Disney’s 2009 film, Up, may have provided its audience with plenty of emotions; sorrow, due to the death of Ellie, or humor, with characters like Russell and Dug. One emotion that each audience member was sure to feel was amazement once the beautiful scenery of Paradise Falls was revealed.
Paradise Falls from the film was inspired by the real location of Mount Roraima, situated among Venezuela, Brazil, and Guyana. The true location of the awe-inspiring flat-topped mountain, also known as a tepui, is just as amazing as the fictional setting, because it actually rises above the clouds.
Although the mountain is impressive on first glance alone, there is much more exquisiteness to the geological features upon closer inspection. According to Atlas Obscura, “Its near daily rains have also created a unique ecosystem, which includes several endemic species, such as a unique carnivorous pitcher plant, and some of the highest waterfalls in the world.”
Mount Roraima is home to many creatures that cannot be found anywhere else on Earth, according to News.com.au. “In fact, around 35 percent of the species on Mt. Roraima are endemic, such as the Roraima bush toad. And 70 percent of those found on South America’s tepuis exist only on these plateaus.”
There are species that exist on Mount Roraima that are very similar to species that have gone extinct in the rest of the world. Because of these species that appear otherworldly, Mount Roraima is believed to be the place described in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1912 novel, The Lost World.
Anyone can spend a two-day hike in the Canaima National Park of Venezuela to climb to the top of the mountain, explore this “lost world,” admire diverse plant and animal species, and appreciate the glorious views of the tops of clouds.
According to Tourism on the Edge, shuttles and buses to the South American village of Paraitepui can get travelers close to the beginning of the hiking trail. Once in the village, tour guides from the indigenous population offer low prices for “some of the most fascinating hiking trails in the world.”
Of course, this indigenous population has some of its own thoughts on Mount Roraima. According to Ancient Origins, “Prior to the arrival of Europeans, the natives of Venezuela viewed the tepuis as having special mythical significance.”
The Pemon Indians believed that Mount Roraima was “the stump of a mighty tree that once held all the fruits and tuberous vegetables in the world.” Unfortunately, the tree was cut down by one of their ancestors, and when it crashed, it caused a horrible flood. If anyone attempted to climb to the top of the mountain, they would not return alive.
In addition, tepui, the local name for these tabletop mountains, translates to “house of the gods.” For fear of a reprisal of the gods, no one ventured to the tops of these mountains for hundreds of years, according to News.com.au. Because these mountains were untouched for several years, many endemic species were able to develop and thrive.
Since then, many visitors have trekked to the tops of these mountains for a glimpse at some of the rarest beauty in the world. Showcasing a world once thought extinct, the tepui continue to offer special species and wondrous views for eager travelers.
Sign Up For Our Newsletter