La Guajira at a glance

The department of Guajira is located in the northwest of Colombia in the Caribbean region. Desert land adorned with rocks and bathed by the Caribbean Sea, Guajira is of an incomparable richness in images and colors. One finds there a landscape of great density, varied and very coloured. It is a magical destination where you will be able to witness the oldest Colombian customs and share the mysteries of the life of the indigenous Wayuu community. You can reach it from the city of Rioacha or Uribia by 4X4.

El Cabo de la Vela is a wonderful place where you can find virgin and paradisiacal beaches, it is also an important destination for the Wayuu mythology. In this place we can find sacred sites like Cerro Kamaichi or Jepirra, it is also a tourist center that attracts
many sportsmen interested in kitesurfing and windsurfing.

The exuberant vegetation and biodiversity of the Cerrania de Macuira, an important source of water for the area, has a unique ecosystem thanks to the contrast between the forest, the mountains and the desert areas. It is a true paradise, a mythical and sacred place for the indigenous Wayuu community.

In Bahia Hondita and Punta Gallinas you can observe rock formations and cliffs, mangrove landscapes and sand dunes like the dunes of Taroa that flow into the pristine beaches of the Caribbean, it is a real spectacle for all those who visit the Guajira.

Guajira is also an important destination for migratory birds and reptiles, it is a good opportunity to get to know the culture, traditions and enjoy the unforgettable and unique landscapes in the world.

Climate in La Guajira

The climate, especially in the peninsula, is arid, dry and with high temperatures, modified by sea breezes and north-easterly trade winds that blow for most of the year; rainfall is rare and usually occurs during the months of September to November, when the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) moves northwards.

cabo de la vela pilon de azucar guajira colombia © Tristan Quevilly
cabo de la vela pilon de azucar guajira colombia © Tristan Quevilly

When to go to La Guajira

The village of Cabo de la Vela should be avoided during Holy Week, December and January if you want more peace and quiet. To go to Punta Gallinas, it is best to avoid October/November because of the rains which make access very difficult.

punta gallinas bahia hondita guajira colombia © Tristan Quevilly
punta gallinas bahia hondita guajira colombia © Tristan Quevilly

La Guajira: Health

It is an adventurous and demanding desert crossing, without the comforts of conventional tourism. Water is scarce and the little electrical energy is obtained by generators and solar panels. The roads are dusty, the sun and heat permanent during the day and the nights often cool.

There are no hotels, the accommodation is in traditional hammocks in Wayúus Indian communities (rustic beds are possible). For this trip, the visitor must be in good physical condition. It is not recommended for children under 8 years old and adults over 70 years old. Anyone with chronic health problems should avoid this difficult destination.

punta gallinas bahia hondita guajira colombia © Tristan Quevilly
punta gallinas bahia hondita guajira colombia © Tristan Quevilly

Equipment needed to go to La Guajira

Boots or tennis shoes, sandals or beach shoes (depending on the activity), light shirts and trousers, swimming costume, duvet, toiletries (toothbrush, towel, soap and dental cream), lantern with spare batteries, sun cream, mosquito repellent, sunglasses, hat, identity documents, personal medication.

cabo de la vela guajira colombia © Tristan Quevilly
cabo de la vela guajira colombia © Tristan Quevilly

Main events in La Guajira

Second week of May: Festival of Culture in Uribia (duration: 3 days), a major event of the indigenous Wayúu culture. There are exhibitions of typical handicrafts, a gastronomic festival with regional dishes and competitions of musical instruments with traditional dances, horse races and the election of Miss Wayúus, elected on the basis of knowledge of her culture.

guajira punta gallinas colombia ©CyrilLeTourneurDison
guajira punta gallinas colombia ©CyrilLeTourneurDison

How long to stay in La Guajira

We advise you to stay in La Guajira for a minimum of 3 days to visit Cabo de la Vela and Punta Gallinas. If you have more time, don’t hesitate to add 2 more days (or even 3) to visit the Macuira Park.

How to get to La Guajira

BY AIR: Almirante Padilla de Riohacha airport is located 3 km from the city. It offers connections to Barranquilla and Bogotá with Easyfly or Avianca. The airport also serves Maracaibo in Venezuela, Aruba (Dutch overseas territory) and the Dominican Republic.

guajira desert colombia ©samuel et angelica mon voyage en colombie SOLO AC
Désert de la Guajira Colombia ©samuel et angelica @monvoyageencolombie

BY ROAD: There is also a bus terminal 11 km from the city centre. Buses arrive from Bogotá (18:00), Cartagena (6:30) and Santa Marta (2:30).

Note that the interior of the region is very difficult to access, and can only be reached by 4×4 or lancha. It is also possible to hike or cycle there.

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