A traditional Wayuu settlement is made up of five or six houses that made up caserios or rancherias. Each rancheria has a name after a plant, animal or geographic place. A territory that contains many rancherias is named after the mother's last name, because of the matriarchal structure of the Wayuu culture. The Wayuus never group into towns and rancherias are usually isolated and far from each other, to control and prevent mixing of their goat herds.The typical house is a small structure called piichi or miichi, generally divided into two rooms where they hang hamocs to sleep and to keep personal belongings such as cotton made purses and ceramics to keep water. Living quarters can be either rectangular or semi-circular and the rooftop is made up of dried cactus hearts. Traditionally, the walls are made out of yotojoro - a wattle and daub of mud, hay and dried canes -, but some of them have shifted towards a more modern construction style, like using cement and other materials.
Close to the main house they erect a common area, similar to a living room named luma or enramada, but almost in the open. It's made out of six pillars and a flat roof and serves as a common area for everyday duties and where visitors are attended, business activities are handled and where relatives hang their hammocks for the noon power nap.
The Dagger Cactus (Stenocereus griseus) which the Wayuu call yosú is the preferred source of roof and yotojoro wood. This plant is used for many other purposes - it can be planted to produce living fences around pastureland, and when young the shoots are fed to goats. The fruit (iguaraya) are edible and pitahaya-like and are a popular food among the Wayuu. Because the demand for yosú as food or for wood can be seasonally high, the plant population at times declines to a point where little fruit or cuttings for fences are available. It has thus been proposed to develop techniques by which the Wayuu can cultivate or tend for the cactus as a proper crop.