La Guajira ; a vast and remote region located at the northern peninsula of Colombia, is not only the home of the Wayuu People but is also a region of dazzling landscapes and unique eco-systems that has been slowly evolving into an attractive destination for young Colombian and foreign travellers. Colombia has been witnessing A Major Eco-Tourism boom over the last years , and La Guajira is not falling behind. Check out our article about the best places to visit in Colombia in 2018 .
La Guajira is one of the least populated departments of Colombia, yet one of the biggest and most arid regions .If you look forward to spend your vacations in a stunning remote location that hides pristine beaches and vasts deserts, La Guajira will fulfil your expectations.
If you want to meet the epicentre of culture, music and local gastronomy of La Guajira, Riohacha is the place to go. The city is located at the south-western part of the region and offers a wide variety of activities for non-locals. Its not a touristy site, but if you fancy meeting friendly locals and diving into La Costa culture, either by discovering vallenato or by trying local dishes, you´ll have a wonderful time enjoying your stay in Riohacha.
Riohacha offers plenty of transport options to travel to remote locations worth a visit in La Guajira. Some regions of la Guajira like Cabo de La Vela and Punta Gallinas will require special transportation, such as 4x4 vans that can be rented collectively in Riohacha.
-Avenida Primera: Consider taking a stroll along the Avenida Primera Seafront promenade, you will find colorfull wayuu handicrafts, and wayuu artisans along the way. You can also enjoy Riohacha´s main beach by renting a folding chair and tasting the national Beer "Aguila" or "Poker" and Vallenato musicians playing Acordeon and Guacharaca.
-Visit the main dock that stretches for almost 1 mile across the sea and enjoy the sunset. The dock was initially built to facilitate coal shipments from El Cerrejon but felt into disuse and has now evolved into an attraction.
-Go to a Bar: If you are a party lover , you will feel festively welcomed in an Avenida Primera Local Bar. During Weekends, Locals usually go out and enjoy the nightlife hub of Avenida Primera that explodes with loud Vallenato Music and tons of Beer.
-Plaza Padilla Park: One of the most best preserved colonial plazas in Riohacha, originally built to commemorate the centenary of Generals Padilla army foundation, is a vibrant and bohemian historical site that hosts a wide array of local restaurants.
Taking a Half an Hour trip from Riohacha will get you to a hotspot of windsurfers.
If you´re into water sports Mayapo Beaches are great for kitesurfing, windsurfing and other nautical activities.Plenty of sport equipment rentals are available along the beach and the average rental fee for windsurfing equipment is only 30USD for 3 hours of use.
Delight your senses with a combination of windy beaches and vast desserts that meet in a unique location, a 3 hour 4x4 van ride from Riohacha will get you there .Although less immaculate than other regions ,Cabo de La Vela, is surely worth a visit. Vast desserts and powerful waves meet in this elevated sand plateau.
-Rent A Cabin :Cabin Rentals are cheap and precarious, but If you feel at ease with spending the night in these wooden huts(built with bahareque and yotojoro) , you´ll be able to enjoy a beautiful star populated night sky with little light pollution. Star-Gazing tours are included with the hut rental fee.
-Climb to the top of the Sugar Pilon; a seemengly mile high Natural Sand Hill that stands next to the Beach and feel the powerfull wind gusts of the caribean.
-Enjoy water sport activities: kitesurfing and windsurfing.
Visit The farthest northern tip of South America , Punta Gallinas is considered as the beginning or end of the South American Continent. You can take an 8 hour van ride or a 7 hour boat ride from Riohacha to get there. Custom 4-day Long Tours in 4x4 vans can be reserved, and can include spending the night at Wayuu Rancherias and Cabo de La Vela tours.
-In Punta Gallinas you can Visit the beautiful Taroa Dunes. A small 20 min walk will get you there.
Get to know one of the biggest salt plains in Colombia. White sun-drenched salt plains stretch out to the horizon and create a beautiful scenery that contrasts with golden sand dunes. In Manaure you can also visit the biggest wind Farm in Colombia and learn about Alternative Energy Sources.
Get to know the Wayuu People and their culture by visiting or passing the night at a wayuu rancheria. Rancherias are small households of Wayuu Families , built with mud and bareque. Plenty of Wayuu Communities are available for Cultural Exchange Visits .
A Wide variety of Bird species inhabit or stop over the 25000 hectare Macuira National Park. While visiting Macuira National Park, bird watching and hiking tours can be arranged by hiring a personal guide from the Park´s staff. Over 140 foreign bird species and 15 endemic species can be seen in this extensive park. The Tourist Fee for Park Entrance is only 8USD. Hiring A Local Guide costs 30USD per day. Camping is allowed.
Maicao was originally the hub spot of Contraband in Colombia and Venezuela during the 19th century. It also attracted a huge number of Turkish, Lebanese and Syrian Immigrants that quickly settled and incorporated their culture and customs.Middle Eastern Immigration was so vast that at some point Arab speakers outnumbered native Spanish speakers in Maicao. If you want to practice your Arab skills , head to Maicao.
-Visit the Omar Ibn-Al-Jatab Mosque , built and designed by Iranian Architect Ali Namazi. This is one of the finest pieces of architecture that the middle-eastern Immigration wave left during the 60s and 70s in Maicao. The main minarets are almost 30m tall.
Take a 15 minute van trip from Riohacha and head to Camarones ("shrimp") Municipality. Youll find the Flamingo Sanctuary with almost 7000 ha of protected land. In this Natural Park you can hire a van, take a tour and see flamingos feeding in the Camarones river.
Although more touristy than other destinations, Palomino is one of the most beautiful places of La Guajira. Originally a small fishermen coastal village ,Palomino now hosts an increasing number of cheap lodging and a growing array of activities for young travellers. Hostels and beach cabins prices range from less than 10 USD to 70USD.
Tubing: Rent a Tube and get to navigate the Palomino River. You´ll be able to do so , by hiring a local guide from any of the numerous Tube Rental facilities. 7 USD fee will include motorcycle transport , a local guide and a Tube.
Enjoy Local Dishes: Abundant and Fresh Fish Reserves are Available at Palomino at affordable prices. You can try any of the Local Specialities such as Mojarra Frita ,Fried Plantain and Coconut Rice.Prices Range from 3-10 USD.
Horse Ride Trails:Enjoy a Horse Ride and Hire a Local Guide to Discover Palomino´s Pristine Beaches
If You´re still Hungry For More Adventure in La Guajira feel free to contact our Team. We´ll be happy to provide free assistance for your Next trip to La Guajira.