The 7 Most Beautiful Places to Go Stargazing in Colombia

In Colombia, you can experience the unique and rare emotion of stargazing. The whole country offers the conditions to make astronomical tourism throughout the year, from the Andes to the Caribbean Sea.

Before telling you which are the best stargazing spots in Colombia, based on tourism facilities and beauty, I will promptly mention some topics of special attention.

The Light Pollution Menace

Sadly, almost a third of humanity cannot see the Milky Way when they look at the sky at night.

There are many sources of light on Earth that emit light particles into the atmosphere, causing the skies to become hazy.

Today there is more awareness of this phenomenon, and more people are mobilizing to promote the use of cleaner light installations.

Light Pollution Map, Colombia – Powered by

Effects of excessive light

According to the NGO Globe at Night, the light-dark cycle, when interrupted, affects ecological dynamics, and is a serious threat to nocturnal wildlife in particular.

Light pollution can also lead to sleep disorders and other health problems. In addition, health effects are not only due to over-illumination or excessive exposure to light over time.These are also produced by inadequate spectral composition of light (e.g., excessive blue light from cellphones).

With regard to energy waste, over-illumination can be a waste of energy, especially at night. Therefore, it generates increases in costs and carbon footprint.

Light pollution Hong Kong ©Science Magazine

What to do?

Nevertheless, the NGO Globe at Night explains that light pollution can easily be reduced by doing simple things like:

  • protecting the lights properly so that the light does not go up,
  • only using light when and where it is needed,
  • use only the amount needed,
  • install low energy bulbs, and
  • choose bulbs with spectral power distributions appropriate to the task at hand.

Astrotourism is also a way to protect the night sky from increasing light pollution. It works through the recognition and protection of areas that still have low or no light pollution.

Astrotourism or Stargazing

Let’s start with some basic tips.

Basic Tips for an Amazing Stargazing Night

Before going out for stargazing consider the following points:


Try to find the most accurate information about wind speed, wind pressure, cloud forecast, and temperature. Atmospheric pressure is also something important to check. The higher the pressure, the clearer the conditions.

2. Transparency

Dust or moisture ruin the fun of the stargazes since they make the skies hazy. Try to find the best season, which in Colombia, means avoiding the rainy season. But also, going to the driest regions and the higher places.

3. “Seeing”

The later you go out, the better sight.  I found an interesting paper in Science Magazine you can read later. It talks about a light pollution tracking tool ideated by a physicist. With this tool you can check whether the night sky is getting brighter. It is called the Radiance Light Trends Website.

4. High Spot

It can be a mountain or a building. This will help avoid light pollution effects.

5. The Moon

The Gibbous or crescent phase of the moon is best for stargazing. A brilliant moon will overshadow the stars and planets.

6. Prepare for the night

  • Dress appropriately for the weather
  • Let your eyes relax and enter into dark adaptation
  • Avoid devices with white light, astronomers recommend using devices with the red light option.
  • Bug spray, needless to explain, but worth recalling, especially in Colombia, where it is always summery.

Best Stargazing Spots in Colombia

Any place without light pollution is a good place to see the stars. Colombia has many places that offer beautiful starred and cleaned skies, far from the contamination of the cities. However, not all the places offer the appropiate tourism facilities.

Here I will list the best stargazing spots in Colombia, based on tourism facilities and beauty.

Tatacoa Desert

Night at the Tatacoa Desert ©Bernardo Solano

The most recommended destination for astrotourism is the Tatacoa Desert in Huila. This is the only destination in Colombia with a Starlight Certificate, nominated in 2019. 

Besides its intrinsic desertic beauty, it makes you feel like observing the stars from mars, or the moon. The ochre and grayish tones of its landscapes contrast with the clear sky.

The desert has very low light contamination, and it has three different astronomic observatories, with telescopes, which are open to the public offering educational activities and nocturnal expeditions.

The epicenter of astronomical tourism in this region is the municipality of Villavieja, in Huila, where the Tatacoa Astronomical Observatory is located. In this place, visitors can participate in talks about astronomy and see the stars through the astronomical telescope.

Additionally, in the month of August you can witness the ‘Rain of the Perseids’, a beautiful stellar spectacle in which you can see up to 200 stars per hour.

Where to stay: Yararaka Hotel Boutique

Villa de Leyva

Night at Villa de Leyva – Facetas Boyacá

Also a good place for astrotourism is this beautiful town in Boyacá. Every year Villa de Leyva is the meeting point for the amateur astronomers. They gather for their annual meeting, the Astronomy Festival, which is the most important amateur event in Latin America.

Villa de Leyva features a high elevation and a dry environment, which also facilitates the observation.

It also has a very good infrastructure to receive tourists.

Where to stay: La Posada de San Antonio Hotel


Casa del Presidente – Barichara

This town is located in Santander. It is also a destination with very good infrastructure and also it offers ideal conditions to watch the sky, because of its dry environment.

Where to stay: Casa del Presidente.

Cabo de la Vela

Full Moon at Cabo de la vela

La Guajira is a magical place in Colombia. It is another desertic area, but placed in the Caribbean region. Cabo de la Vela, in the northern territory of Guajira, also offers a very good infrastructure for tourism, and also clean and dark skies.

Here you will hear the sea waves and learn more about the mysteries of the universe from the Wayúu community.

In Cabo de la Vela, the desert landscape merges with the sea, and the night skies are filled with shooting stars and constellations, thanks to the absence of artificial lighting from nearby towns.

In addition, if you love nature, take a visit to the Flamingo Sanctuary or a tour of the Taroa Dunes are good extras.

Where to stay: Ranchería Utta.

Lagos de Menegua

Astrotourism in Lagos de Menegua ©Lagos de Menegua

The Lagos de Menegua Bioreserve is one of the few privileged places that still have black skies. Its privileged location allows simultaneous observation of the northern and southern hemispheres.

The reserve has a calendar of astronomical events with free registration. It also offers this activity exclusively for companies and specific groups.

Between the months of December and March, the probability of 100% clear skies increases, making the best time to visit.

Where to stay: Lagos de Menegua.

Cocuy National Natural Park, Boyacá

The Milky Way observed at El Cocuy NNP ©Rodrigo Bernal Díaz

After 9 pm, on a very clear night at 4,444 meters above sea level, on the shores of La Laguna Grande in the Sierra in El Cocuy Natural Park (Colombia), the Milky Way rises behind the mountain. The cold can get to your bones, but the view is wonderful.

Rodrigo Bernal Diaz

This national natural park, located in the center-east of the country, on the border between the departments of Boyacá and Arauca, is another of Colombia’s tourist sites where people can experience an unforgettable night looking at the stars. Of course, if you don’t mind to camp.

In fact, the U’wa Indians of the Sierra Nevada del Cocuy created the Astronomical Observatory on the ancestral Camino de Mal Paso. In this place tourists can marvel at the spectacular clear nights and see the stars, and, at the same time, interact with the U’wa community.

Where to stay: Camping zone.

Suesca and Tominé near to Bogotá

Niddo – Suesca

Near to Bogotá are the town of Suesca and the Tominé reservoir. All this region has a very good tourism infrastructure and also, they have altitude, with more than 2500 meter above sea level.

Altitude is fundamental because there are fewer atmosphere layers above you, so you are nearer to the sky.

Where to stay: Glamping* Niddo

If you want to know more about the most incredible natural destinations in Colombia, plan your trip with us!

*Find more information about Glamping in Colombia in the post The 32 Most Beautiful Glampings in Colombia You Should Know, at Pelecanus website.

About the author

Sara Colmenares

Current director of Sula. Doctor in Biological Sciences. Her main interests are to explore and understand the organism – environment interactions, taking advantage of emerging knowledge for the management and conservation of species and ecosystem services. She is currently working as a consultant in functional ecology, ecosystem services and conservation projects in Colombia related to ecotourism and birdwatching.


Top 5 Tips Before Traveling to Cabo de la Vela, La Guajira, Colombia 

An off-the-beaten-track destination that has slightly become a must-visit in the Colombia travelers’ lists – this is Cabo de la Vela. Cabo de la Vela is a small coastal village in the northernmost region of Colombia and South America, exactly in the department of La Guajira, known for its golden beaches and strong indigenous traditions. Traveling to Cabo de la Vela is an adventurous experience you should consider if you are planning a trip to Colombia’s Caribbean coast. 

In this post, you will find all the information you need to know before traveling to Cabo de la VelaWhy you should visit it, how to get there, where to stay, the best time to visit, and also what other attractions you can find along the La Guajira desert. 

Discovering La Guajira and Cabo de la Vela 

La Guajira is the northernmost department of the 32 departments that make up Colombia. It is part of the Colombian Caribbean natural region and borders the deep blue Caribbean Sea to the north and east, and Venezuela to the east. With a population of over 900,000 inhabitants in an area of 20,800 km2 (8,049 sq mi), you could say it is not the most densely populated zone in the country. Despite that, the department is home to a variety of ethnicities, the indigenous being the largest. The Wayuu indigenous community is the most representative, but there are the Kogui, Ika, Kankuamo and Wiwa that inhabit the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. You can find Muslim population too. This ethnic melting pot causes that Spanish is not the only language spoken but Wayuunaiki and other dialects. 

Another aspect that characterizes this region is the climate. La Guajira’s climate is arid, dry and has high temperatures – it is actually the driest region in the countryThe average temperature ranges from 22 to 30 °C, rising up to 42 °C. You can find mostly desert areas, with savannas, dry and rain forests in some points. Part of the Sierra Nevada and the Serranía del Perijá belong to La Guajira and to the north you find also Serranía de Macuira, which are biodiversity hotspots in the middle of the desert. Because of its location, La Guajira has great potential for electricity production from solar radiation and wind. 

La Guajira is divided into 15 municipalities including Riohacha – the capital. Cabo de la Vela is a headland in the northern part of the peninsula where some people settled down and formed a small village. The Wayuu believe that Jepirra – as they call it, is a sacred place where the spirits of their deceased arrive to journey into the “unknown”. Today it is an important destination for ecotourism in the Caribbean region of Colombia, where travelers can enjoy amazing landscapes and interact with the local culture. 

1. How to get to Cabo de La Vela

Bogota – Riohacha  

The first step is to get to Riohacha, the capital of La Guajira. There are about 2 to 3 direct flights from Bogota to Riohacha’s Almirante Padilla International Airport with Avianca and Viva Air airlines. The trip is 1,044 km (648.7 mi) and 1 hour 40 minutes long.  

From the main cities on the Caribbean coast – such as Santa Marta and Cartagena, you can travel there by bus. From Santa Marta, the trip takes 4 hours approximately. 

From other cities in central and southern Colombia, the best option is to fly to Bogota and then to Riohacha (most flights make a stop in Bogota anyways). 

Riohacha  Uribia  Cabo de la Vela   

This is where the adventure begins since it is not as simple to get to Cabo de la Vela on your own. In Riohacha, you should take a shared taxi to Cuatro Vias which is a crossroad where informal transport is arranged. This takes you almost an hour. At Cuatro Vias, you mostly find Jeeps / shared taxis that leave once full and charge around 15,000 COPThese drop you off in Uribia about 30 minutes later. There, you have to get on a 4×4 truck with other people and tons of load to finally arrive at Cabo de la Vela. This last stretch of the trip takes 1.5 to 2 hours and costs 15-20,000 COP. 

So, the whole journey from Riohacha to Cabo de la Vela takes 3 hours or moreas it is nearly 200 km to the north.  There are direct private transfers organized by hotels in Riohacha – it might be easier considering this option. 

2. Where to stay in Cabo de la Vela  

Finding accommodation in Cabo de la Vela is easy. However, you should keep in mind that there is no running water and no electricity. Power is produced by generator and for showering, sometimes you will have to use a bucket. 

Sleeping in hammocks is the most common choice. You find these in the rancherías, the typical Wayuu huts where they live and offer tourist services.  You can also choose to sleep in a chinchorro, a larger hammock. Prices range from 10,000 COP to 20,000 COP per person per night, but if you take breakfast it should be more than that. 

Some beachfront hostels offer basic private rooms for about 30,000 COP or the hammocks option too. 

If you are more the always-looking-for-comfort person, you should probably stay at a hotel in Riohacha and take one-day tour to Cabo de la Vela. 

3. Best time to travel to Cabo de la Vela 

As La Guajira is still undiscovered by most Colombians and foreign tourists, you can have a nearly private experience traveling to Cabo de la Vela, but a general recommendation is to plan your Colombian trips avoiding the high seasons, which usually go from June to early August and from November to February, also during Holy Week. 

As for the weather, the dry season is during the first 4 months of the year and the rainy season goes from September to NovemberTraveling to Cabo de la Vela during the rainy season can make the journey quite difficult, so it is better to visit the cape in other months. 

4. What to do in Cabo de la Vela 

Pilón de Azúcar  

Visiting Pilón de Azúcar is usually the first activity of tours in Cabo de la Vela; you can get in 20 minutes by moto-taxi. It is a small, grayish hill from where you have a 360° view of the blue-green Caribbean Sea, the adjacent beach and the desert. You can climb the hill in 10-15 minutes and feel the strong winds at the top. There is an altar of the Virgin of Fatima, but the importance of this place is related to the Wayuu cosmogony – this is where their ancestors’ spirits get to rest. Pilón de Azúcar beach is excellent, it has golden sand and waters apt for swimming. 

Ojo de Agua beach 

This is another beach where you can have a refreshing dip but it is average. The name comes from a freshwater pool in the coastal rocks.  

El Faro 

This small lighthouse is a great spot to watch the incredible Caribbean sunset of La Guajira, so finish your day here. 

Arcoiris beach 

This is the northernmost point of Cabo de la Vela and is a beach where you see a rainbow when the waves hit strongly the coastal rocks under a direct sunray. This is possible in the afternoon; however, you cannot always see it. 

Kitesurfing and windsurfing 

Adventurous travelers find joy in La Guajira because the winds are pretty strong, meaning the sea here is perfect for practicing kitesurf and windsurf. There are several schools managed by Wayuu people that offer 1-hour to full-day classes. 

Wayuu Culture 

Buying handicrafts from the Wayuu is a must. Their mochilas (handmade bags) and other knitted souvenirs take a lot of effort and time from the Wayuu women. Knitting a handbag can take up to a week! Each product has a unique design and bright colors. Also, this is an important income source for the population. 

Manaure salt mines 

On the road to Cabo de la Vela, you can make a stop at the Manaure salt mines, near Uribia. These are known for being the largest salt mines in Colombia, there you see large piles of salt and clear pools in between. 

Punta Gallinas 

By traveling a couple of hours more towards the north, Punta Gallinas receives the most daring tourists. This is the northernmost tip of the continent where you find the amazing Taroa dunes, another lighthouse/viewpoint and more rancherías. 

5. What you should consider when traveling to Cabo de la Vela 

  • Although it is possible to travel to Cabo de la Vela independently, it is better to book with a local agency to avoid any hassles and feel safer. This way you just need to worry about having fun. 
  • Bring enough water for the trip. Buy water and snacks in Uribia as there is more variety of products. 
  • Consider the weather in the region to pack your clothes. Also, always use sunscreen and a cap. 
  • Support the local communities using their services and paying fair prices for their productsThis includes trying not to give away food or money. Tourism is the main income source for the inhabitants of La Guajira, which are impoverished and lack government presence. 

This was the essential information for traveling to Cabo de la Vela in La Guajira, Colombia. We hope this was useful and encouraged you to visit this beautiful country. 


La Guajira’s official website 

About the authors.

Ana María Parra

Current content writer for Sula. Modern Languages professional with emphasis on business translation. Interested in cultural adaptation of written and audiovisual content.  Passionate about knowing new cultures and languages, tourism and sustainable living.