Santa Elena de Uairén

Santa Elena de Uairén is the main transit point for overland visitors to the south and the base for travelers exploring the waterfalls and tepuis of the Gran Sabana. The streets feel safe and Brazilian influence runs high, as many residents speak Portuguese as a first language. Santa Elena was settled as a mining outpost in 1924, and it grew slowly until diamonds were discovered in the 1930s in the Icabarú region, 115km to the west. But the lack of a good road kept the town in a state of pendant development until the highway from El Dorado was completed in 1992. This is the only road link between Venezuela and Brazil, so you'll be passing through Santa Elena if you travel overland between them.

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