Hot and sticky Barranquilla, sat on the northern tip of Colombia and flanked by the Rio Magdalena, is a vibrant and typically South American city famed for its energetic Carnaval, which is one of the country’s most revered festival celebrations. Home to a large and busy port, Barranquilla boasts a multi cultural population who unite in creating both the welcoming and easygoing nature of the locals and also the superb cuisine on offer in all corners of the city.
Although not renowned for an abundance of attractions outside of Carnaval, there are still enough places to keep visitors occupied for a few days. Take a wander around Centro Historico home to some fine buildings and churches, watch the world go by at Plaza de la Paz before admiring the Catedral Metropolitana, drop into one of the many art galleries or relax with a cold beer in a street side café. When the sun sets head to El Norte for the main dining and nightlife action. With an extra day or two, the old colonial town of Soledad, south along the banks of Rio Magdalena, makes for a pleasant break from the city.
With a hot and humid climate for most of the year, walking around Barranquilla can often be draining on the energy levels, therefore taxis, which are cheap, are a good option when traveling between destinations. The climate does have its positive side however, as when Carnaval comes around the locals become more scantily clad and beautiful than usual.
Things to do in
Carnaval de Barranquilla - By far the highlight of any visit to Barranquilla is the four day spectacle of the city’s carnival, the most extravagant and boisterous in Colombia and one to rival any taking place in Brazil. At the end February/early March the city becomes one huge party of song, dance and colorful parades, stretching from the city centre down to the MagdalenaRiver. If around at this time then the only thing to do is sink a few beers, put on your dancing shows and join in the non-stop revelry.
Museums in Barranquilla - Without too many attractions to boast, Barranquilla is still home to couple of interesting museums that are worth a few hours. Museo de Antropologia has a good collection of cultural and indigenous artifacts from the local region and Museo del Caribe showcases the history and culture of Caribbean-Colombians. With time available, try to take in a concert or performance at Teatro Amira de la Rosa.
Barranquilla Nightlife - Barranquilla nightlife has something to suit everyone, with restaurants offering fine local and international cuisine to nightclubs running into the early hours. For bars and clubs, El Norte is the busiest spot, with Frogg Leggs Club being the current favorite. UVA Club is another hot spot, where guys dress sharp and girls very little. Also worth a look is Coco Beach, a laidback open-air cocktail bar. During carnival you only need look to the streets to find a 24-hour party. When heading out for dinner, make sure to sample the local delights such as, sanchochos (thick soups), mojarra frita (a fried fish) and anything using tropical ingredients including coconut, mango and banana.
Budget Hotels Barranquilla
Hotel Colonial Inn - Cheap and friendly city centre hotel in a safe area. Tel (57) 5 379 0241.
Hotel Olimpico - Cheap option and a popular backpacker spot during carnival. Tel (57) 5 351 8310.
Hotel San Francisco - Good budget option with single, double and triple rooms. Tel (57) 5 351 5532.
Midrange Hotels Barranquilla
Hotel Canadiense - Centrally located hotel with a range of comfortable rooms. Tel (57) 5 379 2260.
Hotel Genova - Good value hotel with swimming pool and decent restaurant. Tel (57) 5 351 1199.
Luxury Hotels Barranquilla
Hotel del Prado - Old and elegant hotel with pleasant tropical garden. Tel (57) 5 369 7777.
Sonesta Hotel - Contemporary hotel with superb ocean views. Tel (57) 5 385 6060.