Barranquilla

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Travel Guide South America Colombia Barranquilla

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Introduction

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Barranquilla is the capital of the Atlantico department in the north of Colombia and has about 1.2 million inhabitants in the city, about 2.2 million in the total metropolitan area, making it the 4th largest city in the country. Barranquilla has one of the most famous and amazing Carnivals in Colombia. A lot of people come from other countries just for the city's Carnival. Barranquilla has been dubbed Colombia's Golden Gate thanks to its level of industrialisation and modernity. The people in Barranquilla are very nice and really enjoy life and parties.

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Sights and Activities

Barranquilla houses the beautiful and famous Teatro Amira de la Rosa, the old Customs building-Edificio de la Aduana, that serves as library as well as a museum; the Museum of Gold; and many other great places to visit. There are also a large number of art deco buildings built from the late thirties into the fifties. (See the book Barranquilla-Ciudad Art Deco By Gustavo Garcia).

Another place to visit is "Bocas de Ceniza", where the Magdalena River meets the Atlantic Ocean.

Museo del Caribe (Calle 36 No. 46-66, ☎ +57 5 372 0581. 9:00am-5:00pm) has a great collection of the history of Barranquilla and the Caribbean. Modern displays featuring immigration, native cultures, ecology, food and else. A special chamber dedicated to author Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Closed: first Monday of the month (Tuesday if Monday is a holiday). COP 10,000.

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Events and Festivals

Barranquilla Carnival

Carnival is held in the port town of Barranquilla over the three days leading up to Lent, the Catholic fast. Participants dress up in exotic costumes and take part in a grand parade with a queen, floats, salsa music, rumba dancing, food, drink and partying.

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Getting There

By Plane

Ernesto Cortissoz International Airport (BAQ) offers flights to/from Bogota, Medellin, Panama City, Miami, San Andrés Island, Bucaramanga, Montería and Fort Lauderdale.

By Bus

Buses run by the terminal as well and will get you into the city for $0.55 or less, with the drawback of a significantly less comfortable ride experience. Barranquilla can also be a connection to other cities of the northern coast of the country, provided the traveler doesn't have a flight connection to anywhere else in Colombia already.

Since the bus station is quite far away from the city center, and since buses departing from there are generally slow and stop at every village, it might be a good option to travel with bus companies operating direct links to Cartagena, Bogotá or Santa Marta from around the city center. One of these is Berlinastur , departure to Cartagena or Santa Marta every hour, 16COP, terminal at calle 96 with carrera 46. To get there from the tramway system you can take Alimentador A-71 or A-94, and also many "unofficial" colectivos, ask people in the street.

Cochetur runs air conditioned van services for travel among Cartagena, Baranquilla, and Santa Marta. Price per person is around 25,000 pesos and trip time to either of the other cities is around 2 hours.

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Getting Around

Moving around in Barranquilla depends largely on the traveler's budget, language barriers and spirit of adventure.

Renting a car is an option for visitors with a more comfortable budget, the daily fare for an economy vehicle being around 150,000 pesos a day (about 75 USD), and with gasoline prices of about 8.000 pesos (4 usd) per gallon. However, driving in Barranquilla can be obviously tricky if you don't know your way around or the changes in traffic during rush hour. Rent a car services can be dealt with from abroad or upon arrival to the hotel, may that be the case.

Taking a taxi is by far the best option for the newcomer. They may more a bit more expensive at night time, Sundays, on national Holidays or during rush hour. Taxis in Barranquilla do not have a meter: The fare is decided by the driver on the basis of distance, travel time and daytime vs nighttime.

For those with more spirit for adventure, buses are another option. In this case, talking to the driver may not be necessary, but knowing someone in town is definitely of great help when choosing the right route. Bus fares are around 0.80 USD per ride, sometimes a little more if the bus is equipped with air conditioning (not all of them are). Be warned that the buses do not wait until you are seated before they move and when getting off, often start back up before both your feet are on the ground when getting off. They also start and stop abruptly, so hang on.

Mototaxis are an illegal way of transportation that has grown in popularity. These consist of motorcycles charging significantly less money than a regular cab to take you virtually anywhere, but this mean of transportation is riddled with risks for personal safety, as these drivers have the tendency to be reckless.

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Eat

Both local and international cuisine are available in town. Local delicacies include arroz con coco and sancocho de guandul (a soup made of pigeon peas or "guandules" and meat), bocachico frito (fried fish from the Magdalena river), sancocho, and fritos (fried foods), including arepas and empanadas.

La Tiendecita Barranquillera is a typical food restaurant with a lot of history. Don't miss all their delicious snacks (most of them fried) including the arepa de huevo, dedito de queso, chicharrón. Perfect place to brunch on a Sunday.

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Drink

The local beer is Aguila, and is also the cheapest one. However, Club Colombia is a Colombian beer with great flavor and quality, and just a little more expensive.

International beer is available widely, with Heineken being the preferred brand.

The spirit of preference by locals is rum, in a variety of national and international brands. Another popular drink is Aguardiente (an anise-flavoured liqueur derived from sugar cane), and is worth a try. Aguardiente literally means "burning water", and it honors its name. As well Scotch, which is a little more expensive, hence it is consumed by the elite, the preferred brand is called Old Parr.

Almost any type of liquor is available, whiskey, vodka and tequila some of the most prevalent.

The Embassy Pub is the best pub in town to enjoy good international food, plus great cocktails, shots, spirits, beers and music, all in all an environment that is reminiscent of the famous pubs in northern Europe.

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Sleep

  • Villa Giron, Carrera 38N #41-31. Clean. Friendly staff. A bit dark and institutional feeling. Restaurant on premises. Doubles (matrimoniales) available starting at $10, or $8 w/o air-conditioning.
  • Hotel Olimpico, Carrera 42 #33-20. Clean. Friendly staff. Free WiFi. This area is not particularly safe at night. Doubles with Fan: ~35.000 COP.
  • Hotel Colonial Inn, Calle 42 #43-131, ☎ +57 5 3790241, +57 5 3790057. Clean, safe, friendly staff. Pretty courtyard. They have a sister hotel 2 blocks away which is similar. Doubles with Fan: ~30.000 COP. With air conditioning 45,000 COP.
  • Howard Johnson Hotel (Former Versalles Inn), Cra. 48 # 70-188 (Half a block from intersection of calle 70 - busy and wide street - and carrera 48), ☎ +57 5 368 2183. Check-in: 13.00, check-out: Noon. Recently renovated, nice mid-range hotel. Weekend special: you stay 2 nights and pay for one, breakfast included. Small swimming pool. There is a station for the new bus system just 3 blocks away. 180,000.
  • Hotel Country International, e-mail: reservas@countryinthotel.com. Carrera 52 # 75-30, Barranquilla. Nice staff, good breakfast.
  • Hotel Del Prado, Calle 54 #70-10, ☎ +57 5 3301540.
  • Hotel Puerta del Sol
  • Hotel Dann Carlton Barranquilla, Calle 98 #52B-10, ☎ +57 5 3677777.
  • Sonesta Hotel Barranquilla, Calle 106 #50-11, ☎ +57 5 3856060.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafes are easy to find in any city or town. Expect rates to run about $1,250-2,500 (around $US 0.50-1.00) per hour, depending on how much competition there is (i.e., cheap in Bogotá, expensive in the middle of nowhere). Quality of connections varies enormous and tends to better in populated places and tourist areas. Wifi is getting more and more popular in some hotels, restaurants and bars, but don't count on it and be careful regarding your privacy.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to Colombia is: 57. To make an international call from Colombia, the code is: 005.

Using your own phone and SIM card is expensive so if you are planning to do quite a few calls, buy a phone or just a SIM card. It's simple enough to get a SIM card and even an unlocked phone at the international airport in Bogotá, although there is, of course, a price hike. They're not hard to find in any city either, just ask your hotel or hostel staff where to go. Topping up is also easy, and can be done pretty much on any street corner. The carriers you'll most likely see are Claro, Tigo, and Movistar. Claro is the most expensive (by a little bit), but has the widest coverage in the country, if you expect to get off the beaten path.

Post

4-72 is the unusual name of Colombia's postal service. They have post offices throughout the country, which are open usually from 9:00am to 5:00pm Monday to Friday and sometimes on Saturday mornings as well. That doesn't apply to all offices though, only the larger ones in the big cities. But for example along the Caribbean coast, offices tend to close between noon and 2:00pm. But even at the ones that are officially open all day long, it might be difficult to get anything done during those hours. For domestic services, sending letters and postcards is mostly reliable but takes days, for international services don't hold your breath. Eventually, a postcard or letter might arrive in the country of destination but it's almost not worth it. For parcels, you are better off using companies like FedEx, TNT, DHL or UPS.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 10.963930
  • Longitude: -74.796380

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This is version 14. Last edited at 14:14 on Feb 22, 18 by Utrecht. 11 articles link to this page.

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