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Kingdom of Heaven

Tuesday, 19 February 2013 02:39

Carnival in Barranquilla Featured

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Our first travel in Colombia and we are off to the Caribbean coast to see the carnival in Barranquilla! The bus ride is really long, it takes about 20 hours for about 1000 kilometres to get from Bogotá to the coast, but it is the cheapest way. The bus costs about 70.000 pesos which is about 30 Euros and the plane ticket at the same time would be about 300.000 pesos (125€), so it is worth it.
After passing a couple of accidents on the road, waiting in traffic jams, lunch breaks and about 20 hours weBarranquilla 200 finally arrive to Barranquilla. A quick cab ride of about an hour and we are at the hostel just to find out that the apartment we reserved is only available from tomorrow. The lady misunderstood us and thought that we were coming one day later, but in the end there was space in one apartment. So we each got a “mattress” on the floor for 50.000 pesos (20€) a night each while sharing the two bedroom apartment with 12 people in total – expensive, but we don’t have any other options. After we settled in we went to grab a quick diner and buy some beers, aguardiente (local liquor made from sugar cane) and a cake for our friend’s birthday. And then, fiesta! 


Precarnaval at Plaza de la Paz where we get to meet some local people, listen to some Latino music, dance and go crazy a bit while drinking aguardiente. As foreigners, we manage to convince the organizers of the event to get our friend on the stage for his birthday, so he gets his 5 minutes of fame on the stage holding his cake while trying to dance in front of a couple of thousand people :) - crazy!
Saturday, the day when the carnival starts! “Early” in the afternoon we manage to get out of the apartment to Mask - girlsee the parade, but there is millions of people, because it is the second largest carnival on the continent, just after Rio de Janeiro. The carnival of Barranquilla - is a tradition for more than one hundred years and this year it is a special occasion because it is also 200 years anniversary of the legal establishment of the city. In front of the tribunes the people are selling tickets for seats for about 180.000 pesos (75€) so we decide not to enter and instead go to another parade on another street. There we get seats for 5.000 pesos (2€), drink some beer and try some local food while watching the parade. The parade consists of a lot of different groups from cities and villages all over the country that present themselves and their costumes. Some of them are simple self-made, than others are really sophisticated and original. 
Me with a girl from the paradeQueen waving

Everything is really colourful and it seems that it is a fiesta for people of all ages. There are children dancing in costumes, teenagers, adults and also elderly people, everybody is having fun. The dancers in costumes are accompanied by groups of musicians and they slowly move and dance down the street. In addition to dancers there are also a lot of “party trucks” and other cars with people, mascots, kings and queens dancing and saluting the crowd. The best thing about it was that it was really close to the people and there was no fence so it was possible to take photos with the performers. It was slowly getting dark, but the parade was not stopping so we decided to get some food and later in the night fiesta and dancing again.


Party truck

Sunday! The day to get to see the big parade! We manage to get out of the apartment early and Lion costumesgo to the street where the main parade is passing by. There we get seats really close to the fence on the other side of the street for 10.000 pesos (4€). The parade starts with the passing of the police on bikes, Ferrari, Hummer and horses, behind them the queen in the carriage and groups of people in costumes accompanied by music and “party” trucks. The differences among performers are really astonishing from really nice, traditional masks and dances to sometimes really perverted “masks”.
MarimondasA mask that is the most often seen is the “Marimonda” which are which are hooded figures with long noses, floppy ears and bright trousers and vests, the traditional mask that originates from Barranquilla. But the best part of seeing the carnival there was the “fiesta” with the locals. They accepted us as their own so we ended up in big foam and flour “fights” with them, taking pictures and videos together. All together it was an awesome carnival, my first one :), or as one can say in Spanish: “muy chevere”! So the next day we said goodbye to Barranquilla and went to Santa Marta, a city nearby to enjoy the sun, sea and beaches of the Caribbean!



Last modified on Sunday, 24 February 2013 06:19

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  • Comment Link Acekard 2i Thursday, 28 March 2013 16:08 posted by Acekard 2i

    Really appreciate you sharing this blog article. Much obliged.

  • Comment Link r4 3ds Saturday, 23 March 2013 18:56 posted by r4 3ds

    great blog! the information you provide is quiet helpful, why i was not able to find it earlier. anyways i’ve subscribed to your feeds, keep the good work up.

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