Jul 04

Backpacking La Guajira: a practical guide

Traveling to Punta Gallinas Guajira Colombia


UPDATE: Check out our new updated 2016 Practical Guide to visiting Punta Gallinas and our new 2016 guide to visiting Cabo de la Vela in La Guajira…

As we explained in a previous post on La Guajira, it is unlike most places in the world. The landscapes are truly unique, and a highlight of any trip to Colombia, and indeed South America. But I’ll leave the fancy, highfalutin’ language to Mr. Paul Fowler, and instead, here is the Colombia Travel Blog guide on how to travel to la Guajira.

How to get to Cabo de la Vela: Cabo is the first stop on any trip to La Guajira, but how do you get there? Easily is the answer to that question, although it will take the best part of a day. First you will need to get to Riohacha. This will take about 4 hours from Santa Marta and should cost roughly $20000. From Riohacha you will need to take a colectivo (shared taxi) to Uribia. These leave when they fill up, cost about $12000 and take about 1 ½ hours. Once in Uribia you will need to hop on one of the colectivo trucks to Cabo. The wait for these to fill up can be a bit longer (potentially up to 2hrs, so be prepared), and the journey is pretty bumpy and dusty. The truck drops off goods all along the road to local families, so the journey takes about 2-3 hours. It should cost about $15000 (although have a go at negotiating, especially if you’re a larger group – always worth a try!).

Punto Gallinas, La Guajira
Punto Gallinas, La Guajira

How to get from Cabo to Punta Gallinas: Most people have the impression that an organised tour is the only really option for visiting the tip of South America, however this really isn’t true and it’s perfectly possible to travel there independently. You will need to organise a boat (or sometimes a jeep) in Cabo, and also transport to Puerto Bolivar, which is where the boats leave from. I travelled as part of a group of 3, and it cost $140000 for a return boat (the 1 hour jeep to the port costs $10000). Groups of 4 or more can negotiate that down to closer to $100000. The cost of the boat trip also included activities at the hospedaje (such as jeep tours around the area, boat trips to beaches etc.). The boat journey is quite rough going from Cabo to Punta Gallinas and takes about 2 hours; it’s much smoother returning and can be done in about 1 hour.

Punta Gallinas by night
Punta Gallinas by night

Where to stay in Cabo de la Vela: In Cabo de la Vela finding accommodation is about as easy as it gets (although be warned, in certain high seasons, particularly Christmas, accommodation fills up fast). It seems as if every house offers a bed or hammock, as well as food. Price and quality is varied: in some of the smaller options, a double room can be as little as $15000, and a hammock just $7000, whilst in some of the nicer hostels, such as the Pujurru Kite Surfing Hostel, a double is closer to $40000 and a hammock $15000. All of these places have food available, and again, prices vary. It’s mostly fish; although goat and chicken find their way onto the menu as well (vegetarians may struggle a bit).

Goats crossing!
Goats crossing!

Where to stay in Punta Gallinas: There are only 3 options for accommodation, and you will probably have arranged which one your boatman will take you to. They’re all pretty similar in what they offer. A double is about $50000, whilst a chinchorro (a kind of Wayuu hammock) is about $15000.

Otherwise, just sit on the beach, relax in a hammock and eat offensive amounts of fresh lobster. It’s that simple!

If you are interested in travelling to La Guajira then please get in touch with See Colombia Travel for information.


2 thoughts on “Backpacking La Guajira: a practical guide

  1. Colombia Fácil on

    Nice blog & pictures! Well done! I only have a question. The prices you were talking about in Cabo de la vela are for a double 40.000 cop a room or per person? Cheers and keep up the good work!


      Paul on

      I believe they’re for the room, rather than per person. There are many options around so no doubt you can also haggle your way into a bargain!



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