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Riohacha is a city in Colombia. It is the capital of the department of La Guajira. It is located on the caribbean coast and the land behind the town is rather desertic.

Get in[edit]

You get to Riohacha by bus from Santa Marta or by collectivo (shared taxi) from Valledupar. From Valledupar the price is about 20,000 COP for a 4 hours drive. From Santa Marta you pay probably a bit less than that.

Get around[edit]

Downtown Rioacha is very walkable. There's nothing much to see outside of the ten or so square blocks around the ocean. If you need to take some wheels, it's easy to hail a cab. Most fares in town run from 3,000 to 6,000 pesos.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Riohacha presents a much less touristy Colombian beach than what you will find in Barranquilla or Cartagena. The beach runs along the coast of the city and tends to be relatively crowded with locals and a smattering of Colombian tourists during the high season.
  • There are a couple of colonial churches in the downtown area.
  • El Mercado Nuevo is a large street market in the south. It can be busy, so better go earlier. There are lots of clothing stores, especially Wayuu style accessories. Those are also manufactured at the market, it is interesting to see. Apart from that there are mostly bulk fruit and vegetable stores. For example you could buy a goat and two chicken, together with a 30kg bag of onions if that's your thing.

Do[edit][add listing]

Use Riohacha as a starting place for a short trek to the Cabo de la Vela.

Buy[edit][add listing]

A very good place to buy Wayu artesany, mochilas in particular.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Drink[edit][add listing]

There are a string of bars and small clubs along the ocean which serve Aguila on tap and a few imports.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

There is a surprisingly wide variety of accommodation in Riohacha. The most expensive places tend to be located on the ocean, which a series of slightly dated mega-hotels. Rooms here can run up to 200,000 pesos in the high season. Expect discounts of up to 60% in the off season or for rooms that do not face the ocean.

On the cheaper end of the scales, rooms get be had for as little as 15,000 pesos at small bunkhouses and guest hostels further away from the ocean. Try just east of the bus station. Be warned that many of these places cater to internal refugees displaced from Colombia's long drug wars. You will probably be sharing with some (mostly friendly) long term guests. A cheap and convenient option is Hotel Moriah at Carrera 7, 14-37. Single room at 12,000 COP (Mar 2015).

  • Bona Vida Hostel La Tercera, Calle 3#10-10, is a brand new hostel just a couple of blocks from the beach and the main plaza, and about 15 minutes walk from the bus station. Run by a great couple, they will tell you everything you need to know about getting to Cabo de la Vela and Punto Gallinas and can call one of the colectivos to pick you up from the door to take you to Uribia. Kitchen, lightning-fast wifi, common room, lockers, privacy curtains, everything you'd expect in a modern hostel.
  • Bona Vida Hostel La Quinta, Calle 5#8-20, a hostel owned by a Austrian Colombian couple with a beautiful patio and hangout area and loads of information on how to get to Cabo de la Vela, Punta Gallinas and many other destinations in La Guajira.


Get out[edit]

Buses run to destinations up and down the Caribbean coast. Buses run every half-hour to Barranquilla and Cartagena. There are also frequent, but irregular services services to Uribia and Cabo de la Vela. The gathering point for the private cars, trucks and small buses that run this route is a roundabout several blocks south of the ocean. You can also call a private car that gets you in the door of your hostel and takes you to Uribia, for 15,000 COP pp.

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