Cabo de la Vela

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Cabo de la Vela is a fisherman village in La Guajira.

Understand[edit]

Get in[edit]

The first step is getting to Uribia. From Santa Marta, Palomino or anywhere else along Troncal 90 take a Maicao-bound bus and get out at Cuatro Vias. From Riohacha take a shared taxi to Uribia for (15,000 pesos), or a bus to Cuatro Vias and taxi colectivo from there. From Maicao, get a Riohacha bound bus and ask the driver to drop you off at Cuatro Vias (2,000 pesos), then a shared taxi (6,000 pesos), or take a shared taxi direct to Uribia. Step two: from Uribia catch a 4 wheel drive colectivo to Cabo de la Vela (15,000 pesos), the driver will drop you where you need in town or at one of his friends' hostels. Make sure to get to Uribia by the early afternoon to make the connection. Likewise, transportation back to Uribia universally leaves between 3am and 7am from Cabo (but not on Sundays). The main purpose of these vehicles is taking locals to work in Uribia and elsewhere, as well as shopping and taking produce to the market, hence the early times. Tours to Punta Gallinas can also finish in Uribia, so ask around for the drivers, they typically return around 12-2pm. You can negotiate with them to drive you to Cabo, take you to see the sights there (Cerro Pilon de Azucar, Ojos del Agua, El Faro), then the next day take you to Punta Gallinas. This tour (transportation only) can be had for around 150,000 COP if you deal directly to the drivers (April 2016).

From Santa Marta Travel and Riohacha there are tours to la Guajira[1] which include the visit to Cabo de la Vela, the marvellous beach of Pilon de Azucar,the salt complex of Manaure, and sometimes also Punta Gallinas, which is the most northern point of Southamerica. However, these tours are vastly more expensive than doing the trip on your own.

Get around[edit]

See[edit][add listing]

Coast at the Pilon de Azucar

Walk to the Pilon De Azucar and its beautiful gold-sand beach (about 5km/1hour) or to the lighthouse El Faro (4km/1 hour) to catch the sunset.

Do[edit][add listing]

In the village itself there is not much to do, apart from chilling out by the beach or kitesurfing. The strong wind during the day makes the heat tolerable and is a great spot for kitesurfers. Kitesurf lessons here start at about 80-100,000 hourly, less if you sign up for multiple lessons.

You can do some excursions to:

Pilon de azucar (5,000 per Person, one way) which is a beach with some sand dunes. You can also climb a small hill for a nice view.

El Faro (5,000 per Person, one way) is more a rack than a lighthouse, but you got a nice view there.

Ojo del Agua (5,000 per Person, one way) is a beach that got its name from a small freshwater pool next to the beach. Now the pool is only a dirty puddle. The beach is nice but not very special.

A moto-taxi to/from/between all three of the above can be had for 20,000 COP, maybe less after some bargaining (April 2016).

Punta Gallinas (100,000-150,000 COP p/p transport only) is the most northern point in South America. It is nice to see how the desert with its dunes meets the sea.

If you do some more trips, or combine them with one driver (ask for Rainer, Berni or Milord) you may get a better price.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Wayuu artesanias, it is hard to escape the sellers. Unfortunately, some Wayuu use children to hawk trinkets along the beach. Try to discourage this practice and only buy from adults.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Cabo de la Vela is quite expensive for food and drink (by Colombian standards), as everything has to be brought in by 4WD. There are a few stores with fruit and vegetables and other snacks, but expect to pay a significant mark-up.

Fish, chicken or goat with fried plantains and a small salad are the main lunch/dinner options here. Usually 10,000 COP for chicken or goat, 15,000 COP for fish. Vegetarians can dine for 7,000, but may be disappointed with the meat/fish substitute. Whole lobsters can also be had at restaurants for between 20-40,000 COP, depending on the size and the restaurant. Look out for stalls with empanadas (fish/chicken/beef), they are a good cheap option at 1,000 COP.

Best option if you like langosta (lobster) is to buy it directly from the fishermen when they arrive on the beach. Prices start at 15,000 COP per kilo and can be bargained down. Ask them to boil them for you and eat with lemon.

El Camaron is a small restaurant on the beach run by an old lady. Arepas with hot chocolate you get for 3,000 COP in the morning. Fish with rice for 10,000-12,000 pesos. If you wanna eat langostas tell her in advance (around 20,000 for one big one with rice and salad).

There is also a man with a vendors tray in the street who sells fish empanadas for 1,000 pesos.

Drink[edit][add listing]

The end of the beach near the kitesurfing shops is a bit livelier, you can buy alcohol by the bottle from a couple of bars there, though you will pay more for it than usual (but still less than in a club in Medellín). The beers come from Venezuela, it is generally 2,000 COP for a 222ml bottle of ‘’Polar’’. For a "big" glass of fruit juice you pay 5,000 COP.

Water is especially difficult to find for a reasonable price, many stores only have small 600ml bottles, for which they will try to charge up to 3,000 COP. You can find them for 1,500 COP, however, if you look around. Better to bring in as much of your own water as you can carry though, a 5 litre bag should be less than 2,500 COP in Riohacha and maybe slightly more in Uribia.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Numerous and very similar hostels are lined up on the beach where you can sleep in hammocks, dorms or private rooms. The prices are similar as well, 5000 COP for a hammock, 15,000 COP for a chinchorro (bigger hammock).

  • El Caracol, 314-569-7037. Four cabins about three meters from the ocean and a restaurant. There are also hammocks on the second floor for 8,000. There have been multiple reports of recent petty theft of water and electronics so beware! Fresh water and a bucket is provided for showers. 10,000 COP - 30,000 COP.  edit

Rancheria Utta is run by a Wayuu family - a truly unique and wonderful place to stay. [2]

Contact[edit]

Stay safe[edit]

Much of this region is considered out of bounds for tourism, as of 2011, due to the heavy presence of paramilitary groups and guerrillas. La Guajira is considered to be one of Colombia's most violent regions, with very high murder rates.[3]. Cabo, however, is generally safe at present. Just use common sense.

Get out[edit]

On sundays, collectivos stop early but you can get a ride out of the peninsula when the tours start heading back to Riohacha.



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