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Things to see in Barranquilla, Colombia

Looking for things to see in Barranquilla? Check out our list of the top attractions in the city, from historical sites to natural wonders.

After the disappointment of Cartagena, I felt that I needed to see more of the Caribbean. But I was looking for something that wasn’t just about tourism, something authentic, a city that would allow me to see it from invisibility, to have the power to mingle seamlessly with the people there. My first choice: Barranquilla. We are going to show the things to see in Barranquilla, a city where tourism feels different from its neighbor. Did it pass the invisibility test? Here we tell you.

What are the things to see during a day tour in Barranquilla?

We took transport that took us from Cartagena to Barranquilla, when we got off we had to go through a long street crowded with stalls that sold everything: clothes, shoes, among the clothes the sports shirts stood out. Sale of movies and music. Of course, Shakira’s songs were not lacking. There walked in front of us carts that sold juices, they were appealing, but I preferred not to follow the impulse lest my stomach would charge me later.

Vendors were offering us their wares, but hey… just like anyone else passing by. It was not a “tourist-oriented” sale. No. I didn’t feel like prey there. A very nice lull during the trip to Colombia.

San Nicolás de Tolentino church

This church was our first objective when visiting the city, it has very nice pink colors to see and after admiring it from the outside I wanted to do the same inside. Oh no, the door cannot be opened. Oh no, it’s closed, we went to the door of the parish offices and people were working. I think my sweaty and disappointed face moved them and a worker said that he would accompany us, so we could see the interior quickly (with that I conformed) I thanked them very much.

As a curious fact, the construction of this church began around 1637 and lasted approximately 300 years. I’d like to know the reason for so much time, that it is not such a huge construction either.

Church of San Nicolas de Tolentino in Barranquilla
Pink church

Caribbean Museum

We left the church and continued on our way until we reached the Museo del Caribe. Honestly, at first, my main motivation for going in was the air conditioning, but once inside I saw very interesting things since this museum covers both the Caribbean flora and fauna, the ethnic groups of the area, the climates. Surprising data we can see here, since one thinks that in the Caribbean, there are only beaches and abundant vegetation, but no, there is also desert.

There is also talk of the migratory currents that arrived in the area, one of them the Lebanese in Barranquilla. There is a room entirely dedicated to Gabriel Garcia Márquez, in which animations are shown with passages from his works. He lived in this city and reference is made to the places he frequented.

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In summary: the time in this museum goes by rapidly, going through the 4 floors of exhibition rooms. This place is highly recommended as one of the things to see if you spend the day in Barranquilla.

Price: 13,000 Colombian pesos per person

Hours: Monday to Friday from 8 AM to 5 PM / Saturday, Sunday and holidays from 9 AM to 6 PM

Leaving the museum we got hungry and saw that there was a restaurant in the park next to the museum, the entire complex belongs to Parque del Caribe. We popped in, and they had pretty good food, so we stayed to eat there.

Rio Magdalena

One of the objectives of visiting the city was to be able to see this river. The reason, I don’t know exactly which one, maybe because it has my mom’s name, or because it is mentioned a lot in the area, it is an important river for the people there.

To get to it, we went through some dirt roads, through which there was not a single tourist and the people of the area I think they even saw us with a face of “what are these doing here”, after all we arrived and were able to observe several herons and people in small boats. There were some not so nice areas with semi-abandoned boats, but I think we managed to find the charm, it had the charm of the fauna and that nobody bothered us for being visitors. What’s more, a child approached me when he saw me taking photos and asked me questions, but it felt like pure curiosity and nothing more. It was so nice to feel anonymous and mixed with the people, not like prey waiting to be hunted.

Public transport in Barranquilla

To get to our next destination, which was the Cathedral, we had to take some kind of transport. But I didn’t want a taxi (I was afraid of falling into the tourist effect again), during lunch I looked at the Transmetro online map and saw that it could take us to the cathedral, so here we go. At the entrance we buy the tickets, along with the card that we keep as a souvenir, and that’s it, we’re still invisible.

Metropolitan Cathedral María Reina de Barranquilla

We arrived at the cathedral, a place of a very different style from the church that we saw at the beginning of the tour. Normal since this cathedral was built in the 50s. It took about 27 years to complete.

The style used in this venue is modernist, it can hold about 4,000 seated people. Due to its characteristics, having a semi-open roof, you can’t use air conditioning, or so it seemed to me, anyway once inside you don’t feel the heat.

It was here in this enclosure where I had to call the transport to see what time we could return to what they told us practically NOW. So, I only took a few photos of the cathedral and I couldn’t get close to the altar, oh well.

Anecdote about the cathedral: we were in it when it was practically empty. Days later, while we ate in the eje cafetero (coffee zone), we saw on television that a famous sports writer from Barranquilla had perished, and they were doing a huge ceremony for him precisely in this cathedral. It was shocking to see the scenes of the same place where we had been so calmly, but now packed with people to say goodbye to the famous deceased.


Little time in which we managed to see Barranquilla and feel good

After waiting for a while in the shopping center next to the cathedral, the transport managers came for us. A few hours and we were back in Cartagena. I had my batteries recharged, so the foreign-harassing vendors didn’t bother us that day.

Thanks, Barranquilla

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Olga Grijalva

Olga is a traveler and travel content creator with 17 years of experience. Her goal is to share useful information to help you plan your adventures. She has visited more than 40 countries and is excited to share her experience with you.