Desert Love [Video] – Wanderlust Adventures to Punta Gallinas, Colombia

The relentless wind, the whipping sand, the never ending bumps in the desert road, the waves that made it impossible to swim where the desert meets the ocean, all things that could have tainted this 3 day desert trip. But they didn’t.

At all.

In fact, it was the harshness of the environment – the relentless wind, the whipping sand, the never ending bumps in the desert road, the waves that made it impossible to swim where the desert meets the ocean – that opened up my heart.

  
The desert, I think, has a way of humbling you that no other environment on earth can. Every sip of water you take makes you realize that the desert could swallow you up in a heartbeat.

Despite the lack of freshwater, the lack of shelter from the wind, the lack of shade from the beating sun, people were living there. I was and still am in complete awe of that.

  
My heart swells when I think of our trip to Punta Gallinas in Colombia. For me, it was a sort of pilgrimage to the most northern point on South America, a spiritual awakening, I suppose you could say.

  

Our desert adventure started in the wee hours of a dark morning. I watched the most beautiful sunrise I’d ever seen. 

The Sierra Nevada mountains were cloaked in mist. A huge grapefruit pink sun slowly burned the mist away and set the sky ablaze. Against the fiery pastel sky, the mountains stood tall and proud. 

The native Kogi people call these mountains the Heart of the World. In that moment, I knew why.

I felt like every part of the trip was like that – a gift from nature, herself. Gorgeous landscapes, towering sand dunes, cliffs falling into the sea. 

  

 

  

  
But enough of my words and explanations, they’re failing us here, you and me.

Matt put together a charming little video, showing you the best parts The Guajira Desert as we made our way to the extreme north ofSouth America – Punta Gallinas.

As I wrote home after the trip: We drove through the desert for 3 days, slept in hammocks, swam where the desert meets the Caribbean Sea, showered under the brightest stars I’ve ever seen, bribed indigenous people with bags of water to let us pass through their land, played soccer with a little boy who lives in the desert, made friends with German girls who became our translators, found skeletons of various animals, saw tons of desert goats, learned about the illegal trafficking of Venezuela’s gas in Colombia, climbed sand dunes, got pelted by sand during a wind storm, got sunburnt and windburnt…

…and finally, finally stood on the most northern point of South America.   

 

If you want to go to Punta Gallinas, we highly recommend going with Expotur instead of going alone.

– Cyn and Matt 

It’s hard to put this trip into words. Since mid-June, I’ve been struggling to find an appropriate way to tell you about – a way that describes the feeling inside of me. That trip changed me.

Why We Chose Expotur and Didn’t Go Alone to Punta Gallinas, Colombia [Video]

Punta Gallinas. As soon as we decided we weren’t going to go to Brazil, a place we’d never heard of suddenly became a focus for our South American travels. We decided that our new mission was to travel to the most southern point in South America.

And to round it out?

We’d start at the most northern point in South America. And that point happens to be Punta Gallinas, Colombia.

Getting there would be a mission. A 2 day through the desert kind of mission to be exact. And of course, we’d need one day to get back. 

so windy, sandy, and hot!

It’s possible to get to Punta Gallinas independently. You can find the directions on Trip Advisor. A guy at a tour company in Santa Marta told us exactly how to do it and let us know the transportation costs. 

If we DIYed the trip, it would cost us each roughly 320.000 COP to get to Punta Gallinas. That’s strictly for transportation and thus didn’t include accommodation or food or water. 

Water which:

(a) we need to survive 

(b) is scarce in a desert

(c) would be extremely expensive to buy because of point b.

We’d needed to bring water with us. And I don’t know about you, but we couldn’t carry enough water for 3-5 days.

We started shopping around for a tour company that could take us. One that we went to said 650.000 COP per person (nearly $250 USD) — and they needed a minimum of 8 people. Insane! Currently they had a whooping zero people signed up to go. No wonder, eh?

Ultimately we found Expotur, a tour company in Santa Marta that would take us to Punta Gallinas for 450.000 COP. And if we booked the Lost City trek with them (something we were going to do anyway), they’d give us a discount on the Punta Gallinas trip. We negotiated a little more and ended up with a price we were really happy with.

Honestly, we probably saved money or at the minimum broke even compared to if we DIYed the trip.

We decided to go with Expotur to do the tour to Punta Gallinas because:

  • they gave us a great deal
  • the woman we were dealing with (Heidi, if I remember correctly) was really professional and nice to us
  • the group would be small (only 6 people including Matt and I)

 You can get a great deal for the tour to Punta Gallinas considering it will include all food, accommodation, transportation and side trips, and a guide. 

Plus, having 24/7 access to a jeep meant that we could bring water from Santa Marta – running out of water was a huge worry for me. 

Was it worth doing a tour? 

Absolutely!

As we watched independent travellers laying in their hammocks for hours on end to escape the blistering desert sun while willing the day away so they could leave the next day, we piled into our jeep and headed out to a salt water lake and played desert football with a little kid. We wouldn’t have had that experience otherwise. So for us, the tour was worth every peso – there was never a dull moment! 

 

Punta Gallinas, the most northern point in South America, is definitely as much about the journey as it is about the destination. We had an amazing time and are so glad that we chose to go with Expotur.

— Cyn

Visit The Actual Equator in Ecuador

When you hear the word equator, what do you see? A tropical paradise? A perfect line that divides the world in half? Yourself, straddling the Northern and Southern Hemispheres?

How about Ecuador? 

What, no takers? 

Well, you can add Ecuador to your list of things to picture the next time to you hear the word equator. After all, the country was named after the famous diving line!

the equator
that’d be the equator

Of course, when we were in Ecuador in July this summer, we just HAD to take a little trip to the equator. Afterall, I’d been dreaming of standing in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres AT THE SAME TIME for as long as I can remember! 

Just joking, I hardly thought about it…

But being just a short drive away from the actual equator, a spark was ignited and I wanted to be in two places at once. That, my friends and family, has been an actual dream of mine.

Because it’s cool! And not something you can do everyday.

Cynthia laying on the equator
I had an overwhelming urge to lay on the equator
Cyn and Matt standing on the equator in Ecuador
selfie on the equator in Ecuador

We didn’t make a special trip just for those fantastic photos, although you could if you wanted to. We went as part of a day trip from Quito with Community Hostel

It might be worth a seperate trip, but I do think it’s pretty cool to be able to aay that we stood on the actual equator.  

Oh, and we also saw someone propose there! Awwww how cute! 

– Cyn 

I Almost Made Us Miss Out On Laguna 69

See why it would’ve been a tragedy?!

Laguna 69 is the most popular day hike from Huaraz, Peru, and for good reason. It’s a gorgeous 5-6 hour non-technical hike through the Cordillera Blanca in Huascarán National Park. When you reach Laguna 69, it’s impossible not to overwhelmed by it’s beauty.

  
The thing is, the popularity of this hike put me off. I didn’t want to be hiking in a never-ending line of tourists. I’m not a salmon!

I wanted to feel special.

Plus, I figured that there’s no way Laguna 69 could actually be THAT colour. No. No, surely people edit the crap out of their photos. 

So we decided that nope, we’re not hiking Laguna 69 because the whole world has done it. 

And so we did a different day hike, which was awesome but too hard. We had to turn back. I’ll tell you about it another time, okay?

After that hike, we decided that a multi-day trek was out of the question. The altitude wasn’t really agreeing with us and we didn’t want to risk 4 days of agony. Matt and I try to live our lives by this: if it’s not fun, it’s cut. 

A little disappointed, it was time to go onwards and upwards. 

And that meant hiking Laguna 69 to see what all the fuss was about.

So we actually did do the hike. And my god, was it worth it. 

I’ve never see something so beautiful. 

  

    

  

 

  

  

  
 

Some things really are worth the hype!

– Cyn

Distance: 12 km

Altitude: 3900m to 4600m

Rating: moderate