Barranquilla, Colombia – City Guide for Nomads and Expats

Barranquilla, Colombia.

Known as the birthplace of Shakira and Sofia Vergara. It’s located in the north of the country, and is the fourth-largest city after Cali, Medellin and Bogota. The city streets here will feel a little bit rougher than Bogota or Medellin. The city is actually bigger than Cartagena (about 200,00 more people but who’s counting). That makes Barranquilla the biggest city on the Caribbean coast of Colombia! The carnaval of Barranquilla is perhaps the most famous in the country. Outside of carnaval, Barranquilla is the least touristic city on the coast of Colombia. The city is very hot and humid, and unfortunately doesn’t have a beach to alleviate the heat. If you come to Barranquilla, try to get a hotel or Airbnb with a pool. It’s an ugly city with few tourist attractions, but you have to go to carnaval here at least one in your life.

POPULATION: 1,150,000 


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RENT AN APARTMENT IN BARRANQUILLA

$350.00 will put you up in a modest apartment or house in a decent neighborhood in Barranquilla.

 

BEST BARS & NIGHTLIFE IN BARRANQUILLA

7/10 

Pales in comparison to Bogota and Medellin. Also, there doesn’t seem to be a specific nightlife district in Barranquilla; everything is frustratingly spread out. There are some bars northeast of Parque Venezuela that are pretty good. There are many bars around calle 82, calle 84, and carrera 46.  

My Latin Life recommends:

Frogg Club: Far and away the most popular disco in town.

Henry’s & Perfecto Resto Bar: Two different bars across the street from each other. Very popping area.

 

WHERE TO STAY IN BARRANQUILLA

For a first visit to the visit, try to stay near the Buenavista mall. It’s an upscale area, less urban density, and close to the coast and malecon. You can go to the mall to eat, shop, walk, and beat the heat.

 

IS BARRANQUILLA SAFE?

Fairly safe in Barranquilla. There are neighborhoods that you should not visit, but in general Barranquilla is safer than Medellin and Bogota, and perhaps a bit more dangerous than Santa Marta.

 

THINGS TO DO IN BARRANQUILLA

Go scuba diving! There’s a lot of great scuba locations near Cartagena.

Honestly there’s not that much to do in Barranquilla in the city itself. The locals spend there leisure time walking the malecon or hanging out at the mall. Barranquilla has a big mall culture (because it’s so hot and humid outside).

The best malls in the city are the Centro Comercial Buenavista, Mallplaza Buenavista Centro Comercial, Viva Centro Comercial, and Comercial Villa Country (more central location).

 

COST OF LIVING IN BARRANQUILLA

The following data is from Expatistan, a crowdsourced database of prices and cost of living around the world. In our experience, the data tends to underestimate cost of living, so take the following as the minimum you might need to live here.

*Figures are listed in USD

You’ll need a minimum of $760 USD/month to live in Barranquilla, Colombia

cost-of-living-barranquilla

FINAL THOUGHTS

Downsides: An ugly, industrial city without much in the way of culture tourist attractions. The weather may be too hot for some to handle. Upsides: Very few tourists, safe and good location. If you don’t have much time in Colombia, I would skip it in favor of Medellin, Bogota and Cali. The other coastal cities of Cartagena and Santa Marta are probably better than Barranquilla for most people. 

OVERALL RATING: 7.25/10

 

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