Punta Gallinas is the most northern point of South America. It is located in the middle of a desert and is home to the Wayuu tribe. The area is beautiful and shows a side of Colombia you would not find anywhere else. You can go there by yourself, but easiest is to book a tour as the road are really bumpy (you will only see 4×4’s) and there is no public transport. Unfortunately all the tours are in Spanish and the ‘guides’ (basically just the drivers) don’t speak any English.We were lucky that we were traveling with a Colombian family of which the mom spoke a little English, so that we could understand a bit of what the driver was saying.
During the trip we saw a salt mine, sand dunes, Uribia, amazing sunsets and flamingos, everyday we had time to go for a swim and we didn’t have to worry about anything as everything was already arranged and there was no phone reception nor wifi. Below is an overview of what we did on our 3-day trip.
Tour day 1:
We were picked up at 04:30 am at our hostel in Santa Marta and drove to Riohacha (3 hours) where we enjoyed local breakfast. We were picked up at the breakfast place by our driver in his 4×4. We drove to the salt mines of Uribia where we had some time to get out of the car and had our first encounter with the poverty of this area. Little children came to us begging for candy and water. After the salt mines we drove to Uribia. This is the last stop for 3 days to get any food and water so make sure to buy enough (even though you get food and drinks from the tour guide, you can buy some snacks or water and candy for the children along the road).
Be aware that during the trip the car will be stopped by little children from the Wayuu tribe, they will hang a rope or metal chain over the road so the car has to stop, and they won’t let the car pass unless you give them water and candy. We had approximately 40 of these encounters during the entire trip, if not more. You can’t do anything about it, and it not like it’s unsafe, the drivers are aware and know what to do.
From Uribia we drove through the desert to Cabo de la Vela where we had lunch at Rancheria Utta, also the place where we spent the night in traditional Wayuu hammocks (way more comfortable than ‘regular’ hammocks!). Later that day we went to a nice beach where we could swim, and we went to a lookout point to watch the sunset. and later to a nice spot to swim and enjoy the view. When we came back to the Rancheria we found out that we were actually the only ones who were there, which was quite nice. Since you are in the middle of nowhere, there are only a few lights and no electricty. Taking a shower was a whole other experience, as you had to get water from a bucket with a cup and pour it over yourself, which was quite funny.
Tour day 2:
After breakfast we drove to the sand dunes where we had time to swim. They are huge and it is very beautiful, really nature at its finest. We drove to Punta Gallinas via Bahia Honda. The place isn’t much more than a light house and an abandoned house, so don’t be shocked, but it is an experience. It felt like the most Southern Point of the Africa, but we’ll write more about that in a later blog. During this day we had lunch, diner and slept at Hospedaje Luzmila. This hostel was on a cliff overlooking a beautiful blue water bay and we even saw flamingos. During the evening we slept outside, like in most places, in hammocks overlooking the bay.
Tour day 3:
After breakfast we went to boats which took us onto the bay to spot the flamingos in the wild. Even though we had seen flamingos in the zoo, seeing them in the wild is such an amazing experience. The pink flamingos enjoying the sun in the bluest water you will ever see, with green trees and sand cliffs as a background. After the boat trip we had some time to swim and hang out while the jeeps drove around the bay to pick us up. From this point we drove for a couple hours straight back to Riochaha. Here we had a dinner and we were picked up and drove back to Santa Marta.
The cost for the trip was 590.000 COP incl. transport to/from Santa Marta, hammocks, and 3 meals a day. We booked our tour with ‘Magic tour’. We don’t recommend booking anything with Magic tour, we had a really bad experience with them. They are unprofessional and don’t treat their customers well. There are many other tour operators that go to Punta Gallinas, let us know in the comments if your experience was better! If you’re interested in our experience with Magic Tour just let us know.
We really liked the tour to Punta Gallinas. We have seen a whole other side of Colombia, and it was nice to be off the radar for a while, not having to think about anything. Have you been to Punta Gallinas as well? What do you think of it? Please share you experience with us! Any questions? Just ask.