Best Macuira Tours, Colombia: My Tale To a Remote Natural Haven

Are you ready to embark on an extraordinary adventure through the hidden wonders of Macuira National Natural Park in Colombia? 

Join me as I guide you through this untouched paradise’s captivating landscapes and enchanting legends. 

As a Colombia expert since 2015, I have explored the La Guajira desert three times, immersing myself in its vibrant culture and awe-inspiring natural beauty.

In this post, you’ll find a detailed field report of my favorite tour to Macuira Park, thanks to the excellent Paola’s agency, and some practical tips to avoid being lost in the desert 😀

Let’s go!

Book with locals
La Macuira Park & La Guajira's secrets with Paola

Since 2015, Tomplanmytrip (us) looks for the best local agencies in Colombia and put you in direct contact with them.

  • Easy to join a group tour to La Macuira
  • Exciting extra Wayúu experiences during the trips
See her profile
Book with local agencies we trust.

Colombia Experts

Who are we 👋

Since 2015, Adrien, Alejandra, and I (Tom) have been helping travelers explore Colombia. Every year, I spend thousands of euros to find the best experiences and allow you to contact these agencies directly!

La Macuira National Park: Your Takeaway + Map

  • Reaching the park requires an early start and a long journey guided by experienced drivers on sandy tracks. Count at least 6h from Cabo de la Vela (or 8-9 from Riohacha).
  • Macuira National Park encompasses a rare cloud forest with 500+ species, including the endemic Oates Wayú frog.
  • An epic 6-hour hike on-site leads to great sites like the awe-inspiring sand dunes with panoramic views and refreshing waterfalls (depending on the season). Local guides speak Spanish only.
  • In Nazareth, indulge in local cuisine like Chivo sofrito (goat stew), and immerse in Wayúu cultural experiences—thanks to Paola.
  • Book a 4-day trip with a trusted agency like Paola’s for smooth logistics and overcoming region-specific challenges.
  • Best time to visit: dry season (Dec-Apr), early morning maximizes wildlife sightings, especially birds.
  • Accommodations in Nazareth offer comfort despite simplicity, providing rest and rejuvenation.

👉 Want to know everything about La Guajira? To learn where are the best places, and avoid tourist traps and beginner’s mistakes? Nothing could be easier. I put it all together in our guide to La Guajira.

My Unforgettable Macuira Tour in Colombia: A Journey Worth Taking

Join me as I recount my adventure that will surely convince you to take the plunge.

An Early Departure from Cabo de la Vela

The shrill ring of my phone interrupts the tranquility of the pre-dawn hours. It’s 3:30 am in La Guajira, and Alejandra has once again commandeered all the sheets. No matter, the heat of the Colombian desert renders them unnecessary.

Stepping out of our simple cabin, I’m greeted by the sight of Arnoldo, our trusty driver, tending to his jeep with care. Our destination? The enigmatic La Macuira National Park. Time to rouse Aleja from her slumber.

Paola, our diligent planner, had forewarned us. “La Macuira is a marvel,” she’d said, “but it’s a marvel you must earn. Brace yourself for an early start and a long journey.”

We’re five hours away from Cabo de la Vela and must reach the park office before it closes at noon. There are no paved roads or signposts in this part of Alta Guajira. Instead, countless sandy tracks diverge in all directions, with nature serving as our local guide. “We must keep the serranía always to our right,” Arnoldo instructs, navigating the labyrinthine paths with an uncanny sense of direction.

At 4 am, the world outside is shrouded in darkness, obscuring any natural landmarks. But Arnoldo, our human compass, seems unfazed.

After a two-and-a-half-hour journey, punctuated by futile attempts to sleep, we halt for a sunrise breakfast. We’re in the heart of the wilderness, a world away from the trappings of modern civilization.

For now, the landscape mirrors that of Cabo de la Vela. Cacti and thorny bushes punctuate the yellow, starchy earth, interspersed with herds of chivos (goats), the prized possessions of the Wayuu people.

As the first light of dawn breaks, the serrated peaks of the Serranía de La Macuira begin to etch themselves against the horizon. We follow a winding trail of dried mud, a path that promises to lead us to this ecological marvel.

Welcome to Nazareth

The arid landscape gradually transforms, with cacti giving way to lush vegetation and dry mud replaced by shifting sands. Our four-wheel drive vehicle weaves through a verdant labyrinth punctuated by bursts of yellow flowers.

The first signs of habitation appear, marking our arrival in Nazareth after a 5-hour journey. Life here seems gentler for the Wayúu people than in Punta Gallinas or Cabo de la Vela, thanks to one vital element: water.

A cloud forest, thriving less than 850m above sea level, creates a unique ecosystem in Macuira National Park. The rivers that flow through the park enable the 50 or so Wayúu clans to cultivate the land, providing sustenance and trade.

We pass numerous cement houses on sandy roads, arriving at the National Park office for our introductory “Charla.” The local guides, all from Nazareth, protect their park with the fierce devotion of a mother tiger guarding her cub.

An Epic 6-Hour Hike in La Macuira National Natural Park

The moment we’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived – it’s time to explore the hidden oasis of Guajira. 

Our journey begins on sandy, shady flat ground, providing a welcome break from the intense sun. 

After an hour’s walk and several stream crossings, we reach our first stop: “La Piedra de Wolunca,” a site steeped in Wayúu legend.

The Wolunka Legend

National Park Macuira (4)

The mysterious Wayuu legend of Wolunka tells the tale of a woman created with teeth in her vagina, instilling fear in men. Fueled by curiosity, the mischievous twins Ma’yüi and Ulapiui tricked her and removed the teeth, which transformed into rocks. 

This event marked the first instance of gender-based violence in Wayuu cosmology, ultimately leading to the ability of men and women to engage in sexual relations.

The Most Beautiful Scenery in La Guajira

Half an hour later, we reach a watchtower offering a breathtaking view of immense dunes in the distance, their golden hues contrasting beautifully with the surrounding greenery. This sight invigorates our adventure and propels us forward.

As we continue, we encounter two Wayúu women selling their vibrant, geometrically patterned Wayuu Mochilas (bags) – a testament to Colombia’s rich cultural heritage. Naturally, Aleja can’t resist purchasing one.

Our final destination, the dunes, comes into sight. Along the way, we spot enormous grasshoppers feasting on tree leaves. At last, we arrive at the foot of these desert behemoths and marvel at the extraordinary view of Alta Guajira and its diverse forest ecosystems.

Standing atop the dunes of La Macuira is a transcendent experience. The vast expanse of golden desert stretches in all directions, merging with the azure sky at the horizon. The whims of the wind shape the dunes, creating a surreal landscape that appears to belong to another world.

Regrettably, guides no longer permit visitors to climb to the very top of the dunes during midday due to the heat. I must confess my disappointment, especially as I watch some Wayúu adolescents frolicking at the summit. Rules are the rules, after all.

If you can, try to get there early in the morning! 

A Refreshing Stop and Cultural Experiences

On the way back, a refreshing stop at a waterfall with natural pools provides a welcome respite, one of the highlights of my Guajira adventure. 

As we depart the park, we eagerly anticipate a well-deserved lunch of Chivo sofrito, a local goat stew.

Our day concludes with two enriching cultural activities: a joyful dance called La Yonna – a vibrant expression of Wayúu cosmogony and social customs – and a visit to the home of a local artist and poet who uses his art to narrate Wayúu legends and the challenges his people face.

As I retire for the night, I contemplate the resilience of the Wayúu people and the beauty of La Macuira National Park. I’ll try to remember that the next time I become upset over a five-minute train delay.

Time to sleep; tomorrow, a new adventure awaits us in Punta Gallinas.

Macuira National Natural Park: The Ultimate Travel Guide

Discover this hidden oasis and learn how to make the most of your visit.

How to Reach Macuira National Park on Your Own

Jeep in Dunas de Taroa in Punta Gallinas La Guajira

To access Macuira, you must first travel to Riohacha, the region’s largest city, and main gateway. A small airport offers direct flights from Medellin or Bogota. Alternatively, you can take a bus from Cartagena (7h) or Santa Marta (3h).

Upon arriving in Ríohacha, continue to the smaller municipality of Uribia (1h). From Uribia, a Chiva departs weekly for Nazaretha 9-hour journey (barring unforeseen issues). In 2023, departures were Sundays at 7–8 am, with return trips from Nazareth on Thursdays at 2 am. Verify this information before your trip (good luck!).

Once in Nazareth, register at the park office before 12h00 pm if you plan to visit Macuira Park that day. Bring cash, as the last ATMs are in Riohacha.

Booking your Macuira Tour with Paola

Reaching Macuira Park independently might feel as challenging as James Bond saving the world. 

Fortunately, Paola operates one of the few agencies in Riohacha that offers a 4-day trip to La Macuira. 

Group departures aren’t daily but frequent, and private trips are affordable (around 350 USD/person for a group of four). 

The package includes visits to Punta Gallinas and Cabo de la Vela, as well as Wayuu experiences along the way. Considering the potential challenges in La Guajira (strikes, bad weather), having a guide handle logistics is invaluable.

Book with locals
La Macuira Park & La Guajira's secrets with Paola

Since 2015, Tomplanmytrip (us) looks for the best local agencies in Colombia and put you in direct contact with them.

  • Easy to join a group tour to La Macuira
  • Exciting extra Wayúu experiences during the trips
See her profile
Book with local agencies we trust.

Best Time to Visit La Macuira National Park

Macuira National Park , La Guajira

The ideal time to visit La Macuira National Park is during the dry season, from December to April. 

This period follows the rainy season, providing a chance to swim in the waterfalls, and the green vegetation is even more striking. 

The park typically closes from August to November due to heavy rains and flooding, rendering dirt roads from Uribia to Nazareth impassable. 

For the optimal experience, visit Macuira Park early in the morning (6 am) to maximize wildlife sightings, especially for bird watching. Inquire with Paola about this option for private tours.

Interesting Facts about Parque Nacional Natural Macuira

Encompassing 25,000 hectares, Macuira Park boasts a rare cloud forest, a lush ecosystem teeming with life, situated just 600 meters above sea level. 

This unique location shelters over 500 species of flora and fauna, including endemic species like the Oates Wayú frog, a rock-climbing amphibian native to the region. Bird enthusiasts will also appreciate the park’s diverse avian population.

Visitors will traverse starkly contrasting landscapes, from arid desert to tropical dry forest and, ultimately, the cloud forest. This visual spectacle leaves a lasting impression.

Additionally, the park holds cultural significance for the indigenous Wayúu people, who consider it a sacred ceremonial center for their mythology. The park is home to Jepirech, the spirit of the wind, and Igua, the cloud, which rains down and fertilizes the mountain range, producing the forests and water vital for the Wayúu people.

Types of Accommodation in Nazareth

Though basic, accommodations in the village of Nazareth are surprisingly comfortable, featuring beds and A/C (although electricity is cut at 10 pm).

La Macuira: Bottom line

Embark on an extraordinary adventure in Macuira National Park, and let Paola be your guide

With her extensive knowledge and experience, she’ll ensure every aspect of your journey is meticulously planned. 

From navigating the sandy tracks to immersing in Wayúu culture, contacting Paola is your gateway to a truly unforgettable and seamlessly organized adventure in Colombia’s stunning wilderness.

Want to discover all the best national natural parks of Colombia?

The 8 best experiences you shouldn’t miss


Visit Caño Cristales (the most beautiful river worldwide)

Pozos naturales San Jose del Guaviare

Explore San José del Guaviare (an off-the-beaten-path destination)

Rafting Antioquia Jules Medellín

1 or 2-day rafting trips around Medellín

Los Llanos Orientales (2)

A selection of the best Llanos tours

Tomplanmytrip’s sections


I have been traveling around Colombia and Mexico since 2015 to discover new experiences and help travelers make the right choices.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.