Henri Pittier National Park is the oldest national park in Venezuela, originally created in 1937 under the name of Rancho Grande by decree of President Eleazar López Contreras. The park was renamed in 1953 with the name of Henri Pittier, a distinguished Swiss geographer, botanist and ethnologist, who arrived in Venezuela in 1917, classified more than 30,000 plants in the country and devoted many years studying the flora and fauna in the park.
Henry Pittier National Park has the honor of having started the history of national parks of Venezuela. It has an area of 107,800 hectares, located in the north of Aragua state, comprising most of the Araguan costs and mountainous area of Carabobo state also borders the San Esteban National Park. Henri Pittier National Park is the largest among the national parks of the Venezuelan Coastal Range.
The park consists of two geographic systems: a steep mountain, where more than 500 bird species and 22 endemic species. In the park there are nine major rivers and a great diversity of flora and vegetation. The second system is the coastal area with bays, beaches and resorts of a huge tourism potential. Besides its ecological importance is also an important source of water for cities and towns that surround it and is also the land where cultivated one of the best cacao of the World, especially in the village of Chuao.
Places to Visit :
The main attraction of this park are its beautiful beaches. Some are accessible by road, and it is noteworthy that so are most frequented by vacationers. Others are only accessible by sea, which are generally much more empty and clean. The most visited are: bahía de Cata, Cuyagua, Playa Grande, El Playón, Playa Chuao, among others. Playa Cuyagua is an ocean beach, considered the best to practice the «surfing» in Venezuela. Another major attraction of the park are over 500 species of birds can be seen there. These represent over 40% of total bird species in the country. Tourists and scientists around the world visit the park for this reason, and thus created the Sociedad Científica Amigos del Parque Nacional Henri Pittier (SCAPNHP) in 1989. This society seeks to promote the study of flora and fauna of the park, while protecting of disturbing elements the natural habitat of these species. In the Estación Biológica Rancho Grande of the Ministry of Environment can visit a zoological museum with many of the species in the area by appointment. The Paseo del Pargo, which can be reached by taking Road of Choroní peaks can visit La Mesa, Palmarito, La Negra, La Negrita and El Cenizo.
Attractions and Recreation:
The Paseo del Pargo or Paseo Guanábano, is a way westbound that through to the largest mountain formations of the Coastal range which runs through the park, to the summit of Pico La Mesa. In the Estación Biológica de Rancho Grande is located a biological museum, with a zoo of species that inhabit the park.However, the biggest attraction of the Park is its beaches, some are accessible by land, while the more isolated and quiet can be accessible by sea, in boats, motorboats or yachts. Some of the most valuable for its tourism and recreational potential are:
- Maracay Fourth most populous city.
- Bahía de Cata clear waters and peaceful
- Cuyagua beach suitable for extreme sports like surfing, bodyboarding and windsurfing
- La Ciénaga Beaches in flat water, with coral, suitable for diving, snorkeling and kayaking
- Choroni Beach, El Playón, among others beaches.
- Zoo Las Delicias, among others.