Barranquilla, Colombia 🇨🇴 Gringo's Guide
This coastal city offers more than Carnival...
Barranquilla is an often-overlooked place in Colombia, simply because the nearest beach is almost an hour away.
But, for those of you who really like the heat, this place has a lot to offer the adventurous expat/digital nomad type, if they know where to look.
This is no hamlet in the middle of nowhere. This is a mature and sophisticated city with a surprising amount of positives — along with some stuff to look out for, as well.
Let's look further into what locals call "La Curramba" on the coast.
Barranquilla, Atlántico, Colombia 🇨🇴
A lot of people may not realize this, but Barranquilla is actually Colombia's fourth-largest city, after…
Around 1.3 million people call this city home.
But the metro area of Barranquilla is home to nearly 2.4 million people.
Barranquilla's weather is no joke! You will be tested on whether you really like the heat here…or not.
As the chart below states, this data is all at least 20 years old, so things are probably going to be even hotter for you in 2023…
I've personally seen the mercury at around 92 F in the wee hours of the morning in this city.
Also, it almost never rains here, but when it does, it's absolute chaos for a couple of days. Some people would say this is part of the whole Barranquilla experience, though. The city is super flood-prone, so "arroyos" form in the streets.
I once stayed with a family that had a 4x4, and they absolutely insisted on me going out with them in the vehicle with the streets full of water. I won't deny it; it was pretty damn fun!
Why Visit Barranquilla, Colombia?
Barranquilla is often bad-mouthed by other Colombians, so I had low expectations the first time I went there.
I must say I was pleasantly surprised in many ways…
Women here are drop-dead gorgeous
It's great value for your dollar
The city's nightlife is on par with just about anywhere else in the world
Amenities are actually pretty good, including hotels, living spaces, etc.
Barranquilla is FAR from a “shithole” these days, especially in the nicer areas.
But don’t tell that to someone from Bogota, Medellin, or Cali ;(
How to Get to Barranquilla 🇨🇴
Once again, if you're already somewhere on the Caribbean coast of Colombia, you can get there by land.
Otherwise, you're almost definitely going to want to fly there.
The BAQ airport goes to and from 15 destinations, 7 of them being international. However, there is not a lot on the menu here. International destinations are limited to:
Dominican Republic (JBQ and SDQ)
Panama (PTY and BLB)
Miami (MIA and FLL)
As such, it's not a super easy-to-reach destination for anybody living north of Miami or south of Bogotá. It's also not a bad idea to get a flight into Cartagena, and then reach Barranquilla by land — the trip usually takes a couple hours.
You should also be aware that the airport is located way in the south of the metro area, in the municipality of Soledad. You will almost certainly not be staying anywhere near it — read more on that below.
Allow lots of time to get to and from the airport, as the way is often jam-packed with city traffic.