The Most Beautiful Beaches in Colombia's Guajira Coastal Desert

Beach in La Guajira
Beach in La Guajira | © Chris Bell
Photo of Chris Bell
12 February 2018

The Caribbean coastal deserts of Colombia’s northern department of La Guajira possess a unique and wild beauty unmatched by any other region in the country. La Guajira is a surreal and stunning part of Colombia, characterised by windswept sand dunes, indigenous cultures and some of the most breathtaking beaches on the continent. So here are the most beautiful beaches in La Guajira.

Taroa Beach

The giant Taroa Sand Dunes are one of La Guajira’s principal tourist attractions and are located a short distance from Punta Gallinas, the windswept, most northerly point of South America. These huge dunes tumble down from the desert straight into the Caribbean, and the beach they form is easily one of the most isolated and beautiful in Colombia. Taroa Beach is the perfect example of a Guajira beach: wild, surreal and stunning.

The giant dunes of Taroa | © Chris Bell

El Pilón de Azúcar Beach

This pretty beach, located in a cove alongside the sacred Wayuu landmark of Pilon de Azucar Hill, is probably the most visited in the region of Alta Guajira (‘high Guajira’); it’s located a short mototaxi ride from the regional tourism capital of Cabo de La Vela, and is the perfect place for sunbathing and enjoying a dip in the bright-blue Caribbean waters.

Pilon de Azucar Beach | Chris Bell / © Culture Trip

Cabo de La Vela Beach

Perhaps the best beach for swimming in the whole of La Guajira, Cabo de La Vela Beach is the strip of sand which runs along the shore directly in front of the little town that shares its name. The waters are a stunning shade of blue, as well as being remarkably warm and calm, making them the ideal beach for swimming and relaxing. Further along the shoreline is also the best spot for kitesurfing in Colombia.

The perfect blue waters of Cabo de La Vela Beach | Chris Bell / © Culture Trip

Camarones Beach

In the lower Guajira region, the beaches are just as stunning as those in the wild deserts of the north, and there are perhaps none more beautiful than Camarones Beach. This lovely, wide beach is located alongside the Flamingos Flora and Fauna Sanctuary, and most people visit for the enviable birdwatching. However, if you’re just looking for a practically deserted Caribbean beach, look no further.

Camarones Beach | © Camilo Forero Pulido / Flickr

Punta Agujas Beach

Another isolated beach in the extreme north of La Guajira, Punta Agujas Beach is a short walk from Hospedaje Alexandra, where many visitors stay when they visit Punta Gallinas. While the beach itself is a little windswept, its western-facing location makes it particularly popular as it is perhaps the best spot in the Colombian Caribbean to watch the sunset.

La Boquita Beach

La Boquita Beach is located close to Punta Gallinas, and just a short hop away from the aforementioned Hosepedaje Alexandra. The brackish lagoons behind the beach are home to a population of flamingos, while the beach itself is an excellent place to while away the day enjoying the calm waters and sense of total isolation. It’s very probable that you won’t see another soul if you spend the day at La Boquita Beach.

Exploring the wild deserts of La Guajira from La Boquita Beach | Chris Bell / © Culture Trip

Mayapo Beaches

Just half an hour north of the regional capital of Riohacha, Mayapo is home to several excellent beaches, which are especially renowned for their strong winds, making them an excellent place to practice watersports such as kitesurfing and windsurfing. If you prefer a more sedate beach experience, Mayapo still delivers: it’s an equally great spot for enjoying a relaxing dip in the sea and browsing for locally made Wayuu handicrafts.

One of Mayapo’s lovely beaches | © Mónica Moscote / Flickr

Palomino Beach

The little backpacker haven of Palomino is located just over the border from neighbouring Magdalena department and is technically part of La Guajira. The best part about this is that, although Palomino’s beach is located in La Guajira, it has more in common with the beaches of nearby Tayrona National Park, making for a nice contrast with the desert beaches further into the department. A long, jungle-fringed strip of sand perfect for sunbathing and surfing, Palomino’s beach is rightly famous and popular with all travellers who visit Colombia.

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