Continuing from my previous post. My plan was to travel from the Northernmost point i.e. Punta Gallinas in Colombia of South America to Southernmost point of South America but Universe had different plans. More about that in upcoming posts. After Barranquilla, my next stop was Riohacha. It took me around 5 hrs to reach Riohacha from Barranquilla. Riohacha is the capital city of La Guajira department. I reached my hostel and met the same two German girls from my Barranquilla Couchsurfing host’s place. First one, the chatterbox and somewhat irritating while the other one quiet and cool as ice. At night, Kenyan-Indian couple arrived at the hostel. Together with the Argentinian guy, we all planned to travel together till Punta Gallinas with stops at Manaure, Uribe, Cabo de la Vela. Slept in a hammock for the first time in my life in Riohacha and it was a refreshing experience. It becomes the norm for the next few days. Below video was shot on the way to Manaure.
Next day, armed with lots of water. We begin our journey to Manuare. On the way to Manuare, we saw some stunning views of Desert and sea. It was around 90 mins drive. Manuare is a small town. The main economic activity of the town is the exploitation of Salt mines. At Manuare, we stayed with an indigenous family for one night. This indigenous family belongs to the Wayu community. The Wayu people are mostly living in the La Guajira region of Colombia and Zulia region of Venezuela. In the afternoon, we went to the beach and Salt flats. We took a bath on the beach. It was quite clean and quiet. We walked around salt flats before returning back to the home. In the beginning, it seems a very touristy thing to do and I was not very comfortable with it but by night can feel the warmth of the family and desert looks amazing at night. I cycled around under the twinkling stars in the middle of a desert. We chatted with the family for a while before calling it a day.
CABO DE LA VELA- DAY 1
Next day, we were on the way to Uribia. Uribe is another small town. The only point to come here is to hire a vehicle for Cabo de la vela. It was half an hour drive. After a short stop in Uribia, we were on the way to Cabo de la vela. During our journey, we saw the currently defunct railway line. After around 2 hrs, we finally reached Cabo de la vela. Cabo de la vela is a desert town along the Caribbean sea. When we reached our hostel, we were simply spellbound. The view from our hostel is truly spectacular. It reminds me of Uzbekistan. Crystal clear water, white sand, mountains in the background, clear blue sky. Truly magical. In the afternoon, I went to Pilon de Azucar hill alone. One can get a moto-taxi for 3000 cop to reach there or it is 45 mins walk from the town. After climbing the hill, I felt great. Sometimes, I need to alone with nature and it was that perfect moment. I was the only one on the top for some time at least with the amazing view of the beach. salt lake, small sand dune. It was really windy at the top. If you don’t hold your ground firmly, get ready to fly haha. After chilling at the beach for some time, I head back to the town. I saw a beautiful sunset on the beach. I met other guys in the night and they were quite jealous of the fact that I went alone to all these places 🙂 I had a typical coastal meal before calling it a day.
CABO DE LA VELA- DAY 2
In the morning, we took a bath on the beach in front of our hostel before heading to Pilon de Azucar hill again together but this time we went there by walking. In the scorching desert heat, It was quite intense to walk but our spirits were too high to think about it. Others went straight to climb the hill and I went straight to the beach for the much-needed bath. Later, we went to the salt lake before heading back to the town. Rest of the day was quite peaceful and we all slept early because tomorrow is going to be a very long day.
We woke up around 4.30 am and board our vehicle for the adventure of our life. The final destination of our trip i.e. Punta Gallinas. We went deep into the desert. The views seem straight out of a show from National Geographic. I have never seen such landscapes in my life. The highlight was the sunrise in the middle of the desert. There are few houses you will see where Indigenous people “Wayu” still lives. We noticed, our driver is giving money to local people in a way to help them. Since they are living in such a harsh region without much help from the government. After more than 3 hours, we finally reached the Bahia Hondita bay. From here, 20 mins of boat ride took us to Punta Gallinas. Punta Gallinas is unlike Cabo de la vela. While Cabo de la vela is a desert town, Punta Gallinas is literally a desert. There’s no town here. I saw only two hostels for travelers to stay. After quickly leaving our bags at the hostel, we went back to our vehicle for the tour. First stop was Mirador de Casares (Viewpoint of Casares). Here you can see the vast land with tortoise water. Beautiful viewpoint. Next stop was the Northernmost point of South America. There’s a lighthouse here and the beautifully placed set of little rocks. Our last stop and the breathtaking one was Dunes of Taroa. It is one of the most stunning places I have traveled to and I have been to a lot of places in the world. After reaching the base of Sand dunes by vehicle, we walked to the top. It took us good 15 mins. Our feet keep sinking in the sand like it was a swamp. We figured out it’s better to walk without footwear and it felt awesome. After reaching the top, we saw the crystal blue water and couldn’t hold our childlike excitement. We quickly removed our clothes and rolled into the water. Yep! It felt like out of the world experience. And so we did it again and again and again 🙂 (Check the video above) In the end, our head was spinning like a spinning top. We were high on the adrenaline rush. We returned to our hostel. After relaxing for some time, we went to Punta Agujas beach. We chilled there till sunset. It is around 20 mins walk from our hostel. We ate our dinner before much-needed sleep after a long and thrilling day. An eventful day indeed. In the early morning, we went back to Uribe which took us around 3 hrs and from Uribe to Riohacha. An end to an adventure of our life. I decided to stay at Riohacha for a night for much-needed rest before continuing my adventure in Colombian coast.
IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT THE TRIP
- Make Riohacha your base. We left our big backpacks in the hostel.
- Carry lots of water (Preferably, 20L bottle per person) and snacks from Riohacha. Riohacha is a city and you will find everything here at a reasonable price. Prices are almost double in Cabo de la vela, Punta Gallinas.
- There’s no WiFi at hostels in Like Cabo de la vela and Punta Gallinas. Claro 2G network is available in some parts.
- Do not forget to carry mobile Powerbank. Electricity is quite unstable in Cabo de la vela and Punta Gallinas.
- Bring sunscreen, comfortable clothes, swimsuits, Toilet paper and a good hat.
- There’s NO ATM in Cabo de la vela and Punta Gallinas.
- You are going to the desert. Be ready for harsh conditions and extremely hot weather. Like the saying goes “No pain, No gain” 🙂
I heard some people even go solo till Punta Gallinas but since I went with the group. It was relatively quicker and easier. Expenses are as below:
Barranquilla to Riohacha bus: 25000 cop. cop= Colombian pesos
Stay in Hammock at Wayuuca Backpackers Hostel, Riohacha: 15000 cop per night
Riohacha to Manuare in a shared taxi: 20000 cop per person
Stay in Hammock at Manuare: 20000 cop per night
Manuare to Uribe in a shared taxi: 6000 cop per person
Uribe to Cabo de la vela in a shared taxi: 24000 cop per person
Stay in Hammock at Cabo de la Vela: 15000 cop per night
Punta Gallinas Tour: 120000 cop per person which includes transportation from Cabo de la vela to Punta Gallinas, Tour in Punta Gallinas, transportation from Punta Gallinas to Uribe
Stay in Hammock at Punta Gallinas: 15000 cop per night
Uribe to Cuatro Vias in a shared taxi: 8000 cop per person
Cuatro Vias to Riohacha in a public transport (camioneta): 4000 cop per person
Veg and Non-Veg plate are available around 15000-25000 cop
Note: This trip was taken before pandemic at the end of Feb 2020.