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Barranquilla is a cosmopolitan and primarily industrial city, often visited by businessmen of all nationalities. However the main attraction for tourism is its carnival "Carnaval de Barranquilla," that takes place during the four days before Ash Wednesday. In November 2003, UNESCO proclaimed it as one of 28 different "masterpieces of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity".

Info Barranquilla


Barranquilla is a city and municipality located in northern Colombia. It is the only major city in South America that was populated before its formal foundation. Barranquilla is located near the Caribbean Sea. The city is located in the Atlántico Department, of which it is the capital. Barranquilla is the largest city and port in the northern Caribbean Coast region of Colombia, with a population of 2,370,753 as of 2011 in its metropolitan area, which makes it Colombia's fourth most populous city after Bogotá, Medellín and Cali.

Barranquilla lies strategically next to the delta of the Magdalena River, 7.5 kilometres (4.7 miles) (originally 25 kilometres (16 miles) before rapid urban growth) from its mouth at the Caribbean Sea, serving as port for river and maritime transportation within Colombia. It is also the main industrial, shopping, educational and cultural centre of the Caribbean Region of Colombia. The city is the core of the Metropolitan Area of Barranquilla, which also includes the municipalities of Soledad,Galapa, Malambo, and Puerto Colombia.

Barranquilla was legally established as a town on April 7, 1813, although it dated from at least 1629. It grew into an important port, serving as a haven for immigrants from Europe, especially during and immediately following World War I and World War II, when waves of additional immigrants from the Middle East and Asia arrived. Barranquilla became Colombia's principal port, and with its level of industrialization and modernity earned the city the nickname Colombia's Golden Gate (Spanish: La Puerta de Oro de Colombia). In the 1940s, Barranquilla was the second largest city in Colombia and one of the most modern cities in the Caribbean and in South America, while later, local administrations, due to widespread corruption in their ranks, brought about a decline in the standard of living. As government investment increased in other Colombian cities, Barranquilla's national position was eclipsed.

The city is home to one of the most important folk and cultural festivals of Colombia, the Carnival of Barranquilla, which was declared a National Cultural Heritage by the Congress of Colombia in 2001 and recognized by UNESCO in 2003. Ernesto Cortissoz International Airport, built in Barranquilla in 1919, was the first airport in South America. The city is served by domestic and international flights.

Prices in Barranquilla



Milk1 liter$0.75
Tomatoes1 kg$0.65
Cheese0.5 kg$2.10
Apples1 kg$1.20
Oranges1 kg$0.65
Beer (domestic)0.5 l$0.72
Bottle of Wine1 bottle$7.70
Coca-Cola2 liters$1.28
Bread1 piece$0.77
Water1.5 l$1.30



Dinner (Low-range)for 2$14.00
Dinner (Mid-range)for 2$30.00
Dinner (High-range)for 2$
Mac Meal or similar1 meal$4.10
Water0.33 l$0.64
Cappuccino1 cup$1.10
Beer (Imported)0.33 l$1.40
Beer (domestic)0.5 l$0.85
Coca-Cola0.33 l$0.70
Coctail drink1 drink$4.90



Cinema2 tickets$7.00
Gym1 month$32.00
Men’s Haircut1 haircut$3.20
Theatar2 tickets$32.00
Mobile (prepaid)1 min.$0.05
Pack of Marlboro1 pack$1.40



Antibiotics1 pack$5.50
Tampons32 pieces$6.00
Deodorant50 ml.$2.50
Shampoo400 ml.$3.10
Toilet paper4 rolls$1.98
Toothpaste1 tube$1.30



Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)1 pair$61.00
Dress summer (Zara, H&M….)1 pair$45.00
Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas…)1 pair$72.00
Leather shoes1 pair$64.00



Gasoline1 liter$0.84
Taxi1 km$
Local Transport1 ticket$0.62

Tourist (Backpacker)  

34 $ per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • meals in cheap restaurant
  • public transport
  • cheap hotel

Tourist (business/regular)  

119 $ per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • mid-range meals and drinks
  • transportation
  • hotel

Transportation - Get In

Transportation - Get In

By plane

Visitors arrive to the city traditionally by plane. The airport "Ernesto Cortissoz" is on the far south side of the city. The fare is usually USD$8–12 to get to the city center by taxi.

International direct flights are available to Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Panama City. Domestic non-stop flights arrive from Bogotá, Medellín and Cali.

Airport car rental services can be arranged from abroad with two main companies: Hertz and National Car Rental.

Transportation - Get In

By bus

Buses run by the terminal as well and will get you into the city for $0.55 or less, with the drawback of a significantly less comfortable ride experience.

Barranquilla can also be a connection to other cities of the northern coast of the country, provided the traveler doesn't have a flight connection to anywhere else in Colombia already. Long-distance bus fares (in US dollars) to some cities are :

  • Cartagena - $12
  • Maicao - $13
  • Santa Marta $13
  • Medellín $20
  • Maracaibo - $26
  • Caracas - $44

Since the bus station is quite far away from the city center, and since buses departing from there are generally slow and stop at every village, it might be a good option to travel with bus companies operating direct links to Cartagena, Bogotá or Santa Marta from around the city center. One of these is Berlinastur [www] , departure to Cartagena or Santa Marta every hour, 16COP, terminal at calle 96 with carrera 46. To get there from the tramway system you can take Alimentador A-71 or A-94, and also many "unofficial" colectivos, ask people in the street.

Cochetur runs air conditioned van services for travel among Cartagena, Baranquilla, and Santa Marta. Price per person is around 25,000 pesos and trip time to either of the other cities is around 2 hours.


Transportation - Get Around

Moving around in Barranquilla depends largely on the traveler's budget, language barriers and spirit of adventure.

Renting a car is an option for visitors with a more comfortable budget, the daily fare for an economy vehicle being around 150.000 pesos a day (about 75 USD), and with gasoline prices of about 8.000 pesos (4 usd) per gallon. However, driving in Barranquilla can be obviously tricky if you don't know your way around or the changes in traffic during rush hour. Rent a car services can be dealt with from abroad or upon arrival to the hotel, may that be the case.

Taking a taxi is by far the best option for the newcomer. As of January 2011, the minimum fare is now 5.000 pesos(2.60 USD). They may more a bit more expensive at night time, Sundays, on national Holidays or during rush hour. Taxis in Barranquilla do not have a meter: The fare is decided by the driver on the basis of distance, travel time and daytime vs nighttime. The most you will ever be charged for an in town trip is 16.000 pesos (8.5 USD).

For those with more spirit for adventure, buses are another option. In this case, talking to the driver may not be necessary, but knowing someone in town is definitely of great help when choosing the right route. Bus fares are around 0.80 USD per ride, sometimes a little more if the bus is equipped with air conditioning (not all of them are). Be warned that the buses do not wait until you are seated before they move and when getting off, often start back up before both your feet are on the ground when getting off. They also start and stop abruptly, so hang on.

Mototaxis are an illegal way of transportation that has grown in popularity over the past 3 years. These consist of motorcycles charging significantly less money than a regular cab to take you virtually anywhere, but this mean of transportation is riddled with risks for personal safety, as these drivers have the tendency to be reckless.






There are many shopping centers with national and international brands. The biggest two are Buenavista and Villa Country, both located to the north. A cheaper alternative with plenty of "Sales" is El Único.

If what you want is artisanal souvenirs, the corner of 72 street and 46 avenue is the place to go. There you will find kiosks selling cheaper artisan work and a store by the name of "Artesanías de Colombia", where more certified, yet more expensive souvenirs can be found. At the down town you will also find these for a lower price but usually of lower quality. You can also find the true and authentic artesanias in nearby towns such as Usiacurí, many of which are worth visiting.


Both local and international cuisine are available in town. Local delicacies include arroz con coco and sancocho de guandul (a soup made of pigeon peas or "guandules" and meat), bocachico frito (fried fish from the Magdalena river), sancocho, and fritos (fried foods), including arepas and empanadas. If you wish to try local food, good choices are;

  • Mag Mondongo
  • Narcobollo
  • La mano Costena
  • El Tremendo Guandul
  • El portal del Marisco (seafood).
  • El corral del Marisco (seafood).

Try to go to "Las Flores" in the nearbies "Bocas de Ceniza". There are many seafood restaurants next to Magdalena River. Very good food and environment.

All the above offer traditional food at very affordable prices.

Some other places to go, for a more international menu are:

  • Doña Linda (Arabic food)
  • El Arabe Gourmet (Lebanese food)
  • Pepe Anca (steak)
  • Pepe Anca (try their pepper steak. pricey but worth it)
  • La bonga del sinu (steak)
  • El Merendero (steak)
  • Cafe de la Casa (Colombian gourmet sandwiches, salads, drinks with outdoor lounge area)
  • Bora Bora (Thai)
  • La vera cucina italiana (Italian)
  • Nena Lela (Italian)
  • La Caprichosa (Pizza) Very good pizzas. You can order by pieces (very huge pieces) for only USD 1.50, and it will be enough to keep your stomach up.

Coffe & Drink

The local beer is Aguila, and is also the cheapest one. However, Club Colombia is a Colombian beer with great flavor and quality, and just a little more expensive.

International beer is available widely, with Heineken being the preferred brand.

The spirit of preference by locals is rum, in a variety of national and international brands. Another popular drink is Aguardiente (an anise-flavoured liqueur derived from sugar cane), and is worth a try. Aguardiente literally means "burning water", and it honors its name. As well Scotch, which is a little more expensive, hence it is consumed by the elite, the preferred brand is called Old Parr.

Almost any type of liquor is available, whiskey, vodka and tequila some of the most prevalent.

Sights & Landmarks

Every year by the end of February or early March (forty days before Ash Wednesday), Barranquilla hosts its famous "Carnaval de Barranquilla" (carnival of Barranquilla), a four-day-long celebration in which the true partying spirit of the city is unleashed. Parades, dances, concerts and many cultural manifestations take place all over town. For more information visit [www]

Barranquilla also houses the beautiful and famous Teatro Amira de la Rosa, the old Customs building-Edificio de la Aduana, that serves as library as well as a museum; the Museum of Gold; and many other great places to visit. There are also a large number of art deco buildings built from the late thirties into the fifties. (See the book Barranquilla-Ciudad Art Deco By Gustavo Garcia)

Another place to visit is "Bocas de Ceniza", where the Magdalena River meets the Atlantic Ocean.

  • Museo del CaribeCalle 36 No. 46-66,  +57 5 372 0581. 9AM-5PM. A great collection of the history of Barranquilla and the Caribbean. Modern displays featuring immigration, native cultures, ecology, food and else. A special chamber dedicated to author Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Closed: first Monday of the month (Tuesday if Monday is a holiday). COP 10.000.

Museums & Galleries

Museo Romántico (Romantic Museum) is located in a Republican mansion inEl Prado district, showing objects from the history of the city. Costumes can be seen from the Carnival Queens to a replica of the old Abello ridge on the Paseo de Bolívar, through to the typewriter that Gabriel García Márquez wrote his first novel on, La Hojarasca. There are also letters of Simón Bolívar, photographs, albums, collections of newspapers, and other items that identify the history of the city. Museo del Caribe (Museum of the Caribbean) is located in the Parque Cultural del Caribe. Museo Antropológico y Etnológico (Anthropological and Ethnological Museum.) is housed in the Faculty of Fine Arts at the Universidad del Atlántico. It presents a comprehensive collection of pieces from the indigenous cultures that inhabited the region. It also provides services as a newspaper library, reading room and exhibition hall. Museo de Arte Moderno (Museum of Modern Art)., established in 1996, brings together an important selection of works by several of the most important artists of the second half of the twentieth century. The collection includes works by renowned authors such as Fernando Botero, Alejandro Obregón, Enrique Grau and Luis Caballero. It is planned to be transferred to the Parque Cultural del Caribe.

Museo Aeronáutico (Aeronautical Museum) is located at the Naval Officers' School ARC, founded in 1989 in tribute to the momentum that took place in Barranquilla with commercial aviation in the early twentieth century. Museo del Atlántico (Museum of the Atlantic) is a new regional museum located in the former headquarters of the Government of the Atlántico Department, covering over 4,000 square metres. Museo del Carnaval (Carnival Museum) is another new museum established pm April 7, 2011 by the Fundación Carnaval de Barranquilla in partnership with the Parque Cultural del Caribe and the Museo del Caribe, located in the Casa del Carnaval in the barrio of Abajo.

Things to do

Barranquilla is a large, complex city. Daytime activities are mainly of shopping and eating, but nightlife is active all year round, with bars and nightclubs open from Thursdays to Sundays in most cases. Some of the main party spots in town are Trucupey Latin Disco, AguaHelada, MoMa and Frogg Leggs if you plan to dance.

For a more relaxed environment some options are Luna Negra, Beba Genobeba, Old Times (an 80's retro bar) and some spots known as "estancos": These are basically liquor stores with or without tables, where music is played on weekends. Commonly people gather in these places to drink listening to music from the place itself or from their own car audio systems (in Barranquilla sound restrictions are quite lenient). As well there are magnificent restaurants in the area known as "Washington" such as Naia, Mix where the tourist can experience an elegant, chic night.

Some places are known as "puntos frios" or "mundo de la cerveza" (world of beer), in which you should be able to get beer pretty much any day. There are also small tiendas (convenience stores all over the city).

If you are lucky enough to go during Carnival you will find yourself in a place in which everybody is up to party for entire days with no rest.

Take "Chiva", an old-style bus full of people, music and dancing! The bus takes you to several nice discos in Bquilla. Typically on Saturday nights. Here is a good one: "La Chiva de Juan". Calle 34 # 72-197. Tel: 3600264. Cell: 315-7420885.

  • Go bowling at: Titos Bolo ClubCarrera 51B No. 94-110. Titos Bolo Club is a classic bowling place where you have to write down your own score. Price is 27.000 pesos per hour and lane + shoe rent.
  • Drive Gokart at Xtreme Karts - Carrefour PradoCarrera 56 No. 75-155. 10AM-10:30PM. Here you can drive gokart in the basement of the supermarket Carrefour in Altos Del Prado. It's a lot of fun to race with your friends. Price is 9.000 pesos for 6 minutes.

Festivals and events

Throughout the year, the city has considerable cultural activity, it is best known is the Carnival of Barranquilla, one of the most famous festivals in Colombia. It is a multicultural event highlighting the cultural traditions from the 19th Century. It is held annually during the four days preceding Ash Wednesday-Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, usually in February or early March. In 2001 it was declared the "Cultural Patrimony of the Nation" by the National Congress of Colombia and in 2003 "Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" by UNESCO. The city is home to varied manifestations as folk dances, songs, games, legends, tales and superstitions, among others, many of which reach their peak during the Carnival.

Barranquilla is home to many cultural events like art shows, exhibitions, literary workshops, talks philosophy, plays, poetry workshops, dances, exhibitions, concerts and festivals like the Festival de Orquestas under the Carnival and Barranquijazz. Since 1957 it conducts the Concert of the Month, for the dissemination of classical music.

In addition to the Carnival of Barranquilla and related activities, some of the most important cultural events in the city are: Barranquijazz, jazz festival which brings together major international figures of jazz, held in September at the Amira de la Rosa Theatre, among other places, Carnaval de las Artes, a cultural event uniting intellectuals, writers, filmmakers, musicians and artists of national and international reputation, Feria Artesanal y Folclórica (Craft and Folk Fair) on the eastern side of the stadium, Feria del Juguete (Toy Fair), a great sale of toys during the month of December in the grounds of the Universal cemetery, Festival Internacional de Cuenteros El Caribe Cuenta with humor and stories which is held annually in August, Plataforma K. Evento, an annual fashion event organized by the Chamber of Commerce of Barranquilla held in March at the Universidad del Norte, Salón de Artistas Costeños, an art festival organised annually by the Chamber of Commerce of Barranquilla, and the Miche Rock Festival, supported by the District Department of Culture of Barranquilla and the Departmental Secretariat of Culture.

Safety in Barranquilla


Mid. / 5.0

Safety (Walking alone - day)

Low / 2.0

Safety (Walking alone - night)