When I heard about Cabo de la Vela, I knew that I had to go. Unfortunately, it has changed over the years from what I was originally told, but it amazed me nonetheless. There are tour groups that will take you all the way to Cabo De La Vela, but that takes away half of the fun. Air conditioned buses? I think not.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, I don’t mind the heat or getting a little dirty. It’s kind of the part of travel that I enjoy. Hence, when I heard about the ride to Cabo De La Vela, I knew that I had to do it on my own. Here’s the journey:
Catch a bus from Santa Marta to Maicao
But you’re not going to Maicao. Tell the driver or the ticket teller that you want to go to Cuatro Vias (literal translation: Four Ways), which is on the way to Maicao. It’s not an official stop on the route, but if you tell the driver then he will stop on the side of the road at Cuatro Vias for you to get off.
-25,000-30,000 COP depending on which company you take
-Time: 4 hours
Take a truck from Cuatro Vias to Uribia, then to Cabo de la Vela
When you arrive to Cuatro Vias, someone will approach you about going to Cabo de La Vela and show you which truck you will be taking. The truck will leave when full, which could take hours. Enjoy watching the local life or get a bite to eat for 7,000 COP on the side of the road in the meantime. Once full, you will sit in the back of the truck along the highway.
- 30,000 COP to get you all the way to Cabo de la Vela
-Time: driving to Uribia 30 minutes, wait time depends
INSIDER TIP: Stop in Uribia-- Take advantage of the stop in Uribia. Cabo de la Vela is nowhere, so stock up on snacks, water, and cash from an ATM. The food prices are raised once you are in Cabo de la Vela and there are no ATMs.
-Time: 15 minutes
Continue to Cabo de la Vela
You will take the same truck all the way to Cabo de La Vela. This is the part where it gets dirty. If you have sunglasses, make use of these because the truck will no longer be riding along a highway, but rather dusty, bumpy roads. Your hair will get messy and you will be covered in dust by the end of it, but cheer up, this is a story to tell everyone back home.
-Time: 2.5 hours
Arrive at Cabo de la Vela
The truck will take you to the doorstep of a hostel. You don’t have to stay with their recommendation, especially since all the hostels are within 5 minutes walking distance of each other. I chose to stay with the hostel that they suggested because it had what I wanted: sleeping in hammocks on the beach.
The hostel will then suggest a tour to Puntas Gallinas and all I can tell you is DO IT. It is a life-changing and unforgettable experience.
You will see nothing. Nothing but dust, nothing but savanna. And then you will see people, and you’ll wonder, how did they get here? Their homes are made of sticks and they will sit just off of the road that you drive on. Children will chase after your car, asking for money, some of the adults will smile at your truck as it passes. It’s hot, but the wind created from the movement of the truck will cool you off. After air conditioned buses, air conditioned planes, and even the comfort of a taxi, the ride in the back of the truck will be something different and memorable, so why not?