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Punta Gallinas: How to get to the northernmost point of South America

AUTHOR: Angelica Marroquín

Punta Gallinas is located on the northern outskirts of La Guajira in Colombia. It is an almost virgin place, with imposing dunes, plateaus and rocky cliffs, its climate seems like eternal summer, its roof is a sky full of stars, its beds are hand-woven hammocks and its ancestral indigenous inhabitants.

Traveler talking with child as they walk through the dunes
Photo: Esteban Sanín Ángel

It seems a story full of magical realism, but in reality it is an amazing destination and here I will tell you how to get to Punta Gallinas and Cabo de la Vela on your own and you will see that it is cheaper than you imagine.

Valley of desires in La Guajira
Photo: Luis Alveart

HOW TO GET TO PUNTA GALLINAS

To go to Punta Gallinas, it is easiest to get to Riohacha, the capital of the department of La Guajira. You can arrive by direct bus from Santa Marta, Cartagena or Barranquilla.

🚍 Bus Santa Marta – Riohacha: $35,000 COP (3 hours of travel)
🚍 Bus Cartagena – Riohacha: $60,000 COP (7 hours of travel)
🚍 Bus Barranquilla – Riohacha: $45,000 COP (5 hours of travel)

You can also arrive by bus from Bogotá, but the trip is somewhat long, lasts around 18 hours and can cost from COP 140,000 per person.

People on the beach of Punta Gallinas
Photo: saparov_dmitry

BEING IN RIOHACHA YOU MUST DIRECT YOU TO URIBIA

If you want to stay in Riohacha get to know these hostels from which you can join a group of travelers or simply from the transport terminal of Riohacha you can get transportation to Uribía, the last municipality before arriving at Cabo de la Vela, it costs $16,000 COP and lasts 1 hour and a half.

In Uribía you can easily find 4×4 trucks that for COP $15,000 take you to Cabo de La Vela.

Sunset at Punta Gallinas
Photo: @lolahella

PLACES TO VISIT IN THE CABO DE LA VELA

In the Cabo de la Vela you can find many rancherias facing the sea and lodging options ranging from camping areas to $5,000 COP (without tent included), hammocks from $20,000, to rooms close to $40,000 COP per night.

A good option is to spend the night in


Photo: @vblieke

The best thing you can do in your way through the Cabo de la Vela is to hire a local guide who will take you to know the Rainbow Beach, the Sugar Pylon and the Ojo de Agua Beach.

From Cabo de la Vela you can get transportation to Punta Gallinas, the round trip price is between $150,000 and $180,000 COP, everything depends on the season and your negotiation skills.

4x4 truck to travel through the Guajira
Photo: aatre

The trip by van from Cabo de la Vela to Punta Gallinas can last from 3 to 4 hours and if your stay at Punta Gallinas will last more than a day, you must inform the transport of the return date to pick you up.

PLACES TO VISIT IN PUNTA GALLINAS

1) THE LIGHTHOUSE

Not that it is the great wonder of lighthouse, but if it is very tall, it is 18 meters high and has a nose that invites you to take a photo.

Punta Gallinas Lighthouse House
The Punta Gallinas Lighthouse
Photo: @_yannoberson_
The Punta Gallinas Lighthouse
Photo: @marianoum

2) HONDITA BAY

A small lagoon, worthy for meditation and yoga.

Bahia Hondita
Photo: @davidzamoraj
Bahia Hondita vista desde un mirador
Photo: @carlinhosfvb
Bahia Hondita
Photo: @linaruiz2405

3) THE TAROA DUNES

These dunes up to 60 meters high are extremely beautiful and imposing, a must stop when visiting Punta Gallinas.

Taroa dunes seen from a drone
Photo: @aatre
Taroa dunes
Taroa dunes
Photo: @aatre

Although apparently the attractions are few, the adventure of visiting this place lies precisely in being in an almost virgin paradise where magic will be a space full of emptiness, silence, loneliness and stars.

People walking on the dunes
Photo: dashleyworldtour

When you travel to Punta Gallinas or in general to Alta Guajira, do not go crazy to go deep into the desert without the company of someone who knows the place, because ah! the place is beautiful, but you can lose it if you do not know it very well.

WHERE TO HOST IN PUNTA GALLINAS

Simple, the only alternative in Punta Gallinas is to stay in a rancheria, those small huts or ranches where you can sleep in a hammock, hammock or private rooms (they are scarce and not worth much).

Chinchorros
Photo: expotur_eco

The chinchorros are large and comfortable hammocks, woven by the Wayúu of the region, one of the best known places is the Alexandra Lodge.

Sleeping in outdoor hammocks is part of the magic of the place, falling asleep observing the starry sky and letting yourself be rocked by the summer breeze is unparalleled.

Starry Night in Punta Gallinas
Photo: @faart_theartoffa
Starry Night in Punta Gallinas
Photo: @izboscawen

The price of hammocks is $20,000 COP and chinchorros $25,000 COP, you know that these prices are not fixed, they depend on the season but they serve as a guide.

 
-> Recommended: Guide to travel to Tayrona and not fail in the attempt

WHAT TO EAT IN PUNTA GALLINAS

In the rancherías you can easily get the 3 meals and the prices are not from another world.

Basic breakfast of eggs about $7,000 COP, lunch between $15,000 to $35,000, depends if you want the dish of the day or the special, which usually has to do with seafood, and for dinner a goat cheese that does not exceed $9,000 COP.

Arepas roasted with charcoal
Photo: @lauramonterophoto

Do not go to take food to prepare there are no kitchens, bring things ready to eat, but remember to take the little bag of chips and stuff.

BUDGET UPDATED PRICES 2018

✅ Bus Riohacha – Uribia: $32,000 round trip
✅ Uribia – Cabo de la Vela: $30,000 round trip
✅ Camping at Cabo de la Vela: $5,000 per night
✅ Cabo de la Vela – Punta Gallinas: $150,000 round trip
✅ Chinchorro in Punta Gallinas: $25,000 per night
✅ Food 4 days: COP $100,000 approximately

TOTAL: $350.000 COP for 3 days and 4 nights, not bad.

 
-> Did you find it expensive? then you have to see this guide to travel with less than $200.000 COP

FINALLY

The Guajira could not be understood without the Wayúu community, an indigenous people of ancestral customs, of shepherds and working women who are part of that charm that makes travelers fall in love.

You will have fun and learn from the Wayúu culture, but you should be very respectful when it comes to taking a photographic record, they or any indigenous people should be treated as an attraction.

Artesana Wayuu
Photo: @juan_salba

And remember that tourism in this region is also an activity in which travelers like you can support the local economy by buying directly from artisans.

OTHER TRAVEL GUIDES THAT MAY INTEREST YOU:

Monguí, Boyacá
Parque Tayrona, Magdalena
Cascada Fin del Mundo, Putumayo
Mompox, Bolivar
El Cocuy, Boyacá

 

-> Do not forget to follow us on Instagram and share with #travelgrafia your best photos of La Guajira and Colombia.

Angelica Marroquín

Angelica Marroquín

Soy una mujer nacida en cuerpo y alma en el trópico, ubicación que ha influenciado mis más grandes pasiones: la bohemia, la lectura, la brisa del ocaso, el verde de la selva, el río, los viajes sin rumbo fijo y el mar.

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