Socialist New Year ;) – Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela


Route Santa Elena de Uairen, Venezuela – Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela (10)
Distance 611Km
Travel Time 10.5 hours
Road Conditions Mostly good tarmac
Weather Hot, Sunny
Terrain Flant then hilly
Food and Petrol Sta Elena, Rapidos, Luepa, KM88, Pto Ordaz
Accommodation Camping Salto Kaui; Casa del Lobo, Pto Ordaz

We have been up most the Gran Sabana already so this time we’ll be moving through quickly. In Santa Elena in the Internet Cafe we find out that our Argentinian friends have left Kavanayen, so we make phone call from the Pousada Monica to see where they are. They’re already in Puerto Ordaz, staying at Casa del Lobo (150BF/dbl), which we have already read about in the Lonely Planet. If we leave today we can be there in time for new year!


The local Kaui family. And an Argentinian couple also camping there, touring S.Am. in a 20+ year-old car and supoprting themselves by making music! Incredible.

On the 30th we buzz up to the camp site at Salto Kaui, where we last stayed and enjoyed it so much. Then after one night’s camp and a farewell dip in the waterfall, we start the heavy ride to Puerto Ordaz.


Since it’s the 31st of December there is not much traffic at all and we can move ahead at good speed. On the way we try to make a fuel stop at a village which is marked on our map, however the road doesn’t lead right through the town, so to confirm directions we stop at a little house at the road side by the turn-off.


There are three occupants waiting there, two guys and an woman, and they are having a whale of a time! Three’s a crowd I’ve heard said… but one hell of a party these folks are having themselves, fuelled by strong clear spirit which they’re very keen to share (unfortunately for me I’m driving). We hang around a bit and have a chat with them – as much as is possible anyway. Man these guys are crazy! But anyway they’re a really happy a friendly bunch.


When I ask them about the petrol station they pop into a shed and come back with a jerrican of petrol and fill up my tank with special happy-new-year regards from Venezuela, and they send us on our merry way. No cash accepted. (But then in Venezuela it’s always hard to find small enough change in your wallet to cover your fuel bill.) Awesome! Gracias amigos!


Well we pass through a number of small towns on the way, some of them being the shabbiest, dodgiest-looking places we have yet seen.


We reach Puerto Ordaz by evening and with asking for a few directions we easily find la Casa del Lobo (150BF/dbl; #2 Calle Zambia, Manzana 39, Los Olivos District). Lobo (nickname meaning “Wolf”) is a German adventurer who was travelling around the Amazon with a dinghy boat and got stuck out here decades ago. He runs tours throughout the country and his house doubles as a hostel for his clients and other travellers coming through. It’s a bit run down and in need of some renovation, but it’s ok for a few days. (And seems to be the only place in Venezuela where you dispose of toilet paper in the toilet bowl instead of a waste bin!)


Puerto Ordaz is part of the greater Ciudad Guayana, which consists of Puerto Ordaz, San Felix and Ciudad Bolivar – just in case you were getting confused looking at the map. To get there the highway takes us through San Felix, which is said to be a more dangerous area, and crosses over a big river bridge into Puerto Ordaz, which is on the other side of the river.


Lobo himself has a few interesting stories to tell. He is of course of a generation who took his trip upon himself before the times of RTW-tickets, Lonely Planets and trek-towels. I can only imagine how much more wild the Amazon area must have been when he travelled there.


Erica and Max are awaiting us with drinks and BBQ food, all ready for a new years party. Excellent! And the night passes beautifully. We talk and we drink, dance and watch the fireworks lighting up the neighbourhood… from behind the electric fence atop the high wall. – A major change from last new year’s even in Koh Lanta, Thailand. 🙂



We hang around in Puerto Ordaz a few days longer. Ebru and I are in hope of finding new laptop screens and Puerto Ordaz looks promising. However our visits to the large electronics malls in the Alta Vista district end in disappointment, as we discover that just about everyone will be closed and on holiday for the following seven or eight days.


Time to move on!