03 October 2017

La Guajira: A truly off the beaten track destination in Colombia

Posted in Blog

If you are planning to visit the Colombian Caribbean coast, you are most likely considering to visit Cartagena and/or Tayrona Park, as they are some of the most beautiful and popular destinations in the region.

However, if you have a bit more time and want to explore a different landscape and have an adventure where you will be truly disconnected from modern life, La Guajira is the perfect destination.

La Guajira with its desert and almost alien landscapes and the proud heritage and traditions of its indigenous inhabitants (the 'Wayuu') is one of the most amazing and remote places you can visit in Colombia. La Guajira is a peninsula full of contrasts provided by the sea, sand, cactuses, and a green oasis the "Macuira National Natural Park". It is a truly remote place where you can be one with the sea and have the tranquillity to just contemplate the world around you.

Your journey around this region of Colombia will start in Riohacha, the capital of La Guajira, where you will probably stay overnight before starting your trip to Cabo de la Vela and other areas in the region. Riohacha is a small city that can be explored in a few hours. You can start with a walk along the beachfront "Paseo de la Marina" and then continue with a visit to the Plaza Colonial and the Cathedral "Nuestra Senora de los Remedios"

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Riohacha - La Guajira, Colombia

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Handicrafts in Riohacha

The most popular destination in la Guajira is Cabo de la Vela, documented as the first point in the South American continent where an European laid foot (the credit goes to Alonso de Ojeda back in 1499). Cabo de la Vela is a truly off-the-beaten-track destination where you will get stunning views of the coast and the Alta (high) Guajira. The most beautiful places at Cabo de la Vela are: The "Pilon de Azucar, a small peak, from where you will see the stunning views of the region, and the beach "Ojo de agua" a very nice beach to relax, enjoy the spectacular landscape and take a refreshing bath in the Caribbean sea.

At Cabo de la Vela, you will spend the night in one of the Rancherias managed by the local community, where you will have plenty of time to relax and learn a little bit about the Wayuu culture.

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Cabo de la Vela - La Guajira, Colombia

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Pilon de Azucar - Cabo de la Vela La Guajira, Colombia

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Rancheria Wayuu

Depending on how many days you want to spend in this region, from Cabo de la Vela you can carry on the journey towards Punta Gallinas, the northernmost point in South America. It is located approximately 75km north of Cabo de la Vela and it is one of the most dazzling landscapes in South America. Punta Gallinas is accessed via Bahia Hondita, a beautiful bay with translucent waters that stretch kilometres out to sea. There is absolutely nothing there except a large colony of pink flamingos. You will be amazed by the unique beauty of this place.

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Sanctuary Los Flamencos, La Guajira, Colombia

Other places to visit in La Guajira are:

  • The Sanctuary of flora and fauna of "Los Flamencos" ("The Flamingos"), 20km west of Riohacha, is a natural reserve of marshes, lagoons and dry forest where you will see a high concentration of West Indian Flamingos and many other bird species.
  • The salt mines in Manaure. You can go there on your way to Cabo de la Vela
  • Serrania de Macuira National Natural Park

As you can see from this article, La Guajira is a truly unique place where you can see the immaculate collision of desert and sea, and get in contact with the nature.

Happy travels!

The Uncover Colombia Team.