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.
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.
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.