"City of the Upper Orinoco and Las Amazonas" Puerto Ayacucho by atufft

Puerto Ayacucho Travel Guide: 19 reviews and 59 photos

This is a frontier town

Puerto Ayacucho is just across the river from Colombia, and just below the cataracts of the Orinoco that prevent any large vessels from going further up the river. So, the city is a busy commercial and transportation center for goods with the most remote corners of the Amazon rainforest. When we first visited in 1990, we found many indigenous people on the streets selling their wares. The same is true today, no doubt, but the quality and authenticity has certainly dropped. Be sure to check out the "shopping tips" for this page, as there are many things to consider when purchasing authentic indigenous art and artifacts.

Puerto Ayacucho has good food...

We stayed in a hotel in town that was really cheap, and then decided that we could do better at a camp outside the city. The little thatched cottage with A/C were close to the river and we were lucky enough to play with a baby river otter that came from the water. In town, we browsed the usual monuments to Bolivar, Sucre, and Bettencourt. I recommend reading the tip on the Rumolo Bettencourt monument, as this first democratically elected president is Venezuela's "Abe Lincoln"--a controversal figure with a high decree of integrity and success during turbulent times. Too bad, Chavez hasn't followed up on the principles of leadership that Bettencourt exemplified--the fine art of handing power to the next generation leader.

The Natural Wonders of the Upper Orinoco

Near our accomodations outside of town I was able to get some great sunrise and sunset photos. The beauty of the upper Orinoco is stunning. Unfortunately, the indigenous peoples, such as the Yanomami, are becoming extinct through unquarantined contact with tourists, missionaries, and anthropologists. Malaria, Flu, Measles, and other diseases are taking their toll on these last of the world's hunters and gatherers. When they are gone, we will have no living museum of the lifestyle of our own ancestors who lived in Europe more than 10,000 years ago. As these tribal peoples accept the dogma of the Christian religion, the economy of donated pots, pans, and t-shirts, and so on, the Yanomami and other tribal groups like them will vanish from the forests and into the streets of Puerto Ayacucho where they currently beg and look rather depressed for lack of meaning in their lives. For those who are aspiring missionaries wanting to save the world, it might be worth considering the facts of conversion. Indigenous individuals speak broken Spanish and have too few skills to become successful in the world as we know it. Substituting Biblical imagery for the wonder of their mythology is a loss for us all.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Great Center for Expeditions into the Orinoco Rainforest Region
  • Cons:Not a lot to do in terms of nightlife
  • In a nutshell:Puerto Ayacucho is an adventure simply to arrive there
  • Last visit to Puerto Ayacucho: Jul 1992
  • Intro Updated Apr 1, 2006
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Reviews (19)

Comments (6)

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Jun 27, 2007 at 4:44 AM

    Very interesting and thoughtful tips about the indigenous peoples, and the importance of leaving them alone. And what to consider when buying tribal art. A highly worthwhile page!

  • SLLiew's Profile Photo
    Feb 7, 2007 at 9:37 PM

    Great page! Thanks for sharing. Cheers, SL

  • Sep 22, 2006 at 9:52 PM

    Mr.Tufft, I was surprised to here that there were so many indigenous people in Puerto Ayacucho. But I would still visit there if I had a chance and taste the good food, but I would avoid the hotels. Engl41MWF 10-11 attiyyatulwali

  • Sep 22, 2006 at 1:20 PM

    Puerto Ayacucho seems like a rather odd place for me to visit. It seems rather shallow to me. Campturama and Gran Sarola Restaurant resort seems pretty nice nonetheless. Guillermo Hernandez Eng 41 MW 10-11 am

  • Sep 22, 2006 at 9:10 AM

    Mr. Tufft, The pictures are amazing, everything looks greener and happier. The Ayacucho Cathedral remind it me of the cathedral in Salvatierra Guanajuato. I've met indigenous people they are very talented and nice but their culture is being lost.

  • Sep 20, 2006 at 10:11 PM

    It sounds like it would be quite easy to fish then for and avid fisherman here. I would like to visit and fish now. How big were the fish? -Matthew Marroquin Eng 41 MW 10-11am

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