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El Tisure (2 day excursion)
   
 
Horseback riding and hiking

  This is a nice and panoramic tour through the mountains and the magical region of El Tisure, where the famous local artist Juan Felix Sanchez (who died in 1997), used to live. Juan Felix Sanchez was a naïf artist and built the amazing stone chapel dedicated to the Virgen de Coromoto in San Rafael de Mucuchies. This is actually his second chapel, a replica of the first one, that was built two decades before in the remote hamlet of El Tisure. It is just a few hundred meters away from the isolated house where the artist used to live.
 


 

  The tour starts in Merida and a jeep will take us for a one hour drive up into the Paramo (Moorland) to San Rafael de Mucuchies (3140mts), where we will visit the second stone chapel of Juan Felix Sanchez. In Mucuchache (3200mts), just 5 minutes further by jeep, we will find the horses or mules waiting for us to start the mountain ride on the way to El Tisure. The trail passes through a colored wood and Paramo vegetation. The Paramo characterizes a vegetation type that occurs between the upper limit of continuous, closed-canopy forests (cloud forests) and the upper limit of plant life that is characterized by tussock grasses, large rosette plants, shrubs with evergreen, and cushion plants. This vegetation type is scattered along the crests of the highest mountain ranges or on isolated mountaintops between about 3000 mts and 5000 mts. The Venezuelan Paramos are rich in Frailejones (Espeletia), a typical plant with white soft leafs. The highest point we will reach in the tour is at the pass of La Ventana (The Window), at an altitude of 4200 mts. Here we will enjoy the amazing scenery of the mountain chain of Sierra Nevada National Park. The trail continues downhill on the way to El Tisure (3250mts), where we will find the old farm house of Juan Felix Sanchez. We will camp for the night next to the house. Just 10-15 minutes away on foot we will find the original stone chapel created by the artist.
  The second day, in the morning, we will have time to explore the surrounding area, and then start our trip back. The way back follows more or less the same route of the first day. A jeep will be waiting for us in San Rafael to drive us back to Merida.

 
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