A unique frontier community in
the Gran Sabana, Bolívar State, southeastern Venezuela

Nature -- Community -- Culture

El Pauji en Espaņol

El Pauji is a small community at the southern edge of the Gran Sabana, on the border with Brazil. The settlement began life as rest-point for the workers clearing the 150-kilometre road from Santa Elena de Uairen to Ikabaru. The founding population were miners and the Pemon who had always lived there.

In the early 80s, people from 'Outside' started to arrive. They were mostly young urban couples seeking some peace and tranquility, and a more natural environment in which to bring up their children. Many were architects, artists and creative types with a different vision of the world and spirituality. The new settlers changed the character of the village forever.

They have established a school (kindergarden, primary and secondary) where Pemon and criollo children sit side by side; a health clinic and rescue service; civil, cultural and environmental associations; and a renowned dance center.

The community is a great example of what can be achieved in the back of beyond, with little or no government assistance. The road to Santa Elena is often virtually impassable, occasionally taking up to four hours to cover the 70 kilometres. In mid-99, for example, two bridges collapsed leaving the community 'incomunicado' for over two weeks. The only access then is by air.

The last years of economic turmoil in Venezuela have taken their toll on the village. Many people have left to find work in Santa Elena or back in Caracas. Children reaching college age has also been a factor. There are also many tensions due to continued mining of local rivers for gold and diamonds.

Located as it is on the edge of the ancient Guayana Shield, harbouring the most precious resource of all -- water -- it would be a tragedy if the area's natural wealth and wonders were to fall foul of short-term greed.

The community does now benefit from a telephone --
(+58) (0)289 808 1033. It belongs to Marielis Gil, who doesn't speak English. You can email her at maripaktepuy@hotmail.com. You can also contact Manuel Matheus of Weimure camp on pauji0@yahoo.com.

We intend to develop and expand these pages over the coming months and years.

Find out more: -

New -- short videos from El Pauji

How to get to El Pauji, and What to Do

Where to stay in the village

Cultural activities and projects in the village

Life in the Bush of Beyond -- El Pauji in pictures

Impressions and stories of El Pauji and the Gran Sabana

These pages are part of the larger site:

The only English-language site dedicated to
the wonders of the Gran Sabana and Canaima National Park