Things to Do in Barranquilla, Colombia

by Melissa Sherrard

With more than a million residents, the port town of Barranquilla is the fourth-largest industrial city on Columbia's Caribbean coast. Known as "Curramba la Bella," Barranquilla is nestled between Santa Marta and Cartagena. In addition to checking out the usual tourist attractions in this part of Columbia such as the Museo del Caribe, the famous hall of the Banco de la Republica and the Barranquilla Zoo, make time for activities the locals enjoy.

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Attend a Festival

Barranquilla is home to one of the world's top Carnival celebrations, perhaps second only to the Carnival of Rio de Janeiro. Barranquilla's Carnival is held every January, beginning four days before Ash Wednesday, and the flamboyant festival includes influences from the Caribbean with everything from lively music and rumba dancing to colorful, barely-there costumes that dazzle onlookers. Other festivals held in Barranquilla include the Carnaval de las Artes, a yearly gathering of artists and intellectuals from around the world, and the Latin jazz festival known as "Barranquijazz," which is held every September.

See a Sporting Event

The port city of Barranquilla has developed its own infrastructure of sports complexes, clubs and annual events. The Estadio Metropolitano Roberto Meléndez is Barranquilla's premier sports complex housing a track, a soccer pitch, a long jump, and a javelin and hammer range. Other sports complexes that accommodate games and events throughout the year include the Estadio Romelio Martínez, which serves as the home of the Barranquilla Fútbol Club, and the Estadio Tomás Arrieta, which was built for the V Central American and Caribbean Games and is now the home of the Caimanes de Barranquilla Baseball Club.

Enjoy the Water

Barranquilla is situated primarily on the west banks of the Magdalena River's picturesque delta, which has long offered water sports enthusiasts a wealth of amusements. Just off the sandy beaches, calm waters offer the perfect opportunity for snorkelers and divers to explore the underwater wonders of the Magdalena. Kite surfers catch the breeze of the river mouth to glide over the waves, and tourists can rent jet skis and boats to spend an afternoon on the water.

Go Club Hopping

Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights in Barranquilla offer night owls a number of lively clubs to check out. La Troja (no website; between Carrera 44 and Calle 74, Barranquilla) is one of Barranquilla's best-known clubs. It offers free admission, a relaxing outdoor patio and night-long sets of salsa, reggaeton and cumbia musical styles spun by DJs. Agua Helada (no website; Cra. 51b Cll 106 esquina, Barranquilla; 011-57-300-506-0562) is a newer night club in Barranquilla, offering tourists a somewhat upscale, trendy atmosphere for a hot night in the Caribbean.

About the Author

Melissa Sherrard acquired her Bachelor of Science in public relations from the University of Florida in 2007 and has been writing professionally ever since. She also has extensive hands-on experience planning weddings and other private functions. She has created original print materials including announcements, invitations and programs for weddings, corporate events and private functions.