Maicao (Wayuu: mai-ka-u) is a city and municipality in the Department of La Guajira, northern Republic of Colombia. It is located 76 km from Riohacha, the capital of the department and is the second largest urban center near the border with Venezuela, after the city of Cúcuta.
The city was founded on June 27, 1927 by Colonel Rodolfo Morales and Tomás Curvelo Iguarán, on behalf of the Department of Magdalena in the middle of the Wayuu people territory. During the 1970s Maicao became a commercial hub due to an oil boom in Venezuela and the flow of contraband present in the Guajira peninsula.
The name of Maicao comes from the Wayunaiki: mai-ka-u which means "Land of the Maize.