He was born into a family of intellectuals in Caracas, his grandfather having moved to Venezuela as a British diplomat. Qualified as a dentist in 1960, he practiced for almost twenty years during this time, traveling to the forests of the Orinoco basin to live with the Ye'kuana Indian tribe and becoming active in the field of dental anthropology.

He has published on many aspects of anthropology; speaking both the Ye'kuana language and understanding Yanomamö, he worked with the famous geneticist James V. Neel and anthropologist Napoleon A. Chagnon and was somewhat involved in the controversy surrounding the studies of the latter, publicized by the book “The Darkness in El Dorado”. In 1979 he left dentistry and worked as the cabinet minister for youth affairs and sports, giving him the opportunity to organize “frontier camps” for young Venezuelans to experience the wild areas of their country.

In 1981 he was awarded the Land Army Cross and the Liberator Award for his expedition into the Esequibo territory (former British Guyana) to gain information about Russian and Cuban interests there. Brewer-Carías’ expertise in jungle survival is well acknowledged and he has led courses at home; he bears a 2,7 second record on starting fire with sticks and his own brand of survival knife is renown, receiving numerous publications and interest from some of the world’s special armed and commando forces.

Venezuelan explorer, Brewer-Carías has been referred to as the Humboldt of the twentieth century; trained as a naturalist he has led over 200 expeditions in Venezuela’s Guayana highlands, making discoveries and publishing in an astounding range of fields (botany, zoology, entomology, geology, geography and anthropology) and has worked alongside renowned scientists from all over the world.

In 1961 started to study biology and since devoted his life to the organization of expeditions in Venezuela’s wilderness areas, especially the south-eastern forests and Tepuis (large, table-topped, quartzite structures of the Gran Sabana area) of which he has undertaken over 200 and at 70 shows no signs of stopping.

However his expeditions are multi-disciplinary and many discoveries of taxonomic importance have been made by him and his associates. One expedition he led to Cerro de Neblina spanned four years (1983-1987) in which hundreds of new species were collected.

Brewer-Carías has 27 species named after him, including plants, reptiles, amphibians, insects and a scorpion.

Also the bromeliad genus Brewcaria bares his name.

Brewcaria, cerro Duida, 1981.

Napoleon Chagnon y Charles Brewer

He was also responsible for coining the phrase “Islands in Time” (1974), now commonly used to describe the character of these isolated peaks with their high levels endemism.

Throughout fifty years Brewer-Carías has worked with well over 260 scientists of many nationalities from a range of fields, including important characters in neotropical botany such as Julian Steyermark and Bassett Maguire. Add to this the thousands of partners that have shared experiences with him in mountaineering, sky diving, scuba diving and spelunking. From his expeditions have come a staggering number of publications, including many that he has personally written.

Celia, Brewer, Maguire, Steyermark

His work with botanist Brian Boom on the Yanomamö field of ethnobotany awarded him the title of Honorary Research Associate at the New York Botanical Garden and Associate Researcher at the Jardín Botánico del Orinoco in Ciudad Bolívar, Venezuela.

His most famous discoveries are geological features in the tepuis such as the giant sink holes on Sarisariñama, the world’s largest quartzite cave on Chimanta-tepui (which bares his name) and many other previously unexplored caves.

An avid photographer he has hundreds of thousands of photographs portraying the culture, landscapes and biodiversity of Venezuela, displaying them in 12 illustrated books and has also filmed documentaries.