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Parque Nacional El Ávila. Ask most Caraqueños what defines their city the most, and you'll often hear "El Ávila!" The mountains of Parque Nacional El Ávila rise some 3,300 feet over the northern edge of Caracas, then slope down its other side directly into the Caribbean. The national park is a favorite destination for weekend hikers, as its southern side is crisscrossed with trails. Novices prefer the daylong hike that leads to Pico Ávila, while more experienced hikers take the two-day trek to Pico Naiguatá. The park is easily accessible from the Altamira neighborhood in eastern Caracas. If you don't feel like hiking, you can ride up in a cable car.
San José de Galipán, a settlement on the coastal side of Mount Ávila, makes a nice destination if you've been hiking all morning. Horses are available there for further exploring. The town's cool climate makes it perfect for growing flowers to sell in Caracas. www.el-avila.com.
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