Punta Gallinas, Colombia: 10 Important Tips to Improve Your Trip

I firmly believe that everyone who visits Colombia should make their way to La Guajira, and once you’re there, it’s an absolute must to venture all the way to Punta Gallinas

Although this off-the-beaten-path destination might not be everyone’s cup of tea, those who are adventurous and willing to embrace the ruggedness of the journey will be rewarded with some of the most beautiful and serene locations on the planet.

I’ve been there 3 times to Punta Gallinas (with and without an agency), and I’m ready to give you all my secrets. 

So, let’s dive in and determine if this wildly exotic spot is the right fit for you and how to make the most of your experience.

Our experience in Punta Gallinas with Paola’s agency
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Visit Punta Gallinas & Macuira Park!
Since 2015, Tomplanmytrip (us) looks for the best local agencies in Colombia and put you in direct contact with them. Paola offer daily departures to Punta Gallinas and she has been doing this for more than 15 years!
  • Easy to join a group tour to La Macuira
  • Exciting extra Wayúu experiences during the trips
See her profile Favorite tour
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!

Our Punta Gallinas Travel Guide

All you need to know to plan your trip to Punta Gallinas

10# Is it worth going to Punta Gallinas?

You might be feeling a bit hesitant, so let’s weigh the pros and cons to see if Punta Gallinas is the ideal destination for you.

The Pros:

Basically, you’ll avoid bad surprises.

Breathtaking Scenery

The entire region of La Guajira is known for its stunning landscapes and incredible beauty. While nearby areas like Cabo de la Vela are also worth exploring, Punta Gallinas offers a unique, raw, and untamed charm.

You’ll be treated to the most vibrant sunsets, the ever-changing dunes of the copper-colored La Guajira desert, and a night sky so full of stars that you might just feel like you’ve been transported to another world. With virtually no light or noise pollution, Punta Gallinas is a haven for those seeking tranquility and natural wonder.

An Unforgettable Adventure

La Guajira Desiert transport

Traveling to Punta Gallinas is an adventure in itself. Forget about smooth roads and precise schedules – you’ll be navigating sandy desert tracks in a rugged old jeep, embracing the unpredictability of the journey. The best part? Unlike other adventures, such as trekking to the Lost City, you don’t need to be a seasoned athlete to enjoy this experience.

Bragging Rights

Faro Punta Gallinas La Guajira (3)

Reaching the northernmost point of South America is no small feat, and you’ll undoubtedly have some fantastic stories to share with your friends back home. Plus, how many people can say they’ve explored Colombia to its very tip?

The Cons:

It’s not the perfect tranquilo trip either.

The Remote Location

Jeep in Dunas de Taroa in Punta Gallinas La Guajira

Punta Gallinas is not an easy destination to reach, and even if you’re based in nearby cities like Cartagena, Barranquilla, or Santa Marta, it can still take up to three days or more to arrive. Be prepared for bumpy roads, potential flooding, and the occasional unexpected delay.

The Harsh Reality

La Guajira Desert

La Guajira is, unfortunately, one of the poorer regions in Colombia, and you’ll witness scenes that are difficult to stomach. From children begging for food and water to trash strewn about by desert winds, it’s essential to approach this experience with empathy and respect. 

During my last trip from Punta Gallinas to Cabo, my driver informed me that over 200 “illegal” toll stops exist — children use ropes to halt jeeps. 

Limited Interaction with Locals

Many travelers visit Punta Gallinas without genuinely engaging with the local community. While the drivers who transport visitors are skilled at navigating the challenging terrain, they aren’t tour guides and opportunities for meaningful interaction may be limited.

One way to address this is by booking a tour with a local partner, like Paola’s 4-day journey to Punta Gallinas and La Macuira. These tours offer more opportunities to connect with the locals and learn about their way of life.

Or you can ask Beatrice to join her 4-day cultural tour where you’ll stay 2 nights in Punta Gallinas! 

Book with locals
4-day trip to Punta Gallinas with Beatrice!
Since 2015, Tomplanmytrip (us) looks for the best local agencies in Colombia and put you in direct contact with them. Beatrice runs the only agency that offers 2 nights in Punta Gallinas.
  • A small agency with excellent drivers
  • Excellent prices & communication
See her profile Pick a tour
Book with local agencies we trust.

9# Here’s what you’ll do in Punta Gallinas

To give you an idea of what to expect, let me share my itinerary from my last trip with Paola’s agency, starting in Riohacha and picking up from the 3rd day at La Macuira Park:

  • 6:00 am – Rise and shine!
  • 6:30 am – Grab breakfast and chow down quickly
  • 7:00 am – Off we go from La Macuira!
  • 9:50 am – Arrival at the Taroa dunes. Here, you’ll find a restaurant for refreshments and an optional “surf table” experience down sand dunes, supervised by an instructor. This costs 80,000 COP per person, with a maximum of six people.
  • After the dunes, you can swim, snap photos, and soak in the scenery. Beware of strong waves and bring sun protection, as there’s no shade in sight.
  • 11:40 am – Lunchtime! Enjoy some rice with shrimp and fend off any hungry goats. A cold beer is a perfect way to wash down all that sand.
  • 12:30 pm – Departure from Taroa.
  • 12:53 pm – Arrival at Mirador de Casares/ Bahía Hondita lookout point, featuring a stunning multicolored lagoon. Capture photos and browse local arts and crafts.
  • 1:20 pm – Reach El Faro (the lighthouse) of Punta Gallinas, the northernmost point! Stack stones to mark your visit, but watch out for snakes hiding under the rocks!
  • 2:30 pm – Paola arranged a unique activity where we spoke with a local Wayuú (indigenous) person involved in preserving the turtle population. A Wayuú lady then demonstrated traditional weaving techniques, which you can try yourself.
  • 3:40 pm – Head back to our lodgings in Bahía Hondita.
  • 6:00-11:00 pm – Use the five hours of electricity to charge devices, then take a 15-minute stroll down the white path to watch the sunset on the beach.
  • 7:30 pm – Dinner time.

There’s also a luminescent plankton tour available, but I missed it since it started at 11:30 pm, after the electricity went off. Additionally, be prepared for windy conditions in the desert, which can make it difficult for some people to sleep. Blankets are available at the reception.

The following day, I woke up early, watched the sunrise, had breakfast at 6:30 am, and was on my way back shortly after 7:00 am.

8# Should you take a tour to Punta Gallinas?

Having experienced Punta Gallinas both with and without a tour, I strongly recommend the guided option. Here are the pros and cons for your consideration:


  • Fewer surprises: With a tour, you can expect better cars, drivers, and overall organization.
  • Easier logistics: Traveling without a tour is doable but more stressful and only slightly cheaper. Fluent Spanish is essential for navigating the area without a tour.
  • Extra cultural activities: Tours offer unique learning opportunities about the local Wayuú tribe, like weaving workshops and dream interpretation.


  • Less freedom: You must follow the group’s schedule on a guided tour, limiting your flexibility.
  • Slightly more expensive: Independent travel can save you money, but the difference may be more negligible than you think.
  • Driver ≠ guide: Don’t expect your driver to be a tour guide in La Guajira. They’ll mostly handle transportation and leave you to explore the sites on your own.

Considering these factors, I recommend taking a tour to Punta Gallinas for a smoother, more enriching experience.

I will tell you everything about the La Guajira tours 

7# How do you get to Punta Gallinas, Colombia?

Sunrise jeep la guajira Aleja

In any case, it will be an adventure.

From Cabo de la Vela

If you are already in Cabo de la Vela, you will probably be approached by at least one person offering you a tour of Punta Gallinas. You can then make arrangements with this person and set up an itinerary (departures around 5am).

The journey takes 3-4 hours. If you are there during October or November (rainy season), you may have to take a jeep to Puerto Bolivar (about an hour’s drive) and then get in a boat for a very bumpy 2-hour ride to Punta Gallinas instead of going by land.

From Riohacha

If you go on a tour, you will be able to leave from here and go directly to visit Cabo de la Vela and then Punta Gallinas (on the 2nd day), depending on the tour.

If you go on your own, you may wind up having to make the trip in stages. You may need to get to a main intersection known as Cuatro Esquinas (four corners), then to the tiny village of Uribia, and from there to Cabo de la Vela and then Punta Gallinas. It’s very unpredictable.

If you do decide to do this on your own, leave early in the morning to get to Cabo de la Vela.

From Santa Marta

Some agencies here will offer tours going all the way to Punta Gallinas, with Santa Marta as a departure city. However, in my opinion, it’s quite far for such a short time frame (3 days). You will end up spending a significant portion of your waking hours on the road.

I highly recommend just going to Riohacha and booking the tour from there.

From Cartagena

Once again, the best thing to do is just to get to Riohacha first and use it as a staging area for Punta Gallinas. There is no direct flight between Cartagena and Riohacha.

If you get on the first couple of buses leaving Cartagena that day (around 5 am), you can get to Riohacha in time to get transportation to Cabo de la Vela for the night. That will leave you in a good position to visit Punta Gallinas early the following morning.

A bus company called Expreso Brasilia regularly sends buses from the Cartagena bus terminal to Riohacha (about 7h).

From Bogotá, Medellín and other cities

There is a small airport in Riohacha with direct flights from Bogotá and Medellín. It’s affordable (about 50$) and fast (1h). Then, follow the indications mentioned previously.

6# It’s a 3-4 day trip (with an agency)

Leaving from Rioacha, you will typically have 2 different options for a tour that stops in Punta Gallinas. One takes 3 days, and the other takes 4.

3-day trip – Cabo de la Vela and Punta Gallinas

This trip will have you staying the first night in Cabo de la Vela and the second day and night in Punta Gallinas.

Cabo de la Vela is a cape with nearby beaches on the Caribbean Sea. It’s an optimum spot for kitesurfing, and the sightseeing is also incredible.

There are several beaches and lookout points in the area, and another lighthouse (“faro” is “lighthouse” in Spanish.) It’s a great place to get your swimming in, but still, be cautious with the current.

While not as remote as Punta Gallinas, it is still a very out-of-the-way place. It’s also another location where the desert and the sky meet the sea in a spectacular fashion.

Book with locals
Explore Cabo & Punta Gallinas with Beatrice

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

  • A small agency with excellent drivers
  • Excellent prices & communication
See her profile Pick a tour
Book with local agencies we trust.

4-day trip – Cabo de la Vela, Macuira, and Punta Gallinas

Macuira is actually my absolute favorite destination in all of La Guajira. I completely fell in love with that place.

This place is, in a word, astonishing. It’s like a huge green oasis surrounded by pure desert. It’s chock-full of unique and exotic species of dwarf trees and local fauna.

After a night in Cabo de la Vela, you’ll head to the hidden city of Nazareth, where the peaceful alleys are covered by yellow sand. There, you’ll meet your local guide and follow him through lush vegetation and massive dunes.

The 3rd day will be in Punta Gallinas.

I think it’s pretty obvious that I highly recommend picking the 4-day trip.

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 Favorite tour
Book with local agencies we trust.

5# You’ll sleep in a ranchería

A “ranchería” refers to the local, hostel-like accommodations in Punta Gallinas and other remote areas of La Guajira. These lodgings provide a unique opportunity to experience local life and customs.

Typically, you’ll have three options for sleeping arrangements in a ranchería:

  • A regular hammock
  • A “chinchorro” (a larger, more comfortable hammock favored by the Wayuú people)
  • A private room with a proper bed 

Keep in mind that electricity is usually only available from 6 pm to 11 pm, depending on the location and circumstances, as these places often rely solely on solar panels for power. Additionally, running water tends to be a mix of fresh and salt water. 

Don’t expect luxury during your stay in a ranchería. The food is simple, but you can sometimes request a freshly-caught lobster for lunch or dinner if arranged in advance. Trust me. It’s worth it!

The 3 main rancherías in Punta Gallinas

There aren’t many options for accommodations in Punta Gallinas. Here are the top three:

Hospedaje Alexandra

If you’re coming from Cabo de la Vela, Hospedaje Alexandra is likely where your journey will end. The food is tasty, and the view of the lagoon from the restaurant is stunning. The staff is also well-organized and efficient. My only gripe is that the rooms could use some maintenance, as they are not in the best condition. I stayed here for my first two trips to Punta Gallinas.

Here on the map

Hotel Victoria

During my last four-day excursion to Punta Gallinas, I stayed at Hotel Victoria, and I can’t recommend it enough. It has everything you could want – incredible views, delicious food, friendly staff, and comfortable rooms.

Here on the map

Luz Mila

For kitesurfing enthusiasts, Luz Mila is the place to be. It’s one of the best kite spots in Colombia and South America as a whole. 

Here on the map

4# Punta Gallinas kitesurfing trip

(Credito a) Kitesurfing Punta Gallinas Colombia
Credit: Etto

Kitesurfing is an exhilarating sport and a fantastic way to connect with others. The global kitesurfing community is known for its welcoming and friendly vibes. 

Though Colombia may be a newcomer to the kitesurfing scene, its community is snowballing. While there are many great spots for kitesurfing in La Guajira, Punta Gallinas takes the cake. With perfect wind conditions (25-35 knots) and stunning natural beauty, it’s hard to beat.

In the Punta Gallinas area, you have three options for kitesurfing: the lagoon (near Luz Mila), La Boquita (directly downwind from Luz Mila), and the Taroa Dunes. The latter is recommended for experts only, as the waves can get intense.

Our local partner organizes several five-day trips from Riohacha each year!

3# Cost of visiting Punta Gallinas

I’ll provide two cost scenarios for visiting Punta Gallinas – one for a couple traveling independently and another for a couple joining a group tour. Both scenarios assume the travelers are starting in Riohacha.

Prices are an approximation as they change every year.

Without an agency

  • Transportation from Riohacha to Cabo de la Vela: ~120,000 COP
  • Moto taxis to/from the lighthouse, Pilón de Azúcar, and Mirador Tortuga: 5,000 COP each per person (total: 30,000 COP)
  • Meals for two: 150,000 COP
  • One room with a bed for two: 150,000 COP
  • Transportation to Punta Gallinas the next day: 300,000 COP (150,000 COP per person)
  • One room with a bed for two: 150,000 COP
  • Meals for two: 150,000 COP

Total: 1,050,000 COP

Please note that this estimate assumes you’re bringing your own drinking water and not ordering any additional beverages. You’ll also need to find transportation back from Punta Gallinas to Riohacha. You can save 180,000 COP by opting for chinchorros instead of private rooms.

With an agency

A similar tour organized by an agency like our local partner would cost around 1,600,000 COP for two people. This price assumes two people joining a group of six (six people in the vehicles instead of nine or more). Choosing chinchorros instead of private rooms would lower the cost to around 1,300,000 COP per person.

Keep in mind that this price also includes transportation back to Riohacha from Punta Gallinas. In the end, the price difference between the two options is minimal.

2# The Perfect Packing List for Punta Gallinas

Mochilas Wayuu Punta Gallinas La Guajira

Travel light and smart is the secret for this trip. Ditch the oversized luggage and opt for a backpack to easily carry your essentials. Trust us; bulky bags are a hassle in this part of Colombia. Here’s a well-curated list of must-haves for your Punta Gallinas journey:

  • Water (One 6-liter jug per person, plus extra to share with locals)
  • Snacks 
  • Your own towel
  • A headlamp (electricity will be scarce at night)
  • A sun hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Comfortable clothes (opt for lightweight shirts with long sleeves to protect from sun and sand)
  • Swimwear
  • Sneakers and sandals/beach shoes
  • Your own toiletries (availability is limited in Punta Gallinas)
  • Toilet paper and hand sanitizer
  • Essential medications
  • Cash, preferably in small bills. After Riohacha, the only ATM is in Uribia, which is often out of service.

For added convenience, consider bringing the following:

  • A camera (capture Instagram-worthy moments in high quality)
  • A power bank (charge your devices when electricity is unavailable)
  • Insect repellent (the wind helps, but bugs can still be a nuisance)
  • Books or small board games

1# When to Visit Punta Gallinas

Timing is everything, especially when traveling to Punta Gallinas. It’s wise to avoid the high seasonwhich includes mid-December to mid-January, Holy Week, long weekends, and school holidays in October.

Additionally, steer clear of October and November, as these months mark the rainy season. The paths in and out of Punta Gallinas can become muddy and difficult to navigate, potentially halting your travel plans. You might even find yourself taking an unexpected boat ride during this time.

So, what will you choose:

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Tomplanmytrip’s sections


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


  1. Patri says:

    This is the most useful post i ve ever read about how to get to Punta Gallinas. Just what i was looking for. Now I just have to pray for it to go well and be on time in my next destination.

    Thank you so much!!!!

  2. Kfir says:

    Hi Tom! Just came back from Cabo and wanted to thank you for this extremely detailed post and tips. Made my journey way easier and clear. Gracias!!

  3. Vivi says:

    Thanks for this page! It helped me a lot to organise my whole dessert trip.
    I just want to let everyone know that some of the prices changed significantly.
    By Mid September 2022 (low season by the way):
    Transport costs:
    – Riohacha – Uribia (colectivo): $ 20.000
    – Uribia – Cabo (4×4): $ 40.000
    – Cabo – Punta Gallinas: $ 180.000 (car) / $ 200.000 (lancha)

  4. Elsa says:

    Hi, Tom! Thanks for your excellent posts which help me a lot in Colombia. I just came back from Punta Gallinas and here are some updates on price. Appreciate you providing such a good platform so travelers can also share tips here!

    Sep./Oct. 2022 price (in COP)
    1. Bus Palomino – Riohacha 20 mil (same for colectivo)
    2. Bus Palomino – 4 Vías 30 mil
    3. Colectivo 4 Vías – Uribia 10 mil (after negotiation)
    4. Colectivo Uribia – Cabo 40 mil
    5. Colectivo Uribia to Riohacha 20 mil
    6. Breakfast in Cabo 12-15 mil
    7. Lunch/Dinner in Cabo 20-25 mil
    8. Breakfast in Punta Gallinas 12 mil
    9. Lunch/Dinner in Punta Gallinas 30 mil
    # I Highly recommend Hostal Kijoru in Punta Gallinas. Fun and unique activities provided and they’re for free.(depends on season and conditions I guess) Optional tour available. Friendly people, always give great attention! And food is delicious. Beautiful view from the hostel!

  5. Elsa says:

    And in late Sep/ early Oct, the route changes as below due to bad road condition caused by rain.
    Cabo – Puerto Bolívar by Car
    Puerto Bolívar – Punta Gallinas by Lancha Only
    Tours in Punta Gallinas are still run by car

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