While Rio may have the most famous Carnaval, there’s also a huge celebration in the Colombian city of Barranquilla. In this post I’ll share more about mi experiencia en el Carnaval de Barranquilla (my experience in the Carnival of Barranquilla) along with a fun video I edited from the festivities.
Esta fue mi tercera vez celebrando el Carnaval en América Latina (This was my third time celebrating Carnival in Latin America). Previously, we traveled to Mazatlán in Mexico as well as a trio of Brazilian cities (Recife, Olinda, and Rio) for Carnaval celebrations.
Tengo un amigo de la costa de Colombia, y él me dijo que el Carnaval de Barranquilla es el mejor del mundo (I have a friend from the coast of Colombia, and he told me the Carnaval of Barranquilla is the best in the world). After experiencing Carnaval there this year, I just might agree with him!
The official saying of the Caranval de Barranquilla says a lot about what the experience is like. It is “¡Quién lo vive es quién lo goza!,” which basically means “he who lives it enjoys it.” Essentially, you just have to be there to really soak up the spirit of Carnaval!
Para mí, realmente disfruté el espíritu y la pasión de los Barranquilleros (For me, I really enjoyed the spirit and passion of the Barranquilleros). As soon as we arrived, the decorations, costumes, and music of Carnaval were everywhere. They even start the festivities several weeks before the actual Carnaval. That’s how much people love this incredibly fun time of the year here.
¡Los desfiles fueron increíbles! (The parades were incredible!). It really was amazing watching two of the big parades in person. At the Batella de Flores (Battle of Flowers), we arrived a bit late and didn’t bother trying to get tickets for the stands as they were all packed. While we couldn’t see the floats very clearly, it was still tons of fun celebrating with all the people in the street. Colombians sure know how to have a good time!
On Sunday, we made it back for la Gran Parada de Tradición y Folclor (the Grand Parade of Tradition and Folklore). Compramos boletos por solo 30,000 pesos cada uno (We bought tickets for just 30,000 pesos each). That’s less than $10 each, which is pretty amazing considering 3-day parade tickets sell for over $100 online in advance!
Los disfraces y bailes fueron muy impresionantes (The costumes and dances were very impressive). There is so much diversity in the culture of Colombia, and it was present in this amazing parade. I especially enjoyed the marimonda costume and mask, and even bought one as a souvenir.
Por supuesto, comimos mucha comida colombiana deliciosa (Of course, we ate a lot of delicious Colombian food). We had arepas, empanadas, ceviche, and some mouth-watering mote de queso – a hearty cheese soup that’s common on the coast. Be sure to check out my post about Colombian food if you’re interested to learn more about it.
Las fiestas en la calle también fueron muy divertidas (The parties in the street were a lot of fun as well). Over the few nights we were there, we partied outside of a liquor store, a pharmacy, a stadium, and someone’s garage. There’s a party around every corner here!
They say el tiempo vuela cuando te estas divirtiendo (time flies when you’re having fun), and that was certainly true for me celebrating Carnaval in Barranquilla! It was a blast and I would definitely go back and do it again.
See what Carnaval in Barranquilla is like in this fun highlight video I put together. It shows the street parties, the parades, some of the food, and a whole bunch of shenanigans. Enjoy!