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La Guajira | 13 reasons to visit this Caribbean coastal desert

La Guajira is a unique and beautiful place in Colombia† It's a huge Caribbean coastal desert covered with giant sand dunes, salt pans and beautiful beaches, and home to Colombia's largest indigenous population. La Guajira is definitely one of the best places to visit in Colombia, so here are 13 reasons why you should make time to visit this beautiful region.

Also read: Round trip through colorful Colombia | So much more than Pablo Escobar

1. The salt flats of Manaure

On the way through the Guajira you can visit the largest salt flats in Colombia, you will witness a natural process in which the seawater evaporates, leaving behind this mineral. At the salt flats you will find people with whom you can book short tours. They explain it clearly and you get to know exactly how this landscape came into being.

Manaure Salt Flats, La Guajira
Manaure Salt Flats, La Guajira

2. Flamenco Sanctuary

The Flamencos Sanctuary is located near the town of Camarones on the road from Santa Marta to Riohacha (capital of Guajira). The main draw here is the large number of colorful pink American Flamingos. You can see them with a local guide (no motorbikes, so as not to disturb the birds) and enjoy one of the most beautiful places in nature.

3. Amazing contrast between desert and beach

Guajira is made up of jungles and the crystal clear rivers from Palomino to the arid deserts of Punta Gallinas; from the paradisiacal beaches of Cabo de La Velato to the forgotten cloud forests of Macuira. At first glance, La Guajira may seem like a bleak and even forbidden place, but the diversity and contrasts that abound make for a truly unique travel experience.

La Guajira

4. Spend the night at Wayúu . farms

A place not to be missed. The people, the culture, the stories and typical dishes. Most women wear brightly colored blankets and receive you with a typical soft drink from their region. If you have the chance to spend a night at one of these ranches, make it happen. It is a magical experience in which you sleep to the rhythm of the sound of the sea.

Spending the night in a hammock | La Guajira
Spending the night in a hammock | La Guajira

5. The Indigenous Wayuu Culture

The wayuupeople are one of the most unique indigenous peoples of Colombia. They have a hard life in the extreme heat and drought of the Guajira deserts. A unique and fascinating culture, a culture you can learn all about by staying in a Rancheria (an authentic Wayuu hotel). The best of these is the Rancheria Utta near Cabo de La Vela, where you can taste authentic food and admire local dances and music.

Backpacks, blankets, hammocks (hammocks) are some of the items that you can take home as souvenirs. These items are woven by women who need an average of 2 to 3 months to make the products. Each product is provided with a special touch that makes it unique. The fabric has traditional designs of their culture and each figure represents something typical of their region.

Also read: Must-sees in Medellin | Traditional Colombian Culture


Palomino is not just a beach, it is a place where music is in abundance, with happy, friendly and smiling people. Here the music makes you free and happy. This place always welcomes its visitors with open doors and a very warm climate, perfect for a wonderful holiday.

Colombia La Guajira
Colombia La Guajira

The activity that stands out in Palomino is Tubing. A wild trip down the river that takes about 2 hours and ends at the mouth of the sea. It's just a real encounter with nature! The perfect opportunity to get to know the wonderful world around you.

7. Kitesurfing in Cabo de La Vela

The waters around Cabo de La Vela in La Guajira are known for some of the best kitesurfing spots in the world. The flat bay opposite the town has year-round winds, perfect for the practice of this sport. There are a few kitesurfing schools and hostels, so whatever your level, you can enjoy this activity.

Kitesurfing in La Guajira, Colombia
Kitesurfing in La Guajira, Colombia

8. Macuira National Natural Park

This is one of the more than 40 national parks of Colombia and is also one of the least known and most underrated. An oasis in the otherwise arid deserts of Guajira, Macuira is home to sand dunes and waterfalls in the heart of the desert. It can be tricky to get there, but it's worth it if you want to explore a truly unspoilt and beautiful corner of the country.

Also read: Must see Colombia | Rosario and San Bernardo Corals National Park

Taroa Dunes - Macuira National Natural Park, La Gaujira
Taroa Dunes

9. Unique Landscape in Colombia

There is really nowhere else in Colombia where you can experience the desert like in La Guajira. The other famous Colombian "desert" is Tatacoa, but it looks nothing like the wild expanse of the Guajira deserts. The fact that these vast expanses of sand lie on the Caribbean coast makes for some truly unique places. The huge Taroa Dunes and Macuira National Park are two good examples.

10. Most Northern Point South America

Punta Gallinas is known as the northernmost point of the South American continent. It is a wild and isolated place with huge sand dunes in the Caribbean and flamingos living in turquoise coves. The northernmost point is a lighthouse that can be visited as part of a Punta Gallinas tour. It's impressive to be at this point.

Punta Gallinas, La Gaujira, Colombia
Punta Gallinas, La Guajira, Colombia

11. Impressive birding area

It may seem that in such a dry desert not much game can be found, but the area around Camarones is one of the best bird areas in Colombia. In addition to the aforementioned Flamingos, you will find populations of Guajira endemics such as the beautiful Vermillion Cardinal, the elusive Tocuyo Sparrow and the beautiful Buffy Hummingbird.

12. Beautiful Beaches

The beaches of the Guajira are unlike any other beaches in Colombia. Beach lovers will have a great time exploring the paradise sands of Cabo de La Vela, Punta Gallinas, Camarones and Mayapo. 

Wonderful beaches, La Guajira
Wonderful beaches, La Guajira

13. A real travel adventure

There is no Wi-Fi and no hot water here. Traveling involves long and dusty rides in jeeps and trucks. For those looking for a real travel adventure in Colombia, La Guajira is the destination.

Also read: 20 Must Sees in South America | Food for your Bucket List

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