The Capanaparo River shares a border with Colombia, and it continues until connecting with Orinoco river. It is home to manatees and pink dolphins.
The Capanaparo River is both from Venezuela and Colombia, since it is born in the bordering nation, just a few kilometers from Venezuela, in the department of Arauca in Colombia.
The Capanaparo river has 403 miles, out of which 140 miles are located in Colombia. This is one of the many rivers that feed the Orinoco River.
Its waters flow through the Apureño plains and cross the Santos Luzardo National Park. From there, it continues to The Orinoco.
Here, it’s possible to find a great variety of flora and fauna, among which we have the impressive green anaconda, the Orinoco crocodile, and the Amazon river dolphin or toninas. The Capanaparo River can be sailed anywhere around its 403 miles.
Tourism in Capanaparo River
This river attracts a lot of tourism during the dry season, as sport fishing is allowed. It is also possible to camp on the shore, because it forms extensive beaches when the water goes down.
One of the best places to camp is the area known as La Macanilla, which is easily accessible and can be reached through the Gallegos Route.
The Gallegos Route begins in San Fernando de Apure, named after the writer Rómulo Gallegos (Venezuelan writer and politician), who wrote two of his most famous novels, Doña Bárbara written in 1929 and Cantaclaro in 1934. In these novels, the writer describes the beautiful landscapes found on the banks of the Capanaparo River, which were a source of inspiration for him.
One of the characters in Doña Bárbara (María Nieves) is not fictitious, she was a local who Gallegos wanted to pay tribute to for her hard work in the plains.
If you go on a tour through the river, you will see countless kinds of wildlife, including dolphins, otters, herons, and the beautiful kingfisher, among a variety of other birds.
In the middle of the river, both the Capanaparo River and the Cinaruco River form an extensive field of dunes. During the rainy season, lagoons are formed in the lower part of the river and tourists enjoy it as bathing areas.
If you look closely on the shore towards the forest, you can see the araguatos; and if you listen carefully you will hear the sounds of the howler monkeys.
To camp in the Capanaparo River, remember to make sure you go during the summer. But if you just want to walk along its waters and go to the end of the river, you should go during winter season, when it is from mountain to mountain (expression used by the “llaneros” when the river is at its maximum water level).
During the dry season you can observe the aligators and alligators taking sun, and if you go by canoe, you can hear the splashing sound they produce when they enter the water.
Although the Capanaparo River has a great variety of species and it is a good place for sport fishing, there are not many lodging options. You can find some in the near town of Macanilla, although it won’t be the Hilton or the Marriott.
La Macanilla was originally an indigenous community that provided the service of transportation on boat to the inhabitants of the area, helping people cross the river. However, the population of the town increased when a bridge was built on the Capanaparo River.
The population of Macanilla is located right on the banks of the Capanaparo River, which is their source of income and livelihood. During the dry season, tourists camp near the river, and the sport finishing athletes visit the place during the winter.
To get to the Capanaparo River from San Fernando de Apure, it is a two-hour drive to the Macanilla. Forty minutes before, you can see a beautiful group of wind dunes very similar to those of the Medanos de Coro, called Medanos de la Soledad, at the edge of the road.
If you are willing to spend a few days on the shores of the Capanaparo River, it is advisable to bring cool clothes, as it is a very hot place. Also, do not forget sunscreen, hat, insect repellent, and of course your bathing suit.
If you do not have your own boat or canoe, there is the option of hiring boatmen at the shore of the Capanaparo river. They know it very well and it is a good option to make a tour.
The Capanaparo River flows through Apure to feed the waters of the Orinoco River. Arriving to the border with the state of Bolivar, it meets the island of Intavaro and surrounds it. Its lands also contain swamps, marshes and morichales.