» La Guajira
The Guajira never ceases to surprise due to its extreme contrasts: the brilliant white of the vast salt flats of Manaure, the pink Ibis flying between lagoons in the ‘Flora y Fauna Los Flamencos’ nature sanctuary, the crystalline sea that laps onto the desert sand beaches.
The Wayuu are the indigenous people of the Guajira and their legends make this territory all the more intriguing. They are nomads who live autonomously across the porous border that divides Venezuela and Colombia. The Wayuu live in small communities known as “Rancherias” made up of family members that dedicate their time to fishing and weaving.
The indigenous presence, dating back to before the Spanish conquest mean that the state is very different from the rest of Colombia, with its own distinct heritage of tribal Indian culture and traditions, cuisine and music. The look of the local people, their traditional dress (a white smock some embroided with cultural embalms) and dialect also marks them as something unique in Colombia’s rich social mix. Dry and arid deserts dominate the peninsula hemmed in by the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Gulf of Venezuela to the south. Much of the region is sparsely populated but the indigenous culture permeates through the entire area making you feel like you are visiting a very different and distinct part of Colombia.
A visit to the Guajira peninsula although one of Colombias more rugged and off the beaten track locations will reward visitors with a side of Colombia’s social heritage that can’t be seen in any other part of the country. A trip here is an immersion into local culture rich in traditions, simplicity and native customs. Things here are tough and basic but done well, making a trip here unforgettable.