The desert terrain of the Caribbean La Guajira offers a multitude of images with incomparable colours. Its great diversity of landscapes makes it a fascinating destination, where the thousand-year-old traditions of the Wayúus are preserved, a pre-Columbian people who never yielded to Spanish colonization.
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It is a chameleon land, with the intense cobalt sea in Cabo de la Vela, the toasted yellow of the Taroa dunes in Punta Gallinas and the multiple colours of the Wayúu in Uribia.
Experience glittering sunsets in the Puntas, cascading Taroa sand dunes, a boat trip through the mangroves where pink flamingos flourish in the middle of the desert and become versed in the daily life of the Wayúu community.
Along the way, you will explore the indigenous capital of Uribia and the fishing village of Riohacha. Prepare yourself for a unique trip, in an area still preserved from mass tourism, and absolutely spellbinding.
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Setting out from the metropolis of Santa Marta, you will first stop in Riohacha, the capital of La Guajira, 170k/106m from Santa Marta, before launching your expedition into the heart of the Guajira desert. It is a pleasant city where you can walk along the Paseo de la Marina by the beach and maybe acquire some authentic Wayúu handicrafts. Perhaps even some quiet moments on the pier in the shade of large palm trees.
Most of the indigenous Wayúu live in Uribia, where you are headed. The largest indigenous group in the country, made up of more than 40,000 people.
Uribia is history, culture, biodiversity and landscapes all in one. A unique and captivating enclave, a desert with life.
In Uribia you can experience the customs of the Wayúu indigenous people, who have been in this territory since time immemorial, up close.
Not far away, as part of the Wayúu lands, Las Salinas de Manuare (Salt Mines of Manaure) has great importance in the cultural history of the country as centuries-old traditions are housed there.
Since 1970 Manaure has been one of the economic centres of La Guajira, being the source of marine salt. An almost perpetual sun with a wind blowing mercilessly allowing the salt to dry. These are optimal conditions to produce high-quality salt. The seawater ponds take on a pink colour creating a stunning vista.
Get all the information you need to start planning your trip to this magnificent destination, check the weather and climate facts of La Guajira here!
Next, you motor on to Cabo de la Vela, where you will find expansive beaches with golden sand and transparent waters. The lunar landscape, where the rock has been ravaged by the ocean is dramatic. The orange hue and hot earth, the blue sky, the cactus mountains, the transparent sea, everything combine so that the sunsets of Cabo de la Vela are among the most impressive in the world.
Everything happens in moments, the afternoon turns golden, the earth darkens and the sun, already touching the cliffs, suddenly disappears as the sun makes its final appearance of the day.
This place offers you a total disconnection, a unique contact with nature, beautiful landscapes and the best beaches in La Guajira.
Cabo de la Vela is the ideal place to practice kites and windsurfing thanks to its favourable winds.
The azul colour of its water contrasts spectacularly with the orange of the desert. Captivating are the beaches of El Pilón and Ojo del Agua.
Above all, it is a spiritual place for the Wayúu. It is here, at the foot of the Pilón de Azúcar, an incredible rocky vantage point with views of the desert and sea, where the souls of the deceased rest.
Looking for relaxing and beach destinations in Colombia? Check out our 8-day Colombian Caribbean Express
In the extreme north, you will discover Punta Gallina, a magnificent landscape of dunes, plateaus and craggy cliffs that emerge from the sea, embracing the magnificent Honda Bay. This is one of three bays that are part of the La Guajira peninsula.
These bays are desert areas with flora composed mainly of seagrasses, mangroves, cacti and thorny shrubs. In addition, it is home to birds such as the cardinal guajiro, the caracara and the dwarf eagle.
In Bahía Honda and also Punta Gallinas, you can see rock formations and cliffs, mangroves and dunes that flow down onto pristine beaches and into the ocean. A true spectacle for all who visit La Guajira.
A beautiful and paradisiacal place full of colours and gorgeous beaches.
Maybe the most beautiful thing about Punta Gallinas is the Taroa dunes. The visit to the dunes of Taroa is like the obligation for Christians to go to mass on Sundays. This spectacle is enchanting as one literally has the impression that the desert is thrown into the sea.
Totally magical, it’s pink and orange sands with twisting and arrogant shapes, it seems as if God has touched the place with his finger. Strolling through the dunes leaving your footprints, knowing that in no time at all the wind will have erased them, is a very spiritual process. It reminds us how ephemeral we are in this life. If we want to leave a mark in the world, we must do bigger things than just live.
This is the only place in South America where desert dunes run into the ocean.
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Mayapo has completely white, fine sandy beaches, with the crystalline sea in different shades of stunning green.
The first thing you will notice is the Wayúu indigenous people who walk the beach offering their handicrafts.
The beach is notable for strong winds, which makes it special for water sports such as kitesurfing, windsurfing and sailing.
Maliwala Refuge is where you will enjoy a luncheon of traditional cuisine.
Here you will have a feast that will bring together some of the most exquisite dishes of La Guajira.
The desert of La Guajira amazes as much as it fascinates. Visiting La Guajira is also getting to know the Wayúu
Planning Your Visit to La Guajira
Here at BnB Colombia Tours, we can help you plan your trip to La Guajira. We can include it in our multi-stop tours but we can also customize a tour just for you whether that is just to La Guajira or part of the larger Colombia trip of your dreams. Contact us here to start planning today.