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Published: June 11th 2012
I am not the best writer but I thought I would share my travel experiences through Guajira at least. Basically La Guajira is a desert area on the northerneasternmost corner of Colombia. Native Wayuu and other indigenous tribes primarily live here. I started out my trip from Santa Marta and took a bus to Riohacha. We didn't leave Santa Marta until mid afternoon and although the bus ride is only 2 hours to Riohacha, you have to arrive in Uribia, an hour away, by noon or 1pm to catch a truck to Cabo de la Vela. So after talking to some people outside the bus station and consulting Lonely Planet, Castillo del Mar appears to be the best option for backpacker lodging. Castillo del Mar is a crazy big complex that looks like an old Navl base and very secure with an electric fence surrounding it, not that we felt insecure in Riohacha anyways. Early to bed at night, early to rise and catch a collective taxi from Riohacha to Uribia which looks like a private car and leaves whenever there are four people ready to go. The drive is rather uneventful, two lane road with little traffic, and took around
an hour and a half. At Uribia, there is basically one road where you will be dropped off and all the special trucks are collecting passengers to drive to Cabo de la Vela. Trucks consist of an older Ford F150 with a metal cage built around the bed that holds supplies on top to deliver to local people along the way (see photo). The truck finally left when we had around 15 people in the bed. Expect the ride to be quite uncomfortable, no leg room and pretty much a wooden bench to sit on.
After 2-3 hours maybe less depending on your drivers route/stops to make we arrive at Cabo de la Vela at approximately 3:30-4pm. There are numerous options for sleeping as long as you don't mind a hammock. Almost every place you walk by will say hostel or something along those lines. We decided to hike up to the lighthouse and spent at least an hour to get there maybe longer. Some of our friends went to the good beach area and I was a bit jealous after seeing their pictures. The sun sets around 6pm everywhere in Colombia so we only had time for a
brief walk around town after our hike. Dinner in Cabo is a real treat. Lobster can be had for only 25,000 pesos, roughly $12.50. Electric generators ran until 10pm but entertainment is pretty much up to your group, either card games or conversations.
We asked several people around town about transportation to Punta Gallinas. We had read about taking a 4x4 all the way there for somewhere around 75000 pesos a person but only one person even admitted this was an option and said it would take all day. What everyone suggested we do cost 150,000 pesos and required the use of a 4x4 Land cruiser for an hour to a boat. Then a 2-3 hour boat ride depending on sea conditions to Punta Gallinas. The price also included return transport to Uribia. Once again expect to be uncomfortable on the boat ride.
As far as I could tell there was only one place to stay in Punta Gallinas and it was run by the same people who had the boat. Accomodations are hammocks or chinchurros (giant hammocks). After relaxing for a short while we set off for the beach. We were told it would be 30 minutes
but we should have known Colombian time. It took over 2 hours so be prepared to go as early as possible in the day to get the most out of the beach. We got to the beach got in then immediately walked back. While we were away, our host prepared a feast of Lobster or fish, our choice.
The following day we left Punta Gallinas and went all the way to Cartagena using the same transportation as before, boat, SUV, taxi, and bus.
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