Three Reasons You Should Visit Barranquilla

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.

One view of Barranquilla

One view of Barranquilla

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.

Cumbia dancers in the 2012 Barranquilla Carnaval

Cumbia dancers in the 2012 Barranquilla Carnaval

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.

A boat traveling down the Magdalena River

A boat traveling down the Magdalena River

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 


5 thoughts on “Three Reasons You Should Visit Barranquilla

  1. Looking for information about the carnival in Barranquilla, I came across your post. I was wondering, if I have only 4 days to stay there during the celebrations, would you recommend splitting them (2 days pre-carnival and two days celebrations), or is it better to stay the full 4 days of the carnival? Thanks a lot!

    Become a Wanderstrudel!

  2. Stay the full 4 days!! each day of Carnival celebrates a different aspect and/or tradition, so every day has a different type of event happening at a different location in the city. Also, if possible, try scoring a ticket to one of the spectator stands set up at the ‘via 40’, also known as the ‘cumbiodromo’ where you can watch all the different dance groups from a nice height while enjoying great drinks

  3. Pingback: Nightlife in Cartagena and Barranquilla | Travel, Discover, Experience

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