The park is located in the Wayúu indigenous reservation. According to their cosmovision, Jepirech, the spirit of the wind, drives Igua, the cloud, which with its rain fertilizes the mountain range, thus producing the forests and water necessary for all the Wayúu people.
It is the only mountainous elevation that exists in the middle of the Alta Guajira desert. Oasis where water condenses and creates a unique ecosystem of great biodiversity.
Serranía de La Macuira National Natural Park is located in the northeastern part of the peninsula, in the municipality of Uribia, near the town of Nazareth.
How to get to Macuira Park ?
From Riohacha, take the road to the municipality of Uribia; from there travel along the road that leads to Bahía Portete, where you begin a 115-kilometer journey along trails to Nazareth (seven to eight hours in the dry season). It is recommended that the section be done during the dry season (in winter it is practically impassable) in a four-wheel drive vehicle and always in the company of a baquiano (local guide).
Part of the trip can also be done through Venezuela (visa required). Take the Maicao-Paraguachón road, cross the border and continue along the road that leads to Castillete, which is abandoned in front of the Cojoro mountain range, to enter Colombia again and travel to Siapana and Nazareth on dirt roads.
From Riohacha, the last town to get supplies is Uribia. Occasionally, in some rancherías, typical food can be found.
Where to Stay in La Macuira
La Macuira park does not offer lodging, but hammocks are available in the Wayúu rancherías. Next to the National Natural Parks information office, there is a camping area with space for 5 or 6 people; some houses in the village also offer lodging services.
Three types of forests can be found in the park’s area: tropical dry forest, jungle and mountain forests.
The flora is diverse, comprising 349 species, ten of which are endemic. The dwarf cloud forest (with restricted access), unique in Colombia, covers an area of about 15 square kilometers and has a large number of epiphytes and mosses(1).
It is home to a large variety of lower plants, including ferns, bijaos and bromeliads, all characterized by their ability to store water, which exalts the peculiarity of this forest to capture the moisture that forms the fog.
Recommendations for Visiting Macuira
The ideal length of stay will depend on the tours you wish to do. However, if you have four nights and five days, you can make a tour of the mountain range starting from the town of Nazareth. The best time to go is in the summer. There is some rain between October
The closest health center to La Macuira is in Nazareth.
The park has many places of environmental and cultural interest. To enter these areas you need the guidance of an authorized guide and to register in the visitor’s book. It is recommended to visit the Mekijano lookout point.
From there, you can appreciate the magnitude of the park and its environmental diversity. Another striking site is the Chorro de Ipakiwou, where the Rocky Wall is located, the mythical place of Princess Macuira, turned into rock and condemned to cry eternally forming the crystalline waters that emanate from the rock.
There is also El Médano, a block of sand transported by the wind to the mountains.
It is a sacred place and ceremonial center for Wayúu mythology. On this site, the creator spirit Mareiwa formed his people. On the way is the Wolunka rock, scene of the myth of the Jagged Vagina.
Other sites of special interest are the Batea de Kajashiwou, an ideal spring for bathing; the Itojoro hill, to see Nazareth from there; the sea, the desert and the interior of La Macuira; and Kalai, a haunting water spring, a sacred Wayúu place where the spirit of nature Pulowi dwells.
Things to do in Macuira
Here are the main activities to do in Macuira National Park
- Wildlife observation
- Photography and video
In the different tours you can see birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals such as deer and ocelots, among others, as well as a variety of flora. You can also enjoy refreshing baths in crystalline streams and interact in the ranches with expressions of the Wayúu culture.
Internal Circuits from Nazareth
an hour and a half hike from Nazareth, it offers a panoramic view of the park’s diversity. There is a ranchería that offers food and lodging services.
El Chorro de Ipakiwou
from the Mekijano lookout point, a hike of about an hour and a half of ascent takes you to the rocky wall of the Macuira Princess. Small lagoons suitable for bathing are formed in the stream.
a seven-hour hike that crosses the Serranía and passes through different types of forest, streams and rocky areas until reaching the hamlet of Siapana, where the locals offer lodging, food and handicrafts.
A three and a half hour walk from Nazareth, is a huge sandy block, considered one of the landing sites of the creator spirit Mareiwa. On the way there is the Wolunka stone, scene of the myth of the Jagged Vagina.
La Batea de Kajashiwou
one hour by vehicle, three hours by bicycle and four hours on foot, from Nazareth on a pleasant trail. Water source suitable for bathing, intermittent at some times of the year. It is an important sector in the production of Wayúu hats.
Cerro Itojoro (roasted corn)
hike of approximately two and a half hours on a steep and rocky road to reach the top. You can see the panoramic view of Nazareth, the sea and the interior of the Serranía.
three-hour hike from Nazareth. A ranchería provides lodging and food. There is a permanent water spring, and it is a sacred site for the Wayúu; one of the places where the spirit of nature Pulowi dwells.
To keep in mind
Always travel accompanied by a native guide.
It is prudent to make contact with the indigenous authorities in Nazareth or neighboring rancherías, explain the purpose of the visit and hire a guide.
For information in all cases: National Natural Parks of Colombia