The region was directly affected by the high concentration of neo-paramilitary and guerrilla groups during the insurgency period. The paramilitaries were notorious for massacres against the indigenous population. For 2014 travelling to the main tourist destination is possible. Check your foreign travel advice to get the latest information.
The first big city after reaching Colombia from Venezuela is Riohacha. There are various buses from Maicao or Santa Marta everyday - price ranges from COP$12,000 to COP$18,000 for Riohacha to Santa Marta and COP$3,000 Maicao to Riohacha.
Much of this region was considered out of bounds for tourism in the past, due to the heavy presence of paramilitary groups and guerrillas. La Guajira was considered to be one of Colombia's most violent regions, with very high murder rates. Places like Cabo de La Vela, Riohacha and Palomino appear safe for tourism now, but instances of robbery are still common. The Foreign Office in the United Kingom advises against all essential travel to within 5 km of the Venezuelan border in the departments of La Guajira, César and Boyaca.