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Information on the History, Activities, Safety, and Carnival in Barranquilla Colombia

Barranquilla Colombia

If you are foreigner traveling in Colombia, and you tell a local you are traveling to Barranquilla, you are likely to hear the following word, which you should recognize: peligroso (dangerous).  This is not without cause.  During the height of Colombia’s struggle with the FARC and paramilitaries, Barranquilla’s location at the mouth of Magdallena River and its status as the chief Caribbean port city made it a strategic location in the drug war.  Consequently, its crime and homicide rates were among the top 5 in the country for many years.

With this history in mind, it is also important to note that major crime rates have been cut in half since the peek of violence in 2002, and boosted by substantial commercial growth, the city is showing signs of an emergent middle class.  The problem for a tourist is that these middle class success stories are often tucked away from the city center, out of the way of most tourists.  As such, what most tourists experience if they elect to stay a day or two in Barranquilla are rough and impoverished streets set amidst towering skyscrapers.

Barranquilla is located half way between Cartagena and Santa Marta.  The city’s downtown area features a few notable colonial style houses and state buildings which are largely covered by the swaths of street venders who compete for space along 15-20 blocks of Barranquilla’s downtown area.  The Parque Cultural del Caribe is a unique location for tourists looking to spend an afternoon familiarizing themselves with the region’s history and cultural heritage.  The park features the Museo del Caribe—an interactive modern museum providing information on the region’s literary and artistic icons and movements, the Biblioteca Mediateca Macondo—a library largely devoted to the works of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and an outdoor theater.

Barranquilla’s Carnival, which occurs 40 days prior to holy week, was named a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.  It features a week of dancing, music, masquerade, fire, drinking, and celebration.  If you happen to arrive in Barranquilla during Carnival, you will need to book accomodations early.  If you miss out on all this hoopla but are nonetheless interested in learning more about it, check out the Museo de Carnival, located in the Abajo neighborhood.

  • Things to Do and See

    Activities, Places to Visit, Things to Do and See, Points of Interest in Barranquilla, Colombia

  • What to Eat

    Restaurants, Dining, Food and Cocktails available in Barranquilla Colombia

  • How to Get There

    Information on Bus, Airline, and Ferry Boat Travel to and from Barranquilla Colombia