Punta Gallinas, Colombia
Punta Gallinas, Colombia is the most northern point of South America and can only be accessed by tours organized from Santa Marta or from Cabo De Vela.
It is highly recommended to organize the tour by yourself from Cabo De Vela as you will get more time in the area to enjoy the desert landscape, the sea and surroundings. Tours organized from Santa Marta are more expensive and rush through the good parts (in my opinion).
You can read more about getting to Cabo De Vela in this post.
This article will show what to expect on a tour of Punta Gallinas organized from Cabo De Vela and has been broken into the following sections:
The Punta Gallinas Tour from Cabo De Vela
Depart Cabo De Vela at 5am.
Drive through the La Guajira Desert for 3-4 hours. The road takes you through open desert and shrubland, past the dwellings of the locals where in some cases they have their children block the road with a rope as a means of stopping the car for the opportunity to ask for supplies - food and water.
The driver generally speeds without stopping and leaves it up to the children to release the rope moments before the four wheel-drive passes.
Arrive at a small dock and travel by boat for 5 minutes to hospedaje. Here you can have breakfast for 5000-8000 COP. It is expected that you stay at this hospedaje as part of the tour. There is a better option which needs to be organized with the new driver. They are generally against this but if at least half your tour decides to do this they will take you there after the tour. If this is the case load your belongings into the jeep.
The new driver arrives and takes you to the lighthouse of Punta Gallinas (the most northern point of Colombia/South America). You have about 20-30 minutes to take photos.
Next is a mirador over a desert valley, where you stay for for 5-10 minutes.
The driver then takes you to a large sand dune beach where you have about 1-2 hours to explore and swim.
After this the driver will drop you off at the new hospedaje or take you back to the original hospedaje on arrival.
If you stay at the second hospedaje expect to pay 15,000 COP for a hammock or 20,000 COP for a chinchorro.
From the second hospedaje you can walk a short 30 minutes to a beach for a beautiful sunset (depends on weather). I was fortunate to have some incredible colours and fast moving clouds.
You can organize lunch and dinner with with the hospedaje 15,000 - 20,000 COP per meal
On the second day the driver will return and pick you up around 7am and take you back to the dock where you take the 5 minute boat ride back across the river inlet. The original driver will be waiting there to take you back to Cabo De Vela or Uribia, whatever you organized beforehand.
Note: you can spend an extra night at the hospedaje in Punta Gallinas, but without transportation there isn't too much to do. The tours run daily and if you do this you can just jump in on the second tour back. Be sure to organize this when you first book your Punta Gallinas tour to ensure there is space.
How much does a tour to Punta Gallinas Cost?
Expect to pay 100,000 to 150,000 COP (transportation only) - prices as of 2016. This price is based on a four wheel-drive filled with 6-7 people, driver included. We had ten in our four-wheel drive to Punta Gallinas. The driver continued to fit in more people, even after we negotiated our price which made the journey very uncomfortable. Considering you are in the four wheel drive for approximately 3-4 hours, it is a good idea to ensure that the jeep will not be over-full. Also see if you can check if the jeep has air-conditioning.
What to take on a Punta Gallinas Tour
- money for food and accommodation.
- a book and a headlamp or torch as there isn't too much to do when the lights go out.
- a towel for showers and the beach (showers are cold salt water).
- sleeping bag liner - it is too hot for a sleeping bag and a liner is just enough for the cool desert breeze at night
- sunblock & hat
- sandboard - there are some nice sand dunes
- camera - exceptional sunsets
Punta Gallinas is the most northern point of Colombia and South America as shown below: