How To Get To Punta Gallinas, Colombia | With or Without A Tour

The best guide to Punta Gallinas in Colombia for what to do and how to get there—info based on my 3 trips over there and our local friends.

🛑 Imagine exploring Punta Gallinas in a way that suits you, with all the key information you need to make the right decisions.

Our experience in Punta Gallinas with Paola’s agency

I firmly believe that anyone wishing to discover the wonders of La Guajira should visit 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. 

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

  • The big differences between visiting Punta Gallinas with or without a tour from Riohacha.
  • Why some travelers didn’t like their adventure to Punta Gallinas.
  • What was my itinerary in Punta Gallinas.
  • How to get to Punta Gallinas without an agency.
  • My perfect packing list for Punta Gallinas—you can’t bring a big bag.
  • 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

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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
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Punta Gallinas: General information

For quick facts about Punta Gallinas.

Where is Punta Gallinas (MAP)?

Punta Gallinas is the northernmost point of South America, located in the La Guajira region of Colombia. It’s a remote and breathtaking area known for its stunning deserts, beautiful beaches, and the vibrant culture of the Wayuu people.

Count 3 hours to get there from Cabo de la Vela.

Best time to go to Punta Gallinas

Timing is everything, especially when traveling to Punta Gallinas. It’s wise to avoid the high season, which includes mid-December to mid-January, Holy Week, and long weekends (national public holidays).

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.

Is Punta Gallinas Worth visiting?

Absolutely, Punta Gallinas is worth a visit for its unique charm. You’ll find stunning natural beauty, from vibrant sunsets over deserts to starry night skies, offering a serene escape. The journey itself is an adventure, with exciting jeep rides through sandy tracks, accessible to most travelers.

However, be prepared for a challenging trip, as it’s remotely located, and the roads can be rough. Also, La Guajira’s poverty is evident, which may disturb some of you. While direct interaction with locals may be limited, choosing tours focused on local engagement can enrich your experience.

With or without a tour to Punta Gallinas

Based on my experiences visiting Punta Gallinas both independently and with a tour, I would definitely recommend booking a tour with an agency—read my analysis about the best Guajira tours.

The main advantages of a tour are fewer surprises and better organization. You’ll get reliable cars and drivers, which is crucial in such a remote area. Going solo is possible, but it’s more stressful, and the savings aren’t huge—you should save about 60 USD per person, for a 3-day trip. Plus, If you don’t speak Spanish well, navigating on your own can be really tough.

Tours also add value by including cultural activities that you might miss otherwise. You can learn about the local Wayuú tribe through activities like weaving workshops, which is a unique experience.

Even travelers arriving in Punta Gallinas without an agency will have to follow a schedule to visit the various highlights. The only advantage I can see in coming without an agency is the possibility of staying an extra night in Punta Gallinas.

My favorite Punta Gallinas Tour

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.

  • Tour Cabo de la Vela + Punta Gallinas (3 days): This is the classic tour where I could see all the attractions in both places. If you’re short on time, this is the ideal option. And with daily departures, it’s easy to join a group.
  • Tour Cabo de la Vela + Macuira + Punta Gallinas (4 days): Macuira was a highlight for me, a breathtaking green oasis in the midst of the desert, filled with unique wildlife and rivers. Make sure you plan ahead as there are few departures in a month.

Why I recommend Paola

Paola Travel agency La Guajira

Paola’s agency has been a trailblazer in Guajira travel for over 10 years. It’s renowned for its ability to plan anything at any time, even specialized tours to the remote La Macuira region. The agency’s strong community connections and dedication to sustainable tourism have led to job creation and the promotion of local cultures.

Paola partners with only the best drivers who own and maintain their vehicles meticulously, ensuring a safe and comfortable journey for travelers.

You can easily contact Paola directly by using our online form. This won’t cost you extra – we simply connect you with her, and then she’ll reach out to you via WhatsApp. We do this to help travelers get in touch with reliable local agencies and ensure you get the best prices. It’s our way of supporting our favorite local agencies and ensuring you have direct access to top-notch services.

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)

How many days in Punta Gallinas

Rancheria Punta Gallinas La Guajira (1)

99% of travelers stay 1 night in Punta Gallinas—and it’s enough if you go there with a good agency. If you come on your own, you can arrange for the driver to pick you up the day after (and thus stay 2 nights). Given the reliability of these independent drivers, consider doing it if you speak good Spanish only.

Things To Do In Punta Gallinas: My Itinerary

All travelers going to Punta Gallinas will visit the same main sights. The big difference is in how the adventure is organized and the little extra activities.

To give you an idea of what to expect, let me tell you about the third and fourth days of my trip with Paola’s agency.

Taroa Dunes

The Taroa Dunes are a spectacular natural attraction in Punta Gallinas. These enormous sand dunes cascade directly into the Caribbean Sea, creating a stunning and almost mirage-like landscape.

When I visited the Taroa Dunes, we arrived at the dunes around 9:50 am—after a 4-hour drive from Macuira.

With the wind whipping around us, it felt like we were in our own world, especially as our footprints disappeared almost as quickly as we made them. Sandboarding right into the sea was a thrill and a lot of fun, too.

Later, in a cozy local restaurant, I enjoyed a tasty meal of fish, rice, and fried plantain. Relaxing with a cold beer, I even made a new friend – a cheeky goat who couldn’t resist the French fries.

Mirador de Casares (Bahia hondita)

Mirador de Casares Punta Gallinas La Guajira

The Mirador de Casares, located in Bahía Hondita, offers an incredibly picturesque view with a palette of colors ranging from deep blues to pale pinks. When I visited, we stayed there for about twenty minutes, completely mesmerized by the stunning landscape.

While at the Mirador, Aleja couldn’t resist buying another Wayuu bag, a traditional handicraft of the region. These bags are not only a symbol of the local Wayuu tribe’s rich heritage but also a beautiful and practical souvenir.

El Faro: Colombia’s northernmost point

Faro Punta Gallinas La Guajira (3)

There’s not much to see except that it’s fun to think you’re at the northernmost point of Colombia. There’s this cool tradition of stacking stones to make a little pyramid, which I happily joined in.

Meeting with the Wayuu

Mochila Wayuu in Punta Gallinas La Guajira

It’s this kind of small experience that makes me love exploring Guajira with Poala. We could stop for an hour to talk to some Wayuu about turtle protection (you can see turtles depending on the season) and do a short sewing workshop to learn how to make a good Wayuu bag.

Beautiful sunset

Sunset Punta Gallinas La Guajira (1)

Nothing like a superb sunset to end the day. We followed a ten-minute path behind our rancheria, passing between the cacti, to watch the sun set into the Caribbean Sea. Aleja was afraid of seeing snakes, but otherwise, all went well.

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

Kitesurfing in Punta Gallinas

(Credito a) Kitesurfing Punta Gallinas Colombia
Credit: Etto

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!

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Kitesurfing in La Guajira with Etto & Paula
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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.
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Where to stay in Punta Gallinas, Colombia

Rancheria Punta gallinas La Guajira chinchorro

Staying in a “ranchería” in Punta Gallinas and other parts of La Guajira is a unique way to dive into the local culture. These hostel-like accommodations offer a real taste of local life and customs, far from your typical hotel experience.

Sleeping options in a ranchería include a regular hammock, a “chinchorro” (a larger, comfier hammock loved by the Wayuú people), or a private room with a standard bed. Remember, these places often use solar panels, so electricity is usually available only from 6 pm to 11 pm. Also, the water might be a mix of fresh and salty.

Staying here isn’t about luxury; it’s about authenticity.

My opinion: if you get the chance, order a freshly caught lobster. It’s a real treat!

In Punta Gallinas, you’ll find a few rancherías to choose from:

  1. Hospedaje Alexandra: You’ll stop there if you’re coming from Cabo de la Vela. Tasty food, great lagoon views, and efficient staff. The rooms could use a bit of an update, but they’re cozy enough.
  2. Hotel Victoria: I stayed here during my last visit and loved it. Expect amazing views, great food, and a friendly team; the rooms are really comfy.
  3. Luz Mila: A hotspot for kitesurfing.

How to Get to Punta Gallinas, Colombia

Sunrise jeep la guajira Aleja

Traveling to Punta Gallinas is always an adventure, no matter where you start from.

From Cabo de la Vela To Punta gALLINAS

Here, it’s common for locals to offer tours to Punta Gallinas. You can set up a trip with them, usually leaving around 5 am, and expect a 3-4 hour journey. You’ll have to travel to Cabo de la Vela if you want to get to Punta Gallinas without an agency.

From Riohacha TO Punta Gallinas

Going on your own? You’ll have to reach Cabo de la Vela first.

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.

My opinion: Your life will be a lot easier if you book a tour with Paola.

From Santa Marta to PUNTA GALLINAS

While some local agencies offer direct tours to Punta Gallinas, the travel time might be too much for a short 3-day trip. My advice? Head to Riohacha and start your journey there.

There are many buses leaving from Santa Marta to Riohacha, and it takes 3 hours.

From Cartagena to Punta Gallinas

The best strategy is to reach Riohacha first – no direct flights, though. Catch an early bus (around 5 am) to make the most of your time and get to Cabo de la Vela by night, positioning you perfectly for an early start to Punta Gallinas the next day. Expreso Brasilia is a reliable bus service for this route.

It should take 10-12 hours with public transportation. Or you can book private transportation with Paola ;).

Is Punta Gallinas Safe?

El Faro Punta Gallinas La Guajira

Yes, it’s safe to visit Punta Gallinas. However, I won’t recommend that you go on your own, with a rental car. You won’t know the way, and you don’t know how to deal with the Wayuu.

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
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)

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

9 comments

  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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