El Cerrejón Coal Mine

Useful Information

Location: Ranchería river valley, 100 km south of Riohacha. Near Albania, La Guajira.
Open: All year Mon-Sat 7-11:30, 13:30-15:30. No tours if its raining.
Classification: MineCoal Mine
Light: n/a.
Dimension: L=7,200 m, W=1,900 m, VR=300 m.
Guided tours: V=17,000/a [2010], D=2 h.
Address: Visitor's Center, Elisa Gonzalez Rosangela Acosta, Tel: +57-5-3505705, Tel: +57-5-3505554, Fax: +57-5-7774389, Mobile: +57-3157601263
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1977 beginning of exploration.
1980 start of mining operations.
1986 first production of coal.



El Cerrejón Coal Mine is one of the biggest open cast mines of the world. It is said to be the biggest open cast coal mine. It is also the largest mining operation in Colombia and with an output of 31.2 million tons [2009] it contributes almost half of Colombia's coal exports. The currently known reserves will be mined until 2034.

The operators of the mine offer mine tours, so the mine is visited by some 17,000 people per year, mostly students but also tourists. However, there are numerous requirements for such a visit. It is necessary to make an appointment, wear appropriate clothes, especially sturdy boots. Safety glasses and helmet are provided. Visitors must be at least 1.48 m high, but there is no age restriction for children. All participants must fax their names and the passport or id card number, at least five days in advance. Private vehicles must be parked on the parking lot at the North Entrance. The Visitor Centre is located at mine entrance. Tours are cancelled during rain for safety reasons. The weather is dry most of the year but there may be occasional rainfalls during the months of August and November.

The visits include an introduction video presentation, a bus ride through the Mushaisa residential camp and the mine to an outlook. The whole tour takes about two hours. It may be completed by a second tour at Puerto Bolívar, the port where the coal is loaded on ships. The mine is connected to the harbour by a 150 km long standard-gauge railway. The same regulations apply for this tour, but it takes only 45 minutes.