Maracay Henri Pittier National Park / Parque Nacional de Henri Pittier
(Maracay, Aragua, Venezuela)
The borders of this unique national park, the first to be established in Venezuela
, stretch right to the northern boundary of Maracay city.
Designated as a national park in 1937, this attraction is home to diverse eco-systems dependent on altitude and is famous for the variety of its bird life. Literally tens of thousands of species of flora are found within the Henri Pittier National Park, along with hiking trails, some interesting colonial towns and an attractive coastline, complete with beaches.
Covering an area of just under 1,100 square kilometres / 425 square miles, the Parque Nacional de Henri Pittier was originally named the Rancho Grande, being subsequently renamed after its founder, renowned Swiss botanist and biologist Henri Pittier.
The park's landscape is quite varied, with mountainous areas and cloud forests, along with mangroves, lush evergreen rainforests and sections of drier deciduous woodland. Measuring in at a little over 2,400 metres / 7,875 feet in height is the Pico El Cenizo, an imposing mountain offering great views.
Many visitors choose to base themselves in Maracay and head to the Henri Pittier National Park for its hiking, favouring the coastal trails. If you have the time, popular walks include Choroni to Chuao, Puerto Colombia
to Chuao, and Puerto Colombia to Aroa.
Puerto Colombia is one of the park's leading tourist destinations. This charming seaside town was once a busy port town and today is a haven for backpackers and beachgoers, with the Playa Grande being a particularly impressive beach and made to feel all the more exotic by its abundance of mature coconut palms.