On the borders of Venezuela, Brazil & Guyana, lies the Roraima plateau, encompased by Canaima — the world's largest national park.
The highest tepui (flat-topped, cliff-edged mountain) is 9219 feet.
Although no mountaineering skill or gear needed, Roraima is almost as challenging as it looks and requires a six-day, five-night round trip trek to fully appreciate the summit. The main ascent, taking around four hours, is not easy. Weather is a major factor and hikers must hire a guide as no independent hiking is allowed.
The so-called dry season is December through April but explorers can plan on getting very, very wet.
Although freezing cold at the top and base camps infested with biting gnats and mosquitos, the unique dreamscape at the top is well worth the discomfort. Bizarre rocks, gorges, gardens and unusual biodiversity make a day spent exploring the Roraima summit unlike anything else. Check out these film clips of the area.
Roraima provided Sir Arthur Conan Doyle with the inspiration for his influential 1912 novel, The Lost World.
Sir Everard im Thurn first climbed the plateau in 1884, however the Prow of Roraima, pictured above, was not summited until 1973.
Visitors to the area can also visit nearby Angel Falls, the world's highest at 3212 feet.
Travelling in Venezuela can also be remarkably inexpensive. Shoestring travelers can budget for as little as US$25-30 per day.
An aeon is long, the Blessed One said. It is more than several hundred thousand years. Suppose, there was a great stone mountain a mile long, a mile wide, and a mile high, without holes or crevices, one solid mass of rock. At the end of every hundred years a man would stroke it once with a piece of Kasian (very soft) cloth. That great stone mountain might by this effort be worn away and eliminated but the aeon would still have not come to an end. So long is an aeon, bhikkhu.