East to Venezuela

Along the coast from Santa Marta the lush vegetation of the foothills of the Sierra Nevada gives way to flat expanses of scorched earth where only a scrub-like tree known as trupillo and the cactus survive. The change in landscape marks the beginning of La Guajira peninsula, home to the Wayúu. It is also the northernmost tip of South America and it certainly feels like the end of the world; an arid and unforgiving terrain which nonetheless offers a home to vast flocks of flamingos and other birds and a chance to mingle with one of Colombia's best-preserved indigenous cultures. Riohacha may be a departmental capital but it feels more like a sleepy fishing village, though it livens up somewhat at the weekend. Musichi and Manaure with their flocks of flamingos and salt works will be of interest to nature lovers and Cabo de la Vela with its turquoise waters that lap against a desert landscape is a sight to behold. If you have the time and energy then Parque Natural Nacional Macuira, an oasis of tropical green sprouting out of the semi desert, and Punta Gallinas will cap off a trip into this strange and sometimes ethereal land. The difficulties in transport only add to the sense of adventure this peninsula presents.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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