Cabo De La Vela: Things To Do And How To Get There [GUIDE]

The best guide to Cabo de la Vela in Colombia for what to do and how to get there—info based on my 3 stays there and our local friends.

🛑 Imagine arriving in Cabo de la Vela with all the right information in hand to enjoy your ideal adventure.

Our experience in Cabo de La Vela with Paola’s agency

Since 2015, I have been to Cabo de la Vela 3 times (by myself or through an agency) to get the best information for my readers.

Here’s what you’ll get if you read my guide c.a.r.e.f.u.l.l.y:

  • Why is Cabo de la Vela an important site for the Wayúu.
  • How to get to Cabo de la Vela on your own.
  • My favorite area to stay in Cabo de la Vela.
  • Where to watch a beautiful sunset.
  • How long should you stay in Cabo de la Vela.
  • And more!

Who are we 👋

Since 2015, Adrien, Alejandra, and I (Tom) have been helping travelers explore Colombia. Here, you will find everything you need to fall in love with this beautiful country easily.


Favorite Local Partner

Book with locals
Easily Join The Best Tours in La Guajira with Paola
4.8

Over 100 of our readers explore La Guajira with Paola every month. This is the best-organized agency in the area, with consistent departures, excellent responsiveness, and great flexibility.

Pros:
  • Excellent multi-day tours to Cabo de la Vela, Punta Gallinas and Macuira Park.
  • Pay local prices at no extra cost.
See her profile How to pick your tour
Easy, quick and risk-free (Talk first. Book later)

Cabo de la Vela: General Information

For quick facts about Cabo De La Vela.

Where is Cabo de la Vela?

Cabo de la Vela is a laid-back beach town located in the La Guajira desert, on the Caribbean coast of northern Colombia. It is about a 2-hour drive from Riohacha and a 6-hour drive from Santa Marta.

For the Wayuú, the indigenous people of the region, dreams are a vital part of reality, deeply analyzed for guidance. They believe dreams connect them with ancestors, deities, and nature, influencing major decisions like moving, traveling, or starting a business.

Cabo de la Vela, or ‘Jepira‘ in Wayuú, is considered a sacred place where this connection is strongest.

Best time to go to Cabo de la Vela

In Cabo de la Vela, you’ll find the weather stays pretty stable all year. Days are warm, hovering around 30°C, while nights cool down to the mid-20s. The sun here means serious business, so sunscreen and a hat are must-haves.

From December to April, it gets windier, ideal for kitesurfing.

Watch out for the rainy season in October and November; the roads can turn into a muddy mess.

And a heads-up: it’s super busy during Colombian holidays, especially from mid-December to January, Holy Week, and school vacation times in June.

Is Cabo de la Vela worth visiting?

Cabo de la Vela - Pilon de Azucar in Laguajira

Cabo de la Vela is an interesting destination worth visiting for its unique setting, lost in the middle of the desert, a popular spot for kitesurfers, and its unspoiled landscapes, where the power of the ocean meets the immensity of the desert.

However, I don’t think it’s worth coming all this way only to stop in Cabo de la Vela instead of continuing on to Punta Gallinas and Macuira Park.

And don’t forget that living conditions in Cabo de la Vela are tough: access to running water is difficult, the choice of meals is limited, there’s no education about waste, and there’s a lot of poverty.

how many days in Cabo de la Vela

Cabo de la Vela, La Guajira - Playa Arcoiris (1)

If coming on your own, two nights in Cabo de la Vela hit the sweet spot. If you’re keen on kitesurfing, consider extending your stay.

Opting for a tour agency? Then one night should cover it.

More than 10,000 travelers have already used our Colombia travel guide

I’ve been exploring Colombia since 2015 and put all my knowledge into one E-book. It’s free and accessible now. 👇

Things to do in Cabo de la Vela

Here are the cool activities you will do in Cabo de la Vela.

1# Kitesurfing

Kitesurfing Cabo de la vela Colombia

Kitesurfing in Cabo de la Vela is incredibly fun and ranks among the best in the world. With strong winds almost all year and a flat sea, it’s ideal for the sport. And the welcoming kitesurfing community there makes you feel right at home.

Newbies, be prepared for a learning curve – around 10 hours of lessons to start enjoying it. You might find Riohacha’s steadier winds a good place to start before heading to Cabo de la Vela—and also better instructors.

Important: Don’t go to the kitesurf school AWALAYU’U. The owner has been accused of sexual abuse by several people

Book with locals
Kitesurfing in La Guajira with Etto & Paula
4.8

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

Pros:
  • Excellent bilingual guides.
  • Kitesurfing trips to Punta Gallinas.
See their profile Our guide

2# SUNSET AT EL FARO

Beyond the kitesurfing zone in Cabo de la Vela, a 40-minute walk or a quick 5-minute moto-taxi ride gets you to El Faro, the lighthouse. A word of caution: avoid walking there alone, especially in the dark, as there have been incidents of travelers being mugged.

At El Faro, don’t just stop at the lighthouse. A little further along the path, a cliff offers even more breathtaking views. Make sure to get there by 5:30pm to snag the best spot for stunning vistas.

3# Pilon de Azucar and Playa Dorada

In Cabo de la Vela, “Kamaichi” is a must-visit—a 10-minute motorcycle ride or a couple of hours’ walk.

It’s a local Wayuu name for the mirador Pilon de Azucar. Just a 15-minute climb takes you to the top, where you’re greeted with an amazing view and a small statue of the Virgin of Fátima. Look down, and you’ll see rock formations spelling out tributes to the departed. This is my favorite spot in Cabo.

After visiting Pilon de Azucar, take a look at Playa Dorada, which is close by. The beach has stunning golden sand against the backdrop of the turquoise Caribbean Sea. Morning swims are best as the waves can get rough, and afternoons offer little shade.

4# Mirador Tortuga & Playa Ojo de Agua

Mirador Tortuga (here) offers a breathtaking view from atop a turtle-shaped stone slab. It’s an easy 15-minute walk to the summit.

Just beside Mirador Tortuga is Ojo de Agua Beach (here). It’s my favorite beach in the area, known for its calmer waves and its beautiful sunsets.

These two places are a 10-minute drive from Cabo de la Vela, and we visited them on our tour with Paola.

5# Playa Arco Iris

Cabo de la Vela, La Guajira - Playa Arcoiris (2)

This beach is located less than 1km from the Pilón de Azúcar lookout point. 

Unfortunately, swimming is super dangerous because of the waves and ocean currents.

It’s still worth going here because the ocean spray passes over the rocks and creates a rainbow effect, where the beach gets its name. 

6# Buy Wayuu Handicrafts

Mochilas Wayuu Punta Gallinas La Guajira

In Cabo de la Vela, don’t miss out on the Wayuú mochilas. These aren’t just any bags; they’re crafted by Wayuú women, and each stitch is filled with meaning and tradition. When a Wayuú girl reaches puberty, she learns this intricate art, deeply rooted in their culture.

While the finest mochilas are said to be found elsewhere, the ones in Cabo are still incredibly special. They’re reasonably priced, too, so there’s no need to haggle. Grab a few of these unique bags; they’re perfect as gifts, and it’s a great way to support the local Wayuú community.

7# Multi-day trip to Punta Gallinas

Punta Gallinas, at the northernmost tip of South America and the top of the Guajira Peninsula, is a wildly remote gem. If you’re in Cabo de la Vela, I highly recommend taking at least 2 days to explore Punta Gallinas.

Tours to Punta Gallinas are often proposed to travelers in Cabo, and you can easily book it for the next day. Expect to pay around $50 USD (150-200,000 COP) for transportation. A practical route is to visit Punta Gallinas when leaving Cabo, as tours typically loop from Cabo to Punta Gallinas and then back to Uribia.

My opinion: For a more reliable journey, consider booking a tour with a local agency departing from Riohacha. Better organization, better jeeps, and better customer service.

Where to stay In Cabo de la Vela

Cabo de la Vela rancheria in La Guajira

Cabo de la Vela is a single long avenue along the seafront.

Accommodations range from basic at the town’s entrance — think no running water and limited electricity — to more comfortable options further in—the kitesurfing area. There, you’ll also find some bars, restaurants, and kitesurfing schools.

Your choices for a stay include a regular bed, a hammock, or a spacious ‘chinchorro’—a bigger hammock.

I personally enjoyed Analauli, which offers rooms with showers, beds, and 24-hour electricity.

Another excellent choice is Utta, close to the lighthouse. It’s a bit more secluded, offering stunning sunset views and a peaceful atmosphere.

How to get to Cabo de la Vela

Sunrise jeep la guajira Aleja

The good news is that you can reach Cabo de la Vela without the help of an agency. However, you’ll need to be adventurous and speak at least a little Spanish to succeed.

From Riohacha to Cabo de la Vela

Once in Riohacha, you have a couple of travel options to reach Cabo de la Vela.

I suggest heading to this specific crossroad, a 30-minute cab ride from Riohacha. Here, you can catch a 4×4 through the desert. This journey usually costs no more than 50,000 COP per person for group travel and takes about 2 hours. Solo travelers might wait a bit longer, as jeeps depart when full.

Alternatively, you can travel to Uribia, about an hour from Riohacha, and look for a 4×4 here.

Your last (and cheaper) option in Uribia is to head to the main marketplace to find a truck leaving for Cabo de la Vela. This method can be more time-consuming and less comfortable—when I did it, I was buried under a mountain of potato chips, and my neighbor was a chicken.

From Cartagena to cABO DE LA VELA

To get from Cartagena to Cabo de la Vela, take the earliest Brasilia bus to Riohacha (around 5am). It takes about 7-8 hours. Then follow the steps in the previous section.

From Santa Marta to CABO DE LA VELA

To get from Santa Marta to Cabo de la Vela, take a bus from the bus terminal (Copetran) or the public market (smaller bus, more frequent departures) to Riohacha. It takes about 3 hours. Then follow the steps in the previous section.

From Palomino to Cabo de la Vela

Get on the main road (the one that crosses Palomino) and take one of the shared-cars that leave for Riohacha. It takes 1 hour. Then follow the steps in the previous section.

My opinion: If you plan to explore La Guajira with Paola, she can organize private transportation anywhere between Cartagena and Riohacha.

How to get around Cabo de la Vela

Cabo de la Vela, La Guajira - Wayuu kids

Once in Cabo de la Vela, you’ll need to take moto-taxis to get to the various tourist sites. And there are always a few jeeps offering transport to Punta Gallinas.

Is Cabo de la Vela Safe?

Cabo de La Vela, La Guajira (1)

Yes, it’s safe to visit Cabo de la Vela, but you need to be on your guard. This corner of Colombia is 100% administered by the Wayuu, and there’s a very strong sense of solidarity. If anything goes wrong, they’ll deal with it in their own way, and you won’t have a say in the matter—As is the case with the sexual abuse committed by the Wayuu manager of the AWALAYU’U kitesurfing school.

Likewise, it’s the poorest department in Colombia, and robberies can happen at night if you’re out of town on your own.

I’ve personally been there 3 times – twice on my own with no agency involved – and never had the slightest problem.

My opinion: If you don’t speak Spanish and you’re not used to traveling in Latin America, I advise you to go through a local agency.

More Tips About Cabo de la Vela

Cabo de la Vela - Mirador tortuga in La Guajira

BRING SOME CASH

Make sure to bring enough cash from Riohacha or earlier, as there are no ATMs or card machines in Cabo de la Vela. Carrying small bills is also a good idea, as getting exact change back can sometimes be challenging.

NO INTERNET BUT GOOD PHONE COVERAGE

In and around Cabo de la Vela, internet access is virtually non-existent. However, the mobile service from Claro tends to work well. Embrace this as a chance to disconnect and enjoy a stress-free break from the online world.

WHAT TO READ NEXT

Here are some popular articles to learn more about La Guajira:

Book with locals
Easily Join The Best Tours in La Guajira with Paola
4.8

Over 100 of our readers explore La Guajira with Paola every month. This is the best-organized agency in the area, with consistent departures, excellent responsiveness, and great flexibility.

Pros:
  • Excellent multi-day tours to Cabo de la Vela, Punta Gallinas and Macuira Park.
  • Pay local prices at no extra cost.
See her profile How to pick your tour
Easy, quick and risk-free (Talk first. Book later)

INFORMATION: PLEASE NOTE THAT SOME LINKS ARE AFFILIATE S AND AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU, I EARN A SMALL COMMISSION IF YOU MAKE A BOOKING. IT’S A NICE GESTURE TO THANK US FOR THE MANY HOURS WE DEDICATE TO TOMPLANMYTRIP 🙂

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.