Colombia’s Carnaval City and Major Atlantic Port
As Colombia’s most important port on the Caribbean coast – with a population greater than 1 million – Barranquilla has become home to immigrants from far and wide and in particular a great number of Arabic descent. Colombian siren and songstress Shakira made public her devotion to her hometown of Barranquilla in her song, Hips Don’t Lie, with the contagious lyrics spoken over the beats “En Barranquilla se baila asi” or “In Barranquilla we dance like this.”
Second only in size to Rio’s famous carnival celebrations, Barranquilla’s revelry is believed to remain a great deal closer to its cultural and mythical routes. Masks and costumes reveal the depths of the tradition and folkloric beliefs that make this Carnaval a true wonder to behold. Come and view people dressed up as the mythical Marimonda, watch the Batalla de Flores em>and gasp in awe at the beautiful Queen of the Carnaval.
From the outset Barranquilla’s skyline offers little in the way creativity. The city is split into two parts, upper and lower and in the upper is where the tall modern buildings, shopping malls and compounds are situated. In the lower part of Barranquilla an urban sprawl of ramshackle buildings, warehouses and shantytowns spread out towards the coast.
Despite it seemingly haphazard streets and modern constructions Barranquilla houses some eclectic treats for architecture buffs, most significantly El Prado. The barrio El Prado resembles in part a little portion of California with late Barque Spanish designs adorning tree-lined streets making this area on of the most desirable in the city.
Vast shopping malls are the mainstay here and have become the new town plazas in Barranquilla. People of all shapes and sizes congregate here, hardly ever to shop it seems, but rather to be seen and parade the latest fashions out of Miami or from the blossoming Barranquilla fashion scene.
Barranquilla, as an influential port and expanding Colombian city has a strong footballing tradition and has turned out some great players over the years. Die-hard fans will be yearning for yesteryear as their beloved Junior looks set for the drop in 2008 despite being managed by the iconic Carlos “Pibe” Valderrama – who still boasts an outrageously large blonde mane.