When my friends back home first heard I’d be moving to a city on the Caribbean, their second reaction (the first being, of course, about the heat) was jealously that I’d be spending all my free time lounging on a beach with a piña colada and my new best friend, Shakira. Barranquilla may not have the soft white sand and picturesque swaying palm trees of Tayrona or Baru, and I definitely haven’t met Shakira, but La Arenosa’s coastal geography means it’s not too hard to get some good sun and sand.
Many Barranquilleros will advise you to travel a bit out of town to places like Puerto Velero or Santa Veronica for better beaches, but if you’re looking for a relaxing place to lounge and soak up the sun, you don’t always need to travel too far.
One of the most easily accessible beach-fronts in the Barranquilla area is in Puerto Colombia, technically a separate municipality but in many ways an extension of the city. In the Puerto Colombia area, there are a variety of beach options to suit your taste.
Your classic Colombian beach experience will involve a kiosco (which you often must pay for) where you can order a typical Caribbean dish like mojarra frita, coconut rice, and patacones while you watch little kids frolic around in the waves. Both the Puerto Colombia and PradoMar stops on the colorful Puerto Colombia buses will take you to those experiences.
For a little fancier experience that feels more like a resort, though, check out the beachfronts of Hotel Pradomar, which has adjoining beach areas called Pardomar and Kilymandiaro – the latter being my personal favorite. Featuring chairs and mattresses for lounging in the sun and a pretty attentive wait staff, Kilymandiaro is the ideal place to relax on the weekend. While the prices are a little steep for food (think 30-40+ mil for a fish dish), you’re paying for the chill ambiance and clean facilities (though don’t be surprised when there’s 5-10 mil cover on the weekends and holidays).
The background music usually varies between Latin pop hits and low key electronic, and there are some great views down the coast to the rest of Puerto Colombia. Grab yourself a coconut lemonade (5 mil) and wait for one of the ceviche men to walk up offering fresh shrimp cocktails and ceviche – then relax and enjoy the perks of life on the Caribbean!
To reach Kilymandiaro beach, catch the yellow Expreso Colombia Caribe bus, which runs on Carrera 54/53 and in front of Buena Vista mall and then get off in front of the Pradomar Hotel. Make sure the placard on the bus says “Pradomar,” as not all of the brightly colored Puerto Colombia buses stop there! To reach the regular beaches of Puerto Colombia (near the old pier), any Puerto Colombia bus will do.
For detailed bus information (and photo credit above): https://tpbarranquilla.wordpress.com/2014/01/12/exp-col-caribe-ruta-pradomar/