Raise your glass at the Carnival of Barranquilla - Colombia
After the first carnival party ‘La Guacherna’, which always takes place every Friday before the weekend of Carnival in Barranquilla, I get the taste and I look forward to, after Rio de Janeiro, the second largest Carnival in South America.
Phone in a plastic bag: check, ticket: check, little money: check, wearing old clothes: check; .... I'm ready to rumble at the Colombian coast and take a taxi to Calle 72 and walk then towards the main road ‘Vía 40’ where the big parade takes place. You can take place in numerous palco 's (= stands) and start celebrating between the local people. The further you go towards the center, the cheaper the palco tickets are but also less secure. The ‘mini-palcos’ are the cheapest, but also to melt in the sun. Tickets can be purchased on this website (the last day the tickets are super cheap: 5.000 to 10.000 cop/ticket) or at different sale places in supermarkets as Exito. One of the better palco’s is Palco Arlequin, a stand in the Zona Rosa on the vía 40. A ticket cost me 160.000 cop /ticket for 3 days with the first day free beer and water. Drinks are slightly more expensive in the palco’s. I buy a few buses of ‘espuma’ on the street (foam, 5.000 cop/bus): check.
That the Carnival of Barranquilla is THE event of the year, is quickly obvious! The whole city (even weeks in advance) is beautifully decorated and many cars are driving around with bright colors and colorful stickers. Everyone is celebrating and is happy! People were dancing, drinking, singing and had fun. Most Colombians get Monday 20st and Tuesday 21st of February extra holiday so there are even more reasons to be in a good mood.
I celebrate the evenings in the neighborhoods ‘El Prado Hotel’ (Cra 54 # 70-10) and ‘Dann Carlton Hotel’ (Clle 98 # 52B-10) where all the people just stand on the street, are dancing and drinking until early mornings (= free entrance). You can also be part of a ‘Comparsa’ (dance / costume-group), ‘Disfrázate Como Quieras’ (costume on Whatever You Want) or ‘La Puntica No Ma’ where you stand on a car in the parade. People dress up in a cool costume.
‘Maicena’ (flour & water) and ‘espuma’ (foam) are flying around and soon enough I look like a cheerful ghost. Rum, beer and Aguardiente are my favorite drinks during the carnival. I also have lots of fun on ‘Carnavalada’ (Clle 68 # 62-274) where you can celebrate 4 days with traditional live music. On the second night of the Carnival, I would like to hear some different music and swing to a party on the beach at Puerto Colombia (Cilimanjaro / Pradomar).
On the first day (18.02) there is ‘Batalla de Flores’, which is a big parade with all the queens. On the second day (19.02), there is the ‘Grand Parade Tradicion’ where I enjoy folklore groups, different dances and music. The ‘Grand Parade comparsas’ on the third day (20.02) I personally like the most. There are beautiful costumes, great performances and a lot of variety! On the fourth day I'm dead meat and I have to skip unfortunately.
I'm a fan of the carnival and look forward to next year. First, I need to relax for a few days from all these celebrations!
1: Watch out when you get flour and foam in your face. It is an ideal time for small thieves to steal your stuff.
2: Put your camera / mobile phone maybe better in a plastic bag.
3: Do not wear new clothes.
4: Special atmospheres & costumes at the ‘Carnival de las Artes’ at the Teatro Amira de la Rosa. Always 8 days before the real Carnaval starts -> Carnival de las Artes = 4 days, price is different every day, Cra 55 # 53.
5: Here you can read more over the carnival.
Price taxi Puerto Colombia - Vía 40 = 20-25.000 cop/taxi.
Price bus Puerto Colombia - Vía 40 = 1.900 cop/pp.