Barranquilla is an industrial behemoth of a town on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, somewhat off the beaten path for tourists most of the year — that is, except for each February, when the annual Carnaval parade and festivities attract thousands from around Colombia and abroad.
Call it luck, but we happened to be spending the week in Cartagena nearby during this year’s throw down. We hoped a bus with a couple of friends we made at our hostel and set out for a day in the mix. I couldn’t bring myself to pay the 150,000 price tag (about $47 U.S.) for a seat in the bleachers to watch the parade, but we did spend hours roaming the streets, met some good people, and soaked it all in. I also managed to get pickpocket of my iPhone. On my birthday, no less. But otherwise it was a great time and quite a unique experience.
Barranquilla’s Carnaval dates back at least 100 years, they say, and has even been declared some sort of cultural masterpiece by UNESCO. Pretty cool, eh? It also happens to be on of the largest Carnaval celebrations in the world, and if you ever have the chance to attend I wouldn’t pass it it. In the meantime, here are a few pictures from the street scenes: