If you are traveling to the Caribbean Coast of Colombia and are looking for a good night out, Barranquilla and Cartagena can offer you a variety of atmospheres and establishments to let loose, to relax, and to get a taste of what it’s like to have a good time in Colombia.
In Barranquilla, you will find a host of different atmospheres for “going out.” Perhaps the most local way to go out is to go to a tienda. Tiendas are small neighbourhood stores that sell everything from toothpaste to vegetables to cheese to beer and wine to cell phone minutes and more. In the afternoon and evening, most tiendas put out chairs, some include tables, and people come after work and sit with friends, talk, listen to vallenato music and have a couple of beers to unwind. On the weekends, you will see people dancing at the tiendas, as there is typically louder music being played and the stores are open later.
There are also a lot of more traditional-styled bars in Barranquilla—both bars for sitting and talking in a relaxed atmosphere as well as bars for dancing and listening to music, live or via speakers. These bars are all over the city, but the highest concentration of them can be found on Calle 84, Carrera 21, and Carrera 8. You’ll just have to explore a bit to find one you think fits what you’re looking for. Even so, by far the most famous and frequented bar in Barranquilla is La Troja. La Troja is located on the corner of la Carrera 44 and Calle 74. It is the most traditional bar in town, and it has been declared a Cultural and Musical Heritage Site in the city due to the traditional music, dancing, and atmosphere that you can find there as well as for its long standing presence in the city. If you want to come here, make sure you come on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday evening as it’s closed during the week.
Likewise, there are several dance clubs in the city as well. While some of the most popular ones are located in the northern sections of the city, you will also find a host of clubs on the Carrera 21 and Carrera 8 as well. Most clubs, as in most parts of the world, will charge a cover and some have dress codes (think no shorts, no flip flops, no hats, etc…).
In Cartagena, you will also find a variety of places for going out at night. In Cartagena, the city is divided into very defined zones where you will find distinct places and atmospheres. For example, within the Walled City (la Ciudad Amurallada), you can find small, quaint, bars with outside seating where you can enjoy a nice beverage and dinner while you look out over the Caribbean Sea or admire the colonial buildings around you.
In the Bocagrande area of the city, you can find more upscale bars and clubs, and, as in Barranquilla, most of these places will charge a cover—some a “consumable” cover and others simply a fee to get in the establishment. In Bocagrande, you can also find stands on the beachfront selling drinks and street food.
Perhaps the most popular area for going out in Cartagena, though, is the neighbourhood known as Getsemaní. In this neighbourhood, you will find the trendiest bars, restaurants, and clubs in the city. If you enjoy going out at night, this neighbourhood is not to be missed.
So, what are you waiting for? Go get your nightlife on!
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 http://www.trotamunda.wordpress.com