As the largest festival in Colombia, Carnaval de Barranquilla is one of the biggest and best parties in Latin America, second only to Río, and one of the most colourful carnivals in the world. It takes places for four days before Ash Wednesday. During the carnival everything stops in the city. The streets fill with dancers, musicians, processions and masquerades. The Carnival of Barranquilla is a genuine expression of the Colombian people and the blend of colours, races, legends, dances and musical rhythms like mapalé, porro gaita, guaracha, son del negro and cumbia, the main rhythm of the Carnival. The most representative character is Marimonda (Spider Monkey). The Carnival of Barranquilla is unique also because of its cultural diversity, with the influence of Spanish, African and indigenous. It was proclaimed by UNESCO, in November 2003, a World Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage.
Celebration starts on Saturday with Battala de Flores (Flower Battle), a symbolic event in which the bullets of war are replaced with the flowers of peace. On Sunday thousands of people wear costumes and fancy dresses for La Gran Parada (The Great Parade). On Monday there is El Festival de Orquestas, a marathon concert of Caribbean music. The last day (Tuesday) is a four-hour parade through the city with figurative burial of Joselito Carnaval which symbolizes the end of the festivities.
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.
The pleasant Ciudad Antigua (Old City) was built within thick walls in 1533 along a beautiful Caribbean harbor. The walls are about 10 kilomteres long. It’s very pleasant to stroll down the narrow streets and watch at the stylish Colonial architecture. And don't miss the cathedral in the old town center (see picture)!