Eco-friendly travel guide to Barranquilla advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to explore the attractions in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in Barranquilla, Colombia.
- Air quality: 3.5 / 5
- Exploring by foot: 3.5 / 5
- Exploring by bicycle: 3.5 / 5
- Public transportation: 4.0 / 5
- Parks: 4.0 / 5
- Outdoor activities: 4.0 / 5
- Locals' English level: 3.0 / 5
- Safety: 2.5 / 5
- Accommodation: US$10 - $150
- Budget per day: US $20 - $150
- 1 Responsible Travel
- 2 Air Quality and Pollution
- 3 Respect the Culture
- 4 Top 10 Places to Visit
- 5 Explore
- 6 Eat
- 7 Drink
- 8 Activities
- 9 Accommodation
- 10 How to Get There
- 11 Moving Around
- 12 Sustainable Shopping
- 13 Recycling
- 14 Work and Study Abroad
- 15 See Also
Barranquilla is one of the fourth largest cities in Colombia, with about 1.2 million people. It is a cosmopolitan and primarily industrial city that people in the business of all the nationalities often visit. It is one of the prominent port cities located on the north side of Colombia and the Caribbean coast and is at the equidistant between Cartagena and Santa Marta. In November 2003, UNESCO announced the city as "masterpieces of humanity's intangible and oral heritage" because of its annual four-day Carnival. The place is also the prominent industrial educational, shopping, and cultural center of Colombia's Caribbean Region. The tourist traveling to Barranquilla must keep many things in mind and play a responsible tourist role. You must make sure that you do not exploit the environment in any way. You must also give back to nature in every possible way. Here are some of the ways to ensure that you travel responsibly:
- Public transport: If you use public transport, it will decrease your carbon footprints and help you find an economical way to travel. If your goal is to travel eco-friendly, it is recommended not to take private vehicles instead of taking public transport. This way, it will not only help the environment but will also be able to cut the travel expenses.
- No littering: Never forget to carry around disposable bags so that you can make sure to put the trash and dispose it off safely in the designated dustbins around the area.
- Support local businesses: You can also support a local business instead of buying from the multinational chains. This will lift the local economy, and you will also not contribute to the unethical ways of the global chains that do not have a sustainable business model or sustainably dispose of the waste.
- Metal straws: Even though it may look a bit significant, millions of plastic straws are thrown into the sea every year. This ultimately endangers the sea and wildlife. It is recommended to carry around disposable or reusable metal straws to be a lot easier to keep the environment safe with ensuring hygiene.
Air Quality and Pollution
Barranquilla is one of the most prominent cities in Colombia, and if you compare the pollution levels, it is likely to make a big difference. There is also a huge difference in the amount of money that the city government pays to keep a check on the air quality in Barranquilla. Barranquilla needs to ensure that they can provide the most excellent services for the residents of the town.
- PM10 – 29
- PM2.5 – 17
- PM10 Pollution Level – Moderate
- Pollution Index – 55.92
- Pollution Exp Scale – 95.46
The air pollutions data is from the World Health Organization of the pollution levels as of November 2020.
Respect the Culture
Colombia is a fascinating country that blends in perfectly with European, American, and African culture. There are many aspects to its traditions and businesses that are unique to its shores. It turns out to be captivating for thousands of visitors who visit Colombia each year.
Try to respect the culture of the city you are traveling to, and it is an essential part of your travel experience. Barranquilla is home to the world's most famous carnivals. Make sure to visit the city during the time of their annual Carnival.
Top 10 Places to Visit
- Gran Malecon Puerta de Oro: It is one of the best linear parks which is located alongside the river Magdalena. It has breath-taking sceneries of one of Colombia's most significant natural park. It is a perfect destination to go to if you want to enjoy a great outdoor experience with your family and loved ones. The place also includes restaurants, playgrounds, and other cultural activities.
- Centro Comercial Buenavista: It is one of the high-end shopping malls in Barranquilla with a wide array of international brands. The place also has a food court, cinema and kids' club to enjoy.
- Zoológico de Barranquilla: The Botanical and Zoological Foundation of Barranquilla operates this Barranquilla Zoo. The zoo was inaugurated in 1956 and houses several rare species and of endangered white tigers. You can enjoy a great walk to the zoo's jungle's small paths and admire the range of exotic plants and animals.
- Iglesia de la Inmaculada Concepción: The Neo-Gothic structure of 1945 stands as one of the city's most emblematic buildings. It is one of the main places of worship every year for thousands in the Catholic community. Because of its occasional traditional market and vibrant surroundings, the church became a famous tourist spot.
- Museo Mapuka: The place is an archaeological museum, and its purpose is to contribute to the recognition of the Colombian Caribbean's identities. The museum features a 25,000-year journey through different processes that took place, and the journey begins with the first settlers of the continent. The archaeological collection houses the museum and its reserve area to a larger extent.
- Centro Comercial Viva Barranquilla: With various international and local brands available, the mall is one of the best commercial centers. It also has some global chain restaurants and some local restaurants serving you with an array of Colombian food.
- Malecon Leon Caridi: You can take a stroll at Malecon Leon Caridi along the river and enjoy the view. As you walk along, you will find plenty of benches, so you can also bring a book if you need a short break. If you a bird enthusiast, take a camera if you want to capture pelicans and other water birds in high numbers along the boardwalk.
- Museo del Caribe: This modernistic, smart, multimedia-heavy permanent exhibition details the history, nature, and culture of the people of Colombia. The multi-media exhibits offer an insight into the region's indigenous cultures and the various musical expressions.
- Catedral Metropolitana María Reina: The modern yet straightforward façade of Cathedral Metropolitana Maria Reina, the place conceals the beautiful world of colors streaming throughout the interior of this cathedral. The church was constructed about 27 years ago and designed to celebrate the religious heritage of the Colombian-Caribbean.
- Centro de Convenciones Puerta de Oro: It is one of the best holiday destinations in Barranquilla. The place is one of the most modern complexes used for holding conventions and events at the Colombian-Caribbean basin's service. It also offers a unique space that faces the river and sea with a welcoming and modern environment for attendees, exhibitors, and citizens.
Barranquilla is one of the largest cities in Colombia and one of the port towns located on Río Magdalena's delta. It is laid out in a tangled ribbon along the Caribbean Sea and mangroves, hustling and sweltering in the blinding sun. It is also famous for being the birthplace of Colombian pop singer Shakira. The main reason why Barranquilla is famous is because of its Carnaval, which is held every year when the town clocks off, and the country goes out for the biggest street party.
- Barranquilla attracts the big crowds for Mardi Gras, and the visitors can come at any time of the year. The city is proud to be the home of costeño, their culture, and decent museums.
- Go surfing: You can get a great surfing experience at Barranquilla as it is home to some of the best surf breaks in Colombia. Enjoy surfing with warm waters and great waves as you head to the coast. Colombia Surf Spot is the best place to catch all the latest information about surfing around Barranquilla.
- La Troja: If you want to get the ultimate Barranquillero experience, experience La Troja. The place is perfect and an attack on the senses. It is loud, crowded, and bright and provides you with an incredible amount of fun. If you are an authentic night out, then this place plays salsa purely.
- Carnival of Barranquilla: It is one of Latin America's second-biggest Carnival. The event is a large blow-out, which is celebrated four days before Ash Wednesday.
- Parque Venezuela: This is a regular park in Barranquilla with basketball courts, a concrete volleyball court, and a great BMX bikes/skateboard area. There are small playgrounds for kids, and this area is usually popular on Saturdays and Sundays. It is a perfect place to bring your children if they want to jump on a moon bounce or ride tiny go-karts with some other activities to enjoy.
- Parque Sagrado Corazon: The park is large, which also has a theater. You can jog around the sidewalk of the park and relax under the trees. You can also sign up for some group cardio and play tennis.
- Parque Paseo de la Castellana: The place is remodeled and bright in the north of the city. It is recommended for exercising and relaxing with good courts and settings for any sport.
Salamanca Island Road Park: The national park of Colombia is on the Magdalena Department's western outskirts in Cienaga. The fauna and flora are in abundance because of the confluence of sweet water that flows from the sea's river and saline water.
Barranquilla is a modern and industrialized city at the Caribbean shore's borders, and the beaches surround the entire metropolis. It borders the Caribbean coasts, and the beaches surround the town. You can find excellent beaches within a few minutes away from Barranquilla like:
- Puerto Velero
- Puerto Colombia
- Mendoza Beach
- Caño Dulce
- Santa Verónica
Every beach has its own attractions and characteristics, all with the charm of coastal cuisine, breeze, breath-taking views, and a relaxing environment. Puerto Velero is a nautical academy that has excellent features and facilities for sports and tourists. The activities include boat docking, cabins in water and on land, real estate development, and some modern restaurants with the best quality seafood and international cuisines.
- Monumento Ventana Al Mundo: The Window to the World or Monumento Ventana Al Mundo is one of the public monuments you can find in the city. It was built by the end of 2018 to coincide with the Caribbean Games and XXIII Central American, of which Barranquilla was the host.
- La Plaza de la Paz: It is an open public space located in the strategic and central sector of Barranquilla. It was built to house the crowd that received Pope John Paul II in the year 1986.
- Plaza de la Intendencia Fluvial: The building is historical with a short boardwalk and park. There are also many places to eat nearby and enjoy your time.
- Teatro Amira de la Rosa: It was housed in a traditional strategic sector of the city at Motecristo, El Prado, and Abajo's deep-rooted neighborhoods. The city marked a milestone in its social and musical history with the presentation of Sinfonía Latina.
- Iglesia San Nicolas de Tolentino: At the historical place in the city of Barranquilla, this beautiful building is located in the center of the historic town of Barranquilla. The downtown area has a square with many informal shops, and you can get there quickly by public transportation or walking. The place is excellent for commercial activities and core social life in the city until the mid-20th century.
- Estatua del Joe Arroyo: The statue is a fitting tribute to a man greatly loved not only in Colombia but in many parts of the world. It also captures the tremendous swing and charisma. If you get to the city, we would strongly recommend visiting this place as it also features 'Joe All Stars,' a band formed by Chelito de Castro to honor and prolong the legendary performer and his music.
There are many famous museums around Barranquilla. Here are some of the famous museums in Barranquilla.
- Museo Romántico: The museum is located in the Republican mansion in El Prado district and shows objects from the city's history. The many types of costumes at the museum can be seen. There is a famous Carnival Queens costume to the replica of old Abello ridge on the Paseo de Bolívar. You can also find the letters of Simón Bolívar along with his albums, photographs, newspaper collections, and many other items that identify the city's history.
- Museo del Caribe: The location of this museum is Parque Cultural del Caribe. The museum is housed in the Universidad del Atlántico at the Faculty of Fine Arts. The museum presents a comprehensive collection of pieces from different cultures inhabited in the region.
- Museo de Arte Moderno: In Barranquilla, the Museum of Modern Art was established in 1996 and brought up the critical selection of works by many influential artists of the second half of the 20th century. The collection features renowned authors like Alejandro Obregón, Fernando Botero, Luis Caballero, and Enrique Grau.
- Museo Aeronáutico: The museum is located at the Naval Officer's School ARC and was founded in 1989 to pay tribute to the momentum that took place in Barranquilla with commercial aviation during the early 20th century.
- Museo del Atlántico: The museum is new in the region and is located at the Government of Atlántico Department's former headquarters.
You can get to eat both international and local cuisines here. The local delicacies would be a great choice instead of going for any global chain brand. Here, local delicacies include Sancocho de guandul, Arroz con coco, Bocachico frito, Fritos, and Sancocho.
Traditional Local Restaurants
There are a few traditional local restaurants in Barranquilla. Below are the ones you can find in the city.
- Mag Mondongo: If you are in Barranquilla, try this restaurant for mondongo, meaning tribe soup. The food here is relatively cheap, and the place is open 24/7.
- Restaurante Bar Mi Bohío Puerto Rico: The place is one of the many local seafoods. It is an excellent place to dine with a great view of the Magdalena River.
- Narcobollo: The restaurant is famous for its bollos. It happened when Narcobollo's founders began to sell them out of their home, and the neighbors called the police as they suspected them selling narcotics due to the high volume of customers. You can get local food here.
Vegetarian and Vegan
Following restaurants have vegan and vegetarian options on their menu.
- Pizzeria The Meeting Point
- Noa Sushi & Robata
- Crepes & Waffles
- Restaurante El Huerto
- The Vegan House
Following are the street foods you can try if you are traveling to Barranquilla:
- Chicharrón: The dish is made of fried pork rinds or fried pork belly. It can also be made of beef, mutton, or chicken.
- Empanada: It is a fried or baked turnover that consists of filling and pastry. The dish is typical in Latin America.
- Arroz de Lisa: It is a dish that originates from the city of Barranquilla itself. It is prepared with rice, salted and dried, onions, ají peppers, and spices like paprika and cumin. The dish is served in a bijao leaf and is accompanied traditionally by cassava, seuro atollabuey sauce, and costeño cheese.
- Picada: It is a Colombian dish prepared with chicken, arepa, yucca, steak, morcilla, plantain, and chorizo.
If you want to enjoy a great taste of local beer, try Águila. The drink is famous around Colombia and the cheapest one to buy. You can also try Club Colombia, which is a Colombian beer with great taste and quality. Other than this, you can go for rum, which is quite popular among the locals.
The water quality in Barranquilla is considered safe, but you can boil it if you still have any persisting doubts. Volunteers who live outside the main cities are also provided with water filters.
- Bunt café: The food served in the Bunt café is extremely fresh, and the food preparation is done professionally. You can find the ingredients of high quality, and the cooking is excellent. The staff is friendly and make your meal an enjoyable one.
- Honolulu Poke: The food at Honolulu Poke is mostly organic and lets you enjoy a complete experience.
Even though Colombia has not been famous for beer, there are some delicious craft beers to sample when you visit Colombia, unlike Belgium or Germany. The Colombian beers must never be skipped, so here are few breweries where you can get the best beer:
- El Cervecero BAQ
- Cerveceria Tres Quince Barrio Abajo
- Bavaria S.A.
- Bogota Beer Company
- Cervecería TresQuince
Barranquilla is a complex and large city. You can mainly eat and shop in the daytime, but nightlife is active all year round. Few main party spots are Trucupey Latin Disco, La Troja, Frogg Leggs, and Kapitol. Apart from this, if you wish for a more relaxed environment, then some 80's restro bars like Beba Genobeba, Luna Negra are some spots known as 'estancos'. You can your time there. There are some more places known as 'mundo de la cerveza' or 'puntos frios' where you can get beer any time of the day.Just in case you are lucky enough to go during the Carnival, then the city is the place where everyone is up to the party for days without rest.
Yoga and Retreats
You will find the yoga retreats center at different parts of the city in Barranquilla. The retreat centers are located in the region of Barranquilla includes some of the great services. One such place is Akasha Yoga School, which is in an area where sea and nature complement each other. You can enjoy the majestic sunsets and beautiful sunrises.
Barranquilla has several options when we talk about accommodations. There are many inexpensive hotels in the area. All you need to do is walk around and ask to see the rooms. Try to do thorough research because the ones listed in the guidebooks are generally not cheaper.
There are not many options for green hotels in Barranquilla. The eco-friendly hotels take various measures to keep it 100% natural and remain eco-friendly. N.H. Collection Barranquilla Smartsuites Royal hotel is one of the green hotels you can find around the city. It is one of the best hotels with professional staff and quality services.
Hostels and Guest Houses
The best place to find cheap accommodation in Barranquilla is the hostels and guest house. The hotels and guest houses are best as they provide guests with excellent toiletries, beddings, towels, and bathroom furniture. These accommodations are easy to find at a fraction of prices as compared to hotels. If you want to stay at a good hostel in Barranquilla, you can contact local hostels and see the services they provide to their guests. There are many hostels in Barranquilla, and some of them are:
- La Quinta Bacana Hostal: The hostel is friendly with a great environment and people around the world. It is located near bog avenues and several supermarkets. The hostel also provides special areas for bathrooms and showers, one for men and one for women.
- Hostal Puerta de Oro: It is a single-level property located just 900 meters from the Barranquilla Convention Center Puerta de Oro near the river. There are also many shopping centers nearby.
- Mary house: It is a convenient and comfortable hostel in the north of the city, closer to Electrificadora Park.
- Hostel Prado 59: It is a large house with private rooms with one, two, and three beds. The hostel also provides you with a free WiFi zone, optimal dining services, and a large, well-ventilated patio.
People who are interested in staying in Barranquilla, there are plenty of places where you can visit. Apartments are the top options to go to so if you are looking for suitable accommodation, you need to find the right one all depending on the needs. If you are traveling to Barranquilla for work purposes, then you may want to stay in one of the popular hotels, but staying in apartments is slightly feasible and a great way to save money.
Couchsurfing is a popular activity worldwide, and many people consider this option a great way to connect with people of different cultures and ethnicities. It is also a common thing in Barranquilla, and more than 5000+ Couchsurfing hosts are available around the city. If you visit Barranquilla and want to save money on your stay, Couchsurfing will be on your list.
If you are looking for a good camping place in Barranquilla, you probably won't find one, but other options are available at a short distance from the city.
- Zona Camping Parque El Tayrona: If you are in Colombia and want to camp, then Barranquilla may not be the right destination, but you can try to enjoy yourself around the city. This camping site is also a national park in the Colombian Caribbean at the north of Santa Marta and is approximately 139.5 km away from Barranquilla.
- Camping Castilletes: This camping site is at a distance of approximately 138km from Barranquilla.
- Chichi Camping: The Chichi camping site is famous and located at La Guajira, which is around 189 km from Barranquilla.
How to Get There
Traveling through Barranquilla is something that will be in your memories forever. You will be able to explore the town, beaches, river course, sea and the pleasure to see the countryside and experience the beauty of nature while visiting Barranquilla.
The visitors usually arrive at the city by plane and the airport is named "Ernesto Cortissoz" which is on the far south side of the town. The fare to get to the town is usually US$8-12 by taxi. You can also take buses that ply around the city.
The buses run around the city by the terminal. They will help you to get to the town for $0.55 with the drawback of a bit less comfortable ride experience. Barranquilla is also connected to the other cities on the northern coast of the country. The long-distance bus fares to some nearby towns are:
- Maicao - $13
- Cartagena - $12
- Maracaibo - $26
- Caracas - $44
- Santa Marta - $13
- Medellín - $20
The bus stations are slightly far away from the city center and stop at every village. It is an excellent option to travel by bus companies that operate directly from around the city center.
The Colombia railway network has a total length of 3304 km. Colombia has a nationwide network of train tracks that is mostly unused, and the only train you'll be able to board is Turistren that runs on weekends. In November 2018, the Colombian Ministry of Finance and Public Credit built a 9.5 km light rail following the north-south Calle 30 that serves 15 stations and carries an estimated 101,000 passengers every day.
Hitchhiking is possible in Barranquilla. If you ask for a lift, it is not something ordinary, and if you want eco-friendly travel, this is the best option to go. But always keep in mind that there could be a chance of getting conned or robbed by the people, so make sure that you do not take a lift from shady looking people.
There are other two options to go if you want to travel around Barranquilla. These are:
- Mototaxi: Mototaxis is quite an illegal way of transportation that has grown its popularity over the past three years. These consist of the motorcycles that charge lesser money than the regular cabs and take you anywhere.
- Motocarro: In some neighbors and on the outskirts of Barranquilla, motocarros are an inexpensive and popular way of transportation. These three-wheeled vehicles are not allowed to move on major roads, so check with the driver before taking motocarro.
If you plan to move around Barranquilla, then you can have the best views of the city. Barranquilla is an excellent place for many people and a nice city to enjoy, work, and play.
Walking in Barranquilla is the best way to enjoy the city's fresh air, and you will also get to enjoy the lovely scenery, which is very much associated with Barranquilla. The place also has some excellent restaurants. You can take a walk around the pleasant streets of El Prado for a few stunning sights such as Catedral Metropolitana María Reina and the lengthy Plaza de Paz.
The city is great if you opt to take a bicycle tour instead of walking or taking a bus or taxi. The people around the city are friendly, and you will enjoy a great time at Barranquilla with the locals. The place is excellent for biking, and you can rent one.
Electric vehicles are on the rise in Barranquilla and one of the best things to take if you are thinking of getting around eco-friendly. Colombia's government is taking every measure for electric vehicles, and e-mobility is on the country's rise. Many e-vehicles are buzzing around the city with proper charging stations. You can also rent them as per your stay and convenience.
Public buses are one of the best ways to travel around if you want to explore the city. Public transport in Barranquilla is well organized, and you can find yourself having a great time. You do not need to worry about traffic or to get off at the wrong stop. It is also one of the cheapest ways to travel around the city and the bus companies also get you the transport charges for the route booked in advance.
Tram, Train and Subway
Barranquilla has light rail projects and is the best way to travel around the city. It is one of the efficient ways to get around the city.
Sustainable shopping is one of the great ways to preserve and save nature. If you shop sustainably, then in a way, you are contributing to nature. It is one of the most significant aspects of maintaining balance in society. You can find many sustainable shops around you, and if not offline, you can go for online shopping.
You can explore the downtown food market in Barranquilla to get a good shopping experience and buy them at reasonable prices.
The flea market is one of Colombia's biggest markets, offering you the best variety of items sold by merchants. If you are looking for some great and affordable way to buy authentic products, pieces of costume jewelry at a price that is not too high, then a flea market is the best place to start. There is a lot of hype associated with these stalls, so, surely, you'd want to know about what to look out for when you are shopping in Barranquilla.
Second Hand Stores
Second-hand markets are one of the best and affordable ways of shopping. If you are a backpacker, then these options are indeed for you. When you are traveling to Barranquilla, you will find many second-hand bargains, but the famous one is at Oscar de la 30. It is quite an undiscovered gem in Barranquilla, and if you have time apart from your busy schedule, then near Paseo Bolivar, you can find the store. The place sits on a whole street of shops that offers second-hand clothing at great bargainous prices. You can also find your favorite brands like Calvin Klein, MaxMara, DKNY, and many more. It may take a while, but if you are a fashion fan and a sustainable shopper, this is the best place.
If you go to eco-fashion markets in Barranquilla, you will see many cloth items made from organic hemp and organic cotton. Many of the clothes are made using organic cotton fibers and other materials used in the making of clothing, including recycled glasses and paper. Eco-fashion is a great way to enjoy your eco-travel.
Waste recycling is done in many places in Barranquilla. Many areas are dedicated for recycling purposes. Apart from this, Colombia's Government has also been encouraging people for proper waste disposal and management. The alarming issue is that the waste is ending to the river and sea polluting it, so Barranquilla citizens need to look after it.
Waste recycling is quite common in Barranquilla. The waste products that are recycled included solid waste like glass, plastic, paper, metal, and cardboard. One of the significant sources of waste in Barranquilla is that of paper, plastic, and gas. There have also been many designs made for proper waste management and disposal as the city and the country along are suffering from high-level pollution. As a traveler, you must take care that you dispose of the waste the right way and encourage fellow travelers to do the same.
Work and Study Abroad
If you want to work or study at Barranquilla, you must remember that Spanish is the first spoken language around the city to have a basic knowledge of it. The schools also offer courses in different areas. You can also attend summer workshops here on a variety of subjects. Barranquilla also has work centers. The work centers provide you with various job options, and you can find work here ranging from a simple receptionist to a sales assistant. The jobs go anywhere from entry-level to supervisory level, and you can also start your own business at Barranquilla if you like. Some people who want to study abroad try to get employment there, so experiences like these can help you to build up your strong resume.
The universities across Barranquilla are also keen to offer global scholarships and exchange programs with the students. Universities like Universidad del Norte, ISA Barranquilla offer these programs so you can look out for options.
Au Pair is no longer an alien idea. Hosting an Au Pair is always great because if you need flexibility or have a child take care of and are concerned with preparing your child for a global society, this is an excellent option to go. The family should consider hosting an Au Pair depending on the expectations and individual needs.
Barranquilla is home to sea, river, and many museums that provide a unique environment for volunteer groups to learn and work. The city has a wide variety of cultural options for groups of all ages. There are many festivals, events, and carnivals held throughout the year, such as Carnival of Barranquilla, a four-day annual street party. The event also attracts people from around the world, so volunteering would be a great option if you happen to an eco-traveler and want to give your bit back to society and nature.