Looking to explore and have fun in Barranquilla? This vibrant coastal city in the Republic of Colombia is famous for its marvelous Carnival festival, beautiful beaches, warm Colombian people, and breathtaking sights. You won’t run out of things to do in Barranquilla, Colombia.
Barranquilla, also called the Golden Gate of Colombia (La Puerta de Oro de Colombia), is considered a cosmopolitan city and a main economic center in the region. Read on for a list of travel tips and exciting things you can do in Barranquilla, Colombia.
Where in the World Is Barranquilla, Colombia?
Barranquilla, a maritime city flanked by the Magdalena River and located near the Caribbean Sea, is Colombia’s third most important city. This capital city of the Atlantico region is near Malambo, Galapa, and Soledad.
If you are visiting Colombia, here are the distances from other big cities in Colombia to Barranquilla:
- Cartagena (86 km)
- Cucuta (384 km)
- Medellin (523 km)
- Cali (840 km)
- Bogota (702 km)
When you’re taking the bus from Cartagena to Santa Marta, you’re bound to change buses in Barranquilla. While it may be tempting to continue and pass this capital city, it’s a very good idea to spend a couple of days in the hustle and bustle of Barranquilla.
The city has a year-round perfect temperature that remains between 25 to 30 degrees (75-85 Fahrenheit). That means you won’t have to wait for a particular season to get optimal temperatures.
Barranquilla is safe if you know how to protect yourself from pickpockets and muggers. The Colombian government typically ensures you’re safe and not a target in the city.
Top 20 Things to Do in Barranquilla Colombia
You won’t run out of sights, attractions, and places to go in this South American destination. Revel in Colombian culture while you go sightseeing, clubbing, or simply chill out in this popular destination.
1. Zoologico de Barranquilla
If you are a zoophilist looking for a place to enjoy a beautiful atmosphere with animals, the Barranquilla Zoo is the place to visit.
It has more than 500 animals with information about their origin, and you learn about more than 140 species. The regular events held at the Barranquilla Zoo are the cherry on top of the entire experience.
2. Maria Reina Metropolitan Cathedral
Queen Mary Cathedral, also known as Maria Reina Metropolitan Cathedral, showcases some of the finest colonial architecture in Colombia’s history.
The cathedral is in the central area of Barranquilla. It was designed by an Italian architect named Angelo Mazzoni; the jaw-dropping construction took almost 27 years to complete. The Queen Mary Cathedral is now among the most popular monuments in Colombia.
3. Castle Salgar
Castle Salgar, originally built in 1848 near the sea view, is a structure with a Mediterranean style and traditional Colombian aspects.
You can learn about its history while enjoying great Colombian foods at nearby restaurants with mesmerizing views. You can also book rooms at Castle Salgar for private events.
4. Caribbean Museum
If you want to dig deep into the history of the Caribbean area, this museum will take you through the journey of Caribbean people and how their culture evolved. You can also participate in interactive displays which simultaneously teach and entertain visitors.
5. Mundi Park
Mundi park is a water sports park in Barranquilla, Colombia. It is the best destination to enjoy with your family.
Along with great water slides and swimming pools, the park offers many other outdoor sports activities such as tennis, skating, and squash.
6. Peace Square
Peace Square, also called Plaza Juan Pablo II, is one of the best places to enjoy the Colombian atmosphere.
You will find many cultural events, street performances (dance and music), and friendly locals here. Head to Olaya Herrera Avenue at night and enjoy this amazing Colombian tourist spot after sunset.
Combarranquilla is where you will find any recreation you could dream of.
This place has everything from delicious Colombian food to outdoor sports and swimming pools. You can also enjoy Mexican night activities and the Peruvian Cuisine Festival here.
8. Paseo Bolivar Temple
East of Paseo Bolivar is a great ancient Gothic-style temple called San Nicolas Tolentino. This picturesque, colorful temple was built in the central area of Barranquilla in Plaza De San Nicolas. Here, you can see the ancient relics of San Nicolas.
9. Visit the City’s Modern Symbol
The 148-foot tall building has multiple colors. It was built to honor the Caribbean Games of 2018. The building was designed by Diana Escorcia, who represented the diversity of cultures through her architectural creation.
Best Beaches in Barranquilla Colombia
When you’re in the Caribbean, visiting the beach is a given. While Barranquilla doesn’t have the same impressive Cartagena beaches, there are still plenty of options in and around town.
10. Puerto Velero Beach
Puerto Velero is a 25-minute drive from Barranquilla, Colombia. It is quite popular for windsurfing and kiting.
Moreover, a club called Nautico y Resort provides services and equipment for water sports such as boat riding, water skiing, etc. This is the place to go if you’re up for some last-minute surfing.
11. Playa Pradomar Beach
Playa Pradomar is located in the municipality of Puerto. It is only 25 km (20 miles) from Barranquilla.
It has a sensational view of the Pradomar beach with booths, hammocks, and restaurants serving seafood and tropical fruits. If these services appeal to you, call Hotel Pradomar or contact them online to book a spot at Pradomar beach.
12. Salgar Beach
Salgar Beach is only two miles from the Salgar castle. The road to the beach is very well maintained. If you visit in the early morning, you can enjoy paddle surfing with locals.
Moreover, the beach also has various booths for you to take shelter in when the sun comes out. While it didn’t make the list of best beaches in Colombia, it’s a beach close to the city that can offer a much-needed break from city life.
Best Activities in Barranquilla Colombia
13. Oscar de la 30 Shopping
This is a must-do activity if you are visiting Barranquilla. Oscar De La 30 (a pun on the name of famous Dominican designer Oscar de la Renta) is where you can find affordable second-hand clothes.
The variety of brands is diverse; you can find Liz Claiborne, Tommy Hilfiger, Banana Republic, etc. You can visit between 6:30 am to 6:30 pm any day of the week.
14. Mud Bath at Totumo Volcano
You’ll find an impressive 50 feet high rock formation called Totumo Volcano, an hour-long ride from Barranquilla.
To enjoy the mud pool, you must trek to the rock through the wooden steps. When reaching the top, you will see a nearly 10-foot-wide mud pool filled with calcium, iron, magnesium, aluminum, silicon, and other healing minerals. Give your skin a gentle massage in the pool for 10 minutes for the best results.
15. Attend Festivals at Romelio Martinez Stadium
The Romelio Martinez Stadium was built in 1934. Since then, it has hosted many national athletic games. In 2014, the whole stadium was remodeled, and now it also hosts various concerts and festivals. Some of the most famous events are the Orchestra Festival and Beer Festival.
16. Boardwalk at the Golden Gate
To enjoy the boardwalk at the Golden Gate, head towards Puerto De Oro Events Center and take the route called Transmetro A81.
Make sure that you visit between 6:00 am to 10:00 pm. Walking the boardwalk near the calm and relaxing water of the Magdalena River is an experience that makes you forget that you’re in a big city.
17. Barranquilla Carnival
Barranquilla Carnival is the second biggest Caribbean party in the world. The preparation starts months before the festival, with people practicing parades and dances in colorful costumes.
The festival lasts for four days, with every day providing a unique scintillating experience that attendees remember for a lifetime. In 2013, UNESCO honored Carnaval de Barranquilla by naming it a World Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
18. Absorb the Atmosphere at the Trojan
If you want to get a real taste of Barranquilla’s nightlife, head to the Trojan. The atmosphere here is electric, with Colombians dancing and singing their favorite songs. The center opens from 1:00 pm to 2:00 am on Friday and Saturday.
19. Spend a Night at El Cervecero
El Cervecero is the best nightclub in Barranquilla. It has an amazing ambiance with quality drinks and is a must-visit if you want a good atmosphere with affordable craft beer.
20. Visit Bourbon St. Barranquilla
The main highlight of Bourbon St. Barranquilla is its food. It offers all varieties of local Colombian cuisine, including a full bar, television, outdoor seating, and table service.
Important Tips to Make the Most Out of Your Barranquilla Colombia Trip
To get the best out of your Barranquilla trip, follow these important tips:
- Make sure that you keep yourself away from isolated areas and keep your valuables at the hotel while traveling on foot alone at night.
- Avoid neighborhoods called Terron Colorado, Aguablanca, and Siloe, as they are not safe to travel to.
- Be aware of your surroundings, as petty theft is common in big Colombian cities like Barranquilla.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Things To Do in Barranquilla Colombia
Is Barranquilla Colombia Worth Visiting?
Barranquilla, Colombia, is worth visiting because of its views, beaches, and, best of all, annual festivals.
What Is Barranquilla Colombia Best Known For?
Barranquilla is best known for the Golden Gate. The gate was used as a port in the past, which greatly increased its overall value as a city.
What Food Is Barranquilla Colombia Known For?
Empanadas, arepas de huevo, and Carimanolas are the best three dishes of Barranquilla Colombia.
Conclusion: Things to Do in Barranquilla Colombia
This guide can help you plan your itinerary for your Barranquilla escapade. Mix and match the various exciting activities that this cosmopolitan city has in store for you.
Enjoy your time in this vibrant city!
This post originally appeared on Savoteur.
Founder of Spark Nomad, Radical FIRE, Journalist
Expertise: Personal finance and travel content
Education: Bachelor of Economics at Radboud University, Master in Finance at Radboud University, Minor in Economics at Chapman University.
Over 200 articles, essays, and short stories published across the web.
Experience: Marjolein Dilven is a journalist and founder of Spark Nomad, a travel platform, and Radical FIRE, a personal finance platform. Marjolein has a finance and economics background with a master’s in Finance. She has quit her job to travel the world, documenting her travels on Spark Nomad to help people plan their travels. Marjolein Dilven has written for publications like MSN, Associated Press, CNBC, Town News syndicate, and more.