Animal & Plant Sanctuary Los Flamencos: founded in 1977, this natural park is situated in Camarones – 15 minutes south of Riohacha – in a transition area between dry and very dry tropical forest. Various rivers and seawater converge in the protected area. This combination of fresh and salt water provides a habitat for a variety of aquatic animals, migratory birds and vegetation such as mangroves. The sanctuary also hosts several protected settlements of (about 1500) Wayuu Indians. You will take a canoe trip through the park to spot groups of charming pink flamingos. Did you know they owe their pink color to the brine shrimps they eat?
Uribía: on your way to Cabo de la Vela, you will visit the capital town of the Wayuu Indians, where you can check out the local (goat’s) market.
Cabo de la Vela: this beach town is so laidback and tranquil that even the Caribbean sea always stays calm. No waves but plenty of northern winds make it the ideal destination for a few kitesurf lessons or watch incredibly high jumps from the more advanced surfers. Windsurfing is also available. From Cabo de la Vela you will visit the beautiful beach Ojo de Agua, where according to myth the Wayuu Indians communicate with their ancestors. Thereafter you will climb the Pilón de Azúcar, a pyramid-shaped hill which offers splendid views over the Caribbean sea and nearby beaches. The sunset can be enjoyed from the Mirador del Faro, a lighthouse on another hillside.
Salt mines of Manaure: large salt plains where about one million tons of sea salt a year are produced. Industrial exploitation started in 1920. The salt is usually collected before the break of dawn to avoid the heat of the sun. It is Manaure’s main economic activity. The government recognized the claim of the Wayuu Indians to their ancestral land meaning they now receive 25% of the salt earnings.
Below we listed the places you can visit in the remote yet beautiful ‘La Alta Guajira’
Puerto Estrella and Laguna de los Patos: Puerto Estrella is a Wayuu fishing village with breathtaking sunsets as well as sunrises. Nearby you will find Laguna de los Patos, a fresh water lagoon in the middle of the desert.
Punta Gallinas, Bahía Honda and the dunes of Taroa: if you make it here, you finally reached the northernmost point of South America: Punta Gallinas. Over one hundred Wayuu Indians inhabit the area. It boasts a lighthouse (18 meters in altitude), dunes and rocky cliffs emerging from the sea and surrounding Bahía Honda. The smaller Bahía Hondita is a bay where rescued wild animals such as turtles and crocodiles can be released after rehabilitation. With its 60 meters of height, the immense Taroa dune rises like a wall out of the Caribbean sea. Climbing the dune will make you feel small and taking a refreshing dip in the ocean will provide you with new energy for the steep climb back up.
National Park La Macuira & Nazareth: La Macuira, declared a national park since 1977, is the only mountain range in La Guajira. It is located in the middle of the desert, covers 25,000 hectares, reaches heights of 850 meters and has a different climate than the rest of the peninsula. The town of Nazareth is situated within the national park and populated by Wayuu Indians. They are proud of their indigenous boarding school and health center. The park also boasts the lowest cloud forest in the world and a dry, desert-like sand plain about the size of a soccer field.
Puerto López: two hours from Nazareth you will find the small town of Puerto López, boasting a five meters high meteorite having cactus plants growing out of it.