The northmost point in South America is in Colombia, and it is called Punta Gallinas, it is within the department known as La Guajira, to the northwest of the country, bathed by the Caribbean Sea and north of Venezuela.
In the northwestern part, the population is indigenous, they say they are governed by their own laws and have a Colombian and Venezuelan passport, but are not under the authority of either of these two countries. For this reason it is so difficult to move around this area, because there is no public transport, the roads are grounded, so you need to rent a special transport to move around these areas, and in addition, it has to be someone to whom the inhabitants of this remote area and thats allows access by paying some “tolls”.
At the entrance of each town, we find improvised tolls with ropes and sticks, most of the time the ropes are hold by children, in exchange for candy, they put the rope down and let you pass. In others, it is the women of the town who charge the toll, in these case you have to give them some coins. We had no problem to go through any of the controls, but there are a lot of them, up to 15 of them we counted in a town.
How to get there
EXPENSIVE OPTION, ALL INCLUSIVE
You will probably find many agencies that make private tours from Santa Marta, Taganga and Palomino. All of the people I contacted were charged the same amount, about 500,000 COPs (around 136€) for the 3-day, 2-night tour. It is a good option if you don’t have much time, as they will pick you up at your accomodation so you don’t have to worry about anything else, everything is included, water, meals, transportation and any type of “toll” to enter indigenous lands.
I choose the cheapest option I will tell you below, but I met people who made the tour with this agency and they recommended it to me.
I had time for my trip so I went to Riohacha to get it cheaper. From here you can also hire all-inclusive tours, but you should find them cheaper.
Where to sleep in Riohacha
In Riohacha I stayed at the Hammacks Hostel, you can sleep in a hammock for 8€, or in a shared room, any of the options are very comfortable, and the Hostel is very nice, and the best is that the most economical ways to advise you are make the tour to the Guajira, that yes, without food. So before going, when you prepare your bag with the essential things for a couple of days, remember to go through the supermarket, above all, to buy water. If you prefer you can also buy everything there, but the water is very expensive, since they have problems with drought.
Meals are a little more expensive than in the rest of Colombia, so everything will depend on your budget. It is also recommended to carry snacks because there are not many places to buy.
– Riohacha – Uribia: shared car 15,000 COP per route and bus 10,000 COP.
– Uribia Tour – Cabo de La Vela – Punta Gallinas – Uribia 160,000 COP.
The tour includes all transportation and visits:
Day 1. Cabo de La Vela, Pile of Sugar, Water Eye and Rainbow Beach.
Accommodation in Cabo de La Vela
Day 2. Lighthouse of Punta Gallinas, los Médanos and Dunes of Taroa.
It does not include accommodation in Punta Gallinas, you can sleep in Hamaca for 10,000 COP or in Chinchorro for 15,000 COP,
What is a Chinchorro? It is similar to a hammock but size XXL and with a cloth on the sides as a decoration, but that actually does the blanket function. If you do not have a sleeping bag, this is your best option, because although the day is hot, it cools down at night and is very windy.
Day 3. Bahia Hondita and back toUribia.
Total trip 195,000COP (about 50€)
Option 1 night / 2 days
You can also find a cheaper option if you don’t have enough time or small budget, which is just to go to Cabo de La Vela. But I think it’s super recommended to do the 3-day tour. The second day landscape is much nicer than the first one, and well, as each person has their tastes, what is true is that it has nothing to do with the first day, that’s the way. IT IS WORTH IT TO GO TO PUNTA GALLINAS!!!
We hope that if you travel to Colombia and have enough time to get to know the country, this article is useful about how to get to La Guajira, and to the northmost of South America. Have a good trip!