This year, Barranquilla’s Carnaval runs 4 days, from Saturday February 25th to Tuesday the 28th. But that doesn’t mean you have to wait until then to experience the joys of the Carnaval season. Most people don’t even realize that the real treasures of Carnaval happen on the weekends leading up to the 25th, and aren’t even in Barranquilla. That’s right – the best festivities are held PRE-Carnaval, in towns all across the department of el Atlántico.
I always tell people who want to witness a more traditional Carnaval, like it was 40 or 50 years ago, that they have to catch one in a pueblo (a small town). On TV and in the news, you’ll likely hear all about the Carnaval queen of Barranquilla, but in fact there are 22 others, each representing the beauty, traditional dance and the crops of their municipalities.
Every weekend of PRE CARNAVAL there is a parade in a different pueblo of Atlántico. Last year I went to Juan de Acosta to see what it was all about, and I simply fell in love.
I didn’t have to deal with the typical problems faced by visitors to the parades in the big city; things like over-crowded streets, where there are no spots on the route to watch the parade pass, or the ‘palcos’, the stands along the parade-route that cost a ton of money.
In the pueblo, people watched the dancers go by from the comfort of their front porches and everybody was super friendly and laid-back. The parade was well organized, and I could see how each pueblo represented their local culture in their customs, music and choreography.
I highly recommend catching the parade in one of the towns if you happen to be here in the weeks before Carnaval. If you’d like, we’d be more than happy to show you around. To register for a tour, click here and then leave us a message in the comments, or inbox us in Facebook.