Punta Gallinas – Day 50

Thu 22nd Mar

I’m more or less awake but Manuel’s alarm goes off and as it’s 0445, it’s definitely time to rise and shine as our driver is picking us up in 15 mins.

Change, wash briefly in the dark with bottled water and brush teeth then we’re ready to go…except waiting 25 mins for our driver.

We need to pay the hostel for last night but run into the problem of having 50000 notes. These are all the ATMs give u when u draw out cash but then hardly anywhere or anyone can change them when u need to use them! Somehow we manage to sort it between us.

We pile into a much smaller jeep than yesterday – only 4 of us are going today and they won’t waste space if there’s no bums in it!

And we’re off…I’ve been through the desert (in a jeep with no name, la la lalala lala la la) and it’s immense! No roads, nothing but sand, cacti and open expanse on the horizon. I’ve never been anywhere so remote in my life and it’s amazing.

We pull up at some little snack shack but the 50000 thing is a problem again. I have an apple but the others scrape together some coins to get a coffee and a piece of melon!

This journey is again uber fast, bumpy desert driving, stopping at make shift barriers made and manned by kids – to stop cars with tourists in so they give them sweets or other treats! There must be about 15 of these self made barriers en route! crafty clever things!

We drive past what looks like salt planes so we ask our driver to stop so we can take a look and take a photo…

the salt is actually foam thou (like the fountains by the hippodrome)

but I don’t think anyone had put fairy liquid in the sea so I’m not sure where it’s come from…!

After 2.5 hours we pull up at a river….I nor any of the others had read about this bit….but in order to get to one of the hostels here, u have to get in a motor boat and sail past the mangroves to the other side. Me, Tom, Frizti and Manuel in our boat

Once u walk up some steps u arrive at Hostel Alexander.

Again it’s basic but does look better than last night…the dining area and the bathrooms are a lot better!

3 of us decide to go for the hammock again(20000) but Tom freezing his ass off last night and not getting any sleep goes for a private room (35000)…means we can keep our bags in there thou!

We get breakfast of an arepa with scrambled egg for 8000 and then head off on the tour and the reason we’ve all ventured this far – time to hit Punta Gallinas – the northern most point in all South America.

It takes about 30 minutes to get to the first stop…again in a 4×4, scrambling across the vastness of the La Guajira desert. Then we arrive….Punta Gallinas! Wow…

I don’t think the beach I’m at is the wow factor itself but more the getting here and geographically where I’m at.

Not much of a lighthouse or one we’d likely imagine….but this is it…

We then go to the mirador point and take in our surroundings

And then head to the famous sand dunes of Taroa.

These 60m dunes are spectacular and u can just run down them into the beautiful turquoise Caribbean Sea (Nicole – it did make me think of dunes…a 0530 start wdnt be as tough with this view).

This place has to be one of my favourite so far and being so far off the beaten track, it’s still unspoiled and not full of tourists.

We spend a bit of time here and it would have been fab to spend the day but 90 mins in the intense heat was enough – even for me!

Take a quick shower before lunch to help rid of some of the sand….and realise shower is sea water! Best stick to bottled water for brushing teeth then! Lunch is the same menu as in most of these parts – meat with rice and plantain! Chicken again for me!

We all chill out and read for a bit, swinging in our hammocks or taking a nap.

Immersed in the quiet and remoteness of this place. Back to basics is good for the soul and great to switch off from the world of mobile phones for a few days.

Around 6pm, people are mulling around and the communal eating area starts to fill up. The sun goes down and we sit drinking beer in the dark until the generator is turned in….a round of applause circulates as we’re thrust into light!

Dinner is the same choice as lunch. Be nice to get back to a town and have a bit more choice but as chicken and rice go…it’s nice enough…given a bit of a kick with Colombian hot sauce.

A few more beers

and it’s another early night…this travelling malarkey is tiresome work! Both Fritz and I are more prepared for our night in the wilderness tonight…and a pair of ear plugs definitely keep the weird night noises at bay…except for the snuffling behind our heads just before I nod off….torch on and there’s a bloody pig having a snout about. I shoe him away and the bloody thing comes back! I move my rucksack onto a chair behind me and try to go off again but the little shit comes back another twice – this time sniffing around Fritz and Manuel’s bags so I shoe him off again then manage to fall asleep….

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