13 Best Things to Do in Barranquilla, Colombia

|   Last Updated on March 8, 2023

Barranquilla is a city in Colombia which is famed for its extravagant and amazing carnivals. This is something which many South American countries are known for and this is what makes Barranquilla vibrant and exciting and one of the many reasons why it has become such a tourist hot spot.

The city is set on the coast and is an industrial hub, amongst other things. The carnival which is held here has in fact, being designated as part of the world heritage by UNESCO. Barranquilla is the fourth most populated city in Colombia and is home to the Magdelena river, down which tourists can take an enjoyable boat tour.

For anyone travelling to Barranquilla, there are so many things that you can see and do here that it can be difficult to fit it all into one trip. For this reason, we are going to be showing you some of the very best and most enjoyable things that you can do whilst staying in this incredible city.

Whatever your likes, there is sure to be something to delight in the Colombian city of Barranquilla.

1. Zoologico de Barranquilla

If you have a passion for all things to do with animals then the zoo in Barranquilla is a great stop off. The zoo is set in a large outdoor complex and opens its door to visitors every day of the week.

The Barranquilla zoo houses over 500 animals from 140 different species meaning that you will be able to gain a knowledge on a whole wealth of creatures. There are regular events being held at the zoo guaranteeing that there will always be something new and exciting to see.

2. Queen Mary Cathedral

A cathedral is always an opportunity to see some fine architecture when visiting a city and the Queen Mary cathedral in Barranquilla will not disappoint. Whether you view it from outside or take a tour of the interior, this is a building which is sure to stun.

There are still regular services and mass held at the cathedral and so those with a spiritual inclination might want to take part in some of these services as part of their holiday.

3. Castle Salgar

View of the cliffside of Barranquilla overlooking the blue waters with Castle Salgar in the distance.
The cliffside overlooking the blue waters with Castle Salgar in the distance. Courtesy of Deposit Photos

The castle Salgar is another great chance to view some beautiful Colombian architecture. The castle was built in the 1800’s and reflects a Mediterranean style which is popular in this part of the world, as well as some traditional Colombian aspects. For those with a love of history seen through buildings, this one is a great choice.

4. Caribbean Museum

Have you ever thought about the history of the Caribbean area? If so, perhaps this would be an attraction that would appeal to you. The museum is home to many exhibitions showcasing and detailing everything to do with Caribbean history. Something which is not often looked into, but surely should be.

There are aspects to do with history, geography and culture, all surrounding Colombia’s Caribbean side. There is a great range on interactive displays here too which are great for those younger ones.

5. Muvdi Park

This water park is perfect for anyone who has children and it has plenty to keep them entertained. The sports and water park offers much more than just a swimming pool, guests can play on the many water slides and in pool activities as well as taking part in games such as tennis, squash and skating.

There is a green area which is home to various species of wildlife, which can be appreciated on one of the walking paths. There is even an area dedicated to those who wish to ride their BMX.

6. Venezuela Park

There is something magical about a city park, a place of peace and tranquillity set within the busy backdrop of the city.

If you are looking to find a little serenity on your visit to Barranquilla, how about spending some time in this central park which features some beautiful green spaces as well as being host to a variety of exciting events throughout the annual calendar.

7. The Carnival

View of only one of the many floats during a parade at the Barranquilla Carnival.
One of the many floats during a parade at the Barranquilla Carnival. Courtesy of Deposit Photos

If you happen to be in town for the carnival, or if you have planned your trip around it then you are about to find out the true culture and vibrancy of this city. Known for being as close in greatness as the carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the carnival in Barranquilla begins 40 days prior to Easter and lasts for four days.

At the carnival you can expect to try amazing foods, see performers including bands and dancers. This is an experience you will not want to miss and will never forget.

8. Private Tour of Barranquilla

If you would like to experience the city with a trusted, friendly and knowledgeable guide then perhaps a private tour of Barranquilla would work for you.

Many companies can offer this type of your where you will be guided around the city and get to see the most important and notable sights. Guests are picked up from their desired location and then taken on the tour which lasts around 2-3 hours and on top of all this there is a complimentary beer and snacks for the journey.

9. Surfing

There are a brilliant variety of beaches in Barranquilla that are famed for surfing. If you are an avid surfer there will definitely be some waves to be picked up whilst in this city. But if you have never surfed before, there is the opportunity to take part in a surfing class.

If neither of these appeal to you, you could simply go to one of the beaches to relax and watch the action as it happens. Beaches that you might choose could be any of the beaches in Puerto Salgar.

10. Narcobollo

When visiting any city, one of the best things to do is to be able to sample the native cuisine. So why not try Narcobello? This is a great place to get a taste for the local Colombian cuisine and should not be something which is missed out on.

If you are looking to try some of the most delicious empanadas and fritos that Barranquilla has to offer, then Narcobello is that place to do this. You can eat here up until 9pm every day.

11. Estadio Metropolitano Roberto Molendez

If you are a fan of football then there may be no better place to tour than the football stadium in Barranquilla. The stadium was built back in the 1980’s when Colombia made a bid to host the 1986 world cup, but was sadly unsuccessful.

However, the stadium still stands and is now home to the country’s national team, which many people think play in the capital of Bogota.

12. Museo Romantico

This is a museum with a difference because it is housed within a vintage style house. Here, you will find a wonderful selection of interesting items from throughout the local history.

There is also a good selection of local art which is extremely useful to those looking to understand the history and culture of the city further. This is only a small museum and is not suited to filling up an entire day but is still a notable place nonetheless.

13. Jardin Botanico

A trip to the botanical garden of any city is always interesting so why not visit the jardin botanico in Barranquilla where you will find an intriguing selection of plants and trees. This is the perfect afternoon excursion for those looking for some peace an tranquillity.

This is quite a small botanical garden in comparison with others but is still a great place to connect with nature and take some well deserved time out.


View of cars traveling across the Pumarejo bridge against the blue sky of Barranquilla.
Cars traveling across the Pumarejo Bridge against the blue sky of Barranquilla. Courtesy of Deposit Photos

Whilst Barranquilla is most famous for its colourful and lively carnival, there are a wealth of other things to do in this city. For those who love to try local cuisine, there is plenty on offer and for those who have a passion for history, Barranquilla has a host of museums and historical sites that are well worth a visit.

Whatever your preferences, there is certainly something that will satisfy you in this wonderful Colombian city.

Last Updated on March 8, 2023


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