How we got there
The Guajira Peninsula: the northernmost region of South America. During our long and beautiful trip to Colombia one of the destinations that we had marked was the The Guajira Peninsula, which is the northernmost place of the entire South American Continent. The incredible La Guajira is a truly unmissable stop in Colombia that offers unexpected and wonderful scenarios: sandy deserts, rocky coasts, crystal clear lagoons, fiery salt pans, villages lost in the middle of nowhere.
We got there from Barichara, which was a middle stop on our journey to the north of the country up to the border with Panama which we crossed by sea (but this is another story). We had read about this magnificent corner of the world and could not absolutely miss it. Reaching it requires a bit of determination and endurance: buses, jeeps, nights in hammocks, infernal heat, wind. In exchange for this you get unbelievable starry nights, gorgeous wild nature, crystal clear emerald seas, soothing silence and endless horizons. Not bad!
The Department of Guajira is made up of 15 municipalities, 12 of which are part of a government program called “Special Units for Frontier and Department Frontier Zone.” The provincial capital is Riohacha, located on the coast of the Caribbean Sea, on the delta of the rio. Ranchería.
The Guajira Peninsula, a rugged and desert land, is a nature reserve and also a territory inhabited by the Indian population of Wayuu, (Wayu, Wayúu, Guajiro, Wahiro). Here the link Wikipedia for historical info from the Pre-Columbian period to that of the Spanish conquest in the Republican history: La_Guajira_Department
Where it is & how to get there
The Guajira Peninsula is located in the extreme north-east of South America and in the extreme north of Colombia; it borders on Venezuela to the south-east and is, to the north, it is washed by the Caribbean Sea. It can be divided into low Guajira, Guajira and Guajira high, located just north-east: it is a mostly flat area with an arid and desert climate. The most suitable point of departure toward the Guajira Peninsula is Riohacha, which is the ideal place to organizing the tour with local travel companies. We have personally chosen altaguajiratours which were very professional and helpful. On the days of the tour we have travelled by jeep and sleep mainly in hammocks – chinchorro. Breakfasts, lunches and dinners are included. The cost of the tour (three days/two nights) is about 500,000 Colombian pesos per person. It is important carry a good stock of water!
Places not to be missed
Salinas de Manaure
Cabo de la Vela
Deserto di Bahía Hondita e Dunas de Taroa
Things to See
The trip to the far north of Colombia is simply magnificent: miles of salt marshes, rough and stony land, deserts, sandy dunes, sahara-like seas, crystal clear seas, absolute dark night skies lit by pulsating stars.
In the three days through the Peninsula of Guajira we reached Cabo Vela, Punta Gallinas, whose lighthouse marks the northernmost point of South America, various villages and cliffs overlooking the sea. We swam in crystal clear waters reached by crossing on foot giant dunes battered by the wind under a merciless sun, we woke up with parrots on our shoulders begging for biscuits, we sat in aweness under starry skies in a magical and suggestive silence.
Where to sleep and eat
The tour that we have chosen, through La Penisola della Guajira, lasted 3 days and two nights with these stops:
Day one. Departure by jeep from Riohacha with destination Cabo de la Vela visiting on the way the salt pans of Manaure, Uribía (the indigenous capital of Colombia), the desert and its cactus forests, the playa Arcoíris, the cerro pilón de azúcar. The views from the tops of the cliffs are magnificent and so the baths in the pristine water.
Day two. Departure by jeep to Punta Gallinas visiting the Puerto Nuevo desert, the Bahía Honda desert, Bahía Honda, the Taroa dunes. Visit to the Punta Gallina lighthouse, the extreme north of South America, and to Punta Aguja beach.
Day three. Departure from Punta Gallinas towards Riohacha, with a stop in Uribía, still crossing the Guajira desert and its incredible unique and extreme scenery, then back to Riiohacha