21 March 2018

Things to See and Do When Visiting Riohacha, Colombia

Posted in Blog

Considered by most travelers as the launching pad for expeditions and tours to the arid, desert region of La Guajira, there are several things to do when visiting Riohacha, Colombia. When planning a visit to the Colombian coast, considering traveling to this city in the northern Caribbean Region, famous for its long ocean pier, local artisan crafts, picturesque public spaces, and annual celebrations.

Visiting Riohacha Colombia

Plaza José Prudencio Padilla

A local gathering spot located in the center of the city, Plaza José Prudencio Padilla is situated around the statue of its namesake, a Colombian military leader who fought in the Spanish American wars. Enjoy an afternoon visit to the plaza, where you'll find vendors selling fresh fruits and juices, household items, and musical instruments, as well as plenty of benches for socializing and watching the sunset. 

Visiting Riohacha Colombia

The Malecón

Also known as 'Paseo de la Marina,' the malécon - a long walkway adjacent to the wide beach - features sellers of beautiful handicrafts from the Wayyu, an indigenous tribe located throughout La Guajira peninsula. Typically living in nearby tourist-popular towns bordering Cabo de la Vela and Punta de Gallinas, the Wayuu set up on the malecón early in the day, offering intricate, woven crafts created using methods handed down by centuries of generations. Bring cash and buy a multicolored mochila, a large cross-body bag, of which most Colombians own at least one.

Cathedral of Our Lady of Remedies

As its namesake indicates, Cathedral of Our Lady of Remedies is dedicated to remedies and miracles, which Riohacha celebrates with an annual Festival of Miracles and the recognition of the Virgin Mary's legend of 1663. According to the legend, Riohacha was victim to a large, tsunami-like wave, but the virgin helped to calm down the inhabitants. Whether you believe the legend or not, the cathedral is a beautiful building to tour and view the infamous statue of small miracles.

Visiting Riohacha Colombia

Casa de la Cultura

Situated in a large, bright yellow, round building located along the beach, the Casa de la Cultura (House of Culture), is vibrant museum and arts center featuring vivid displays of local and regional visual artists and musicians. Acting as a dedicated space for projects within the community, the casa focuses on the Wayuu, providing an area to exhibit and showcase their culture and crafts. The museum is often closed for events, so it may be best to ask for the hours of operation after arriving in Riohacha.

The Yellow Butterflies of Mauricio Babilonia Sculpture

The city of Riohacha is mentioned several times in novels by the famous Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez, including One Hundred Years of Solitude. In an homage to literary tourism in La Guajira, a bright yellow sculpture by Colombian artist Johana Cerchiaro, sits near the Capilla Divina Pastora, a Catholic school with alumni which includes local politicians and musicians. The sculpture and the capilla appear to glow in the dark blue evening sky, making for a memorable stroll in this historic Colombian city.

Whether you're en route for a tour in La Guajira or simply enjoying a visit along the coast, traveling to Riohacha is a great way to learn more about this diverse and culturally-rich part of northern Colombia. Contact us to schedule a tour to  Riohacha and other fun destinations in Colombia. 

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Visiting Riohacha Colombia


About the author: 

Kate Dana is an independent writer and international educator with five years' experience teaching and living abroad. She enjoys cooking, traveling and staying connected with friends around the world. Find her online at www.katedana.com