reaches out like a finger towards the island of Trinidad a few miles off the coast.

Palm forested hills come down to the sea and create a succession of idyllic beaches on Paria’s northern coast. Sheltered by headlands, the best beaches are long bays of warm yellow sand, backed by groves of coconut palm. The sea is calm and warm, and most beaches attract just enough sunworshippers to support a little beach bar or two but not much besides.

Christopher Columbus first landed on the American continent here, and it could be said that not much has happened in Paria since then. The pace of life is relaxed and friendly, everyone has time to stop and chat, and there is a profound sense of harmony and well-being. Tropical fruits abound and the area's small farms produce cacao for the finest chocolate in the world.

One of Geodyssey’s favourite guides, Billy Esser, has converted and extended an old cacao hacienda in the hills behind the best beaches. Named after the bukare tree, which shades the finest cacao plants, Hacienda Bukare offers very comfortable accommodation in a relaxed traditional style. There are currently few good places to stay elsewhere on Paria.

A typical day at Bukare might start with a breakfast of fresh mango, papaya and melon with fresh-brewed local coffee, then a 20-30 minute drive down country lanes to swim and relax at one of the local beaches. Lunch on the beach might be fish grilled on a barbecue, or a picnic of salads and fruits, followed by a siesta in hammocks slung between the palms. As the afternoon draws to a close, the jeep returns to the cool of the hacienda. One can walk in the grounds, or relax on the verandah, before an ice-cold daiquiri at sunset and a dinner of thoughtfully-prepared traditional style dishes.

Some guests may feel sufficiently energised to tackle a short day trek, up into the cloud forests. Billy is an expert trekking guide (he introduced us to Mt Roraima), and he knows this area well. There are other trips too, a drive to a wildlife ranch, perhaps, or by boat to distant fishing villages, or to the small towns of RÝo Caribe and Car˙pano for a little shopping

 

 

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