El Carnaval de Barranquilla – The Carnival of Barranquilla

If you’re traveling to Barranquilla, Colombia for El Carnaval de Barranquilla. Your experience begins from the moment you step off the plane. Standing in the immigration line, you can hear the live traditional music (El Millo) sounding from just outside the arrival terminal.

Every year, Barranquilla and its neighboring cities shut down for four days to celebrate El Carnaval which is a festival of joy and celebration filled with Folkloric events. It is a party preceded by months of intense choreography practice and the creation of colorful and complicated costumes.

Gran Parada de Fantasia (Great Fantasy Parade) which is a parade where the splendor of fantasy prevails through the spectacle of the comedies and exotic costumes,

The Carnival of Barranquilla starts on a Saturday and ends on a Tuesday. Saturday, the Battle of the Flowers (La Batalla de las Flores) is the largest event and the most attended. It runs on the Via 40 which is one of the principal city avenues.

Sunday is the Gran Parada de Tradicion y Folclor (Tradition and Folklore Parade) which dates to 1967 and differs from the Battle of the Flowers in that it is composed of only the walking dance groups.

Monday is the Gran Parada de Fantasia (Great Fantasy Parade) which is a parade where the splendor of fantasy prevails through the spectacle of the comedies and exotic costumes, a peculiarity that leaves a pleasant impression among the spectators.

Finally, on Tuesday the Joselito funeral takes place with a sad procession as a symbol of celebration and joy of living. However, the funeral is not a problem because Joselito will come back to life next year.

All the parades take place during the day but come night; live music concerts are rampant throughout the city with a variety of all likes. Clubs, pubs, and restaurants will be crowded so find your favorite place and stick to it, or else you will find yourself displaced.

Undoubtedly, this is an event you must attend at least once in your lifetime. Words and pictures cannot explain the live experience which clearly supports the Colombian saying “Quien lo vive, es quien lo goza” (“he who lives it, is who enjoys it”). Make sure to add it to your bucket list.

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