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Located at the northeastern peninsula of Colombia and bordering with Venezuela, La Guajira is mystifying, with its huge contrasts between long stretches of deserts, dramatically beautiful beaches, starling blue and green waters, oasis’, jungle, forests, wildlife, arts and crafts, impressive salt and coal mines and strong indigenous tribe population.
La Guajira is a place of rest, intrigue and magical experiences.
Being the home of a large variety of indigenous cultures, La Guajira has a strong ethnical cultural vibe, set against dramatic landscapes.
In the north people can see the fascinating traditions of the warm Wayuu people, who have a beautiful and interesting festival between the months of May and June, with dancing, music, crafts, rituals, games and food.
People can converse with the Wayuu and appreciate their beautiful arts and crafts such as vibrant and colorful hammocks and bags (Mochilas). You can stay within their communities called Rancherias to experience a more primitive way of life, in their houses made of wood and cactus.
There are many areas along the ocean where you can sway in hammocks in the warm desert-sun, swim in aquamarine waters or take hikes along beautiful coastlines such as the sacred Cabo de la Vela, a remote and tranquil cape where the Wayuu people believe your spirit goes to before passing on.
Areas of Cabo de la Vela are Faro and Pilón de Azúcar also known as Alto de la Virgin.
Other stunning sights to take in where the desert meets the sea, is the area Puerto Estrella where you can find Neimao beach and the Los Patos sand dunes. In the most northern tip of La Guajira (Alta Guajira) is Punta Gallinas with breathtaking scenery.
Head to the Dunes of Nazareth, to enjoy the large golden dunes against the bright blue sky, climb and walk along them at your own pace.
Visit a magnificent sanctuary the Flamingo, flora and fauna Sanctuary (Sanctuario Flora y Fauna los Flamingos), with a diverse range of flora and fauna in mangrove swamps and lagoons home to wild pink flamingos, pelicans, turtles and birds.
Parque Nacional Natural Macuira, an amazing oasis in the middle of the desert has mountains regions, forests, waterfalls, monkeys and wild cats. You can enter the park and take a hike to encounter the diversity.
Feel like a dwarf against the giant machines and toy like trucks at the Mina Del Cerrejon the large open coal mine or a tour of the largest salt mine in Colombia – Manaure’s Salinas de Manaure at a staggering 4,200 hectares which produces annually 700,000 tons of salt.
In the southern lush region of the Guajira is San Juan del Cesar home to the Vallenato culture (folklore Colombian accordion music) enjoy the Vallenato sounds, dances and joy of the people. Follow along the Cesar River to the Corral de Piedra Waterfall and El Tumo well.
Due to the hot weather, light cotton clothes and beach wear is perfect, take good walking shoes, swimsuits, sun screen and hat.
By plane and Bus
Flights to Rioacha are from Bogota and Aruba and Santa Marta or Valledupar are two perfect starting points to be able to continue by bus to La Guajira, a main destination to start off with in La Guajira would be its capital Riohacha.
Dining - This is an area to indulge in Sea-food or if you’re feeling adventurous you could try a typical dish of stewed goat meat.
Shopping - The people of La Guajira are skilled weavers and here you can buy beautiful and colorful shoulder bags called ‘mochilas’ or hammocks and other Wayu made handicrafts.