Barranquilla for (pre) Carnival, Part I
Barranquilla hosts the the second biggest Carnival celebration in the world, following just Rio. Robyn and I contemplated going for the actual thing, but unfortunately, all the hotels were booked up, and the remaining rooms were upwards of $400 USD, for less than stellar accommodations. We opted go a few days earlier, when rooms were inexpensive, to view some of the pre-Carnival activities.
We took a porta-a-porta van from Cartagena, which was a lot less eventful than the last bus, and cost 21.000 COP.
But there were still snacks!
The hostel options were limited so we opted for a luxurious stay at the Smart Suites ($50 USD/person/night). Ahh… you really appreciate the little things after a few weeks in hostels! The bed felt like a cloud, and the hot shower was a welcome change! The rooftop view and pool were nice touches as well!
Everyone we spoke to mentioned that the party starts a month before the main event. We found the official website online listing all the pre-carnival events. Luckily our hotel was located right by all the action. One morning at breakfast, the reigning Carnival Queen stopped by our hotel! She had a camera crew and security with her. Too bad I didn’t have my camera!
Lots of great restaurants and bars in this area too. We found a place called 101 Chupitas… aka 101 shots! How does this place not exist at home?!
Even the streets are decked out for Carnival! I learned that this crazy guy is La Marimonda, “a hooded figure with a long nose, floppy ears and bright trousers and vest.” There are several other famous characters that are popular for costumes as well. Can’t wait to check out the parade!