Barranquilla enjoys continual hot weather with average temperatures between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius throughout the year. The peak holiday season however runs from December to April when the city is at its driest with a slight cooling from the trade winds. Holidaymakers can save significantly on their holiday by visiting in the rainy season which occurs from April to November, the driest of these months being June – August. Prices on travel and accommodation rise dramatically during the Carnival period which begins the Saturday before Ash Wednesday. Visitors who specifically want to visit in order to enjoy the carnival should book travel and accommodation well in advance if they hope to get reasonable rates.
The beautiful city of Barranquilla on Colombia’s coast is a fascinating melting pot of culture, architecture and cuisine. Arguably the party capital of Colombia and home to its biggest carnival, it’s also a historically important port town located at the mouth of the River Magdalena on the Caribbean Sea.
The Carnival de Barranquilla in early March is the second largest street carnival in the world after Rio’s Carnival. For four days the entire city swells in size, sound and colour as it comes alive with the festivities. The carnival is a celebration of all the culture and diversity that makes the city what it is today. Those visiting outside of carnival time can still get a flavour of the festivities at the Casa Del Carnival which is home to an enlightening interactive exhibition. In the run up to the festivities it’s even possible to see or hear dance and music groups rehearse there.
Ranked top amongst the city’s museums is the Museo del Caribe located within the Caribbean Cultural Park. The museum offers a rich insight into the history and cultural importance of the Caribbean Colombian regions. It also includes a special exhibition dedicated to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, a one time resident of Barranquilla.
The city’s portfolio of historic buildings is bursting with examples of both Spanish colonial and Art Deco architecture. Highlights include the Castillo del Salgar, a 19th century fort that was later used as a prison, a colony and then a refuge. Nowadays the Catsillo is a great place to stop for lunch and enjoy incredible views over the Caribbean Sea. Further landmark buildings include the old customs house, La Plaza de la Aduana and the Cathedral Metopolitana which is famed for its stark modernity.
The town offers a public bus service that can vary in price depending on whether you take an air conditioned bus or not. Taxis are a more usual mode of transportation for tourists however and prices should be agreed with the driver ahead of the journey.
Barranquilla’s international airport, the Ernesto Cortissoz Airport is located 7 miles (12 km) from the centre of the city. The cheapest way to get from the airport is by a public bus service, which departs from outside the main terminal and takes passengers into the centre of Barranquilla. A taxi may offer a more comfortable journey although it’s advisable to agree a price with the driver first.