As I sat down in my seat and took a look around, I noticed that the plane was getting ready for departure. On the screen in front of me a promotional film was playing entitled “Barranquilla Mueve” and even though I knew full well how advertising is often built into films, I thought to myself how fantastic Barranquilla looked. The good thing is, I already knew it was true.
When I arrived several years ago, I thought differently. But like salsa king Joe Arroyo sang, “En Barranquilla Me Quedo,” I actually started to love Barranquilla and it has become my new home.
Why is Barranquilla so cool to live in?
First off, it’s the 4th largest city in Colombia, so all you need to live (nice furniture, clothes, good restaurants, products, services, …) you can find here. What I mean is that you can find all the luxury compared to living in a more remote town. If you wanted to, you could have a barbecue every day, wear flip-flops ALL the time and enjoy the endless summer from your hammock. The beach is not far away and yes you can wave-, kite-, and windsurf just down the road in the Caribbean Sea. Important football games are always played in the football stadium in Barranquilla and we have an AWESOME football team (JUNIOR) – (They actually use the hot weather to help them beat the other teams. Intelligent right!?). Sunsets are glorious here – and in fact, you can slurp a tasty cocktail while you watch one at the historic “Castillo de Salgar”. Do you like quiet beaches? Playa Mendoza, Santa Veronica and others are really close by. Not Sharika (who was born here) but great singers, bands, ..like Manu Chao never miss a chance to come to Barranquilla to play their music. And last but definitely not least, the 2nd biggest carnival in the world takes place here every year!
The biggest plus I personally find is the location. Barranquilla is the hub of Northern Colombia, surrounded by all kinds of beautiful places like Santa Marta, Taganga, Palomino, Paso del Mango and Minca. It’s smash-bang in the middle and is located along the “Ruta del Sol” which you can take from Barranquilla all the way to the northern tip of South America to a tiny place called “Punta Gallinas” situated in the “La Guajira desert”. When you take this route, along the entire way, the Sea is on the left and the “Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta” mountain range (a national park) on the right.
Whenever I can, I love spending a weekend away from the city life and soaking up nature in the beautiful mountains with the sea in the background. Waking up to the sound of the howler monkeys and getting to know the thousands of birds.. Or going tubing in clear rivers like “Rio Don Diego”; going hiking in the national park, “Tayrona” and swimming in “La Piscinita” … and much more.
And if you only drive 1.5 hours from Barranquilla in the other direction, you’ll arrive in Cartagena; one of the most beautiful colonial towns in the world with a great historical background and a total melting pot of cultures and colors. The paradise islands of the National Park Islas del Rosario and Islas de San Bernardo can easily be reached from Cartagena by boat. And if you don’t fancy a boat trip but still want to relax on white sandy beaches with palm trees, you can check out “Playa Blanca”; accessible by land from Cartagena.
The other thing I really love about Barranquilla is it’s charm and spirit. And it isn’t touristy at all; living here is living in the real Colombia. You’ll need to take some classes in Spanish and Salsa.
I was born and raised in Belgium and I have lived in several different countries. I found my way to Barranquilla at the beginning of 2011 and since then, have begun discovering Colombia. I love dancing, photography, traveling and I simply cannot live without “arroz de coco” & “jugos naturales”. I am the founder of the traveling guide, Colombia Fácil and when I am not working, I like to spend time with my family and friends relaxing on the beach, hiking in the jungle, trekking in the mountains, … etc.
Colombia Fácil is a travel guidebook to Colombia. This handy guidebook aims to make travel easy and accessible for travelers looking to explore all aspects of Colombia. This extensive guide is offered in a combined English and Spanish text and can be found in hostels, eco-lodges, tour operator offices, language schools, and dive centers throughout the country for the price of only 5000 cop – Colombian Pesos (the equivalent of $1.67 USD or € 1.56). It also can be found digitally online at the website www.colombiafacil.com. From this website, tourists can use the link to read my e-book for free on their Ipad, Iphone, or other portable device (http://issuu.com/colombiafacil).
Do you want to buy a Colombia Fácil guidebook in Barranquilla? Go to the shop Todomono (@Calle 76 # 53-54). They offer creative designs, merchandise & great Colombian souvenirs inspired by the Colombian Caribbean & Colombia. Get 10% off shirts by presenting your Colombia Fácil guide.
So far, there have been three editions of the guidebook, Colombia Fácil: