[:en]Unlike popular belief, Cabo de la Vela it’s not the most northern point in South America. The place itself it’s called Punta Gallinas and is nothing more than a rundown lighthouse at the end of the peninsula, but don’t let the simplicity of the marker spoil your visit as there are plenty of amazing sites to be seen close by.

Getting here is not as complicated as most people think, it just takes a littler longer. While we were in Riohacha, we were lucky enough to meet someone who works closely with indigenous people and she was able to provide us with a phone number that we could use to arrange transport. As of May 2015, this was the easiest and fastest way to get to Punta Gallinas, prices are all in Colombian Pesos. The route is Riohacha to Uribia ($15K ), Uribia to La Boquita ($80K – one way), La Boquita to Hospedaje Luz Milla ($10K).

The first leg of the trip is quite easy and there are plenty of ways for you to get to Uribia using either a bus or a private car. We opted for hiring a car that drove us directly from our hotel to a Mercado, of sorts, in Uribia. Our driver had already arranged a 4 x 4, which is the only way that you’re going to get through the desert, to take us from Uribia to La Boquita. We arrived close to 11 AM and were told that we will depart shortly after, this was not the case, we waited in the car for over one hour as the driver hustled around for other passengers (all of them indigenous people) and cargo that dropped off along the way. I enjoyed a little Polar (Venezuelan beer) from one of the many little stores around the mercado while we waited. Around 1:30 PM, the truck was filled with people and its roof loaded with cargo and we set on our drive across the desert that would take close to three hours. The ride was not very comfortable as we were really cramped and the roads are not well kept and things to not get better as you get further into the desert. Our Toyota truck ate up the kilometers and both our cargo and our passenger count dropped considerably. About 2 hours into the ride, it was us, the driver’s helper and the driver zipping around the desert at an average of 60 to 70 km an hour.

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The peninsula is outfitted with the grid of roads that the indigenous people/locals used to connect their smaller towns called rancherias, knowing how to get to one point or another would take knowing the area extensively, even our driver got a little lost since the terrain changes constantly due to winds and sand being moved around. It definitely takes more than just a GPS to get there. As a landscape started to get even more dramatic, it was common to see motorcycles, donkeys and many, many goats on the roads. Three hours later we arrived at La Boquita (Google Maps) , a small bay where we got a small boat to get even further up north.

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From here, the motor boat takes us up north passing through Bahia Honda, where we are dropped off at an artisan made dock built from mud and wood. A little walk uphill and we are greeted by a group of orange buildings that would be our home for the next two days, Hospedaje Luz Milla. We were only about a 5-minute walk to the end of the continent and the only thing that we thought about doing was sitting down and taking in the beautiful scenery around us. As the day was getting to an end, we put our bags down and slowly made our way towards the water where we saw one of the most beautiful sunsets we’ve ever seen.  The sky turned all shades of purple and orange and the reflection on the warm Caribbean Sea made all the traveling worth it. We waited until there was almost no light left to walk back and our headlamps showed the path as we got closer to the camp.Our first night, we decided to sleep in one of the chinchorros,  massive hammocks that were hung across beams under a roof without any wall surrounding you, surprisingly, it was the first time I was sleeping on hammock and it was one of the most comfortable nights of ever had. We were joined by one of the few dogs that lived in the campground, very friendly French poodle mix that had escorted us as we walked around the beach taking in the sunset.

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Morning came fast and as the first few rays of sun started to peek behind the cacti, I woke up to try to take some photographs of the famous sunrise. The cold wind coming from the north was helping me wake up as I walk through the campground towards the east bank to try to catch the sunrise, a couple dozens of goats kept me company as they started the day heading towards the water. A handful of photos and I was ready to go back to bed in my awesome chinchorro. 

They warm sunlight and a cool breeze made waking up a lot harder than we thought. Sometime around nine, we realized that it was about time to go have breakfast, which was prepared by one of the local women with the loyal help of a young girl. The restaurant didn’t have many options and because it is quite a remote area, their prices were slightly higher than normal.  A couple of eggs, a coffee and an arepa later and we were ready to take on the day. A tour of the area can be arranged directly with the

A tour of the area can be arranged directly with the hostel and for $30K/each a trusty 1980s Toyota Land Cruiser drove us to the Taroa Sand dunes, about 25 minutes away and one of the most dramatic landscapes that I have ever seen. A small walk from where the car stops towards the water and the scenery had changed completely, we were in something out of a Prince of Persia movie where the gold sand runs directly into the ocean, with the wind creating ripples on the sand and the sound of the breaking waves messed with the predisposed idea of where we were. It didn’t take very long for us to decide to jump in the water and taste salt water for the last time in the Caribbean Sea. We enjoyed one of the most secluded and one of the most beautiful beaches in South America all to ourselves for close to an hour when we headed back towards the card to continue our tour. Our next stop was the marker at the north end of the continent, a light tower and a building that,

Our next stop was the marker at the north end of the continent, a light tower and a building that, very unfortunately, has not been kept up at all. This place has a lot of graffiti and it is testament that this is definitely not one of the most touristic places in Colombia. As we get closer to it we realize that it was currently the home base of a family of donkeys that were using the structure for shade. It did seem like a few people had spent a little bit of time building some stone towers closer to the water and that it the way of letting the world know that they have been there. From this point we walked back to camp, a 20-minute walk in the desert that we could have planned a little better as it was the middle of the day and it was really hot.

At this time, we had already moved our bags to a private room with a double bed, a single bed, and a private bathroom. Our very eventful morning and the heat got us exhausted and we decided to take a little nap to recoup. After dinner, we play dominoes with a couple of the local kids and went to bed quite early.

On our last day, the plan was to walk to the next settlement south, Bahia Hondita, from where we were. This was a 45-minute walk through the desert, but the day before we made the mistake of walking without a lot of sun protection and both Danielle and I were burned crisp. Walking with burnt skin was definitely not a good idea, so we opted for taking a ride on our new favorite truck, the Land Cruiser, and hanging at the other hostel for the remaining of the morning. This proved to be a bad idea, as the other hostel had very little to do and walking to a nearby beach was pretty much the only thing we could do.

We had already arranged a boat to take us back to the pickup point and the 4×4 was supposed to be there by 2:30 but close to 3, there was no sign of it.  We purchased a little tour of the Bahia Honda from the same boat that had stuck around making sure that we did, in fact, get picked up and an impromptu dip in the ocean and we were back to the pickup point at about 3:30. Our truck did not show up until 4:15.we drove through the desert as the sun was coming down.

We drove through the desert as the sun was coming down, stopping at what used to be a lake with thousands of liters of water and sizable fish that had dried and there was only a little puddle left home to a few dozen pink and red flamingoes. To see first hand the actual situation of potable water in the region was a bittersweet end to the trip.

Our bed was, again, at Casa Patio Bonita in Riohacha where an a/c’ed room and running water awaited.

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