Heat w/o the Humidity
If you ever plan to go to Barranquilla, by invitation or on business, or if your into finding the perfect South American Bride, do pay attention to the following tips. Bring Cash! Credit can only go so far, and I've been told by some close relatives that some banks are starting to charge international processing fees for purchases made abroad.
As far as the city goes. It is spectacular. If you're a soccer fan, then Barranquilla is right for you. It has been the host city of World Cup Qualifying for the Colombian National Team. Their local team, Junior, has been one of the better teams in the nation, winning the Mustang Cup a couple of years ago.
BEACHES ARE 15 MINUTES AWAY! This is true, no mattter where you plan to stay in Barranquilla. Taxis are equiped with a/c, so you can chill while you get to the sands. While at the beach, take advantage of the food service, offered with full service right to your umbrella (or kiosk). And if you prefer more scenic/historical/tourist spots, Barranquilla is smack in the middle of Santa Marta (popular tourist spot for its Beaches) and Cartagena de Indias (AKA Cartagena, Historic/Tourist spot, also known for being the host city of the Miss Colombia Pagaeant).
If you are planning a trip, definitely go either on the holidays where some parts of the city are decorated to the max, or during Carnaval Season (Weekend before Ash Wednesday), where the whole city stops and puts on a show that rivals Mardi Gras in New Orleans and the Carnival of Rio d Janiero. Barranquilla brings back many fond memories for me, mostly because my whole family lives there, and they always show me something new and exciting that I take back as a memory
EXIT TAX REQUIRED BEFORE LEAVING COUNTRY
JUST A REMINDER FOR THOSE WHO TRAVEL TO COLUMBIA. WHEN LEAVING THE COUNTRY AT THE AIRPORT YOU'LL BE REQUIRED TO PAY AN "EXIT TAX" WHICH WAS AROUND $31.00 US DOLLARS. HAVE YOUR PESOS THERE WHEN YOU ARE READY TO LEAVE. ALSO IF YOUR GOING TO USE TRAVELERS CHECKS MAKE SURE THEY ARE AMERICAN EXPRESS OR MASTERCARD. IF YOU USE VISA TRAVLERS CHECKS YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO CASH THEM. THE VISA PLASTIC WORKS THOUGH. INTERESTING. WE LOOKED ALL OVER TO CASH MY VISA TRAVELERS CHECKS. EVERYBODY TOOK AMERICAN EXPRESS OR MASTERCARD.. IF YOU WANT YOU CAN EXCHANGE YOUR AMERICAN MONEY BEFORE GOING. CHECK THE RATES THOUGH TO GET THE BEST ONES.
Beautiful beaches just a short hike away!
2 hours outside the city of Barranquilla lies one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. Backed by the beautiful, lush jungles of Colombia, Tairona offers much to the weary traveler. Throw up a hammock between two palm trees, lather on the sunscreen (and insect repellent--the mosquitoes are torturous), and get ready for a fabulous weekend.
Getting there: You should be able to take a taxi from the Santa Marta bus stop to the trail head at Tairona National Park. Be sure to negotiate the price before you get into the cab. I wouldn’t pay more than $30,000 pesos (about $11.00 U.S.D.). The trail leads straight to a few campsites. The first has two very reasonable restaurants on site but keep heading toward the beach and make a left. About 20 feet down the beach is Bakaru—better in my opinion and definitely quieter. The cost is about 6,000 pesos per night/per person.
*word of warning--travel advisory states the area is not as safe as it could be. However, we did not feel in any danger during our trip, and friends have visited there frequently over the past 3 years.
WHEN GOING TO BARRANQUILLA, AS...
WHEN GOING TO BARRANQUILLA, AS A TOURIST YOU WOULD NOT FIND EASILY THINGS TO DO, TOURIST INFORMATION OFFICES, I RECOMMEND YOU THAT CHECK THIS SITE, www.costamigos.com AND HERE YOU WILL FIND A LOT OF USEFULL INFORMATION.
BARRANQUILLA - HOME OF LA ARMADA Y MARQUEZ
My time in Barranquilla was limited mostly to the naval base where the eye clinic in which I helped took place over a week’s time. We ate, slept and worked on the base - home to the non-commissioned officers school for the Colombian Navy (Escuela des Suboficiales des Armada de Colombia). The city is somewhat spread out on low hill to the west of the mouth of the Magdalena River. It is a working city as opposed to the touristy center found a little over an hour to the west at Cartagena. The history of the city only goes back to 1813 but being an important port city on the Caribbean coast, Barranquilla is presently the fourth largest city in Colombia - also home to the largest football stadium in the country. The city was also the longtime home of Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
During my week, I did manage to get over to the restaurant that was the haunt of the Grupo de Barranquilla, a group of Colombian writers that included Marquez. The food is good, but the history is as well. A short film in Spanish and English is presented at the restaurant which will give you a better appreciation for the history in which you eat.
The particular night I visited was one in which a thunderstorm rocked the city. A normal ten minute drive from the naval base on the north side of the city to the restaurant took us two hours. We drove through and around streets that were turned into literal class 3-4 rapids. Waves churned as high as two meters above the street surfaces. The amounts of water roaring down the streets were simply mind boggling.