Cabo de la Vela is a must-see destination in Colombia. Located in the department of La Guajira in the far north of South America, Cabo de la Vela is a desert full of amazing landscapes and opportunities for fantastic experiences.
A big part of the Cabo de la Vela experience is taking advantage of the opportunity to immerse yourself in the Wayuu culture, a unique culture with traditions, rituals and colors full of life and magic. You can also find yourself under a bit of a Middle Eastern vibe, mostly due to the Omar Ibn Al-Jattab mosque that remained as a legacy of the immigrant wave that once settled down in Maica.
Getting to Cabo de la Vela is an incredible adventure that anyone who is traveling up the Caribbean coast cannot miss. It is a travelling experience that certainly won't let you down.
That being said, in the next article, we will explain how to get to Cabo de la Vela, things you can do in Cabo de la Vela, the options you have for sleeping, as well as other recommendations needed to have a safe trip to this awesome place.
To get to Cabo de la Vela, the first thing you have to do is get to Riohacha, the capital of the department of La Guajira. The bus ticket from Santa Marta to Riohacha costs around 25.000 COP to 35.000 COP. The trip lasts approximately 3 hours. You can also take a bus from Barranquilla to Riohacha for around 45.000 COP or from Cartagena for around 60.000 COP. The trip lasts around 5 and 7 hours each.
When you are arriving back to Riohacha, or when you are ready to make your way towards Punta Gallinas, you can tell the driver or the assistant to drop you off where the cars depart to go to Urubia. Once you get dropped off, you will find a group of old jeeps and a bunch of people trying to arrange the cars. Do not get in any of them before first agreeing on the price with the driver, and absolutely do not pay more than 15.000 COP. You can use the famous phrase "My friend told me he/she paid..." to get the proper price. The trip is a little bit more than an hour until you get to Uribia.
When you get to Uribia, you will need to head to the place where all the 4x4 trucks are to take you to Cabo de la Vela. Before getting in, make sure to negotiate the price and prepare to pay between 15.000 COP and 20.000 COP. Do not imagine that the trip is going to be comfortable. You will get in the back of the car with, not only more people, but also boxes, sacks of food and luggage. But hey!, this is part of the adventure. This is also a good opportunity to get to know other people and locals headed back to Cabo as well. The trip from Uribia to Cabo de la Vela takes about 2 to 3 hours.
After you get to Cabo de la Vela, maybe you want to continue to Punta Gallinas, here is a guide to getting there by yourself.
Cabo de la Vela has been able to maintain its low prices and to stay afloat as a community thanks to tourism. For this reason, you will find a wide variety of places to sleep and eat.
For sleeping in Cabo de la Vela, prices start at 5.000 COP to sleep in your own tent if your bring it yourself; 12.000 COP for a hammock and 40.000 COP for a private room. It is worth to mention that these prices are per night and person.
When it comes to eating, you can find breakfast from 10.000 COP, and lunch and dinner from 15.000 COP in Cabo de la Vela.
While most of the activities involve the desert and the sea, they are worth doing and you will be busy all day. Here it is what you can do in Cabo de la Vela:
This should be the first thing to do in Cabo de la Vela. Pilón de Azucar is a hill in the where the land meets the sea that offers a 360° panoramic of the sea and the whole desert. This is a sacred place for the Wayuu indigenous people. It only takes 15 minutes to climb to the top. The higher you climb, the stronger the wind begins to blow, offering an incomparable sensation of freedom. After descending it, you can swim in its pristine clear-water beach.
This is another must-do activity once you get to el Cabo de la Vela. While the lighthouse itself is very average, its the position of the lighthouse that makes it so speacial. The lighthouse holds a beautiful viewpoint in front of the sea where you can appreciate one of the best sunsets in Colombia. This viewpoint gives you the unique sensation of sitting on the edge of the world - a point where the land ends and you can see the far-reaching and boundless ocean. It is absolutely spectacular!
This is a beach that looks like a pool, which stands out because of its peaceful atmosphere, and deep clear blue waters. This is one of the few beaches where you are allowed to swim, making it another must-see spot in Cabo de la Vela.
Now that you are in Cabo de la Vela, you should take the opportunity to know more about the famous Wayuu rancherias and their culture. There is specifically a lot of history surrounding their mochilas (handmade bags) that are well known around the world. Making them consists of a detailed and rigorous process that takes many hours, where every design is unique and has its own meaning. It will be also the perfect moment to buy one as a souvenir.
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