Where: Barranquilla, Caribbean Coast
Duration:5 days during February. But, there are also pre-carnival and post-carnival events.
Barranquilla, what to do?
- Carnival and the parades (vial 40; $$) : during the carnival, there are lots of parades every day. Nevertheless, this popular event is becoming more and more commercial and now, you must pay to enjoy the official parades. If you want comfort, it’s better to buy your ticket in advance: prices go from $60.000 to $300.000, depending the services offered. However, as we did, you can also go there directly and walk along the tiers to find unformal ones, for better prices (around $30.000). The ambiance is great; everybody dances, drinks and has foam battles! If you really don’t want to pay, wait for these spaces to fill before entering, however you’ll see less because you’ll be at the back.
The big official parade, with lots of colors, is on Saturday but there are also other ones on the other days, with costumes matching the theme of the parade. However, do not hesitate to ask the local people for the unformal parades: there are a lot across the city!
- La noche del rio in el Parque Cultural del Caribe (FREE): La noche del rio, on Thursday, marks the official launch of the carnival. The huge public square has folkloric but also new Colombian music on offer. All the generations gather here to dance until the end. During the Carnival, el Parque Cultural del Caribe welcomes La Carnavalada, a music and theatre festival.
- Baila la calle (Cra 50 #45; FREE) : During the carnival you can enjoy a huge party every night in this public space. This street is closed to traffic so you can enjoy the numerous soundsystems and other concerts with high quality bands!
Where to sleep?
If you want to enjoy the carnival without bankrupting yourself, you must reserve your accommodation as early as possible because during the carnival, all the prices go up! There is a huge diversity of hostels, hotels and Airbnb offers. You can also try couchsurfing to enjoy a local experience for free!!
My personal plan: If the noise doesn’t disturb you and if you are not a stickler for cleanliness and comfort, this place is for you! Located in Puerto Colombia, Sergio is the ideal host. Through him you can choose between renting an apartment or a hammock. Sergio is a crazy man, always ready to party! He will help us find the best parties and hidden gems during the carnival period, outside of the official guides, and to obtain everything you need. Knowing numerous Colombian artists, he also organizes his own parties in his garden!
Contact details of Sergio: 300 240 57 69 ; https://www.airbnb.fr/users/show/9213939
This municipality is in the periphery of Barranquilla, near the sea. During the carnival there is a real party atmosphere here, but you can also find ways to relax like by chilling on the beach.
Puerto Colombia is located 30 minutes from Barranquilla’s center, but it can take longer if there is lots of traffic or if you go to the east of Barranquilla. During the day, you can take the bus, for $2.60: the last busses leave from Puerto Colombia at 9pm, and from Barranquilla at 11pm. You can also take a taxi at any time for approximately $25.000.
Two things not to miss:
- Eat in the little restaurant Victoria (cll 2, 400m after the Olimpica located in the entry of Puerto Colombia). Here you can try typical almuerzo for $5.000 or $7.000 (if you chose fish), accompanied by delicious juices and coffee. Prepared and served by a kind family.
- Chill in the rasta bar (Miramar beach): if you want to chill next to the sea, drinking a beer, this place is made for you. You can relax in a Rasta atmosphere, with funky chilled music and a kind owner.
Things to remember:
- Drink a lot of water
- Protect yourself with sunscreen
- Don’t bring with you objects of value and be pay attention to your pockets and belongings
- Wear clothes you’re not afraid to get dirty: battles of flour and foam are part of the carnival!
- ENJOY YOURSELF!!!