Humans search for explanations for the world that surrounds them. The Guajira peninsula is rich of tales and mystic places from the Wayuu mythology. The tales are about questions like: Where do the Wayuu come from? How did the Wayuu learn their weaving-technique? Where do the Wayuu clan symbols clan symbols come from? What happens after death?

In this article we want to introduce some of the most important people and places from the Wayuu mythology. For an in-depth introduction we refer to publications of anthropologists who gathered, analyzed and published the tales. Unfortunately, almost all sources are in Spanish or Wayuunaiki. See our bibliography.


It is said that “Maleiwa” (pronounced “Mareiwa”) is the creator of the Wayuu. No one has ever seen her. However, there exist many different tales about her. It is said she lives in the Macuira mountains.


Pulowi at lake Laguna de los Patos (dug lake), Puerto Estrella.

Indigenous all over the Guajira peninsula tell stories about places that are said to have a Pulowi living there. A Pulowi is a female spirit associated with places related to water (e.g. lakes, rivers, or beaches) where somebody died. The Wayuu avoid bathing or spending the night at those places. It is very likely that you get in touch with Pulowi while traveling the Guajira peninsula.

Piedra Wolunka

Wolunka rock near Nazareth.

The Wolunka rock is located at the Macuira mountains close to Nazareth and the Alewolou dune. “Wolunka” is the name of a girl who was the daughter of the rain and the earth. She used to bath naked beneath the rock. One day one youngster shot her with a bow and an arrow into her vagina. According to Wayuu mythology this is why women menstruate.


The Jepira hill at Cabo de la Vela (also called “pan de azucar” or “sugar loaf”).

Jepira is a hill located at Cabo de la Vela. The Wayuu believe that Jepira is the place where the souls of the death travel to. The hill is a common destinations for tourists who visit Cabo de la Vela. The hill is also called “sugar loaf” due to its bright color. As of today, there is a Maria statue on top of Jepira which shows how the ancient beliefs get undermined by western missionaries.

Rock of Aalas

The Rock of Aalas is located in the Jalala mountains.

It is said that Maileiwa sent the wise man Uutta to gather the Wayuu families at the rock of Aalas. A lightning hit the rock and burned symbols into the rock. From that day on every Wayuu family gets identified by their symbol. The symbols are used to mark animals and also for art.

Piedra del Destino

The destiny rock (Piedra del Destino) is located at the Punta Espada region.

The “Destiny Rock” is located in the north-east of the Guajira peninsula. It hosts a cave with an entry and an exit hole. Several tales report from people who entered the destiny rock and were not able to leave it through the exit hole. The ones who failed lost their lifes in accidents short after. It is said that it does not matter whether you are fat or thin, tall or short. The rock can become impassable for everyone or widen itself to let you pass.

The Rock of Aalas

The La Guajira peninsula hosts many places of Wayuu mythology. One of the most important places is the rock of Aalas. It is said that Maleiwa (god) sent the wise man Uuta to gather the different Wayuu families at Aalas to assign each of them a symbol (casta) and an animal. A lightning hit the rock of Aalas and burned the different castas into its surface. For example, the symbols are used to mark animals.

The rock is located in the remote mountain range Serrania Jarara. The living conditions in this region are very difficult. Trucks only drive along the coast and don’t reach Aalas. There is a nearby Jagüey that provides water. If the Jagüey is exhausted there is only permanent spring with salty water. The figure below shows the spring “ojo de agua” at Aalas. Donkeys are used to transport the water to the homes.