Barranquilla is often excluded from the list of places to visit when traveling in Colombia, or it is only contemplated as a base from which you can travel to places like Cartagena, Santa Marta, or La Guajira. If you previously thought a stay in Barranquilla wasn’t worth it, this post is for you. Today, I am going to tell you three reasons why I think Barranquilla should be on your Colombian itinerary.
1. You can celebrate the second largest Carnaval celebration in the world.
The Barranquilla Carnaval is not only the second largest Carnaval celebration in the world, only beaten by the Carnaval celebration in Rio de Janeiro, but it is also perhaps the most famous and recognized celebration in Colombia. It is one of the most impressive displays of Colombian culture, giving you a taste of everything from the history and influence of African slaves to the modern day influence of reggaeton and champeta music scene on Colombia culture. Carnaval only happens once a year in Barranquilla, but, fortunately, there are Carnaval events going on year-round. So, even if you can’t make to Barranquilla for Carnaval, be on the lookout for pre-Carnaval parades and cumbia wheels in popular neighborhoods, and be sure to check out the House of Carnaval, where you can find all sorts of Carnaval memorabilia on display as well as learn a little more about how Carnaval celebrations began in Barranquilla.
2. You can dance a mean salsa at the local salsa bar, la Troja.
La Troja is a landmark in Barranquilla and has been declared a Musical and Cultural Heritage of the city due to its preservation of the most typical and traditional types of coastal and local music genres. Only open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights, la Troja is one of the most established and popular weekend plans for Barranquilleros. If you enjoy dancing, music, and hanging out with locals, you can’t miss a night at la Troja.
3. You can see Colombia’s most important river, the Magdalena River, empty into the Atlantic Ocean.
Due to its proximity to the Magdalena River and the Atlantic Ocean, Barranquilla has always been one of Colombia’s most important port cities—it even earned the nickname, “the port of gold.” Even today, you can watch both national and international boats arrive to and leave Barranquilla packed with goods being imported and exported.
There is a special little place in Barranquilla called Bocas de Cenizas, “mouth of ashes,” where you can observe up close the mouth of the Magdalena River as it empties into the Atlantic Ocean. To best observe, you’ll want to jump on the touristic train, beginning in the fishing neighborhood of las Flores, that will carry you to the end of the Magdalena River where you can see the ash-colored swirling water that is born out of the interlacing of the Magdalena River with the Atlantic Ocean.
Hopefully, these three reasons have convinced you to spend a little time exploring the “port of gold” during your travels in Colombia!
Happy travels and until next time,
Paige M. Poole
About the Author:
“Paige M. Poole is an Alabamian and traveler at heart who has settled, for now, in Barranquilla, Colombia, and earns her living as an English professor at the Instituto de Idiomas (Language Institute) at la Universidad del Norte (University of the North). When not teaching English, she enjoys blogging, traveling, relaxing on the beach, and spending time with her partner and two cats, Milo and Sophie. You can see more of Paige’s traveling experiences in her personal blog www.trotamunda.wordpress.com
- Carnival in Colombia (www.uncovercolombia.com)
- Famous Festivals in Colombia (www.uncovercolombia.com)
- En Barranquilla me quedo – My internship with the AIESEC Global Community Development Program in Barranquilla, Colombia (tibarine.wordpress.com)