Punta Gallinas
Punta Gallinas
What people are saying
You must experience La Guajira. We did with Kai Ecotravel
5.0 of 5 bubblesJan 2022
We took a 3D/2N tour of La Guajira with Kai Ecotravel in January 2022. It has been a unique experience that we left with mixed feelings. On one hand, the beaches are so beautiful and on the other hand it is really sad to see the Wayuu children and the amount of rubbish that is being left behind. This is a region that seems to have been forgotten but it has so much to it! I really hope we could have stayed at least a couple more nights in Cabo de la Vela and Punta Gallinas. Sleeping on the chinchorros with a sky full of stars was just amazing. The landscapes were like taken from a Star Wars movie and the roads were just so different that I could not stop watching We travelled with Kai Ecotravel because they had more flexibility with dates. Also tried doing it with Alta Guajira as I read that their guides are excellent. Our guide's name was Winny. I think he is a good person and was full of great stories but unfortunately the others missed out on a lot of them because of the language barrier. Winny knows the region very well and is a reliable driver (you really need to be!), he seemed to be tough with some of the children but then also showed his great humanity with other and with many other people. The agency owner unfortunately was a bit cheeky and decided not to include the boat tour on day 3, so we ended up paying extra for it (and it was worth it as we saw flamingoes!) I would encourage people to visit La Guajira. It is a tough place with bumpy roads but will make you appreciate what you have!

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4.5 of 5 bubbles291 reviews
Very good

maria k
Amsterdam, The Netherlands61 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
Very long journey to arrive there over -most of the time- bad roads but we found it rewarding and special. The stars in the sky were one of the most beautiful we have ever seen and the remoteness of the land in the far north is stunning. How do people (Wayuu tribe) choose for centuries to live there under such difficult circumstances? Very poor area and tourism has induced that children and adults block roads with ropes hoping to get something. Tourists are advised to give drinkwater and (unfortunatedly) sweets. Also questionnable whether it would not be better to ask tourists to contribute a certain amount to allow drinking water and food distribution in a better way as now only the strong and aggressive families will get something. Furthermore it is noot good to learn them to beg! An idea would be to give families food/drinkwater in return for plastic collection as the only colors in the landshape comes from plastic .
Written March 2, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Loeki K
Amsterdam6 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2014 • Friends
We (me and 3 friends) had heard of the beauty of Punta Gallinas (the most northern part of South America) and decided we needed to go there! But after some tour shopping in Santa Marta we found out an organized trip would blow our budget massively! ($COP 780.000 each for a professional three day tour, or a private tour with no references for $COP 600.000 was the least we could find) plus we also wanted to see the other pearls of northern Colombia. After some Do It Yourself research on the internet we felt discouraged, it seemed so complicated and expensive we were doubting it would be worth the effort! But we decided to definitely go to Cabo de la Vela and from there decide wether to go to Punta Gallinas or not. The reason why I write this post is because it was worth the effort 100% and we feel we should encourage everyone who is doing the north of Colombia!

We started our 9 day trip taking a 9.00 a.m. bus from calle 11 y carrera 11 in Santa Marta, to Palomino; a two hour bus ride ($COP 8.000). The beautiful beach of Palomino offers a variety of Hostels/Hospedajes all charging around $COP 30.000 a night. We stayed at Tiki Hut ($COP 27.000 for a comfortable dorm bed with mosquito net), a relatively new hostel with pool (no lockers but you can leave your valuables at reception). We heard the Dreamer hostel is awesome to meet other travellers and Finca Escondida is chill and right to the beach but both were fully booked. We chilled at the beach the whole afternoon and had an awesome dinner at Finca Escondida ($COP 15.000 for delicious fish!). The next day we took off for Cabo de la Vela, an early 6.30 a.m. bus from the highway in direction of Riohacha but got out at Cuatro Vias ($COP 10.000 2hrs), from there you can either take a car ($COP 8.000) or a truck which is often cheaper, to Uribia (30 min).
In Uribia we did some shopping to prepare for three days in the north. We brought 2 6l. bottles of water, a bunch of crackers, bread, peanuts, toilet paper (!) ($COP 22.000) and a lot of fruits and vegetables ($COP 18.000). From Uribia you can take a truck or a jeep to Cabo de la Vela ($COP 15.000 - 20.000 for a 2 hr drive), a bumpy ride through a deserted landscape, full of trash... But! We arrived in Cabo de la Vela before mid day for a total of $COP 33.000.
Cabo de la Vela is a quiet town of nothing more than some cactus wood built hospedajes, restaurants, shops and a kite surfing school (price for a 5hr class $COP 450.000). We checked in at Jarrinapi and got a Hammock right at the beach for $COP 13.000 a night. They also provided a little cabin for us to store our luggage. We would recommend going to another place because the people were unfriendly, the toilets were dirty and you can get a hammock at the beach anywhere in the village, maybe even for cheaper. But a hammock at the beach is a must! The feeling of sleeping in open air, next to the ocean,, surrounded by a Thousand stars is incredible! And we felt very safe sleeping there.

The beaches in the village are clean and quiet but not very special and the people there weren't as friendly as we are used to from Colombians! But a trip to El Faro and the beaches of El Ojo del Agua (1,5 hr walk or a motor taxi for $COP 10.000 each, return trip) makes you forget about it in a split second. A beautiful beach surrounded by some rocky hills provide a feeling of exclusiveness and the sunset was awesome!
After sundown we got some food at Jarrinapi (nothing special for $COP 10.000 each) and went for some Punta Gallinas transport shopping. We found out there are several ways to get there, either you take a jeep for a six hour bumpy ride, or a 1,5 hr motor/jeep ride to the 'port' and a 1,5 boat ride. The cheapest we could find was $COP 140.000 each for a return jeep/boat trip and believe me, we bargained! No matter which way you choose, everyone starts with $COP 150.000. This price includes the transport to and from Punta Gallinas and a 4 hour trip to explore the area. It does not include the night and food ($COP 15.000 a night and the same for dinner).
All jeeps leave at 5.00 a.m. We arrived at our Wayuu family in Punta Gallinas at 8.00 a.m. and took the whole morning to walk around the bay and chill at the colorful beaches. The sights are undescribably beautiful and varied. The color of the bay and beach, mangroves, rocky shores, pelicans, fisher boats and some small huts, Awesome! After we had lunch (still Uribia supplies) we took our tour at 2 p.m. which consists of a trip to the actual Punta Gallinas, a viewpoint to the bay and the Taroa Dunes.
Punta Gallinas was cool because you get to stand on the most northern point of Colombia, which feels great considering the fact we have been travelling all the way from Buenos Aires. But be prepared for some trashy rocks and beaches. Nothing very special about it. The bay and the desert dunes on the other hand... Amazing! Standing on the dunes, you're not able to tell where the sea begins... You can literally roll from the desert into the ocean! We stayed there the rest of the afternoon and got to make some beautiful late afternoon pictures (no sunset in the sea).
Arriving back to the hostel we ordered dinner (posta de cierro en salsa for $COP 15.000), we waited for about 1,5 hrs but got the best food we have had in ages! The fish was sooo fresh, sooo good! But our advice is to order your dinner before you go on the tour.
We spend the night in a hammock again, a very quiet night and after the lights go down there is nothing more than the dark, silence, millions of stars and yourself gazing at them. This bright night took my breath away. Never have I seen anything like that in my life!

We left the next morning at 5.00 a.m. again to get back to Cabo de la Vela and got to see the sunrise on open sea. We had an egg breakfast there ($COP 5.000, don't order coffee, massive desillusion!!) and later spent the whole morning sleeping on the beach before we got some energy to do something else. We had a great late lunch at the end of Cabo de la Vela, from a little hut that said 'Comida Rapida' but it wasn't fast food haha, very good though and enough to fill us up for the rest of the day. We spent the afternoon at Playa Pylon, a red sand beach surrounded by two pylon shaped hills. Very pretty place!

The next morning we left Cabo de la Vela at 6.30 p.m. in a truck ($COP 13.000), did some shopping in Uribia again to prepare for Tayrona (4 6l. bottles of water because 2 wasnt enough, and furthermore quite the same) for a total of $COP 48.000.
Then to Cuatro Vias again, (this time for $COP 5.000) and from there a 3 hr bus to Tayrona ($COP 25.000).

To enter Tayrona national park we paid $COP 38.000 and 3.000 for a ride in a mini van to the beginning of the walking trail. From there we walked for about 45 mins to Arrecifes but there wasn't much going on there so we decided to walk 1,5 hrs more to Cabo de San Juan. The trail is well maintained and pretty easy with some minor climbes, but the air is hot and humid and with 6 liters of water in our backpacks... Well a sweaty experience! But a really nice walk and Cabo de San Juan was definitely worth it. The fact that it used to be on the Colombia Lonely Planet cover says it all I guess. Though it is a bit touristy, the ambience is great. You can choose to camp or to stay in a hammock, we tried both. The first night we stayed in the hammocks at the Mirador ($COP 25.000). A wonderful experience to sleep in an open cabaña on top of a little hill with a view on the ocean, but unfortunately we had a very stormy night. Woke up a few times which was ennoying, but when I woke up around five I was surprised by a colourful blue and pink sunrise. Bring a little blanket to stay warm if you stay at the Mirador!
The next day we rented a tent ($COP 25.000) and two hammocks down at the camp site ($COP 20.000). My friends who stayed in the tent had the worst night so far (the beds were awefully thin), while me and my friends slept like babies in the hammocks.
The beach was nice and pretty! tip: buy a pan con chocolate from a lady selling bread on the beach, it was awesome! If you walk to the end of the beach of Cabo, you will find a small trail that leads to another beach that isn't discovered by many others. And if you go one beach further... Well, a deserted private beach!
In the evenings there is not much to do except for having an average dinner and some drinks (we brought a bottle of rum to mix). Because we were kind of ready to get social and find some other travellers to hang out with, we left the next morning to Costeño Beach. A chilled out surf spot where we found about 40 other backpackers who were just relaxing at one of the many relaxing spots or surfing a bit further down the beach. The sea was quite rough so no swimming for me, but the vibe in the hostel was amazing. Just sitting, tanning, reading a book, drinking a beer :). And at night everyone sits together to play cards or sit around a camp fire...
For lunch and dinner ($COP 12.000) they ring a bell for everyone to join in. For breakfast they offer some choice (all at $COP 5.000). We once again slept in a hammock for $COP 17.000 a night. This was a great place to rest, socialize and end our 9- day round trip to Punta Gallinas!
Total amount for the trip: $COP 613.500 p.p
Punta Gallinas : $COP 350.000 p.p.

Written December 26, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Geneva, Switzerland38 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2014 • Couples
This four day tour was definitely one of the highlights of our Colombia trip. We booked in advance via Kai Ecotravel in Riohacha, which apparently is the pioneer in the area and certainly a serious organization but the price seems to be slightly higher than with other agencies in town. As far as I understood the advantage with Kai is that you have the guarantee to do the trip on the chosen date, whereas other agencies require a minimum number of participants. However we had a third guy doing the whole tour with us and he had booked in another agency for a significantly lower price.

Details of our trip:

1. Day:
Pick-up at 8:00: we leave our heavy luggage at the agency and proceed with lighter luggage.
First stop is Wayuu town Uribia: unfortunately the town is encircled by an incredible amount of plastic waste. Due to the vicinity to Venezuela the drivers stop here for cheap gas but it is also the right place to buy water for the whole tour and snacks.
Manaure: one can observe the extraction of salt from sea water. Every peasant owns a parcel with a pool of water, that he can use for harvesting salt.
Leaving Manaure the roads change into dusty desert tracks and the vegetation is limited to cactus forests and finally seems to disappear completely. Around 13:00 we reach Cabo de la Veila Playa where Acheo serves us lunch. The meals during the four days are good but don’t vary much: in general the choice consists of grilled fish, goat or turkey with rice, patacon and salad.
We spend the afternoon on Ojo del Agua beach north of Cabo and enjoy the breathtaking sunset at the faro. Back at Cabo camp everyone gets a bucket of water for showering before enjoying another grilled fish and spending the night in a hammock facing the sea.

2. Day:
Wake-up at 5:00. After 30min drive we have to change vehicles and leave the shiny Toyota Hilux for a robust Land Cruiser. After another 2h drive, including a wonderful sunrise, a boat (10min) takes us to the most northern part of the south american continent: Punta Gallinas. An extremely windy, remote place populated by few but very friendly people. The transition from this wild land to the rough sea consists whether from sharp cliffs or incredible lonely beaches. Unlike Cabo, Punta Gallinas does not seem to suffer from the same garbage problem. We spent two days in this lost and wild paradise but if necessary it can be shortened to one.
After breakfast Mauricio takes us with his truck to the jewel of this place: Playa Taroa. This area consists of giant dunes that plunge into a tormented sea. We shared this incredible beach only with two lost sheeps.
After lunch and a siesta in the hammock we head to the faro to enjoy the sunset between waves, cactuses and goats.
Maria serves us a good dinner and we end the evening with quite a few Polarcitas, tasty little beers from Venezuela. The night in the hammock here is difficult as the intense wind never stops.

3. Day:
Night was short but the reward follows around 6:00 (January), a wonderful sunrise to be observed at about 50m from the hammock. After breakfast we go for a boat ride to spot flamingos. As morning time is not the best moment we can’t find them immediately but finally succeed. The afternoon was meant to be spent on another lonely beach but as the wind blows consistently we finally have to retreat after some time. To relocate the hammocks to a place providing slightly better wind shelter turns out to be the right thing as this night we are able to sleep.

4. Day: Wake-up at 4:00 in order to make our way back to Cabo for breakfast. Right afterwards we drive to the Pillon the Azucar, a steep hill which provides a great view and probably the most beautiful beach in the area. We have lunch back at Cabo before hitting the road back to Riohacha.

General recommendations:
• During the whole trip communication in English was not possible. Even Spanish was difficult as the local people talk in dialect. In the camps, the main contact persons Acheo and Maria where communicating in Spanish but with our basic skills we were very happy of having Heiver, a great Colombian guy with us that helped for the translations.
• The sanitary situation is quite adventurous, think of taking enough toilet paper, a towel and soap/shampoo, disinfecting wipes/gel and emergency medications
• A good moskito repellant is necessary as in Cabo the moskitos are quite aggressive
• Don’t forget a torch, the generators stop early and after that there is no light provided.
• The luggage will be dragged from dusty pick-ups to wet boats, and stay in the sand during the night, therefore it is recommended to travel with light packs, a waterproof bag is ideal.
• Besides the hammocks there are rooms in Cabo and Huts in Punta that can be rented for extra cost. The cheapest sleeping opportunity is the hammock, the slightly more costly chinchorro is recommended as it is larger, more comfortable and the side parts can be used as a blanket.
• The nights, specially at Cabo were quite fresh: a blanket is provided but a sleeping bag or a thick sweater is necessary.
Written February 7, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

8 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2018 • Couples
Before you decide to go to Punto Gallinas, I'd like to share the experience that my girlfriend and I had on our trip to Punto Gallinas, with Kai EcoTravels from 16-19 Jan 2018.

We have just returned from the 3 day/2 nights trip with Kai EcoTravels and while having very high expectations, to be fair it was a bland and uninspired tour.

We went following some raving reviews from friends who went to this area 3 years back and had a magnificent experience, being welcomed at Waayu's villages. Having experienced the Tour, my impression is that most positive reviews about these trips are from that period where the Guajira peninsula was still unexplored. Since then, in the past 2 years tourism has boomed and many tour companies operate the same trip and drop their tourists at one of the 2 huge hostals at Punta Gallinas.

Below I will describe what you will get in the tour and what not. Based on this consider wisely if you want to go.

This is what you will get in this tour:
- the tour departs at 9am from the city of Riohache. You will need 4 or 5 hours to get there from Santa Marta.
- as promised you are transported through the Guajira desert to Cabo de Vela on day 1 and then to Punta Gallinas on day 2
- in both locations you sleep in a hammock at a hostal. There were 16 hammocks in Cabo de Velo and 40(!) lined up in a common space in Punta Gallinas. You can imagine that with so many people you will have a light sleep.
- along the way you drive through the desert and will make a couple of stops at some nice nature places and beaches where the driver will indicate where to take pictures and when to get back into the car
- you will drive past several Waayu communities and you can see the extreme poverty of these people.
- The kids stretch ropes across the road to make the tour jeeps stop for a few seconds where the driver will hand out cookies. Along the way there are between 50-100 stops like that. It's a rather remarkable phenomenon to witness, which left us wonderering if there is no better way to have these people benefit from the tourism
- other than this there are no stops at Waayu communities and there is no opportunity to interact with them at all throughout the 3 days
- the driver does his job, which is to drive you from A to B and indicate where to take pictures, but note that he is a driver not a guide. Despite asking many questions he was rather short in his answers and hardly shared any information about the Waayu people and culture
- lunch and dinner are served at restaurants along the way. These are quite reasonable establishments run by Waayu, which are clearly better off, but again there is no opportunity to interact with or learn about the Waayu.
- The Taroa dune, the dune which ends up into the ocean is closed, due to a conflict between 2 Wayuu families
- on the third day there is a 30 minute boat ride, though it was just a trip along some mangroves. All of us on the tour were rather unclear on the value add of the boat ride.
- Essentially, throughout the 3 days you are herded from one place to another.

We spoke with several travelers at the hostal in Punta Gallinas, also from other tour companies and everyone seemed to have the same high expectations based on recommmendations from friends, but were now disappointed by their experience. I did not speak with one person that found their trip amazing.

In summary, The Guajira Peninsula has some nice desert landscapes and it is interesting to drive past the Waayu towns, but be aware that with Kai Ecotravels you will be part of a commercialized and standardized affair, which will cost around 150 USD and will take 4-5 days out of your travel schedule, considering the time needed to get to and from Riohacha and the tour itself. You will not learn much about the Waayu.

To be fair, there are more impressive desert landscapes in the world, like the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia or Atacama desert in Chile, Namibia, Tibet, Grand Canyon, so this area is not a must see.

Personally, I feel it was not worth it and does not come close to the many incredible experiences that we had in Colombia so far. If any of my personal friends will go to Colombia I will advise them not to go to Punto Gallinas and not to do business with Kai Ecotravels.

If you are very keen to explore this part of Colombia, I'd go no further than Cabo de Vela. The landscapes are pretty much the same and this way you will save time and money. If you do want to interact with the Waayu tribes, persist to be explained and shown on the map, which Wayuu communities you will visit and what will be the activities and time spent there.

Closing with 2 final notes:

1. When we returned from the tour at the Kai Ecotravel Agency we overheard them hard selling their trip to a German couple, promising that there will be lots of opportunities to talk to the Waayu, to see flamingos, when they inquired about it. Neither is true.

2. My recommendation to all the travel agencies would be to adapt their tour concepts and make it a true experience where the visitors get to know the area as well as its people. Allow the visitors to make stops at the villages and interact with they Waayu. If the tour agencies can agree a schedule of which tour company will visit, which village on which day, more villages could benefit from the wealth brought by the visitors. Now the wealth is limited to a couple of family owned restaurants and the 2 mega hostels.

Written January 19, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Bogota, Colombia103 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2017 • Couples
We had heard mixed things about traveling here - mostly to do with safety as prior to going there were review saying there was tribal fighting and that it wasn’t safe and so on….but that was pretty much nonsense.

The Dunes are NOT closed, but visiting them is no longer included in any ‘package’ - you have to pay to visit them separately (directly to the Dunes’ guardians) when you get to the Dunes themselves. It’s currently COL15000 per person to do this. I think it’s worth it as they are really beautiful and tranquil and a lovely spot to swim, relax. Also, what you are paying for is their upkeep and for people to watch over them and protect them. Well worth the price and a good contribution to make to the conservation of the area in my opinion.

At the dunes there is only one small building nearby that you can buy cold beers/softdrinks/water (cheaply). I’m not sure about food as we didn’t ask.

The reality of the ‘dangerous situation’ currently (from a few sources at Punta Gallinas - on both sides of the ‘argument’), is that there is not a fight between two tribes at all, but there are disagreements between various tour operators (outside Punta Gallinas, who are not the rightful guardians of the land) and the Wayuú people whose land it is, who want to protect the dunes. For the last year or so, some more disrespectful tour operators, have been taking people on their own to the Dunes with jeeps and quad bikes and basically speeding/riding dangerously/noisily around the dunes, having drinking binge parties and lighting fires (apparently, one time this resulted in a building burning down but details on this were sketchy), also leaving lots of rubbish on the beach and generally it sounds like they have been behaving like they’re on Spring Break (Sounds like there were also a few accidents with a vehicles flipping over in the dunes but again, this bit of the story was vague). The Military were also apparently coming here for time off ‘joy rides’ and acting in the same way. And there is hardly any funding in place for the protection of these lands, the Colombian Government just leaves it to the Wayuú to deal with. So they ended up having to clean up after these tourists. SO, the Wayuú decided to fence off the areas and charge a separate entry - so that they dissuade people from treating it disrespectfully and also have some resources to keep an eye on the place and so on. All of this sounds very reasonable to me. Now like I said, various tour operators are not happy about this extra charge that they get no piece of, so some of them are telling tourists you can’t go there, and some are even telling tourists it’s dangerous. This is a blatant lie. I have no idea about the one account I read of violence being witnessed, but the people there to me seemed lovely and peaceful and very pragmatic with this decision, so I can only imagine that there may have been an outsider involved who was aggravating. Or that it’s a fabrication. Who knows. But everything was completely lovely when we were there.

The journey to Punta Gallinas is not for the frail - it’s a long VERY bumpy ride. Absolutely picturesque, interesting, unique landscape all the way though. I loved it.

One way from Uribia to Cabo de la Vela was COP20000 per person in the 8 seater for us, not sure the price direct to Punta Gallinas from Uribia, probably similar.

About the CHILDREN WHO HAVE ROADBLOCKS on the way to Punts Gallinas - Along the road you will encounter children (sometimes adults) who hold ropes (and sometimes long extended bike chains) across the road to stop cars from passing until they give them a ‘toll’. They ask for money and candy or gifts. There is a lot of poverty in the area. If you’re with a local or a tour package-type transport, then mostly they’ll just beep their way along so that the kids drop their ropes and let you pass ad you don't have to worry about it unless you want to give something. However, if you’re traveling in your own transport you may have difficulty getting them to let you pass….So either give them a gift, or otherwise it’s just a waiting game. They will drop it eventually if you insist that you won’t give them anything. Now the locals want to forbid people giving out candy because not only is it really bad for the children, but our guide told us that a child has actually died because they got in the way of a car recently. Some of these kids are really really young - like 4 or 5 years old it looks like - and mostly on their own with no adults supervising - so they are just really excited about candy and money and don’t really know how to be aware of safety or limitations etc. So please be careful and please please don’t give sweets/cookies. The responsible locals prefer that if you give anything, to give fruit or water or useful, healthy things. On our drive there were a dozen of more of these ‘roadblocks’. I’m not kidding - a dozen or more. A friend who went on a motorbike 3 years ago said there were only about 3, so this practice is growing like crazy.

We stayed at ‘Hotel/Hostel Victoria’, which was good. Victoria herself is super lovely and full of interesting information/conversation if you want it. Her family are also lovely and they make tasty fresh food and have cold beer and good fresh juices. Prices are very reasonable.

Before you choose a tour get confirmation of everything you’re expecting, including transport to and from wherever you’re going and if they are including various things, get them to put it in writing on your ‘ticket’.

We paid COP150000 which included all of the following: Two nights hammocks stay in Cabo de la Vela, being driven to the lighthouse/Faro and Pilon of Sugar and the ‘turtle’ shaped cove at Cabo de le Vela, The Drive from Cabo de la Vela to Punta Gallinas and the drive from Punta de Gallinas to Uribia. Also included was transport to the lighthouse/faro at Punta Galinas, another beach and also transport to the Dunes (entry to the dunes as I said was extra).
Written January 20, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Washington DC, DC46 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Travelled to Cabo by car from Manizales (a 2.5 day trip). Stayed a few night in Cabo de la Vela and then drove about 1-2 hours to the place were you take the boat ride to punta gallinas.

As others have pointed out, it is a rough boat ride, but well worth it. We were lucky given that as we left the open sea to get into the less exposed waters we were welcomed to the region by wild pink flamencos.

We spent 6 nights in Punta Gallinas with my wife and her parents. Our goal was to relax and this is definitely the place to do so. We only saw two other couples of tourists, and they both left after 2 nights. Did not see any other tourists after that.

The first day we got there late as our boat ride was more complicated than usual given it was rainy/stormy season. A 2h boat ride took closer to 5:30 hours in rough seas. This is not a boat rode for the faint of heart. I've been in rougher seas, but the combination of these rough seas with a small fishing skiff was hard to take. However, be mindful of driving. If it rains while you are there the roads may close for weeks.

Sun was setting as we arrived, so we walked to the fisherman's beach to see the sunset. One of the most beautiful we have ever seen. A word of caution, this beach is not for swimming or for kids as it is a real fisherman's beach with leftovers from dead fish lying around.

We rented two rooms, which come with hammocks just outside of their doors. Having the rooms was nice as they gave us private bathrooms (no running water, shower with a bucket or with a trickle from a water tank above). However, we always slept in the hammocks and did not use our beds one single night. I highly recommend this, less bugs and cooler temps :)

The next day we went to the actual northern most point in South America. A beautiful spot, and asked to be dropped at the sand dunes and made our way back to the village by foot, with a local guide of course. Plenty of beautiful sand dunes that fall straight into the sea. We swam in the sea along the way a few times. Be careful, these beaches along the sand dunes have very strong currents And unexpected drops, so stay close to shore.

A few hours later we were back, tired as the walk took place in very warm weather. Slept a long siesta and then ate a very nice lobster dinner, spent the evening talking with the other two tourist couples and with the Wayou.

Next day we took some bikes and went for a pick nick in another beach. This one was very calm and you could swim safely. The path to get there took you through the actual large Wayou village obthe region and on our way back we stopped talk with the Wayou. Night fell really quickly and we had to ask for a ride back to the hotel as it was pitch dark.

The next day we went for a long hike, going west of the place where we were staying. Not very easy to get lost as you simply head to the seas and come back east until you hit the fisherman's beach, and then it is a 15min walk to the rooms. This walk was amazing, the beaches were very nice, the water a million different colors, but we did no find many places to swim as it was mostly rocky.

Next day we took a boat ride to see flamencos and spent the afternoon at another lovely and safe to swim beach.

And the days continued to pass in this fashion. Hikes, lovely encounters with the Wayou, many baby goats, one or two close calls with scorpions and snakes, large (friendly) locust. No cellphones, very few hours of electricity (from small generators).

This place gives you a sense that you are lost in time, back in a much simpler era. The sheer isolation allowed us to reconnect with family and each other, meet new people and also reconnect with nature.

Not a trip for everyone, but if you often look at lonely planet destinations and are adventurous, this is probably a top destination for you. I have been to 91 countries and many trips of this type but had been nostalgic over the last few years for those trips back in the day when you arrived to a destination and felt completely isolated. Well, no more. Not sure if I will ever be back (too many places left to see), but I will always remember this trip fondly and with, I have to admit it, some level of nostalgia for the simpler times it reminded me of. Never had a hard time adjusting back to life after a vacation (life is in Canada), but this time it almost seemed like a part of me did no come back :)

Written March 8, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

3 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2019 • Couples
If you want to save money and not risk your life don’t go. Ok, it’s an off the beaten tracks place but then I recommend you to stop in Cabo de la vela and not basically wasting a day to get to punta gallina (3-4 hours by 4x4 car) where there’s nothing... some sand dunes, average beaches, sand storms on the way through (where the driving is super dangerous and you’d most likely get a driver that doesn’t care about it and keep driving like crazy), and what is THIS AMAZING northern point of South America? A sign with an horrible small steel tower next to a terrible beach. I don’t think all the trip is worth your time, money (super expensive to get there even without a tour) and life as these half indigenous drivers are completely careless. My boyfriend and I came back last night from punta gallina after travelling with other 5 people and we had to change car twice and stopped so many other times in the middle of nowhere because of smoke coming out the car, flat tire, another car stuck in the sand.... basically a nightmare. To not talk about how much bumpy is the ride and you’re stuck in a car for 4 hours or more with bags, no air con or air (if you open the windows you’ll get all the blowing sand) and other passengers that are feeling sick or scared from the crazy drive. We have also been told by the driver that last week one car completely flipped and one French guy died... of course you don’t find these info online or people don’t tell you how really dangerous is the trip until you paid your 185.000 pesos or more (in advance). Our experience wasn’t through any tour providers but we got put in the car with other people that booked the tour in Uribia so I guess the transport treatment is the same... plus you’re in the middle of the desert, not seatbelt, old cars and these people don’t care about you or your experience and interest they just care about the money you pay. No information given at any point or the trip, you’re always left in the dark of what’s going on... if you really want to get to see the Guajira desert just stretch yourself till Cabo de la vela which is relatively close from riohacha and Uribia and not too much of a hassle and not as espensive to get there. You will still experience be in a isolated place, sleeping in hammocks or chinchorros, no flushing toilets or showers, no Electricity etc. The tourist sites are also more attractive than punta gallina’s and you’ll get to see the real wayuu people anyway.
Written February 18, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

London, UK18 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2014 • Couples
We went on a 3 day tour to Punta Gallinas with Kai Eco Travel from Riohacha. We arranged the trip in advance and as the prices were dependent on how many people were in each group - we arranged to go on a day when there were lots of people.

It turned out when we arrived that a big group had not turned up and there would only be 3 of us but they did not try to charge us extra. They were very honest and kept to the agreed price. This is not common practice in Colombia.

The 3 day trip was fantastic - one of the most stunning places I have visited in the world and for me the best place in Colombia. The tour was comparable to Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia if you have been there.

The trip started with a ride on a 4x4 through to Cabo de la Vela where we spent the first night. Our driver was Emilio who liked the challenge of difficult terrain. There had been rain but we got there easy enough. After lunch we went on a little trip to several amazing beaches around Cabo de la vela - these are as good if not better than anything in Colombia (including Tayrona) but they were quite deserted.

We slept in hammocks which were relatively comfortable and there were no mosquitoes. Early the following morning, we took a 3 hour boat trip which was wet! The final hour was quite rough but not too bad. We then arrived at the lodge where we would spend our second night. We tried visiting a local beach but it started raining but that beach didn't seem too amazing. Then after lunch we went on another driving trip - first to Punta Gallinas, the most northerly point in South America and then to the most amazing beach I have ever seen. The sand dunes literally crash into the water. This alone is worth the entire trip. On the second night, we slept again in hammocks made by the local Wayu tribe. These hammocks were so comfortable and we all had an amazing sleep. Honestly, this was better than many beds.

Everyone in Colombia should do this tour and everyone should book with Kai.
Written December 6, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Onno Schram
Utrecht, The Netherlands66 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2017
Think about this trip twice before booking. In our opinion it’s too risky: violent Wayuu tribes (and operators know about it)! Here’s our experience.

Friends of ours recommended us to go to Punta Gallinas. So we booked with Kai Ecotravel. One hour after the pick up, we arrived at the agency. Unfortunately, none of its staff spoke English. We got put in another van, with three others. And we had to leave our backpacks at the agency, though we were informed that we could take them with us during the trip.

It seemed that we got rearranged with clients of Alta Guarija and Expotours. So, it doesn’t seem to matter who you booked with: they contact each other to put their clients in a van to go there. Interesting: since Kai did not provide us with information about the stops on the tour. So we did not know that we went to beaches and where we would stop. Luckily the other guys in our van did. Please note: you get a driver, not a guide. Though he did the driving job very well, Jorge was a man of (Spanish only) little words.

The drive was interesting, cool views. Pity that the Wayuu people don’t seem to care about their garbage, they wreck the place. And all though the kids (with their roadblocks) seem to be sweet, they don’t give a welcoming feel. It’s a little bizarre, but that’s part of the adventure! After a day and a half, we got to the Punta Gallinas accommodation: Luzmila. And that’s when the problems really started. What the operators do not tell you, is that several Wayuu tribes live at Punta Gallinas, who are not each other’s friends. Actually, when we got to the sand dunes, three people from another tribe came up. They wanted money because we entered their ancestor’s sacred ground. When we said we didn’t have any money with us, they started pointing at the camera’s and other belongings of the group. The guide from the hostal took off and started walking to the car that took us there. But than we had to walk through the dune. Than it got really disturbing, with the ‘big momma’ throwing a rock at me, our guide grabbed his weapon and put us all in great danger. Especially because the other tribe was carrying pieces as well. After the rumble and challenging each other, our driver took off and the tribe started shooting!

So here’s our warning:
- The people from Luzmila are having a conflict with the other Wayuu tribe. This was actually the 3rd time that they got into a conflict with tourists involved, as they told us.
- The second driver from Alta Guarija told us that they know that crooks are living in that area. So they know that they are taking tourists to high-risk areas.
- It doesn’t matter which operator you book with. They work together in the end. So if you booked for 450000 or 600000 pesos, you could get the same experience (with less or more info than provided)

The accommodation is very basic. No problem, what else would you expect in the outbacks of Colombia. And if you like lobster you’re lucky :-)

Overall we had a cool trip, with a great group. We look back at the whole adventure with a smile. But wouldn’t have booked it if we would have known this story.
Written September 28, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mossel Bay, South Africa140 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2014 • Friends
We spent the better part of 3 days to drive from Santa Marta to Cabo de la Vela (1st night) and then on to Punta Gallinas (2nd night) in La Guajira. Not much to see really. Lots of cactus (cacti..??) and low scrub, sand and sun burnt rocks. The wind was blowing incessantly which makes it somewhat unpleasant, but not unbearable. Huge sand dunes along parts of the coast is great to see. We tried snorkeling and spearfishing, but the visibility was less than 1 metre - not worth it, and we also encountered many jellyfish... However, if one wants to go to the most northern tip of South America, this is worth it.

At Cabo de la Vela we stayed at Rancerita Utta. Nothing flash but at least we had clean beds and a private bathroom (cold water only but it was not a problem). Cold beer/drinks and great seafood at their restaurant. We also had some Chivo (goat) which is a speciality in La Guajira. Cost per night was COP35 000 per person, but one could go for a hammock in a communal area which is about a third of the price.

At Punta Gallinas we stayed in a similar Rancherita (forgot the name) with similar prices and amenities for accommodation. Again great seafood at about half the price than in Cabo de la Vela.

WARNING: Many unscrupulous tour operators operating from Santa Marta will take you for a ride...be aware that some of these guys will promise you an exclusive 4 x 4 ride, but you may end up taking a crowder hot bus to Cabo de la Vela, and an open air 4 x 4 truck (hard wooden benches on the back) to Puta Gallinas.
Written March 27, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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