Virtual Andean Tourist Routes
Venezuela: Fascinating ecotourism in the Camp at Vuelta Larga
by Ana Cecilia Porras Herrera
May 9, 2002
Sucre State (Venezuela). May 8, 2002- We are in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, in Miranda State, on the highway that will take us to the El Laurel Nucleus of the Central University, where we will participate in the First Workshop on Sustainable Tourist Zones in the Caribbean. We listen to community and private experiences, such as the case of the Vuelta Larga Foundation in Sucre State, under the direction of Mr. Klaus Muller. We are going to enjoy, become acquainted with and learn how to take care of the Vuelta Larga Camp on the Paria Peninsula. The camp is situated in a privileged area with extremely varied ecosystems, two national parks (Paria and Turépano), tropical forests, thermal springs, swampy savannahs and beautiful beaches.

Cocoa beans, coconut and many tropical fruits grow there, as well. But, above all, it is the abode of pleasant people who are proud of their region, like Klaus Muller and his son Daniel, who head a working team that is dedicated to protecting nature, arousing the awareness of the inhabitants about the importance of rational use of water and the air, encouraging them to use solar energy, and promoting the appropriate management of the resources with which the area has been endowed. This is an effort to clear the mind and spirit of contaminating influences.

Our sight rests on the camp, built of wood, with walls constructed from bareque cane, mud and cement in the shape of half pyramids. A space of roughly twenty centimeters between walls and roof makes these structures anti-seismic. In the lower walls an open band covered y natural woven fiber allows for air circulation.

In Vuelta Larga, the Mullers craft furniture from their own woods, such as cedar, pine and saman, or rain tree. In this activity, the forest resources are used responsibly and their care and promotion are encouraged.

The food that is served at the camp is chosen with the same criterion of self-sustainability. Tropical fruits and juices and buffalo meat (the Mullers raise buffaloes on a nearby hacienda that can also be visited) abound. Other main food sources include the fish that are farmed in the hacienda lake (37 square meters in size), with which interesting experiences in crossbreeding are being performed; the cachama and the morocoto have been crossed to produce the cachamoto.

Vuelta Larga offers an experience that is interesting to people who want peace, to learn from nature and to enjoy contact with an unpolluted environment. This destination is especially appropriate for tourists who want to experience the materialization of a utopian way of life based on a reduction of consumerism and the promotion of the more integral values of humanity, inserted within a natural environment with which it can maintain harmonious relations.

Muller’s camp is not very large. Only thirty visitors can be accommodated at any one time. Even so, this is an ideal number, allowing him to pass on his knowledge to the visitors as they become acquainted with the facilities and projects of Vuelta Larga.

Let us continue our magic carpet trip along the highways of Sucre State on the Paria Peninsula. At this point, we can enjoy Medina Beach, one of the best known and also most cared for on Venezuela’s coast.

This is a bay on a coastline of green cliffs filled with vegetation. The beach itself offers a broad surface covered with coconut palms that stand perpendicular to a peaceful and absolutely turquoise-colored ocean that deepens or pales according to the sunlight.

Local people sell their crafts and particularly fresh catches on the beach. These fish inserted into a crusty arepa, or cornmeal roll, make a delicious and relatively inexpensive lunch.

The inns for travelers wishing to share experiences with the local population offer one of the best syntheses of living tourism. Sucre State offers a sizeable number of these lodging options for different pocketbooks, but always with good standards of comfort.

Klaus Muller does not like talking about ecotourism. He prefers to say that instead of tourists, he receives travelers who want to understand and enjoy experiences that are very different from that proffered by the sophisticated “five star” hotels. That statement aptly summarizes the advantage that is offered to visitors to this fascinating Caribbean region of Venezuela.

Source: Radio Program: Bucaramanga’s (Santander, Colombia) Fascinating and Enchanting Tourism


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