Nooks and Crannies; Some Secret Spots of “La Arenosa”

secret spots
Piloto de Caribe Library at the old Aduana building in Barranquilla. Photo: Barranquilla Life

Barranquilla, the “Golden Door to Colombia”, has a lot to offer. As an American implant here in Colombia, I have had the opportunity to find myself around this beautiful city and meet the amazing and eclectic mix of people that make this place so amazing. Unfortunately, I hear and see a lot of comments from other foreigners that there is “nothing to do here”. On the contrary, my friends! You just don’t know where to find the low down on what’s happenin’! This piece is dedicated to schooling you on a few places to look for something to do this weekend, other than your typical crossover or visit to La Troja.

If you’re like me and you enjoy art and culture, there are a plethora of exhibits, shows, and exposes all around the city! La Aduana and el Piloto del Caribe are not only patrons of the arts, but philanthropists as well! They often hold events in their auditorium, the plaza in front of the La Aduana, and also different venues all around the city; music, art, poetry, classes, and lectures alike. Check out their calendar of events here. They fill this city with cultural experiences to be had by all!

Maybe graffiti and urban art is more your style? You don’t have to travel to Bogota to see amazing works of graffiti! This past Saturday, The Electronic Art Festival and Concert series made its comeback. According to their Facebook page, “This Electronic Art Festival was an edition where national and international top artists in different artistic areas (DJ’s, VJ’s, photographers , designers , entrepreneurs, artists , graffiti artists , body painters ) joined their talents to form a unique festival of its kind in Colombia.” Oftentimes, these events have promoters handing out fliers for future events, but if you didn’t make it to this year’s affair and you want to find similar happenings in the future, look at You can find concerts, theatrical productions, art shows and more.

Is fast and furious your forte? Did you know that there are go-karts in the Jumbo (Cl. 76 #75-155) parking garage below the main floor? Pista de Karts provides a fun alternative for any afternoon or weekend. For 10mil per 5 minutes you can race all of your friends around the track and when you’re done, take a groupie on the winner’s podium. Don’t worry, they have helmets and the track and cars are well maintained.

Barranquilla isn’t always the “curramba bella”. For less than 40 mil, you can go to Hotel el Prado for the day (weekends only) and spend your life lounging away like a King or Queen by their beautiful pool on one of their plush chaise lounges and satisfy the foodie inside you with a delicious lunch buffet. Don’t worry about bringing a towel, those are also provided. Aside from the sumptuous atmosphere and edibles of the Brunch Dominical, the hotel bar has a cocktail list that will tantalize your taste buds.

If you’re looking for dinner and a little entertainment, there are multiple restaurants around the city that offer a great menu and live music to boot! One of my favorites is Mazzino’s Pizza (49b # 74 – 125). The brick oven pizza is the best in the city and if you go on a Saturday night, you will find great conversation with not only Barranquilleros but it is also a hangout spot for non-natives as well. If you stay past eight o’clock you can please your ears with the Mazzino’s Jazz Band. Or, if you want good food, music, and an aerial view of the city, you have to go to Piso 26 at the Barranquilla Plaza Hotel. Here you will find traditional Colombian food with flare and a live band that plays all of your favorite Latino dance hits. Be prepared to have aching feet the next day!

As you can see, there are a plethora of things one can do in Barranquilla! Although guaro and dancing are staples here in Barranquilla, there are other options depending on your own particular flavor. So get out there and see for yourself the other facets that are BARRANQUILLA!


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Stacy Johnson is a humanitarian and a culture junky. She has lived all over the United States and has wandered to various parts of the world but has fallen completely in love with Barranquilla. She teaches English daily, but is also involved in various volunteer projects around the city and is passionate about sharing with others what this asphalt jungle has to offer.


  1. Enjoyed your article on Barranquilla, I live outside the city and travel there frequently glad to know there is more to Barranquilla than crazy traffic and rude people.