Orinoco Double Rainbow Sunset... ( 9 MB 1:06 )

Yanomami Circle Dance.... ( 27 MB 3:36 )

Background Reading:

 The Casiquiare Mystery - by Bruce Means ( 1.4 MB PDF )



Samariapo (Upper Orinoco) to San Carlos de Rio Negro (Upper Amazon)

via Casiquiare Canal on board "Iguana"

THU JUN 23 AUS-CCS CO #1540 connect to CO #1666 dep AUS 1:30 PM arrive CCS 9:38 PM

June 24-27: CARACAS José Armas, Jorge Peche, and Gaby at Playa Escondido.....Jack and Blanca on Honeymoon

June 28: To Puerto Ayacucho...Venezolano Airlines dep CCS 1345 209K Bolivares .....Hotel Amazonas 60K per night






July 5: DUIDA






July 11-12: To Caracas


San Carlos to Puerto Ayacucho: Wayumi Air 2 seats = $240 dep 1030 arrive 1600 via Maroa and Atabapo

Puerto Ayacucho to Caracas: Aerolineas Venezolano dep 1100 arrive 1400 approx $100

Caracas Airport: Hotel La Parada 70K+20K xfer

WED JUL 13: Caracas to Austin dep CCS 0938 arrive 2230 due thunderstorms over IAH


Travelers need to reach Puerto Ayacucho. There are, to this day, two flights that depart from Maiquetía's Simón Bolivar International Airport, one morning flight departing at 9:00 am and one early afternoon departing at 1:00 pm. These schedules are subject to change, but we can count on having for sure one flight and almost sure two daily flights.

Our river voyage begins at the port of Samariapo, 60 kms. South of Puerto Ayacucho by road, where travelers embark Iguana. The first day we go by Ratón Island, the largest inhabited island of the Orinoco. We pass by Castillito, a statue of a virgin on a rock, and spend the night at San Fernando de Atabapo, Estado Amazonas first capital.

Atabapo is at the meeting point of three rivers, Atabapo river, Orinoco river and Guaviare river from Colombia. It has a very poignant history in rubber tapping times. Iguana departs in the morning and we stay for a tour of a caucho (rubber-tree) (Hevea brasilensis) plantation. We depart before noon in aluminum boats until we reach Iguana.

From here the journey continues to Santa Bárbara rapids, where we spend the night. We will be able to appreciate Ventuari river's mouth, one of the most important affluents of Orinoco River. The following day, weather permitting, you will appreciate a gorgeous view of Yapacana tepuy. We will stop in several communities to share, exchange and get an idea of community life, amongst them piaroa, curripacos, hivis, baniva and yanomami.

We will also pass the mouth of Cunucunuma River right before reaching Casiquiare channel, natural channel that joins the two biggest south-american waterways: Orinoco and Amazon.

Casiquiare deviates from Orinoco river and we will navigate all the time with the river's flow. We will navigate during three days on this river, visiting curripacos and yanomamis communities. We will spend one night with the yanomamis to be able to share a little with these wonderful people of one of the most primitive culture, getting to know just a little bit about yanomami's daily life.

Casiquiare's left shore is part of UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the biggest one in its kind. We continue our navigation downriver until Casiquiare channel meets Guainía River, from Colombia, to form Río Negro.

We now start our Río Negro navigation, stopping at San Carlos de Río Negro.


Tour Operator: Expediciones Selvadentro

Vía Alto Carinagua km.1, Carinagua-teri, Puerto Ayacucho, Estado Amazonas, Venezuela

TTAC # 222 RTN # 06232

House/Office Cell Phone: *(58) (248)-414-487-38107

Natalia Bird, Lucho Navarro, Cruz Sánchez, ( or the answering machine ).


Mon, 04 Apr 2005


What is best months for Ruta Humboldt? Do you have any departures for 2005?

Thank you.

Mark Halliday

Austin, Texas



Hello Mark:

We do have a departure for Ruta Humboldt in July. Actually we will be returning from a Humboldt Route so it will be San Carlos de Río Negro-Puerto Ayacucho. We will stop in San Carlos de Río Negro on July 16 2005. Are you interested to come by yourself or do you have more people interested? Does this date suit you? Please reply to us whenever you can so we can work out a plan.


Natalia y Lucho, Expediciones Selvadentro



Natalia y Lucho-

Thanks for the quick reply! I sent a similar enquiry 3 months ago with no answer, must have gotten lost in the Christmas rush. How many confirmed people do you NOW have for the July 16 departure from San Carlos? Maybe I can get some friends to go, but they don't generally have enough dinero.

At this time is it possible to confirm just one pax, or is the return trip dependent on further bookings? I assume it will be the bongomaran regardless of the number of passengers? I cannot sit in a bongo for 2 weeks  Selvadentro was recommended to me by Roger Manrique while on a Llanos tour out of Merida. He was great, and spoke very well of your operation.


Mark Halliday, Austin, Texas



Wed, 06 Apr 2005

Subject: Re: Ruta Humboldt departure San Carlos July 16

Hello Mark:

We received your inquiry in December and it did actually got lost in the Christmas rush. Sorry!

For the July 16 departure we have 3 people, you would be the fourth. The trip does not depend on further bookings as it is a returning trip, Iguana needs to harbour at Samariapo. You are assuming incorrectly, the trip will not be made in Bongomarán but in Iguana. Please refer to our site and check it out. It is a very confortable vessel, specially designed for river navigation. We require a 50% deposit six weeks ahead in our bank account in Puerto Rico. It can be made whenever you want as soon as it is at least six weeks ahead. We will specify the exact cost in our next email. This is all for the moment, write to us about anything you need. We will gladly return your email. All the best,

Natalia y Lucho, Expediciones Selvadentro


Bruce Means wrote:

A hard copy will be in the mail tomorrow. Good luck on your trip. Check for splendid Cocks-of-the-rock birds at Piedra de Culimacare. The mystery is, does the Casiquiare flow in either direction periodically? Read the article and find out.


D. Bruce Means, Ph.D., Adjunct Professor

Department of Biological Science, Florida State University


Very interesting article, thanks for taking the time to send it to me, and the nice note enclosed ! I can see how it was misinterpreted, as you explain with the original Humboldt use of words.  Very funny ! I can therefore tell my friends with certainty we will be going UPSTREAM from San Carlos to Esmeralda. I looked around NatGeo and read about your production, although they didn't list any times for the next TV run.

Maybe you don't get many queries, but I found your story very informative. Would you like me to send you an electronic scan of your article?

Sincerely, Mark


Sun, 1 May 2005

Re:Casiquiare Mystery

Hi Mark,

I'm just back from 11 days in the field working on the biology of some animals I love--salamanders. Sure, I'd love to have an electronic scan of the Casiquiare article. Is it a pdf file that I could put on my website for others to access?

Glad you liked the article. Best wishes for a successful trip. What I would REALLY like to do down there is to explore another splitting of rivers--by canoe. The Casiquiare, itself, splits off at a place called Capibara and runs through a swampy lowland (Rebalse de Macavacape) into the Rio San Miguel which rejoins the regional watershed (Rio Guainia that becomes Rio Negro at confluence of Casiquiare) at the village of Maroa. Apparently, the land of the upper Rio Negro and Orinoco is subsiding, which allows rivers to run sluggishly and braid, then split and come together again.  Another famous splitting of rivers is in the swamps of Maturaca, in which waters coming down off of Cerro Neblina flows both north through the Rio Baria or south through Rio Maturaca. You will hear about this in San Carlos de Rio Negro.

By the way, while you are in San Carlos, you should take advantage of locals who will take you by motorboat for a fee downstream to the Piedra del Cocuy on the Brazil/Venezuela border. From the summit of the Piedra you are supposed to see Neblina if the weather permits. And one of my greatest desires before I die is to climb Cerro Neblina up its central valley, collecting frogs along an elevational gradient like I have done on Roraima and Wokomung.

Best wishes for a successful trip.  Drop me a line afterwards and let me know how it went. Truth is, unless you can stop and get off to explore at places along the 225-mile journey up the Casiquiare, it's pretty boring because the river is so big.





1) Does it visit the same villages as described on the web site?


2) Please send me your best estimate of the itinerary,

            You should be in San Carlos the 18th of july.

            We wil keep you informed about the Puerto Ayacucho-San Carlos flight,

            which may be a charter for you and the mexican guy so you share the cost.

3) and maybe a little information about the staff on board.

            Captain and specialized guide(Lucho) Luis Navarro, speaking spanish,

                        english so-so, little brazilian portuguese and yanomami.

            Natalia Bird, Lucho's wife (me) hostess and chef with Lucho and assistant.

                        Speaking spanish, english, french and portuguese.

            Julio Sandoval, Curripaco, river guide (práctico)

            Pablo Estevez, marinero de río

            José Salazar, maquinista y camarero

                        All of them have been raised navigating the amazon's rivers. (Not me)

3) The Iguana looks nice! I was very surprised to know it is going to San Carlos. Can Iguana go to same destinations as bongomaran, i.e. up Rio Siapa and other smaller tributaries?


4)  I am concerned about the trip being in rainy season. I understand the area may not have well-defined seasons, but maybe it does. Is this an important difference? Most trips I have read about were made during Dry season. Even Von Humboldt went in May !

            Navigation is much easier in rainy season. We can visit yanomami at this time of the year in Iguana.

            The dry season limits the places Iguana can go. We spend the dry season mostly in sports fishing trips.

5)  After talking with my friends this weekend, they understand this is a special and unique trip. However, I think a low price is the most important thing they need to be able to say yes. Also, since we will book directly, with no agent commission, please try to give us the lowest price you can. So now please send me price information, for one person, and for 2, 3, 4 pax.

            The price is $1,040 per person. This is the lowest price we offer for this 8 day trip, for 8 people in Iguana.

            Right now we are offering it, even though we will have 4 or 5 people. The price should be $1,360 per person.

This includes:

            All the meals and snacks during the trip, fuit juice and beer with meals.

            Double occupancy cabin

            Two bathrooms to share

            Outings at indigenous villages with local guides

            Spectacular scenery

            Dedicated service

            1% INATUR tourism tax·

Not Included:

            Air fares

            Alcoholic beverages (only beer with meals)



as well as any other terms and conditions, i.e. which domestic airfare is included?

            no airfares included

and the beer-carrying capacity of the Iguana?

            very good question!

6) Do we actually enter Brazil at any point?  Some of us might need to get a visa.

            No, unless you want to fly to Sao Gabriel de Cachoeira and meet Iguana there.

            This is actually the starting point of the return trip. 

            For this you would have to flight to Manaus and from there on to Sao Gabriel de Cachoeira.

            We are proposing to pick you up at San Carlos de Rio Negro in Venezuela

            because it will be less expensive for you and you won't need a visa. 

7) I think you have HF radio on Iguana


Do you have satellite phone for emergency?


110 VAC power on board, or only 12-24 VDC ?


Thank you for your attention to these questions.

Sincerely, Mark Halliday


Hello Mark:

We are in touch again, our new baby boy was born on the 20th :-).

OK as the days have passed, new arrangements have been made and this is the situation right now:

Departing from Samariapo on July 2nd or 3rd: we have three (3) persons booked Coming from Sao Gabriel  on July 15th: we have five (5)  persons booked Coming from San Carlos on July 18th: we have one (1) extra person, adding up to six for the way back. If you are coming by yourself, you can come in either one, if you are coming with your friends, you should come in the first trip.

You can come in either one of these trips, if you are coming with your friends it will be in the first trip, where we have space for three (3). That trip actually goes all the way to Sao Gabriel das Cachoeiras in Brasil (10 days). Even though we told you we would not be going to Brasil, now things changed and we have space for this trip if you are interested. It will be a 10 day trip, but if you want to get back to San Carlos, it will be around five more days. Or continue your way to

Manaus, capital of Brasil's Amazon State. The trip from Can Carlos finishes on the 25 of July, with an option to continue for three more days to Autana-tepuy, finishing thus on the 28th of July.

OK this is all for now, let's keep in touch! All the best,

Natalia y Lucho, Expediciones Selvadentro



Congratulations ! Considering the situation, your reply was very prompt !

My Mother asked if you would be taking a new baby into the jungle?

            Yes! Our sons are always with us in the jungle.

            It is the best way to have them always by our side.

            So if it's safe for a baby, it should be safe for you!

More exactly, what day should we book the return flight CCS to USA?

            Depends on your final choice.

Can you please send a preliminary itinerary saying where we will be on what days?

I understand it might change.

            We are including two preliminary itineraries, one for each way.

            Please feel free to ask any questions that may arise.

And finally, an estimate of the domestic airfares required.

If we can pay with Bolivares, we know how that works.  :)

            Caracas-Puerto Ayacucho flight: 160,000 bs

Sincerely, Mark



Expediciones Selvadentro

Estado Amazonas, Venezuela

0248 - 414 – 7458 TTAC # 222  RTN # 06232,

SAN CARLOS DE RIO NEGRO - SAMARIAPO     7nights / 8 days

We start our Río Negro navigation at the town of San Carlos de Río Negro, capital of Río Negro municipality. We continue our navigation upriver until we reach Casiquiare Channel. Here we will observe the meeting of Guainía River, from Colombia, and Casiquiare Channel, forming Río Negro.

We will navigate during three days on Casiquiare Channel, visiting curripacos and yanomamis communities. We will spend one night with the yanomamis to be able to share a little with these wonderful people of one of the most primitive culture, getting to know just a little bit about yanomami's daily life.

We will pass the following Casiquiare's affluents: Pasimoni, Siapa, Pasiva and Pamoni. Casiquiare's left shore (right margin on the way up) is part of UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the biggest one in its kind.  We will meet Orinoco river, the river from which Casiquiare Channel deviates two join the two biggest south-american waterways: Orinoco and Amazon.

Afterward we also pass the mouth of abundant black rapid waters Cunucunuma River. We will stop in several communities to share, exchange and get an idea of community life, amongst them ye'kuana, piaroa, curripacos, hivis,  baniva and yanomami. Wweather permitting, you will appreciate a gorgeous view of Yapacana tepuy. From here the journey continues to Santa Bárbara rapids. We will be able to appreciate Ventuari river's mouth, one of the most important affluents of Orinoco River.

Then Iguana reaches San Fernando de Atabapo, Estado Amazonas first capital. Atabapo is at the meeting point of three rivers, AtabapoRiver, Orinoco River and Guaviare River from Colombia. It has a very poignant history in rubber tapping times. On our last day we go by Ratón Island, the largest inhabited island of the Orinoco. We pass by Castillito, a statue of a virgin on a rock, and keep on going to the port of Samariapo or to Autana River, for another three days of exciting discoveries.




Thanks again for prompt reply! That is a surprise it is 8 day trip, but a good surprise ! The lower price has two of my friends more interested. I have included the two friends in the CC line above. They may contact you with any more questions, and make their decision when they are ready. So please reply to all 3 people. We can each make payment individually to you later, so please send more details about the procedure.

            The sooner you deposit, either a 50% or a full deposit, your place will be confirmed in this trip.

            Checking account: 229xxxxxx

            Banco Popular de Puerto Rico

            Sucursal San Francisco

            Transit Number (ABA) 0215xxxxxx

I will now shift my plans to outbound itinerary from Samariapo on July 2. This suits me better in some ways, now that the option is available. If I interpret the information correctly, we would disembark Iguana at San Carlos approximately July 11-12?  or maybe earlier if actually 7 nights?

            7 nights/8 days

I am a little intrigued about going through to Brazil, but I will keep things simple for now.

If I transmit 50% ($520) to your account in San Juan next week, when is the other 50% due?

            You can transfer it to our account one week before the expedition starts.

            Or when you get to Puerto Ayacucho you can pay to us in cash.

I think I can do wire transfer from my brokerage account, but I have to learn about the procedure. One of my two friends still considering the trip has asked about the cancellation terms. His Father is sick, and anything is possible.

            If the cancellation occurs one week before the expedition, there is no devolution.

            If it occurs two weeks before the expedition, 50% will be retained.

He simply wants to know how much he would lose if he pays now but cancelled later. Also, can you estimate the San Carlos-Ayacucho one way fare (or charter?)

            Regular trip $120 there is a very good possibility for this flight.

            Charter $630 in case there are no regular flights

We see that the trip may be filling quickly, so now is the time for us to decide.

            Yes it is!

Thank you again for your attention.



Hello Mark:

We are confirming we received the transfer. We are sending an invoice. Now several details:

   1. We received a $505  transfer. This is almost 50%. There are $15 missing, which we suppose your bank charged. Please consider this when paying the other 50%.($535).

   2. This next and final payment can be made at Puerto Ayacucho in cash or can be wire transfered before you arrive to Puerto Ayacucho.  Just notify us how you will proceed.

   3. When will you be arriving at Puerto Ayacucho? How? Please tell us  so we can arrange to pick you up at the airport/bus terminal/space shuttle terminal!

   4. Where do you want to spend the night/s before departure? Should we  make reservations for you at a hotel?

Feel free to contact us for anything else. Wil be waiting for your prompt reply. All the best,

Natalia Bird Jové

Expediciones Selvadentro


Mark Halliday wrote:

Good Morning Natalia ! Well, that is a (small) surprise, the transfer was indeed for $520, I even received the paper copy confirmation in the mail today. I am guessing your bank charged you some fee? Please check with your bank....if you need a confirmation that I sent $520 I have the paper copy and can email a scan of it. I also paid a $25 fee for the transfer on this end, but that is my problem.

I will now book a "frequent flyer" free ticket into Caracas, I am not sure of the exact dates, and may come earlier if I decide what else I would like to do. When I went to Merida last December, I stayed at the Hotel Turistico "La Parada", Av. Atlantida, Calle 10–Quinta Rebeca, Catia La Mar, Tel (0058-0212) 351.21.48 on both arrival and pre-departure nights. It seemed fine, B 70,000, unless you have a better idea.

I have attached an interesting story about a Casiquiare adventure, in case you have not seen it. I also had a few interesting e-mails with the author. Are the other two places still open? My friend, Fernando Dubove in Dallas, may be contacting you any day now.

I am looking forward to the trip !

Sincerely, Mark


Hello Mark:

Good afternoon! Well, I guess I need to check with my bank what happened. I don't need a confirmation, let's leave it like that. The rest of the money, you can pay cash in Ayacucho, if you are willing to.

Thanks for the story, I will read it. Never seen it.

About the hotel I guess it's fine. I have stayed in Catia la Mar but in the place I stayed the noise of the airplanes did not let me sleep. So I rather stay in Macuto, which is a town to the east of Maiquetía. But this depends upon your experience.

Yes, there is a honeymoon couple from Holland, they speak English. The other passenger is Mexican, so you will be able to speak Spanish. You should be in San Carlos the 18th of July.  We will keep you informed about the Puerto Ayacucho-San Carlos flight, which may be a charter for you and the mexican guy so you share the cost.

Yes the other places are still open, in fact there's 3 places. I will wait for your friend's email. All for the moment, anything else do not doubt to contact us! All the best.

Natalia Bird

Expediciones Selvadentro


Tue, 14 Jun 2005

Hey Mark, I have just talked with Jorge by the time I read you mail. and He said "Excellent" too, And we are planning to follow up your schedule in Venezuela especially in Caracas (the Best Nigth life in the world). He has a Daihatsu Terios to reach wherever you want. don't hesitate to call me cel phone 04166204878 job 9014493 and home 2721814.

And Yes the big Fiesta de San Juan is Thursday to Saturday June 23 to 25. (he was born on june 24th) We are so excited to show you the nigth life in Caracas, the prettiest women, and the rumba. and We Wish we could be your oficial tour operator and go to the big Fiesta de San Juan too. Well, we are waiting for you. Take care.

José Félix Armas 


todo bien jorge, gracias !

en este momento yo tengo mi dos bolsas abierto in mi sillas, pensasndo que es importante para la selva ! hoy yo busca por una tienda de tattoos ! verte manana en el noche !un otra cosa interesante, un amigo de mi, Jack McCulley, es en Caracas hoy at Best Western CCT hotel con Sra. Blanca, esposa de Jack de Iquitos, Peru, es un luna de miel, ellos pasando a Canaima manana. todo es listo, gracias otra vez !




Thu, 16 Jun 2005

Hi Natalia !

Thanks so much for the good information. If possible, please make the following airline reservations for me:

Caracas to Puerto Ayacucho:  Tuesday June 28  Mid-day if possible (not early morning or late evening)

            Your flight departs Maiquetía at 1:45 pm Price: 209,100.

            I am trying to arrange for you to pay in Maiquetía (airport)

            but if this is not possible, we will pay and then you pay us.

San Carlos to Caracas: Wednesday July 13 (my flight Caracas to Austin is morning of July 14)

            We made reservation for you on Monday the 11th,

            which is the day of the regular flight San Carlos-Puerto Ayacucho.

            There is no flight San Carlos-Caracas, for this you would need a charter flight

            that anyway needs to stop at Ayacucho to refuel.

            I will make a reservation for you on Venezolana for Puerto Ayacucho-Caracas.

            There are two flights: 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. Tell me which one you prefer.

            will wait for your prompt answer.

If necessary I can leave San Carlos earlier, but my idea is to spend 3-4 days in region of San Carlos or elsewhere in Amazonas (after I leave Iguana) to see what there is ! If you can reserve the seat and tell me the price in Bolivares, I would like to buy the ticket (with cash Bolivares of course) at Caracas airport after I arrive, i.e. after Saturday June 25.

Is this OK?

Sincerely, Mark Halliday


Thu, 16 Jun 2005

Hi Mark, if you wish we can to look in airport, confirm  time of arrival and airline, i stay than you are fine, here in Caracas all is good, one strong hug my friend. My cell number is 0414 130 1099 and home 0212 272 1269 international code (0058) dont forget.


Thu, 16 Jun 2005

I'm avaliable from all Friday 24 (hollyday) to Monday afternoon, Tuesday I have to work. I don't have plans, We could make some one, a kind of schedule. We can start and think, What do you wish you could do the friday 24th? See you.


Sat, 18 Jun 2005

Jorge y Jose:

Muy Bien, mis amigos ! No problema for ingles, lo mismo problema para mi en espanol,particulamente cuando yo escribe !

Ahora todo esta bien por el viaje. Yo confirmado el cambiar de mi boleto por dos dias antes, i.e. ahora estoy confirmado totalamente por llege in Maquetia aeropuerto:

Thursday June 23rd arrival 9:38 PM con Aerolineas Continental Vuelo Numero 1666 de Houston. In caso de que yo no buscate en aeropuerto, o en caso de que hay un problem por ustedes en la ultima momento, mi idea is por pase la primer noche in Catia La Mar, Hotel LA PARADA, Avenida Atlantida Calle 10 Quinta Rebeca, (58-212)-351-2148  /  352-3884  /   614-3494 es lo m ismo hotel yo conoce de la primer y ultima dias de mi vacacion en Diciembre.

Yo pienso que su idea de Tambores es perfecto! Es possible por pase el noche in hotel cerca alla, o es mejor returnamos a Caracas en el noche? Probablamente es dificil para hoteles durante de fiesta, pero yo no se mucho.

Digame ideas de cosas que yo puedo comprar aqui in estados unidos, por ustedes, por ejemplo, posible qualqiere es difficil a comprar in Venezuela?  Sin otra idea, yo voy a comprar botellas de whiskey por ustedes in Houston antes de salir. En este momento, yo cancellado mi reservacion originalmente por Hotel Intercontinental por Sabado y Domingo. Es facil a reconstruir este reservacion for estos noches con mi descuento, pero otra noches el precio es estupido. Mi vuelo de Caracas a Puerto Ayacucho es en Martes June 28.

Hasta La Blasta




The Hotel I think we can find a good one in caracas without problem everybody go out the city it's hollyday. Whisky whatever you want tatto I trust in your choice  Your luggage We'll ask at the airport or in the hotel remember we pick you up, no problem  About the money exchange Jorge should know. I'm going out of office from now to thursday morning. It's mean no more mail till that day so See you my friend.

Ok keep the contact, thanks for the Whisky bottles. Would you mind buying a tattoo for us?. To put it on in San Juan Party. Well my friend the schedule is done. We are just waiting for your coming.On Thursday 23rd at 9.38 PM pick you up in the airport to the hotel and then...It's party time!

José Félix Armas, Ejecutivo de Negocios


Sun, 19 Jun 2005

Hi Mark,

espero que te encuentres bien, sorry for my inglish is bad!! ..... el Jueves 23 9:38 p.m. te esperamos en el aeropuerto, será un placer para nosotros acompañarte, piensa bien si quieres quedarte mejor en Caracas esa noche.

Amigo, no te preocupes por algún presente, nuestro apoyo y cariño es incondicional. Ten cuidado en el viaje ok? te veremos pronto.....un fuerte abrazo amigo.

Jorge Jules


Jorge Peche wrote:

Mark frien, not is problem goin for you to airport, next weekend Jose and me are free from Thursday. I know where is San Juan de Barlovento, the party of TAMBORES is good, many womans and rumbas, well if you want call us to cell phone.

My inglish no is good, i need practice, i sorry....

Jorge Jules Peche

Chavez is death!!!!!!!



June 21

Hi Natalia-

I will go to Caracas this Thursday, June 23, just 2 days from now. I will be with friends at San Juan Fiesta (maybe Tambores) This may be the last chance we have for e-mail before I fly to Puerto Ayacucho on Tuesday June 28th 1:45 PM. Do you have any final information for me about this flight?

            yes, I paid for your ticket yesterday at Puerto Ayacucho. You need to pick it up at Maiquetía.

            I sent the receipt in an attachment. Print it and take it with you.

When I arrive Puerto Ayacucho I will check-in Hotel Amazonas and later contact your Selvadentro office. I will then be looking for small adventures to do near Puerto Ayacucho until Iguana leaves !

            OK, very nice. You can surely go rafting in the Orinoco and visit some communities also.

            Also cross the river to go to Colombia.

I have been able to get Malarone pills for Malaria. 

Thanks again for all your advice.


Mark Halliday



 OK, I have printed out the receipt for ticket Caracas-Puerto Ayacucho,

            Venezolana Flight VNE220,   Tuesday 28-06-05       RECORD LOCATOR # VCS7K1

I will have both Bolivares 209,100 for the ticket and US$ 520 for the second 50% of tour for you when we meet in Puerto Ayacucho ! Thanks again for your good logistics skills !  Now to the Fiesta de San Juan !

Best regards, Mark



I did not get any info from you, so here are my plans:  I am in Caracas with Jorge y Jose today, tomorrow we will go to beach and look for some festival drumming. Saturday afternoon I will stay at:

            TAMANACO INTERCONTINENTAL CARACAS            Avenida Principal de Las Mercedes             TEL (58-212)-909-7111

Weekend rate is $130 plus 16% so about same as you were paying at CCT Hotel lincludes breakfast for two, but I have a free night coupon which makes it affordable, so I will check out late Monday and go to Hotel La Parada down nar airport, in city called Catia del Mar, then fly out early afternoon. Near the Intercon is a club called BEER STATION that you might enjoy,Jose y Jorge said pay $15 entrada and multi-levels of free beer, plus lots of other nice places near hotel which is just above Las Mercedes night-life area. I hope you get this, so contact me by telephone where you are on Sat maybe 6-8 pm.


Tue, 21 Jun 2005

Hey Mark,

Blanca and I decided to go somewhere for a honeymoon. After all was said, we wanted to go to Venezuela. Did not know I was even coming here.I thought you might be here.We are doing the expensive, no hassle thang. We are in the Best Western CCT, in the mall. Room 611. I will find the number and resend. We go to Canaima Friday, and return Sunday, then return to Lima the 28th. Give us a call.



Wed, 22 Jun 2005

To:  Glenn and Barbara Halliday

Mr. Phelps: Friday It Is:  Venezuelan military confirms plot to assassinate President Hugo Chavez

Prensa Latina is reporting that Venezuelan officers have confirmed the existence of a plot to assassinate President Hugo Chavez ... that's why the site of the parade for the anniversary of the Battle of Carabobo on June 24 has been changed.

Defense Minister, General-in-Chief Jorge Luis Garcia Carneiro and Army Commander, Division General Raul Baduel told media that the evidence recommended not to expose Chavez to unnecessary danger.

This time, the annual parade will not be staged at the traditional site of the decisive battle for national independence, but at the military compound of Fuerte Tiuna in Caracas, probably with the presence of the Head of State. Div. Gral. Baduel stressed that, so far, President Chavez has underlined his desire to preside over the parade.

He told mass media the event on Army's Day will have the participation of the Army's Air Command and a representation of land units. Venezuelan authorities have ruled the involvement of active military in the assassination plot, which is attributed to individuals residing abroad, mainly ex military linked to the failed coup of 2002 and internal opposition groups. For his part, Defense Minister Garcia Carneiro said Chavez will attend public celebration for Independence Day next July 5, though under strict security measures. He added that the President will not ride in a convertible car as it was scheduled in the parade for the occasion and his presence in the main platform will be short. "We'll step up measures because he risks too much and fears nothing. We have to hold him up," the high ranking officer pointed out. Garcia Carneiro explained that "worrying reports" combine with the US government's recent failure at the Organization of American States and augmented accusations against Venezuela to reinforce the likelihood of an assassination plot. 


Mark Halliday wrote:

Hi Mom and Dad: OK, glad you got the pix, had lunch with Jack and Blanca de Iquitos today, I am now at the near-airport La Parada. Was pretty fine to have always-on broadband in the room and send a few 100 Mb of video home via FTP. Yes, we finally got to the beach, not perfect as you see in pix, but not bad. But just another latin family affair, I should have seen it coming but didn´t. NO visit to drumming festival at the coastal black villages. I didn´t read between the lines so well, but every day I learned something new like:

1) there are only blacks at those villages

2) it is raining really bad there

3) the blacks would ignore us

4) the drumming is only at night

      (vs the 3days of 24-hr described by people who actually went in previous years !)

Caraquenos are some of the richest and most racist of latins. Glenn, Rob, Larry and I all saw that clearly about 10 years ago when we passed through here ! However, I did visit either 5 or 6 new malls in Caracas, so that alone was worth the trip !  Other interesting news:

1) Fidel is coming to Caracas Wednesday

2) Fidel cancelled his visit and Chavez asked why in his 4-hour speech yesterday

3) Chavez announced raising military salaries 50-60%

4) Fidel is raising doctor´s salaries in Cuba from $14 to $16 per month.

         (3000+ of them are in Venezuela, which gives Fidel cheap oil like russians used to)

5) Chavez did not get assassinated this weekend. Caraquenos are disappointed.

Now off to the jungle.

Marcos de la Selva



Thanks for the quick reply, but this created a few more questions! I did find the invoice after all, although it only shows $505 paid. I did not notice it was attached to that email, sorry.

1)     OK I checked with my bank, they charge me $15 for the transfer, I sent a new invoice where the amount is the correct one.

2) I guess you might soon be out of the office? Are you located in Caracas or Amazonas or where?

            We are located at Puerto Ayacucho, Estado Amazonas capital.

Is there an address for Selvadentro?

            Yes there is: Vía Alto Carinagua km.1, Carinagua-teri, Puerto Ayacucho, Estado Amazonas

I see the telephone (58) (248) 414 7458. Is this a cell or a fixed office phone somewhere?

            This is a fixed cell phone for our house/office.

Who will  answer if I call this number?

            Either I, Lucho or Sr. Cruz Sánchez or our answering machine.

3) This is very strange there are no flights to Puerto Ayacucho !

            They are back on business. Don't worry.

            We will make your reservation, please tell us the exact dates you want it made. ;-)

What happened? Another bankrupt airline? How will you get there yourself? Are there "luxury" buses on that route? I noticed "executivo" service to some cities in Venezuela.

            No to Puerto Ayacucho because of the river crossings.

4) Did you find anything about Manaus-Caracas flights (ida solamente)? I saw some mention of LAB airline, but then they fly Manaus-Miami-Caracas, seems not too smart, but costs $400 or so. Remember, I had the idea to go through to Manaus, but it may be too late to consider this now.  But if I will need to buy very expensive charter flight San Carlos to Ayacucho-Caracas ? (please tell me again this price?).

            You can get on a regular flight from San Carlos to Puerto Ayacucho.

That is interesting the group on Iguana is going to Manaus. What kind of group is this we will be with?

            No idea! People from Holland I think.

Do you know what they have arranged from Sao Gabriel to Manaus?

            I think they are going to flight.

And what day they would arrive Manaus?

            Need to find this out.

5) Malaria:  what do YOU recommend ?

            If you want to, you should take malaria profilactic pills.

            Need to be sure you are taking one that is appropriate for the parasite in this region.

It isn't really what I want to take, but the question requires local knowledge.

Do the people in the villages we pass through have Malaria?

            Yes, in some villages there are people that have or have had malaria.

If so, then I need to take pills. I assume Chloroquine is not enough, so would take Malarone or similar. What do you and Jose do yourself? Take any medicine or not? The doctors here in US don't have good knowledge.

            I never take any pills, just prevention:

            Lots of bug repellent if going through a place where there may be malaria,

            long sleeve and socks. I have never had malaria but Luis (not Jose!) has had it eight 8 times in his life.

Sorry for so many questions, but I will be away from my home after this week, so want to understand everything now !

Sincerely, Mark



Hello Mark:

Hope everything is going ok for you. Some details: The trip will start on July 2, departing from the port of Samariapo. We will get to San Carlos on the 8th day on July 9. We will get to Sao Gabriel on July 11. I hope you have this in mind, since you are returning from San Carlos.

Natalia Bird Jové, Luis Navarro Bueno


Mark hello! 

will need your passport scaned and emailed to get some paperwork done! 

meet you soon



Here ya go !

I am thinking about the CCS- Puerto Ayacucho ticket, what day will you/and or captain/crew be travelling to Purto Ayacucho yourselves?

            we are going back on Iguana again, will pick up other clients in Sao Gabriel

I am also curious, what route is IGUANA doing before the trip to San Gabriel and return?

            will be going to San Carlos also

I have thought a bit about going through to Manaus, but there does not seem to be any air service Manaus to Caracas to come back and then use my CCS-USA ticket to finish the trip. Unless I have missed something, I would have to fly to Manaus-Sao Paulo and then to USA very expensive one-way ticket. any ideas?

            There is a service twice a week, but right now I don't remember the airline, can tell you later





Monday, June 27, 2005

Subject: Jaguars

Hi Fernando-

I am at a hotel near Caracas airport, heading to the jungle tomorrow.

¿¿ Did I tell you about the jaguars we are going to see  ??


Mon, 27 Jun 2005


OK, I am in Hotel La Parada in Catia del Mar, tel 58-212-351-2148 room 23 heading to domestic airport maybe 11 am tomorrow. I tried to reconfirm Venezolano flight from CCS Intercon today, but they just ended up calling you because the airline did not answer but the receipt had your number! All is OK, (I think). If anything is different please leave a message at Hotel La Parada for me. Thanks, and see you soon.



Mon, 27 Jun 2005

Gaby, Jorge, y Jose (Mortice)

Thanks to all of you for helping me know Caracas better. The beach was fun ! Unfortunate we did not see the drumming, but it is not so important. I have some good photos of everyone, I will send them when I am back in Texas July 14-31.

I am now in Hotel La Parada in Catia Del Mar and will fly to Puerto Ayacucho tomorrow. I visited this afternoon with my friend Jack and his wife from Iquitos Peru. They enjoyed Canaima, and today are in CCT hotel. racias otra vez para todos !

Marcos de la Selva



Tue, 28 Jun 2005

Extrañe que no vinieras a tomar fotos del vitral de mí trabajo pero en otra oportunidad será...Que Dios te bendiga siempre espero poder compartir otros momentos bonitos e inolvidables contigo con un mejor inglés para que me entiendas...Un fuerte abrazo, besos y bendiciones....cuidate mucho...

María Gabriela Villasmil Urdaneta, Tribunal Supremo de Justicia

Sala Constitucional, Caracas-Venezuela



Hey Mark,

You are a modern day Che Guevara. You need to get yourself a Harley and do the South American Che Guevara style of travelling. By the way planning on going to Colombia and Peru during the X-mas and New Year Holidays.




Thu, 30 Jun 2005

Subject: in Puerto Ayacucho

To: Casso Alfonso 

No way man, motorcycles are dangerous ! And.....Che got killed by the CIA, but I work for them. hmmmm. I am very safety minded: when I was asking about things to do locally, our tour company owner said I might want to cross the Orinoco here to a little colombian town called Casuarito. But then the guy running me around town said he wouldn´t go if he was me. Thats about as direct a NO one ever gets from a latino ! He described observing an all-night FARC attack on the village a few years ago, but from this side of the river. When I am back in AUS lets have a beer and you tell me about your Xmas plans !

Adios de la Selva



Commandente Marcos,

Looking forward to a beer upon your return.  I forwarded your email to my bro in Colombia and I will shortly forward his reply.  He basically said he gets the intell reports and that you are loco en la cabeza... Expect email soon.


PS. And by the way CIA stands for Casso Intelligence Agency.

            your friend is crazy.....that is joking matter....he must have some inside scoop....we get the intell reports daily of certain areas... bad that is...


Fri, 1 Jul 2005

Re: in Puerto Ayacucho

...cross the Orinoco here to a little colombian town called Casuarito. But it sounds so innocent...  go for it Marcos. An all night FARC attack would probably look just like 4th of July fireworks. such a deal !



Thu, 30 Jun 2005

Hi Mark, espero q estes bien, todo por aqui esta chevere, el lunes fuimos a buscarte al hotel al medio dia y te dejamos un mensaje en la recepcion. Siento mucho no poderte ver el lunes para almorzar, sera para otra oportunidad, espero que tu viaje a Pto. Ayacucho lo estes disfrutando mucho, Gaby te manda saludos, yo estube muy ocupado porque vendi la camioneta y ahora estoy preparando mi viaje a EEUU, bueno amigo espero te encuentres muy bien y ten cuidado, ya que no se puede confiar en mucha gente por ese lugar, definitivamente tu eres un hombre con mucha suerte por conocernos a José y a mí. Abrazos de Sebastian, Gaby, Félix (papá de José), José y Jorge.

P.D. Si regresas a Caracas por favor avisanos o llamanos. Bye

This is my e mail. Thank for every thing. I enjoy so much your friendly. I hope so see you again. Mis mejores deseos...para tí Marck...Cuidate mucho y que Dios te bendiga siempre donde quiera que te encuentres...En lo que este a mí alcance cuentas conmigo....Besos con cariño...Si quieres conocer donde trabajo la página es


How are you? What is your opinion about La Gran Sabana? Do you like it? I' m fine, I finish my second post-grade. I'm so happy about that. Now I 'm studying about the oportunitys in USA for the phd. But I need the vacation. Hugs and Kisses

Gaby de Gabycocinas...María Gabriela Villasmil Urdaneta

Tribunal Supremo de Justicia, Sala Constitucional, Caracas-Venezuela



Natalia, Lucho, Cruz, and all-

I now have MANY pix up on my web site at:

Please send me your mailing address in PR, Natalia, I can send a CD (or data DVD if you can read that) with pix and video (although I can't send it until after Sep 4 when I return from Morocco). Thank You for a wonderful adventure! Remember Parintins 2006 ! Best wishes, Mark


Natalia !

1) look again and tell me if there is anything else I can fix in the section on Selvadentro.

2) Then send me your address in Puerto Rico!

            401 Calle Columbia, Apt.503, Cond. Columbia Plaza, San Juan, PR 00927-4004

3) Can you read DVD data or only CD data?

            can read DVD

4) can you tell me the names of the villages we visited?

      a) the first village where you gave the newspaper article copy?


     b) the miners village?


     c) then Tamatama?

            no. Tamatama was where we stopped for a national guard check after Cejal,

            1st yanomami village, the one on the Orinoco

     d) the Yanomami village?

on Casiquiare: Viriunave

on Orinoco: Cejal

thanks much.


P.S. Best regards to Cruz, the ONLY BUDDHIST in the Amazon !

            will tell him when he comes back, he's on a tour around Venezuela as a guide for another company


Hello Mark:

Wow! You did a great job! Thanks. There is one little thing that  changed which is our cell phone. If you can change it 0414 487 3810. Of course we remember Parintins, let's keep in touch and start planning.It was very nice to have you on board. Hope to meet you next year en route for Parintins. All the best,Natalia.



Mon, 1 Aug 2005

Excellent!!! Great pictures my friend, I've just sent to my father your web site  I hope he'll enyoy that. These pictures are terrific!!! Especially Yanomamis, the nature, I envi you, ja! Nice trip. I'll recommend the W-page to some friends. Gaby, jorge como están no sé nada de uds.? están aquí en Venezuela o qué?  Jose

I'm happy know that you'r ok!!... the pictures is amazing and you trip too, i believe than you are insane to make this trip. Well friend i'm happy for you, now i'm on NY whit my parents, i stay here at december. My phone is: (732) 826 1330. Take care friend and enjoy the life. Gaby



Sun, 11 Sep 2005

Subject: Parintins 2006

Hola Mark: Esperamos que todo te haya ido muy bien en Marruecos.

Hemos comenzado a investigar sobre Parintins para ya ir haciendo el calendario del año próximo. La fiesta es la última semana de junio, específicamente el último fin de semana de esa semana. Para escoger un lugar bueno para Iguana, es por orden de llegada, firstcome, first serve. Tenemos también que sacar una licencia provisional en la Capitanía de Puertos de Amazonas. Por ahora es lo que sabemos.

Also about the cost, this trip is going to be more expensive than when we are in Venezuela. Fuel is very expensive for us over there, as well as food is also much more expensive than in Venezuela. Just to let you know. Just wanted to touch base with you and find out about your plans. All the best, will wait for your answer,

Natalia y Lucho


Tue, 14 Feb 2006

Re: Parintins 2006

Hi Natalia !

Sorry for the delay, I was in Africa for all of August. At this time I am not too optimistic about my friends to form a group for Parintins. I realize this is nothing you can plan with. For myself, I would only be able to decide maybe 1-2 months before. Please keep the idea, and If you get other people interested, please do let me know your schedule for 2006.

Best regards,