If you're looking to get off the beaten path in Colombia, locals say that Barranqilla may be a good choice. Yes, it may be a bit grittier than more popular spots like Cartagena and Bogota, but locals are proud of their city's intense personality, incredible food, and non-touristy activities. Here's what they say about their hometown.
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Formally established in 1813, Barranquilla's history actually stretches back to 1533!
And unlike any other major city in Colombia, locals tell us that Barranquilla was neither founded deliberately by the Spanish nor built on the site of a pre-Columbian settlement. Instead, the city arose organically as a trading port on Colombia’s northern coast.
Today, Barranquilla is the largest city and port on the north Caribbean
Barranquilla’s Carnival celebration is undoubtedly the city’s crowning glory. The second-largest Carnival celebration in the entire world behind Rio de Janeiro’s, Carnival in Barranquilla is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that boasts explosions of color, energetic parades, displays of traditional Colombian music and dance, and costumes that almost defy belief.
Locals tell us that for four days and nights, the city is transformed into one giant party—streets are packed with revelers, drinks flow freely, music pumps, dancing abounds. Carnival is an experience that can’t be missed. The festival dates all the way back to the 19th century and continues to get bigger and better every year. Get ready for the time of your life because this festival is one of the best experiences Colombia has to offer.
Use local advice to enjoy all that Barranquilla offers. Once you're done partying, our local trip planners can give tips on their favorite restaurants and bars, as well as how to navigate the city safely.
Barranquilla is full of excelent clubs and bars all over the city. The two areas that have the largest nightlife scenes are Alta del Prado and El Centro, which are home to favorites like Frogg Club.
Locals tell us that their city is rich in history and culture—which means you'll find lots of excellent museums.
If you miss out on the chance to go to Barranquilla during Carnival, don’t worry! Locals say that the Museo del Carnaval is full of costumes, decorations, and banners directly from the festival.
Barranquilla’s cuisine puts a delicious Caribbean twist on classic Colombian food.
Locals tell us that a signature Barranquilla dish is fried catfish which is extremely fresh and flavorful. They say that you can't go to Barranquilla without indulging in some of Colombia’s best dishes like fried egg arepa and delectable pastries like pandebono.
Safety in Barranquilla is a bit more of an issue than safety in Cartagena or safety in Bogota. But locals say as long as you stay aware of your surroundings and follow a few simple tips, you’re sure to have a great time. As is the case with safety in Colombia in general, nearly all crimes involving travelers in Barranquilla boil down to petty theft.
If you're looking for an on-the-ground safety update, ask the people who know best. Our trip planners are locals who will design a guidebook full of safety tips—as well as everything that makes their hometown so special.