Sarisarinama – Sucre, Venezuela - Atlas Obscura


Sucre, Venezuela

Massive sinkholes on a mountain in one of the most remote places in Venezuela. 


Besides being one of the most remote locations in all of Venezuela, Sarisarinama is one of the most bizarre landscapes in the world. High in the clouds on a tepui, or tabletop mountain, are four giant sinkholes, each a near-perfect circle, cutting through the foliage-covered mountain.

The largest of the sinkholes is 1150 feet wide and 1000 feet deep. Although the other three well-known holes are not quite as large, they are equally impressive and drop off in the midst of the primeval forest on top of the tepui. Adding to the mystery of the place is the local legend that gave the tepui its name. According to natives to the area, a flesh-eating evil spirit lived on the mountain, who made the sound Sari Sari when he was consuming human meat.

Although there are not any actual person-eating spirits on the mountain, the desolation atop the mountain still adds a level of eeriness to the surroundings. Having only recently been introduced to the sinkholes on Sarisarinama, visitors to the area are often shocked at how the dense jungle pushes all the way to the edge of the sinkholes, making their presence more dramatic and even more unnerving.

Since the holes were spotted in 1961, many expeditions into the jungle have occurred. Whether cursed by spirits or just unprepared for the harsh jungle landscape, many of these have ended in disaster, including one fateful mission in which a number of men became trapped after lowering themselves into one of the larger sinkholes.

Considering the thickness of the jungle and the dangerous unknowns of Sarisarinama, forays into the area are not recommended without a guide, and a bit of luck to keep yourself from falling 1000 feet into one of the massive sinkholes.

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December 4, 2011

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