What to Know About Barranquilla, Colombia


Colombia’s Carnaval City and Major Atlantic Port

Perhaps Barranquilla suffers somewhat on the tourist trail as a place to pass by en route to either the beautiful walled city of Cartagena or further along the coast towards Venezuela to the famed beaches of Santa Marta and Parque Tayrona. But as a vibrant Colombian city, Barranquilla has its own treasures both unknown and known.

Shakira’s Hometown


As Colombia’s most important port on the Caribbean coast – with a population greater than 1 million – Barranquilla has become home to immigrants from far and wide and in particular a great number of Arabic descent. Colombian siren and songstress Shakira made public her devotion to her hometown of Barranquilla in her song, Hips Don’t Lie, with the contagious lyrics spoken over the beats “En Barranquilla se baila asi” or “In Barranquilla we dance like this.”


barranquilla carnaval

Second only in size to Rio’s famous carnival celebrations, Barranquilla’s revelry is believed to remain a great deal closer to its cultural and mythical routes. Masks and costumes reveal the depths of the tradition and folkloric beliefs that make this Carnaval a true wonder to behold. Come and view people dressed up as the mythical Marimonda, watch the Batalla de Flores and gasp in awe at the beautiful Queen of the Carnaval.

This festival is probably the main driver of tourism today, and prices of accomodation can sky rocket. However, the experience and the craziness of the people and their energy is something you don’t want to miss.


From the outset Barranquilla’s skyline offers little in the way creativity. The city is split into two parts, upper and lower and in the upper is where the tall modern buildings, shopping malls and compounds are situated. In the lower part of Barranquilla an urban sprawl of ramshackle buildings, warehouses and shantytowns spread out towards the coast.

The Prado