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Very occassionally a trip comes along that reminds you why you fell in love with travel in the first place: the sense of adventure, the overwhelming feel of amazement with the world and the excitement of encountering new cultures you didn't know existed.
I was recently given the incredible opportunity to visit La Guajira by the Colombia Official Bloggers project and, as you might have gathered from my gushing introduction, this is the kind of place that reignites the travel flame in even the most jaded of travellers.
Sand dunes roll down into the wild Caribbean seas, and you stand there overlooking the spectacular views, not another body in sight, as the relentless wind distracts you from the incorrigible heat of the American sun. La Guajira is the most northern point of the continent, but it feels like the end of the earth's surface.
Any trip to La Guajira starts off in the unspectacular town of Riohacha. There isn't a great deal to do here, but the seafood is good and locals are friendly. In addition, not too much of your time is spent here. Indeed, as soon as I arrived I was whisked off to a nearby Wayuu ranch, where myself and two Rolas (Bogotanas) got to know the culture of these indigenous people, as well as enjoy some traditional foods. Perhaps most enjoyable was the dancing section, where the children of the tribe performed a show for us (in which we reluctantly and flat-footedly participated).
The next day I woke early to be taken by my guide to Punta Gallinas. It's a gruelling drive, punctuated by children at checkpoints that ask for a small amount of money (or fruit in our case) in order to pass. It's an insight not just into the arid nature of the area that doesn't allow for agriculture, but also into the lack of development here: the locals still very much run the roost. After 5 hours of bumpy, uncomfortable journeying soundtracked by reggaeton, we arrived at Punta Gallinas.
La Guajira easily ranks as one of the best possible trips in Colombia and for any keen explorer should be on the top of the list. Unless you go with a tour operator, like I did, it takes some organizing… But doesn’t every good adventure?
Thanks again to Proexport and the Official Bloggers for this amazing opportunity!