Despite all the warnings of the impossible roads and the supposedly dangerous locals I made it to La Punta Gallinas and, I loved it. With the years I've come to appreciate the remoteness of places like these. There's something special in getting away from the masses, from the traffic and the noise. There's nothing in La Punta Gallinas, apart from a few rancherías (settlements) and lots of sand and sea.
During my second night at La Punta Gallinas I camped on the beach, under Taroa dunes. It was magical. The next morning there was absolutely no one on the beach. A bath in the sea is a great way to start the day.
The landscape in the region is quite spectacular. A lot of the angles were impossible on foot, so I really yearned for a drone and was really kicking myself for not having one.
I stayed at two different hostals during the other days. There were a few rancherías around, so, I figured I'd visit them. I learned at the first settlement, which was the nearest to the hostal that many of the tourists who visited La Punta Gallinas would accidentally stumble into it. The people there were used to seeing foreigners and I was welcomed with broad smiles.
Above is a photo of a girl hanging onto a local hammock. Like a fishing net a hammock is also called a chinchoro.
As the sun set, one of the village elders plays dominoes with the kids. The children were curious, but, not to a point where they'd crowd around me, after all, as I've mentioned, I wasn't the first gringo to visit the place.
Just 100 meters away was another settlement. Tourists never visited here. You'd think that being so close to each other the two settlements couldn't be very different, but this was indeed the case. Everyone was much more surprised, over the top excited and curious.
The Wayuu, who were spoken about quite harshly and approached with such caution by the non-indigenous people were nothing but friendly. Even if some of the men did come across as very blunt and almost too straight forward at times, that's hardly the picture that was painted for me. I have nothing but positive memories.
One of the wonderful things about being able to speak the language of a place is the ability to communicate directly with the locals. You pick up on so many little nuances this way and in more practical terms, you're seen more as a person and less as some exotic creature who doesn't understand them.
Narso (above) is one of the fishermen who I had extended conversations with. He was curious if I had met indigenous people in other countries. He wanted to know what I thought of his part of the world. He gave me a bit of an insight into the mindset of the Wayuu, into the troubles they faced with the droughts, the storms at sea, the corrupt government and the greed of some of their people who had improved their own financial situation.
Narso was a big fan of music and some Spanish and Argentitian singers who I unfortunately don't remember. He was so disappointed when a young Argentitian traveler with a guitar didn't know how to play his favourite music.
Being a character and a performer, Narso sang some of his favourite songs to me. The lyrics were beautiful and what he lacked in talent for singing, he made up for with passion.
I was almost sad to leave La Punta Gallinas after spending a bit less than a week. There are some places you connect with, even if others tell you hundreds of reasons why you shouldn't. This was one of those places. I watched one final sunrise over Bahía Hondita and headed back to the land of paved roads, traffic and noise.