We had just come down from Ciudad Perdida, and said goodbye to our dear friends, guides and three travellers at the junction of the main road. They were going back to Santa Marta, we sat at the bus stop, waiting for a bus to Riohacha, which turned up soon. We were just in time for a fabulous sunset with beautiful pink and orange clouds, and the next morning we were on our way into the Guajira peninsula. After a brief stop at the salt pans near Manaure, which produces much of the Colombian salt, we continue our way to Uribia. The driver needs to fill up on fuel as this is the last gas station for the coming days, and we take advantage of the break by walking around this Guajira capital. This is Wayuu territory, and the people are noticeably different from any other people we have seen so far in Colombia. The streets are full of cyclo taxis, stalls with fruits, people shouting, people crossing the street and posing for a picture as soon as they see us. We even do a short tour of town in a cyclo taxi, giving us a better chance to take in the scenes before we go back to the car.
Almost immediately after leaving Uribia, we leave the asphalt behind us, and drive along a straight road next to the train track leading to Puerto Bolívar, used for cargo trains. After a while, we turn left, and the La Guajira adventure starts on dirt tracks. We drive through rugged terrain, with hardly any inhabitants. Yet, we are stopped always more frequently by kids holding a rope across the track, trying to stop us. The driver has stocked up on biscuits, but mostly just speeds towards the temporary road blocks which makes the kids put the rope down. It is like a chicken game: does the driver hesitate and stop, or do the kids let the rope down at the last second? Surely enough, sometimes our car rips the ropes away from the kids. We stay near Cabo de la Vela, and the driver, who is half Wayuu, explains that the Wayuu people believe their souls all disappear between the rock and the cape after someone dies. After lunch, we drive to Cerro Pilón de Azúcar, which is easy to see from a distance with its pyramid shape.
After a walk on the Pilón Beach, we make a short stop at the Ojo del Agua beach, after which we head to the Cabo de la Vela itself. There is a lighthouse on top, and we see the sun disappear behind the horizon, colouring the clouds above our heads pink and orange. The next morning, we are on our way to the far north of La Guajira, with many more kids and even adults on the road to extract candy or money. Here, people know that just a rope is not enough, and they have piles of tires on the road, or a real boom gate which forces us to stop. When we arrive, we hike up the sand dunes of Taroa, and are rewarded with sweeping views of the Caribbean Sea. We play in the surf, diving through the waves and being washed ashore until our teeth are full of sand. We enjoy our time on this beautiful stretch of Colombian coastline, and then head to Punta Gallinas, the northernmost point not only of Colombia, but also of South America. We find many small stone memorials scattered on the rocky coast. A short drive takes us to the shores of Bahía Hondita, which we cruise after lunch. We see lots of birds, like pelicans, frigate birds and flamengoes, before spending sunset on a beach facing west. The next day, we drive back to Riohacha, and it seems that there are even more road barriers than before.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Guajira Peninsula (Colombia). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Guajira Peninsula. Read more about this site.