® Courtesy of Akanan Tours

When entering a sweepstakes, we usually do it with little confidence that we’ll be the lucky ones. Still and all, we often think: Lady Luck has to smile on somebody, and it might as well be me. That was the thought running through our Canaima Sweepstakes winner.

"The roar of the water falling behind Salto Hacha: It was like being inside a hurricane!"

When DeVere Kutscher’s name was randomly selected as the Nexos Canaima Sweepstakes winner last November, he knew Luck had graciously bestowed him with a smile. The prize included an all-expenses-paid trip for two to the Canaima National Park in Venezuela. DeVere and his partner, Duane Poza, live in Washington, D.C. Life partners for more than 10 years, they are avid travelers and lovers of exotic places. They had always considered the idea of visiting the park one day and reaching the Salto Angel (Angel Falls); their good luck cajoled them into carrying out their plan a little sooner than expected.

® Courtesy of Akanan Tours
The park is in a remote area of Venezuela. To reach it, it’s necessary to fly from Caracas to Puerto Ordaz and from there to take a small plane to the town of Canaima, on the fringes of a lake with the same name. DeVere and Duane made the adventurous trek with an intrepid band of American Airlines companions: Nexos’ Editor Ana Cristina Reymundo and sales manager Victor Escalante, Ricardo Gaju and Ana Teresa Gomez from the American Airlines Sales office in Caracas. Their expert guide was Manuel Patiño from Akanan Travel & Adventure.

The group arrived in Canaima at midday. They set up at the Ucaima Jungle Rudy Camp, a peaceful area along the banks of the Carrao river, where the owner, Gaby, greeted them with her characteristic warmth and a welcome drink. After lunch and a bit of rest, they hopped on a curiara (canoe) and made their way across Canaima lake on a tour of massive waterfalls. They stopped and trekked into the jungle until they came upon the entrance that would lead them behind the waterfall. Just before dark, the group returned to Ucaima Jungle Rudy Camp and tucked in early. The next day, they boarded another curiara that took them up the river for three and a half hours to the foot of Angel Falls. DeVere and Duane say they could hardly believe what they were seeing. Rising thousands of meters up the Tepuy was Angel Falls. They carefully began the climb up to one of the many pools that the fall makes on its extraordinary descent down the ragged cliff face. That night, they slept in a rustic camp near the falls. 

The following morning, the group returned to Ucaima Jungle Rudy Camp, where some good food and rest awaited them before the long trip back to Caracas. There was sightseeing in the Venezuelan capital in the excellent company of Olga Ramirez from the Venezuelan Department of Tourism.

® Courtesy of Akanan Tours
Duane describes the highlights: “Arriving at Canaima in the small plane and seeing the landscape filled with tepuis (tabletop mountains) for the first time. Also going behind the waterfalls, like the Salto el Sapo and Salto Hacha, and of course the trip along the black-colored river and suddenly seeing Angel Falls in front of us.” DeVere commented on his experience as well, “The roar of the water falling behind Salto Hacha: It was like being inside a hurricane! Walking through the savanna on our way to the falls and the expert way our navigator sorted the rapids in the curiara as we made our way up the river. I loved the peaceful Pemón (indigenous group) villages and watching the kids going to school under the shade of the mighty tepuis. And mainly, the path toward Angel Falls through a river with reddish almost dark brown depths; I was awestruck as the falls began shyly revealing themselves from within the clouds as we approached them. Everything was enchanting, from the small plane to the lake, the campsite, the curiara, the fog rising and falling, the journey along the river, seeing how little by little the walls of the tepuis became more vertical. … and finally, when we reached our destiny, the clouds gave way to reveal Angel Falls from top to bottom.”

DeVere’s and Duane’s tales speak for themselves about their extraordinary experience. Don’t think twice about entering our sweepstakes and promotions. As long as you’re signed up, there’s always a chance, even if it seems unlikely. Just ask DeVere and Duane.