How to get to Punta Gallinas in La Guajira

Guajira sea Colombia

Last updated on January 23rd, 2021 at 02:22 pm

Dear Reader

My name is Frank and I run a travel agency in Bogota, Colombia. Have fun while reading!

Where is La Guajira?

After my adventure to the Lost City, I set off for La Guajira. This department is not only the northernmost part of Colombia but also has the northernmost point of the continent, Punta Gallinas. It’s a great destination for your holidays, especially if you are looking for a different tourist spot. On my trip I stopped in Riohacha, where I had coffee with my local partners from the region who caught me up on the latest information.

We spoke about the tour to Punta Gallinas, where I could drive with my own vehicle. This was to be done, however, in a convoy with two other vehicles, which were steered by Wayúu members. The Wayúu are the indigenous people living in the area; however, their territory also extends partly into Venezuela. So, the Wayúu are usually dual citizens and can move freely across borders.

Driving to Cabo de la Vela

After all the details were discussed, I drove on to Cabo de la Vela, where I spent the next two days. Cabo de la Vela is a small fishing village on the west coast of the department. The wind is very steady and strong. As a former windsurfer, I started kite surfing there 2 years ago and can assure you that this is one of the best spots in the world.

I also like the fact that Cabo de la Vela has hardly been developed in terms of tourism even though it should be on every traveller’s bucket list. As it is a desert climate, it is best to sleep in a hammock at night. You will not find luxury hotels here. La Guajira is one of the poorest regions in Colombia and many Wayúu speak no Spanish due to a lack of education.

For more in depth information and an overview of all the destinations and activities in La Guajira, you can consult my La Guajira Travel Guide.

Driving to Punta Gallinas

In the early morning of the third day, I met with the Wayúu drivers. The journey was going to be a true adventure. I immediately noticed that the other vehicles were a lot better for off roading than mine. I also took two backpackers with me. We were on the road for about 2 hours when the classic paved roads stopped, and the ground became rocky or sandy.

Interestingly, there were always children with strings on the wayside, which they released as we drove through. I did not understand the meaning of this technique until we had to stop. This was not voluntary. From the front vehicle’s food was served. Fortunately, the day before I had bought a large pack of crackers, which we could now use as a toll.

The pace was very fast, even among the Wayúu who seemed to be quite the speed demons. After a bit more driving, we were completely in the desert and there were no signs of road to be found. Due to the rain in recent weeks, there were regular several sink holes and the Wayúu walked a few steps to test the ground and discuss the best of the route briefly.

Due to our high speed, we caught up with 2 other vehicles and our convoy grew to 5 vehicles. On a river, in the middle of the desert, however, a stop was announced for the first time. All drivers met for a meeting and started a site inspection.

The first driver then ventured a crossing and got stuck. A second vehicle did not fare better. Both, however, were pulled out again. It was only on the fifth attempt that one of them finally made the crossing. After about 30 minutes, all vehicles had made it across, with only one needing repairs. I was lucky (or was it my driving skills?) that I did not need help with the crossing.

After lunch and over five hours of driving, we finally arrived at Punto Gallinas. Although the journey is arduous, it’s worth it. The area is very meager but has a magical quality. We visited a beach, where the dune flows directly into the sea.

Nobody else was there except us. A little piece of paradise on Earth. After some swimming and rest on the beach, we visited a few more places and finally drove to our hotel. There, one has the option between a “room” with a mattresses or hammock, but everything is sufficient. The showers and sanitary facilities are also fine. After a good meal and a few beers, everyone went to bed early.

Driving back from Punta Gallinas

The next morning, the tourists were shipped out on a boat. With our vehicles we had to make a detour and met the group 2 hours later to pick them up again. On the way there, my colleague drivers had to drag me up a dune and rescue me from a muddy river. Although we had to stop several times so that minor repairs could be made to the other vehicles and there was an incident with a radiator that evaporated all the drinking water, the return trip went on without a hitch.

La Guajira is one of my favourite places in Colombia. The area, the climate, and the people exude an indescribable magic. For visitors looking for luxury during their holidays, this is certainly not the right destination, the tour from Cabo de la Vela to Punta Gallinas offers a great experience for visitors who are a little more adventurous and willing to go off the beaten path. La Guajira, I’ll be back!

If you are interested in this adventure, as a Bogota based travel agency specialized in customized and luxury travel, feel free to contact me any time. If you are more the kind of a backpacker, my Colombia Travel Guide might help you a lot planning your trip to Colombia.

Colombia Travel Guides

There is much more to see in Colombia, you can find everything in my travel guides.

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2 thoughts on “How to get to Punta Gallinas in La Guajira

  1. Hi, I’m doing this drive in mid March. How did you hook up with the drivers? I’m renting a toyota fortuner from cartagena and making my way over there.

    1. Hi Whathelll
      Firstly mid March should be no problem as there will be no or just little rain fall. Saying that, Punta Gallinas is not accesible by car after rain. With a Fortuner you will be good, it is a reliable car and four by four.

      As I wrote in my Blog, I drove in a convoy with other cars with Wayuu drivers. They work for the travel agency we collaborate in the region. You shouldn’t try to drive up there alone, you will get lost.

      You can either send us an email at [email protected] and I will provide you a contact or you can reach out for a local travel agency yourself or you drive up to Cabo de la Vela and talk to the local people. I hope this helped.

      best regards
      The Pelecanus Team

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