Caripe del Guácharo

Caripe is the main town in the highest part of the eastern coastal range of Venezuela. It lies at approximately 3000 feet altitude near the northern border of the state of Monagas, about 10° north of the equator, in an extremely fertile and very beautiful valley which drains eastward past Caripito, through the Río San Juan into the Golfo de Paria which separates Venezuela from Trinidad. Las Delicias lies about 3 miles by road from (and 300 feet higher in altitude than) Caripe.

Caripe Valley as painted by Joy Turner Tuggy
Caripe Valley as seen from Las Delicias, looking eastward
Joy Turner Tuggy
Courtesy of Herman and Rubylene Musgrove

(The view is of the eastern end of the Caripe valley, looking towards Teresén. The Caripe river goes on eastward from there toward Caripito. In our time there was no road down that valley. Caripe itself would lie to the right of this picture.)


Cities in Northern Monagas, Sucre and NE Anzoátegui

The Big House at Las Delicias, with the Caripe valley beyond
The pyramid-shaped mountain was called “El Perú”

The name probably is cognate with the name Caribe “Carib”, and was supposedly the name of an Indian cacique or chieftain who ruled there: his son supposedly founded the town of Caripito on the coastal plain to the east. The“del Guácharo” part refers to the fact that the largest cave system in eastern Venezuela is nearby. The Cueva del Guácharo, which is now a national park, is home to thousands of guácharos, or oilbirds, nocturnal birds about the size of small pigeons which can navigate in pitch blackness by a sonar system similar to those used by bats, but with noises audible to human ears. Walking into the galleries where they nest with a lantern is a deafening experience, and when they emerge at nightfall, the racket inside the cave and the bits of black flying off into the dusk would make you think there was an enormous bonfire inside the cave. The cave was brought to the notice of Europeans by the famous explorer Alexander Von Humboldt in the 1830’s (better CHECK the date!). Beyond the Guácharo nesting areas lies the Cuarto de Silencio, and there are many galleries, passages and rooms beyond that, with lots of stalagmites and stalactites and other rock formations, blind white fish and blind white crickets, and other interesting things. 


The entrance to the Cueva del Guacharó
(picture cadged off the Internet)

An oil-company map of the NE Monagas and Sucre area.

The location of Caripe is approximate (it was added to the original map), but the town is not far from the source of the Caripe river, which is the river Caripito is located on. Caripito and Quiriquire were oil-company towns: Maturín is the state capital. To get to them you had to drive south-west from Caripe, past San Francisco, Aragua de Maturín, Punta de Mata and other towns, and then cut back around north and west to get to Maturín, Quiriquire, and Caripito. The distance from Caripe to Caripito is probably not 30 miles as the crow flies, but you had to drive more than 100 miles. In the 50’s and 60’s, it could take 8 hours. 

Carúpano, on the northern (Caribbean) coast of Sucre state, is where Alfred and Joy Tuggy were both born.

The fault lines help explain the fact that we had quite frequent earthquakes; small enough to be rather fun instead of really scary, but something to be taken into account when you built buildings. 



Las Delicias

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