Merida's Cable Car
Photo taken by Adriana Velandia
Photo taken by Yamilet Robles de Rodriguez
Visiting Merida without getting on its cable- car, would be like going to Rome and not seeing the Vaticano or going to Paris and not visiting the Tour Eiffel. This cable car consists of four sections for a total length of 12.5 km. (longest in the world) reaching an altitude of 4765 m. (highest in the world). This altitude is higher than any point in Europe and USA excluding Alaska.
The first section starts at Barinitas station (1577m) and ends at La Montaña station (2577 m.) As you look down from here Merida City openly displays its beauty. Looking upwards you will easily see El Gigante Dormido (The Sleeping Giant) a so-called mountain for closing resembling this shape.
The Sleeping Giant
The second and third sections reach La Aguada station (3452 m.) and Loma Redonda station (4045 m.) respectively. As you look down along these sections, you may see Merida valleys and upwards the Pico Bolivar (the highest point in Venezuela)
In Loma Redonda station you will begin to feel the cold and the height. At this point you are higher than 4 000 m. above sea level. Remember to slow down your pace to get used to the altitude. Maybe it is the right time for a cup of tasty hot chocolate. If you feel like going higher, you can buy your ticket for the last section, which will take you to Pico Espejo (Mirror Peak - 4765 m.) Along this section you can sense the summit closeness and as you look down you will see the two lagoons La Negra and La Colorada. On your right you will have Cerro El Leon (Lion Mountain).
Cerro el Leon (Lion mountain)
Pico Humboldt (Humboldt Peak). Right
Pico Bomplandt (Bomplandt Peak). Left
As you reach the summit and leave the station, go towards the viewing point where you will see the statue of Virgen de Las Nieves (Virgin of the Snow). From there you may clearly see Pico Bolivar (Bolivar Peak) facing you between Pico Bomplandt and Pico Humboldt. Though Pico Bolivar may look pretty close, it will take you a six-hour walk to reach it, not to mention the outstanding physical and emotional conditions this kind of excursion demands.
Virgen de las Nieves (Virgin of the snow)
On a clear day looking South you will be able to see as far as Barinas City. At the top you can touch the snow and why not? Dare your friends to a snowball battle. (If you are in the mood!)
Do you know where does the name Pico Espejo (Mirror Peak), come from? Well, the kind of stone you find at the top called Mica Moscovita is extremely bright and when the sun shines on it produces the same reflection as a mirror.
From Pico Espejo you may take a short guided tour around, where you will enjoy more lovely sights and listen to interesting information. You will see Laguna Negra and Miranda's statue.
Laguna La Negra
Francisco de Miranda
You could also climb up a rock or shout out loud and listen to the echo.
On the way down, if you love exercising and feel like it, get off at Loma Redonda station and walk from there to Los Nevados Village (a five-hour walk). You will need a permit you can get at Barinitas station. You could also skip one station and go on walking to La Aguada station (slightly over an hour walk). If you are really fit and keen on something more adventurous, we suggest you hire a guide who will make your excursion not only more pleasant but also safer.
Karl Ontiveros and Aquiles Parra (Mountain guides)
Unfortunately, most of the time a thick fog covers the mountain. The clearest days of the year are from December to February. On the other hand from July to September there will be more snow. If you are an early bird, you will stand a better chance to enjoy a clear view. Finally, if you are in Merida and it happens to be a clear day by all means get on the cable car!!
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