12 November 2013

Transportation on the Caribbean Coast

Posted in Blog

The Caribbean Coast is one of the most popular regions to explore in Colombia. There are so many places to discover—from historic cities to virgin beaches to indigenous reservations to national parks and more.

If you are wondering how you can get to all these places, look no further. Today, we are going to tell you about a couple of the most popular travel routes along the Caribbean Coast.

Cartagena—BarranquillaSanta Marta

If you travel to the Caribbean Coast, chances are high that you will pass through one of these three cities, if not all of them. They are the most popular destinations on the Caribbean Coast, and they are full of amazing things to do. So, how can you travel from one to another? Well, you have several options.

There are several bus companies that run frequent routes between these three cities using smaller, but faster buses. These companies include BerlinasTur, Marsol, and la Costeña. An average ticket between Barranquilla, Cartagena, and/or Santa Marta on one of these buses ranges from 16.000 COP (6 GBP / 9 USD) to 25.000 COP (9 GBP / 14 USD), depending on which city you are travelling from and which you are travelling to. To use these buses, you'll need to arrive to one of their offices in whichever of these three cities you are in and purchase a ticket. These buses will leave you at a specific address in your destination city.

You can also catch buses from the official bus terminals in each of these cities. However, these buses can take longer and they will leave you at another bus terminal, not at the address of your choice. While they can be cheaper sometimes, make sure you're not spending more in taxis to and from bus stations than you are in actual bus fare!

Also, keep in mind: travelling from Barranquilla to Cartagena takes about an 1.5 hour, traveling from Barranquilla to Santa Marta takes about 2-2.5 hours, and traveling from Cartagena to Santa Marta takes about 3-3.5 hours.

Barranquilla—Santa Marta—La Guajira

Another popular destination on the coast is not a city, but a department—La Guajira. There are many unique places to see and explore in La Guajira, but you'll likely need to pass through one of two places to get to them.

The first city you may need to arrive to is Riohacha. Riohacha is the capital city of La Guajira and is about 4-5 hours away from Barranquilla and about 2-2.5 hours from Santa Marta. To get there from Barranquilla or Santa Marta, you can arrange for what's known as a "door-to-door" (puerta a puerta) service to pick you up and drop you off at a specific address, or you can take a regular bus service from the bus station in Barranquilla or Santa Marta to the bus station in Riohacha. Either of these services will cost anywhere from 30.000 COP (10 GBP / 15 USD ) to 50.000 COP (17 GBP / 25 USD), again, depending on if you travel from Barranquilla or Santa Marta. From Riohacha, you will likely want to hire cabs to take you to places of interest close by.

If you are looking to head into what's known as higher Guajira, to Cabo de la Vela or Punta Gallinas, you'll want to try and catch a bus from the bus station in either Barranquilla or Santa Marta that goes through "Cuatro Vías." Cuatro Vías is not a town, but rather a famous intersection close to the city of Uribia. No large buses actually enter Uribia, so you must get off the bus in Cuatro Vías, where you will find taxis and private transportation that can take you to Uribia. In Uribia, you can find drivers for hire to take you to Cabo de la Vela and Punta Gallinas. Some of these drivers will possess nicer vehicles while others will simply be driving 4-wheel drive trucks with an open space behind (Jeep-style) for passengers. While it's recommended that you get recommendations for drivers in Uribia before arriving, or that you consult with a travel agency or tour company, you can hire a driver on your own as well without any previous reservation or recommendation. Also, transportation fees from Cuatro Vías to Uribia and from Uribia to Cabo de la Vela and Punta Gallinas are not fixed, so be ready to negotiate.

We hope this information has been useful.

Happy Travels!

The Uncover Colombia Team