PUNTA GALLINAS: THE NORTHEAST CORNER OF SOUTH AMERICA

Punta Gallinas is desert, is the extreme northern corner of South America. It can be seen as the beginning of a continent or the ending: the point where the immense land of South America meets the ocean and just finished; it is almost poetry, where Colombia becomes desert and then becomes water…

If this all sounds nice for your ears, you have to go to Punta Gallinas: when you arrive it seems to be on a movie set, a forgot place, in many ways! If you are planning a trip to Colombia and want to include La Guajira (or the Caribbean coast in general), you really should be planning a visit to Punta Gallinas. Sure, Cabo de la Vela is lovely, and easy to visit, but Punta Gallinas is where the Guajira peninsula gets truly unreal and otherworldly.

The experience if you go on your own is far more rewarding culturally, and you have the freedom and flexibility to choose what you do and where you stay. In addition: it’s cheaper to travel to Punta Gallinas this way!

HOW TO GET THERE

I traveled to Punta Gallinas in August and it was hot but the place is so peacefull; I planned my trip to Punta Gallinas in Cabo de la Vela. I divided the costs with another traveler with whom I organized the transport. Although hardly overwhelmed by tourism, Punta Gallinas is now a regularly scheduled trip from Cabo, with daily departures and a steady stream of travelers making the journey.

 

You can also do a different road; there are also private tours available from Santa Marta and Riohacha: everything is taken care of for 4 days and 3 nights or 3 days and 2 nights, for a high cost. I would strongly recommend traveling La Guajira independently.

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You can reach Punta Gallinas by boat or car (4×4 vehicle). Both cost the same if organized from Cabo de la Vela: I paid 75.000 COP for the transportation and 45.000 for the night there. This cost is for return transport and the day-tour activity once you get to Punta Gallinas (more on that later). Bargain the price and you will not pay a lot!

I had the food included too (one dinner, one breakfast and one lunch). Normally the trip is 2 days with one night but if you decide to stay more than one night just let the driver know when you are planning to leave in advance so he can schedule to collect you on that day.

Organizing the trip is easy: most accommodation in Cabo de la Vela ask you pretty much straight away if you want to visit Punta Gallinas, and there are drivers leaving on a daily basis. The only thing to remember is to have the cash when you go to Cabo the la Vela.

ACCOMMODATION

There is really only one place to stay in up here: Hospedaje Alexandra. The car or boat just takes you straight there. The set-up for sleeping are hammocks and chinchorros. If you did not book before, a hammock will set you back 15.000 COP per night, and a chinchorro 20.000. A chinchorro is a large Wayuu hammock, with room to lie diagonally and flat. There are also a limited number of basic private rooms, which run to 30.000 per person.

When you arrive, you see a row of hammocks, all strung up in several little outdoors areas, open on all four sides, but with a roof over the top: you will generally be put with the same people you came in the vehicle! I was with the friend that travelled with me and 4 English guys that unfortunately hadn’t money with them…. We helped them to buy food and drinks!

The first day you will arrive, you will do the included tour you buy with the accommodation and the transportation; the extra day you can pass here gives you the chance to explore the area in a more independent manner, away from the prescribed itinerary of the day 1 tour. I took a walk across the desert to the north coast, meeting some local Wayuu people on the way, and enjoying the surprising variety of plants and animals. I passed the afternoon on the beach, chilling and relaxing. Later that afternoon, I took the boat to go back to Cabo the la Vela.

it’s definitely worth the money you will spent.

 

CABO DE LA VELA, A JUMP IN THE UNKNOWN DESERT OF COLOMBIA!

Colombia, one of the best Country I was in my life. Cabo de la Vela a dream, a place where relax is not an option, is a must. I’m trying to remember exactly the feeling and the sensation I had in that place because it was a unique moment in my 2017 summer…..

This photo was taken in Cabo de La Vela during the first morning I was there in August 2017. The place is so beautiful and peaceful, perfect to relax yourself!!

Cabo de la Vela is definitely one of the most beautiful and less popular destinations in the country. Yes, because Cabo de la Vela is something indefinite and fairy tale that makes you completely lose the conception of time and space and the desire to return to reality. It is a nowhere place, desert in the extreme north Colombia.

Cabo de la Vela is a mirage that comes unexpectedly. I remained positively surprised in front of such a prodigy of nature. The colors, blue and yellow of the sand are the dominant colors that reveal their indisputable complementary in the three natural elements that you feel alive in this peninsula: air, water and earth. A mystical place, where the connection with nature is so strong to regenerate any of your cells, animal or vegetable that here you will meet.

 

Cabo de la vela is populated by a tribe of fishermen, the wayuu who live in this land forgotten by many. They are lands never occupied by foreign peoples because of the very harsh climate, the average temperatures are 35-Celsius degrees. These spaces belong to an unknown dimension, one of those places where time takes a breath and slows down its rhythm.

One road where the village comes to life around the bamboo huts where the locals live. Electronic devices are used only for communications between locals that organize the jeeps and accommodations to meet the few requests of the people who come here. Furthermore, the electricity arrives to this place only few hours after 5 o clock in the afternoon and you are seduced by all those things that are typical of the western world.

The hours run very slow marked by the sweetness of the sun that marks the time. The inebriation of the breeze that raises from the see to the sand is always with you in your hair. After the sun goes down, you will leave that world and sleep until the next morning.

But let me tell you my trip!

You arrive there after a long road. I left Palomino with a friend in the morning, where I stayed in a “finca” of a new friend met during the trekking to the “Ciudad Perdida”. If you want to know, more about this exiting experience read my article on it! (Link to be added)

After the bus that was almost 8 Euro for going from Palomino to Rioacha, we had a lunch in the small city and we went to change money in an mall. Remember to change money because from Rioacha in the entire Guajira peninsula, you cannot withdraw money.

Many people normally prefer to take an organized travel to visit Cabo, Punta Gallinas and say: “Yes, I was in the northeast point of South America!” The price is around 120 Euro for 2 and half day.

I decided to go on my own as I love freedom and if I love a place, I can stay more…..

So after the break we took another bus (for 5 Euro) to the “4 vias”, a crossroad where you find drivers that will bring you with an off road vehicle finally to Cabo de La vela.

    

For my friend and me, it was such an adventure because to say the truth…. I did not take a bus but a Jeep with other Colombian people that normally transport goods… Good experience to tell….

Anyway we waited there for 2 hours, because the driver were waiting for somebody else, make more money and convince more people to take the tour they organize.

 We paid 20 Euro for the transportation. The road is like a movie, there is only sand around you and the rails walk at your right side as they are telling you where to go. Sometimes during this, hour and half you see some local people chilling under a curtain that try to sell water bottles or juices. Unfortunately, as there are always 35 degrees all the liquids are not cold!

One tip: Before going there buy the natural water, you think you will need there. You can buy some water in the small shops but it cost a lot!

We arrived to Cabo de la Vela during the sunset and we had to search a place for sleeping. No problem, in Cabo the locals have huts and hammocks everywhere. Therefore, it is not difficult to find a place to stay. What you have to decide is how much you want to pay, what you want to do! Yes, they normally sell the beds and the mini tour you can do in the area.

After bargaining for one hour, I found what I desired… A place in front of the beach where to sleep first for one night (we remained 2 nights finally) and the tours for the day after plus Punta Gallinas for 2 days (Accommodation and food included with the transportation around the peninsula). All this for 60 Euro.

Among the place to visit there is the “Pilar de Azúcar”, which according to the tradition wayuu would be the sacred place where the souls of the dead people take refuge to rest and take care of the village and secure their dreams of peace and tranquility.

amazing view from the pick closed to Cabo de La vela village

amazing view from the pick closed to Cabo de La vela village

amazing view from the pick closed to Cabo de La vela village

To recap the total price:  for transportation from Palomino plus 2 nights in Cabo de la vela and one in Punta Gallinas, the tours to visit the areas and the transportation to go back to Rioacha was: 90 Euro but with 1 day and half more than the organized travel.

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