The Guajira Basin is placed at the north-eastern corner of Colombia. It is limited by two regional wrench faults, supposed to represent the contact between the Caribbean and South American plates. The Cuisa right-lateral strike slip fault separates the Upper Guajira and Lower Guajira sub-basins. The Chimare, Portete and Cocinetas depressions constitute minor tectonic structures within the Upper Guajira basin also related to strike slip faults. The western Lower Guajira area seems to have a close relationship with the geological framework of the productive Guajira offshore basin, whereas the eastern sector is associated with the geology of the Gulf of Maracaibo.
The Guajira Basin consists of several cortical blocks, or geological terrains, of different age and composition, assumed to have been formed during four great tectonic cycles: two cycles at some stage in amid the Grenville and Caledonian orogenies. A third cycle is defined between the Alleghanian orogeny and the beginning of the Mesozoic subduction of the Caribbean plate beneath South American one, and a fourth cycle that ends with the Cenozoic exhumation of the Andes.