There were only a very few days left until my flight back to Europe so I decided to join Donna and take a flight as well. Two airlines have flights from Barranquilla to Bogotá, Avianca and Aires. We found a better deal with Avianca so we booked a flight with them. It was an evening flight with the departure from Barranquilla at 17:31 and arrival to Bogotá at 19:01 and it was COP 189.100. I booked it almost a month in advance. I tried to book it online but had some difficulties. So I went to the Avianca office in Popayán and bought the ticket there.
At Bogotá's airport Donna's father was waiting for us with the car. Though not on the direction to their home, he kindly offered to drive me to Candelaria. We were stuck in a traffic jam so it took us quite a while to get there. With all my luggage, I was really glad to be delivered right to the door of Platypus hostel where I was staying.
After spending two months in Santa Marta, I was surprised to find out that there was an actual bus terminal. Although it is located outside of the city, it can be reached by taxi or other city buses. The bus will take you to a bus stop on the way to the airport and co-pilot will shout out aeropuerto and they will stop to let you off with your suitcases ( please remember to give the co-driver your claim ticket or you might not get your suitcase). Upon leaving the bus there are an array of taxis that will then take you to the airport; as of 2/10 I paid about 12 dollars for this ride. I know it's a rip off but you have to leave so spend all your pesos here.
I arrived late for my flight back to Miami but was surprised that they let me check in. When you are in Colombia as a tourist you are given 60 days to visit the country. I was lucky and I was there for 59 days and did not have to pay an excess fine as a tourist.
The airport check in is the same as the USA. Just present your documents and Passport and everything works out fine. The airport does have several check points so please be prepared to be asked why you were in Colombia and what you do for a living.
Well, as you might suspect the bus trip to Barranquilla is very cheap I think I paid about 5 dollars in pesos. It's not fast but you do have air condtioning on the bus a blessing in the torrid heat of the coast.
I returning in June 2010.
If you're staying in Barranquilla. Use Taxi's (or buses, if you can figure it out).
If you want to go to Cartegena, take a bus.
Barranquilla isn't a real hard city/map to understand,
but the driving is not for the unfamiliar. PLUS, taxi's and buses are cheap!
MORE than 1/2 the cars in Barranquilla are taxi's... they're everywhere!
There are frequent buses from Riohacha to Santa Marta and Barranquilla and all of them pass by the entrance of Parque Tayrona. The company that runs is Expreso Brasilia. The bus doesn't always stop automatically so you have to wave with your hand to show the driver that you would like to go on the bus. You buy the ticket on the bus and I was surprised by how easy it was to negotiate about the price. I was travelling with my Colombian friend Donna and this was actually her idea. But it worked.
After less than one hour of driving we made a short stop in Santa Marta and then continued to Barranquilla. All together the journey took about three hours.
The bus terminal in Barranquilla is located 7 km from the city centre. By urban bus it took almost an hour to get there.
What jdoyle4811 says is true overall. You probably want to take a defensive driving course before driving most everywhere in Latin America. But there are many beaches 25, 30, 45 minutes off Barranquilla, some nicer than others. Plus a car would allow you to go East to Santa Marta and La Guajira and West to Cartagena and beyond. Of course, as you should do whenever you go to a new place, try to make friends with trustworthy locals who may guide you as to where not to go at certain times, particularly if on your own.
WHEN I TRAVELED IN BARRANQUILLA WE USUSALLY USED A BUS OR CAB. I WOULD RECOMMEND DOING THIS OTHER THAN DRIVING YOURSELF. TRAFFIC IS TIGHT AND FAST AND THE POSSIBLITIES OF HAVING AN ACCIDENT ARE VERY HIGH DUE TO THE NUMBERS OF VEHICLES AND PEOPLE. LEAVE THE DRIVING TO THE LOCALS AND JUST SIT BACK AND ENJOY!
Yeah - i'm talking about this colorful loud monster that's coming toward you at high speed.... Ok, first thing - no bus-stops in b/quilla. if you need to stop the bus, just raise your hand and it will stop (or run you over). riding a bus on the caribbean coast is an experience in itself - loud music, full of people trying to sell you something, going like 100 km/h in the city, etc. but once you get used to it you might actually enjoy the extreme sport the call public transportation. you pay for the ride to the bus driver when you get in, and it costs 700 pesos on workdays and about 800 at weekends.
You can fly to Barranquilla from any major US airport, American Airlines, Avianca and Continental have flights to BAQ.
The best way to get around is by cab (taxi). The minimum fare is 2,000 Pesos, as of 11/2000, or the equivalent of US$1 -- Prices may vary depending on final destination, place of pick up, etc. but you shouldn't pay more than 7,000 to 8,000 Pesos for a long ride across town.