La Guajira is the largest desert in Colombia on the north Caribbean coast of Colombia. The landscape comprises beautiful beaches, vast arid lands with some bushes, yellow dunes, and a green oasis.

Although you can get to Cabo De La Vela by public transport, you will have to book a tour to get to the most beautiful sites of this bewitching desert. Be aware that you will spend most of your time in the jeep. However, the scenery is worth it.

99% of travelers take the same 3D-2N tour to Punta Gallinas, which is the northernmost point in South America. Jeep tours start from Santa Marta, Dibulla, or Riohacha.

If you are looking for a “deeper experience” and more cultural, go meeting the Wayúu (the indigenous people of La Guajira) and learning about their habits and customs. However, choose your agency carefully as some of them are tourist traps.

Also, try to add Macuira National Park to your itinerary in Colombia if you have the soul of an adventurer. It’s an oasis hidden in the desert!

Articles about La Guajira you must read before coming:


Getting to La Guajira?

From Santa Marta to Riohacha:

  • Many buses leave from the Mercado public (Public Market) or you can take one the few buses leaving from the main terminal | Copetran & many others | 3 h

From Palomino to Riohacha:

  • Wait for a bus to stop on the side of the road | 1h30
  • Or a taxi

From Tayrona to Riohacha:

  • Wait for a bus to stop on the side of the road | 2h
  • Or a taxi

From Dibulla to Riohacha:

  • Taxi | 45 min

From Bogota to Riohacha:

  • A few buses leaving from the main terminal (Salitre). Schedule – double-check with the bus company. | Expreso Brasilia & Copetran | 23 hours
  • 2 – 3 flights per day from the airport | Avianca and Viva Air | 1h20 |

From Cali to Riohacha:

  • Flights from the Cali airport with 1 stopover | Avianca | 4 – 5 hours |

From Medellin to Riohacha:

From Cartagena to Riohacha: 

  • Many direct buses | Unitransco, Copetran & Expreso Brasilia | 8 h |

From Riohacha to Cabo de la Vela:

  • You can book a private tour  | 3 hours
  • Or take a bus till the crossroad “4-vias” (1h) then take a jeep to Cabo de La Vela (2h)

From Cabo de la Vela to Punta Gallinas:

  • There are private tour  leaving from Cabo de la Vela (2D/1N)
  • You can’t do it on your own.
  • Tours are also leaving from Riohacha or Santa Marta

From Cabo de la Vela – PNN Macuira – Punta Gallinas:

  • It’s part of a 4D/3N tour from Riohacha.

Riohacha's airport? (+)

The airport is 15 min away from the center of Riohacha.

Riohacha bus terminal?

The bus terminal is located 5-10min by taxi from the “center” of Riohacha.

Table of Contents

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Plan your tour to La Guajira!

On the Caribbean coast, many local travel agencies organize expeditions to Punta Gallinas. We have a deal with PuraGuajira travel that is one of the best local agencies in Riohacha. Use our online form to get in touch with them.

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Where to stay in Riohacha

If you're a slow traveler, you can decide to stay a few days in Cabo de la Vela. You won't find your hotel on the internet, but it's effortless to get a bed or a hammock once you arrive. Riohacha can be a strategic choice if you fly from Bogota.

  • Bona Vida

    Riohacha - $

    Bona Vida

    Excellent hostel divided into 2 buildings (3 min walk). Swimming pool, great rooftop with a bar.
    Get the best price
  • Laguna Sala

    Riohacha - $$

    Laguna Sala

    Modern hostel with a fantastic rooftop. Swimming pool and bar. Great value for money.
    Get the best price
  • C. Patio bonita

    Riohacha - $$

    C. Patio bonita

    Lovely Bed & Breakfast with a few comfortable rooms. Family vibe. Spacious rooms.
    Get the best price

Things to do in La Guajira

Dibulla is a perfect option if you want to escape the mass tourism of Palomino. Come there to witness the daily life of a quiet fishing town, chill on the beach and plan your expedition to the La Guajira desert.

  • Punta Gallinas

    3 + days | $$$

    Punta Gallinas

    It's a 3D/2N (or 4-day) expedition in a jeep to admire the sceneries of the desert. Cabo de la vela + Punta Gallinas.
    Get 5% off
  • Cabo de la Vela

    Multi-day | $

    Cabo de la Vela

    Cabo de la Vela is the last town in La Guajira. You can Kitesurfing and chill at the beach. Take a jeep to get there. Very chill.
    Learn more
  • PNN Macuira

    4 Days | $$$

    PNN Macuira

    A hidden oasis located in the Alto Guajira. The tour includes a 4-h hike. Tours are more complicated to organize, but it's 100% worth it.
    Get 5% off
  • Camarones

    6 hours | $$


    Observe thousands of flamingos with a local and its tiny boat. Season: Mid November till End of February.
    Learn more
  • Rancheria Wayuu

    2 days | $$

    Rancheria Wayuu

    Stay 2 days with Wayuu family to learn about their cultures and traditions. School and cooking. Fantastic experience.
    Learn more
  • Kitesurf

    1 - 4 days | $$


    The beaches in Cabo de la Vela and Mayapo are perfect spots for Kitesurfing. Take some classes there!
    Learn more
  • Pilon de Azucar

    4 hours | $

    Pilon de Azucar

    The most beautiful beach in Cabo de la Vela. Take a moto-taxi. Better to get there in the morning.
    Learn more
  • Mayapo

    6 - 8 hours | $


    An easy trip from Riohacha. Take a shared car and stop at the Playa Refugio Maliiwala. Shade & Beers.
    Learn more

Our articles about La Guajira

We stayed for more than 2 weeks in La Guajira and wrote about our travel experiences.

More places on the East Coast

Find out all our other favorite places on the Eastern Caribbean Coast

Where to eat & drink?

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