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Geography and climate

Barranquilla is Colombia’s fourth largest city. It’s a major port city located on the north side of Colombia along the Caribbean coast about equidistant between Santa Marta and Cartagena. Strategically situated along the Magdalena River just five miles from the Caribbean Sea, Barranquilla is a port for river and maritime transportation within Colombia. It is also the main industrial, shopping, educational, and cultural center of the Caribbean Region of Colombia.

They also call Barranquilla “Colombia’s Golden Gate”, because it was the gateway for progress in Colombia. Aviation, telephones, radio, trains, and fútbol (soccer) came to Barranquilla first.

Usually, the first thing that comes to mind about Barranquilla is Carnival. Second in size only to Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the event runs for the four days before Ash Wednesday and attracts over 240,000 visitors from all over the world. Known for its parties, parades, dances, and music, Barranquilla Carnival earned UNESCO intangible cultural heritage designation in 2003.

Barranquilla is known for its cumbia dancing. Cumbia began as a courtship dance practiced among the African population on the Caribbean coasts of Colombia. It later mixed with European instruments, steps, and musical characteristics. By the 1940s, cumbia began spreading from the coast to other parts of Colombia.


The population of Barranquilla is about 1.2 million people. Barranquilla is best known as The Golden Gate of Colombia (La Puerta de Oro de Colombia) because its location is north of Colombia and it is the most important maritime port of The Republic of Colombia. Barranquilla is honored as the origin of aviation and airport.


The official language of Barranquilla is Spanish. The second most common language is English, although not that widely spoken.


The official currency of Colombia is the Colombian Peso which may be abbreviated to “COP”. The Colombian bills are denoted as: 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 Pesos. Coins are denoted as follows: 50, 100, 200, 500, 1,000 Pesos. Recently a 100,000 bill was introduced although you’ll rarely see it in circulation.

It’s important to carry small changes with you as much as possible. Many small businesses will refuse to take your 50,000 COP note simply because they don’t have the cash to change it. Try to break your 50,000 COP notes at bigger establishments such as Exito. Try not to accept torn or badly worn notes, you might find it hard to get rid of them as well.

Country: Colombia
Public Entity: Barranquilla
Capital: Barranquilla
Official Language: Spanish
Population: 1.2 million
Area: 154 km²
Time zone: UTC-5:00
Calling code: +57 5
Currency: Colombian Peso (COP)