While the stunning desert landscape, beautiful sea and fascinating culture of the indigenousWayuu people are well-known draws to La Guajira peninsula, there is an abundance of flora and fauna to see as well.
One place to enjoy plant and animal life is the Flora and Fauna Flamingo Sanctuary located about 15 miles from Riohacha, close to the village of Camarones. The road is one way to get there, however, the more adventurous mode of transport is to go by canoe. You can go all the way around the sanctuary and return to Camarones by boat. You can’t miss the flamingos and their two foot tall nests, but there is also a turtle sanctuary to look out for.
Entrance is COP12,000 ($6.50) and because it is also an eco-tourism site you can stay the night in a hammock rented from the local Wayuu or pitch your tent in the camp site.
Macuira National Park is an oasis in the desert. Thanks to moisture from the Caribbean Sea, about three miles from a semi-arid desert is a very humid miniature cloud forest with 140 different species of birds. There are also terrestrial animals like monkeys, wild cats, deer and others, which have no English translation.
Located at an altitude of 1,800 feet above sea level, Macuira National Park is similar to Andean forests that are almost 9,000 feet high due to it’s high humidity. Entry is free and there are three hills located at just under 3,000 feet to hike called Palua, Huaresh and Jihouone.
For a more comprehensive travel report, see Hot, salty and sweaty Guajira by Annabel Pollock.