Celebration and culture in the "Golden Gate" of Colombia
Barranquilla, also known as "la Arenosa" (the Sandy) and "Curramba la Bella" (Curramba the beautiful), is one of Colombia's major cities, as well as a key tourist destination for locals and foreigners.
This city, where the long journey of the Magdalena River comes to an end, is home to a many great musicians, writers, and painters. It is also the stage of one of the country's most important celebrations: the Carnival of Barranquilla.
Joy, music, and tradition are so much a part of this Colombian city, down to each of its squares and streets, that every day feels like a real carnival. The charm, warmth, and energy of the people of Barranquilla captivate the city's visitors. The famed quote from singer Joe Arroyo, "in Barranquilla I'll stay," reflects the sentiment of many upon visiting this beautiful city.
Thanks to its favorable geography, Barranquilla, capital of the Atlántico Department, has one of the most important ports in the whole country. Thanks to this famous port, Barranquilla is also known as the "Golden Gate" of Colombia. Barranquilla's port, in addition to other factors, has allowed it to position itself as a city with high potential for economic and industrial development.
What is there to do in Barranquilla?
This city offers a wide range of recreational and cultural activities. For example, you can visit the city's historic center, declared a Place of Cultural Interest in 1999, where you'll find tourist locations such as the Paseo de Bolívar, one of the most noteworthy avenues in the city, where City Hall, the Church of San Nicolas, the Plaza de San Roque, and multiple commercial buildings are located.
You can also learn more about the culture and art of the city and region in the Caribbean Museum and the Baranquilla Modern Art Museum, which has works from important artists, such as Fernando Botero, Karel Appel, Ángel Loochkartt, Enrique Grau, Alejandro Obregón, Salvador Dalí, and many others.
Other places of interest that you can visit include the Queen Mary Cathedral, a Colombian cultural landmark, and the Castle of San Antonio de Salgar, one of Barranquilla's most emblematic buildings.
Barranquilla also offers many delicious dishes thanks to its cultural mix with Caribbean influences. So you can enjoy local dishes such as sancocho de guandú con carne salada (pigeon pea soup with salted meat), bollos de yuca (cheese-filled cassava balls), and drinks prepared with fruits like corozo, tamarind, sapote, and loquat.
The Carnival of Barranquilla isn't just the most important folk and cultural event in Colombia; it's also a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, according to Unesco.
The Carnival is a living treasure that is passed down, generation to generation. It is the most authentic expression of the Colombian people, an assembly of colors, races, legends, coastal joy, revelry, and rhythms such as the cumbia, mapalé, garabato, and son.
The Carnival lasts four days, during which you'll have many unforgettable experiences. The festivities begin days before Ash Wednesday, reaching their peak that Saturday, during the famed Battle of Flowers, a joyful parade filled with colors and beauty.
In addition to this celebration, Barranquilla is the perfect destination for making purchases, and is a port where sailors from around the world dock with their yachts and sailboats.
In the city, you can also visit the legendary Roberto Meléndez Metropolitan Stadium, home of Atlético Junior and the Colombia National Team in the World Cup Qualifying matches.
Activities you won't want to miss out on
If you want to enjoy all the area's natural beauty, you must visit Bocas de Ceniza, a marvelous place where the Magdalena River meets the Caribbean Sea. This place is definitely photo-worthy.
The Barranquilla Zoo is another interesting place to visit. It has 550 animals of 140 different species, some of which are in danger of extinction, such as the eagle, the condor, the flamingo, the manatee, and the spectacled bear.
The Golden Gate park (el Gran Malecón), which extends about three miles along the west bank of the Magdalena River, is also worth visiting. The area offers a variety of culinary, sports, cultural, and recreational activities.
- The average temperature in Barranquilla is 81.3 °F, so we recommend bringing light clothes to beat the heat.
- You can use the Integrated Transport System to get around the city. This system uses rapid transit buses that can take you to many different tourist destinations.
- Remember that the city has many hotels and apartments available to stay in that are strategically located and perfect for any budget.
- Keep in mind that traveling to Barranquilla is very easy thanks to the Ernesto Cortissoz International Airport, which has many important national and international connections.
With this information, you're ready to enjoy Barranquilla and feel the incomparable carnival rhythms of one of the main tourist destinations of Colombia. We'll see you there!