We spent some days in La Guajira enjoying some friend’s company in the middle of a typical Wayuu town. It was a pleasure to see the days pass with them while learning a little bit more about the Wayuu culture, and of course, how to do arepas.
We said bye to our host Juan and left to our next destination, Cabo de la Vela.
How to reach Cabo de la Vela from Santa Marta
It’s quite probable you will be doing your way either from Santa Marta or from the Tayrona Park (don’t forget to check out our Tayrona guide). In that case, you will have to visit the bus terminal in Santa Marta and pick up a bus leaving to Maicao (or a bus passing through “Cuatro Vías”, the main crossroad in La Guajira.
The bus should take you 4 to 5 hours, depending on the type of buseta you take (more or less stops) and the price should be around 25.000 to 30.000 per person. If you are not sure where to stop just talk to the driver, they are kind to let you know your time to leave the bus.
If by any chance you are trying to reach Cabo de la vela from the Tayrona park you can pick up this buses on the road, make sure you go to the side road and just hail any bus passing saying “Cuatro vías?” and hop on.
Once you reach Cuatro vías is possible to take the bus that goes from Rioacha to Uribia, same still as before, just go to the right way and wait for the bus, any bus going in that direction will probably take you to Uribia since is the “last city” from there. If you don’t want to wait, have waited too long or just fancy something different, then take a small pickup truck to Uribia for about 8.000 to 10.000 per person.
If like us, you will be making your way to Cabo from another point in La Guajira then you will need to go back tour way to Uribia in any case. We took a pick up from Manaure to Urubia for 10.000 per person. Just check the map, roads are not all around.
Ok, so, you reached Uribia, now is time to do the last part and the most beautiful of your journey. Once in the city just ask for the pickups going to El Cabo, everyone knows where they are. You will see one or various pickups loaded to the top with all kinds of supplies or even animals, the price to reach el Cabo de La Vela will be between 13.000 to 20.000 pesos per person, depending on the season. Keep in mind this is THE ONLY way from Uribia to el Cabo.
We would say this is the most beautiful part of the way, it won’t be calm for sure but it will be amazing.
So, if you are coming from Santa Marta the total route should take you about 8 hours, so leave early the city and you will make it before dawn.
Some advice to travel to El Cabo de la Vela
I would like to clarify somethings before you reach El Cabo that many people do not consider. The first thing you need to know is there is no electricity in El Cabo de la Vela, some hostels have a small gasoline generator that runs for some hours, but most of it will be without.
Food prices are higher than anywhere else, but keep in mind bringing supplies to the area is hard and costly, so don’t bargain your life down and pay what you think is a fair price. Is a great place to enjoy some fresh seafood 🙂
BRING WATER, as much as you can, water is not a common resource in La Guajira, so is precious, if you are not going to use it then just leave it there, people will appreciate it.
Once in El Cabo de la Vela just walk around to find a place to sleep. Nearly every hut is a restaurant and a hotel (or both). We decided to stay in a Hamaca just right next to the sea. We paid 8000 pesos each for the little hamaca hut but prices can be three times higher in high season. We were seriously alone.
The most expensive thing was food, but we stayed with the basics and we brought some supplies from the city (a tuna can, some bread) to not be hungry after lunch or dinner.
A little bit of our stay in El Cabo de la Vela
Working in the hostel we met Carlos, a young talkative man helping in the kitchen. Carlos was 19 by then and told us some stories about the town and his fucked ups in the kitchen back when he was still learning. He let us know the place health centre -4 blocks away- and also reply to our questions we are sure you will also have.
Why a town with electricity poles has no electricity?
He started laughing like we were missing something obvious
“mira vé, ahí esta el cable enrroscaó” (look there, the cable is curled up)
Indeed, there it was the cable, El Cabo has all the infrastructure to have electricity supply but they never connected the houses… Can you believe that? there were like that at least for the past 4 years. On a sad note, there is an eolic plant not too far away from there that brings electricity all way down to Medellín, but not to el Cabo… People in la Guajira has been sadly forgotten by our government.
Cabo is a calm and beautiful paradise, at least in low season, we enjoyed every minute, every second and every wave.
This post is also available in: Spanish