Main municipalities and attractions of La Guajira

  • Maicao
  • Dibulla
  • Hato Nuevo
  • Barrancas Fonseca
  • Distraction San Juan del Cesar
  • Urumita
  • Uribia
  • Manaure

Middle Guajira

Riohacha, Maicao, Albania and Dibulla are located in what is known as the Media Guajira, which marks a change of landscape, vegetation and even population, as its people are a mixture of indigenous and mestizo especially; likewise, socioeconomic relations change and the tourism offer is different from the Alta Guajira.


Village belonging to the municipality of Manaure, located 25 kilometers (20 minutes) from the departmental capital, connected by a road in good condition. The inhabitants of the small town derive their livelihood primarily from fishing, and lately the tourist development that has been introduced in its beautiful white sand beaches, considered the best. In the vicinity of almost 10 kilometers of extension have been built kiosks and a basic infrastructure accompanied by services to enjoy the sun and the activities of the sea. The strong winds, which blow almost all year round in the place, have attracted sportsmen specialized in the modalities of kitesurfing, small sailboats and windsurfing.


145,246 pop.
50 m.a.s.l. 30 oC

A young town with a great civic spirit, its name means Land of Corn and is the commercial showcase of La Guajira, an hour’s drive from Riohacha. The Caribbean trunk road connects this town with important cities on the coast and the Venezuelan border. It also has other roads leading to the south of La Guajira and the El Cerrejón mine. It has an area of 2174 square kilometers. Its heterogeneous population is made up of mestizos, indigenous people, provincials and foreigners from the Middle East.

Tourist Attractions

Omar Ibn Al-Khattab Mosque

A must visit when arriving in Maicao is the Omar Ibn Al-Khattab Mosque, built in 1987, a temple of prayer for Muslims that, along with the Dar El Arkam College, is one of the main cultural centers of the Muslim community. The mosque is the third largest in Latin America and its architectural beauty is to be admired, in addition to the mystical significance it represents for the community. It is the center where Muslims meet five times a day, and a place visited by nationals and foreigners, students and researchers.


  • Pop. 28,292
  • 1 m.a.s.l.
  • 30 oC

The main attraction of this municipality are its beautiful beaches and the combination of salt and fresh waters, because in this site are the mouth of different rivers and streams that reach the sea; therefore, the visitor takes advantage of these currents, such as the Jerez River, whose main attraction is its clean and fresh waters.

It is a town to enjoy the tranquility of the beach, the breeze and the sea. However, its rural area extends to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and is part of the national natural park and the Kogui-Malaya-Arahuaco indigenous reservation.

Las Cascadas Natural Park

It is located in the village of El Mamey, jurisdiction of the municipality of Dibulla, approximately one hour from Riohacha (66 kilometers) and two kilometers after crossing the detour to the municipal seat, on the left side. There you will find a cobblestone road on which you will travel 1,700 meters to the facilities of a farm dedicated to agriculture.

In this place you cross a creek and after a 1500 meter walk along a trail, you will arrive at one of the 15 waterfalls suitable for canyoing. All of them have different characteristics and are connected by a jungle path or by the bed of the creek.

The place, with lush vegetation, is part of the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, from there you can see the mestre, the tallest tree in the Sierra that can reach 65 meters high, and many tree species that make up the natural park, among which there are many varieties of ferns, bells and snails. Representative animal species of the place are the ñeque, the zaíno, the guatinaja, the skunk, and some reptiles and primates. There are abundant birds such as toucans and the endemic black-eared parrot. The place can be considered a natural spa , and can be used for hydrotherapy, mud therapy and thalassotherapy.

There are two interesting trails: an aquatic trail, with natural pools and waterfalls, and a land trail through the jungle.

Lower Guajira

Baja Guajira is framed between the Perijá mountain range and the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, in the high valleys of the Ranchería River, which flows north, and the Cesar River, which flows south. In these valleys the most popular folkloric rhythm of the country is created and spread: the vallenato.

Hato Nuevo

21,330 inhabitant.
200 m.a.s.l. 28 oC 11o 04′ north, 72o 46′ west

To get to the land of Vallenato from Riohacha, take the road to Cuestecitas in a southeasterly direction; there, in the valley of the Ranchería River, turn south following the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. You will first arrive at Hato Nuevo,

It is a small town where time has stopped, as it still preserves the old typical houses of the area as relics. It was founded in 1840 by the miller Blas Amaya.

Tourist attractions

In the month of July the Festival and Departmental Reign of Friendship is celebrated. Tourism is the predominant activity, especially motivated by its natural spas such as the Cascadas and Aguas Blancas, in the upper part of the Gritador stream.


31,436 inhab.
40 m.a.s.l.


10o 57′ north, 72o 47′ west

After crossing the village of Papayal, you will arrive at the town of Barrancas, in whose main square you will find the monument to the Extraction of Coal.

Tourist attractions

The National Coal Festival and Contest and the Virgen del Pilar Patron Saint Festivities are held there in October.


30,891 pop.
12 m.a.s.l. 28 oC

10o 53′ north, 72o 51′ west

It was populated in colonial times by Spanish travelers and conquerors who, attracted by these fertile lands, began to inhabit the region.

Tourist attractions

Within the town, it is worth visiting the Carlos Huertas House of Culture, which is a space for learning and dissemination of the Vallenata culture. It also attracts its main park surrounded by the stage and the town’s church.

In its surroundings are La Cueva in the village of El Conejo, and attractive resorts such as the Canal del Hático, La Guaca, Las Vegas, Arenas Movedizas and Cordonal. La Guaca, Las Vegas, Arenas Movedizas and Cordonal.

There are two Wayúu reserves called Cocicemara and Mayabangloma.


Pop. 14,891.
65 m.a.s.l. 28oC 10o 53′ north, 72o 53′ west

Distracción is a recently created municipality, 1995. Before this date it was a corregimiento of Fonseca.

Tourist attractions

The most popular places for locals and visitors are the spas. El Silencio, on the right bank of the Ranchería River, El Salto and the El Pulgar well. The spas have a complete infrastructure for the comfort of visitors: parking, dressing rooms and restaurants. In the urban area, it is interesting to know its main square and around them some houses that preserve the architecture of the town.

Upper Guajira

Alta Guajira is one of the favorite destinations for visitors who enjoy adventure tourism, ecotourism and ethno-tourism, as it is possible to meet and interact with the indigenous population, observe their customs and learn about their history and culture.

culture through oral tradition, imaginaries, myths, dances, gastronomy and handicrafts that are expressions of the worldview that this indigenous people have of the world.

In ecological tourism, it is possible to see diverse coastal landscapes such as beaches, bays, capes, points, cliffs, combined in an ecosystem of desert climate, predominantly flat, in which subxerophytic and xerophytic vegetation stands out, sand forms on the seashore, modeled by the wind as sand dunes or dunes that resemble sculptures.

In contrast, there is a landscape of hills that forms a series of mountain ranges such as Jarara, Cosinas and Macuira, with heights that reach 800 meters and shelter from dry forests to cloud forests as in La Macuira, which is an oasis in the middle of the desert, with water sources and varied vegetation.

This territory includes the Resguardo Indígena de la Media y Alta Guajira, inhabited by the Wayúu ethnic group, which is part of the Arawak family. This community is bi-national because its ancestral territory extends into Venezuelan territory. The population is dispersed and is only concentrated in the municipal capital of Uribia and in some villages such as Cabo de la Vela and Nazareth.


150,702 inhab.
10 m.a.s.l.

34 oC

11o 55′ north, 72o 00′ west

It is the largest municipality in the department (7404 square kilometers). Founded in 1953, it was the capital of the former Special Commissariat of La Guajira until it was created as the National Intendancy.

Ninety percent of its territory is desert, except for an oasis in its heart: La Macuira National Natural Park.

Uribia is home to most of the Wayúu, the largest indigenous group in the country, consisting of more than 40,000 people. Their Festival of Culture, Colombian Cultural Heritage, is held there.

Uribia has a good hotel, several restaurants and a unique market.

Special features

It has an extraordinary mineral wealth: talc, limestone and salt deposits are currently being exploited.


Uribia, located 104 kilometers from Riohacha (90 minutes drive) can be reached by two routes. For the first, take the road to Maicao, 5 kilometers (10 minutes) and before reaching the point known as La Gloria, follow a secondary road to the left, passing through El Pája.

ro, Musichi and Manaure, and then join the paved road to Uribia. Take the second road towards Maicao and at the Cuatro Vías site turn left and follow the railroad parallel to the road. This is the most frequented route.

Means of Transportation

Passenger transportation is constant, using public service cars, vans and buses that are taken directly in Riohacha or at the Cuatro Vias road junction.

Tourist attractions

Serranía de La Macuira National Natural Park

The park is located in the Wayúu indigenous reservation. According to their cosmovision, Jepirech, the spirit of the wind, drives Igua, the cloud, which with its rain fertilizes the mountain range, thus producing the forests and water necessary for all the Wayúu people.

See also : Macuira Park : Complete Travel Guide


88,445 inhabitant.
3 m.a.s.l. 28a38oC 11o 34′ north, 72o 34′ west

Located on the shores of the Caribbean Sea, its warm climate is cooled by the Caribbean breeze.

It has the most important and extensive marine salt flats in Colombia: production exceeds 700,000 tons for local consumption and industry. The salt flats extend over 4200 hectares, with seven huge ponds, some of which are managed by the indigenous population.

Manaure is also rich in natural gas near the town of El Pájaro and in Chuchupa and Ballenas, where the country’s largest gas fields are located.

Tourist attractions

Salinas de Manaure, El Pájaro, Santa Rita church, Musichi (concentration of pink flamingos) and Aremasain indigenous boarding school (Manaure).

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