Barranquilla Carnival – Daytours4u http://www.daytours4u.com/en Tours, activities and travel tips in South America Tue, 16 Jan 2018 15:45:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.8 96832869 Start Your Year With a Colombia Carnival Marathon http://www.daytours4u.com/en/colombia4u/start-your-year-with-colombia-carnival-marathon/ Thu, 28 Dec 2017 12:00:46 +0000 http://daytours4u.com/en/?p=8901 Colombia never ceases to amaze – this long unexplored enchanting country is the home to an array of wonderful places, welcoming locals, and an unrivalled Carnival schedule. Here we take you around the country, offering you a rundown of the country’s biggest and most spectacular summer festivities. Grab you costume, get in the party mood, and [...]

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Colombia never ceases to amaze – this long unexplored enchanting country is the home to an array of wonderful places, welcoming locals, and an unrivalled Carnival schedule. Here we take you around the country, offering you a rundown of the country’s biggest and most spectacular summer festivities. Grab you costume, get in the party mood, and join the fun.


Carnaval de Negros y Blancos (Black and White Carnival)

Parade of the Black and White Carvanal in Pasto, southern Colombia / Source

In Colombia’s south, the most anticipated event on the cultural calendar is undoubtedly the Carnaval de Negros y Blancos (Black and White Carnival). Born from native Andean and Hispanic traditions, this great celebration in San Juan de Pasto runs from 2nd – 7th January every year and it became recognised by UNESCO as an “Intangible Heritage of Humanity” in 2009.

The party itself is utter madness – an explosion of colour and sound. Its initial opening is on 7th December, the traditional Noite das Velas (Night of the Candles), whereupon several pre-Carnival activities light up the city. The main Carnival begins on 2nd January with the Desfile das Colônias (Parade of Colonies), an event that features the residents of Pasto and the surrounding areas parading through the streets in a show of their traditions, legends, myths, and music.

The following day is the Día del Carnavalito (Children’s Carnival). Having originated as a game of children imitating their elders by recreating the costumes and fantasies from Blancos Day, this part of the festival now has a very strong identity of its own and it has grown into a much loved part of the Carnival. Thereafter, the partying and drinking continues into the final days of the festival which are the most significant: Día de los Negros (Day of the Blacks) and Día de los Blancos (Day of the Whites), on the 5th and 6th of January respectively.

The first celebration commemorates the date when African slaves were free to wander the city and exert their flamboyant nature, with revelers doning black cosmetics, painting themselves in black, and wearing elaborate masks. On the next day, people of all ethnicities cover themselves in white talcum as a symbol of equality and integration, and together everybody dances and gyrates to the sounds of traditional Colombian music.  A must visit festival for anybody traveling through Colombia.


Carnaval de Cali Viejo (Old Cali Carnival)

Joining Carnaval de Cali Viejo is a great way to better understand the charm of the city / Source

Santiago de Cali – or simply Cali as it is known – displays spectacular carnival parades year after year. Elaborate floats, salsa dancers, children in costume, and beautiful queens together make these celebrations a truly unique event of colour and music.

This event always begins on 28th December with a parade that revives classic characters, highlights symbols of Cali, and honours other regions and cultures that have left their mark on the city. Joining Carnaval de Cali Viejo is a great way to better understand the grandeur and charm of the city. Our tip: the event starts at 2pm, but be sure to arrive early and grab a good spot to get close to the action.

Book your tours and activities in Cali


Carnaval del Perdón y la Reconciliación (Carnival of Forgiveness and Reconciliation)

Carnaval del Perdón y Reconciliación was declared a Cultural Patrimony of the Nation / Source

On 11th and 12th February, Carnaval del Perdón y la Reconciliación in Valle del Sibundoy (Putumayo) swings into action. Declared a National Cultural Heritage in 2012, the carnival is a sacred event, where the indigenous groups Inga and Kamentsá celebrate the end of the year, and harmony between mankind and agriculture. Both tribes have their own individual parties, but during Carnival they together embrace forgiveness and reconciliation with their loved ones through ‘Clestrinye,’ meaning feast, dance, and joy.

On 11th February, the Kamentsá host a beautiful show wearing their traditional clothing in the presence of Matachín, a masked man who invites all to celebrate with him. The Ingas take centre stage on the following day as everyone makes their way to the church and the main square in costume to dance and sing. Throughout the festival, varying groups from different backgrounds and regions perform for spectators. You can purchase various souvenirs such as native wind instruments, beads, fabrics, masks, necklaces, and other artisanal items. This event is a fusion of the sacred and the profane; a must-do for any local culture enthusiasts.


Carnaval de Riosucio Caldas ou del Diablo (Riosucio Carnival of the Devil)

Carnaval de Riosucio Caldas attracts tourists from around the world / Source

Like many of the others, Carnaval de Riosucio Caldas ou del Diablo is an Intangible Heritage of Colombia and it most certainly lives up to its title, attracting tourists and party animals from around the world.

In the past, Riosucio was comprised of two rival communities (Nuestra Señora de la Montaña and Quiebralom Mining Real) located on either side of the city. Tired of incessant competition, the priests (José Ramón Bueno and Jose Bonifacio Bonafont) told the people that they must make peace, and if they did not fulfill this order, the devil would punish them personally. In celebration of this union, these joyous and jubilant festivities were created, and in 1915, the devil figure was adopted as the image of the festival and it remains central to the celebrations today.

The main events include: Alegre despertar del Carnaval (Joyful Awakening of Carnival), an opening procession that signals the start of the carnival; Gran Entrada de Colonias (Grand Entry of the Colonies); Grandioso Desfile de Cuadrillas de Mayores (Great Parade of Old Crews), and the festivities come to a close with Entierro del Calabazo, Quema de su Majestad el Diablo, Fin de la Fiesta (Calabazo Burial, Burning Her Majesty the Devil, the End of the Celebration), where a paper-mâché devil purpose built for the carnival is burnt, signifying the official end of the festival.


Carnaval de Barranquilla (Barranquilla Carnival)

Carnaval de Barranquilla is a colourful affair / Source

Barranquilla Carnival – simply the most important folkloric and cultural festival in Colombia. Each year, more than one million people including tourists from around the world descend upon Barranquilla for this wondrous occasion. The event has Spanish origins and it has today retained the spirit of renewal and change that was prevalent in the European celebration of the time. In Barranquilla, the festival began as a holiday for African slaves during the colonial era, and they would mark the occasion by taking to the streets with their handmade instruments and decorative costumes, and perform dances and songs from their homelands.

This carnival displays an array of cultural and folkloric elements from the Colombian Caribbean coast, alongside traditional music and local dance. Over the years, Barranquilla Carnival has become renowned for its elaborate floats, ostentatious costumes, and fancy masks, the most popular of which are the bull, the tiger, and the bear. At once satirical and contemporary – always referencing current events – the costumes are an emblem of the collective joy and jubilation.

From 15th January through 9th February, Barranquilla will be a party city in carnival mode, with a range of events and activities. Highlights include the Lectura del Bando (Reading) on 16th January, Fiestas de Comparsas ( Festival of Carnival Troupes) on 23rd January, and Fiesta de Danzas y Cumbias (Festival of Dances and Cumbia) on 24th January. The major celebrations start on 6th February with the Batalla de Flores (Battle of Flowers) and the streets will be packed for four days of vibrant, extravagant, and seemingly endless partying.

Book online the Barranquilla Carnival Parades Package

mAre you going to a Colombia Carnival? We can enrich your South American experiences.

Book your Colombian tours and activities here

By Thalles Santos | Translated by Simon Hall

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Discover the Cultural Heritage of Barranquilla Carnival http://www.daytours4u.com/en/colombia4u/discover-cultural-heritage-barranquilla-carnival/ Mon, 08 Feb 2016 11:00:33 +0000 http://daytours4u.com/en/?p=9092 One of the most important ingredients of Barranquilla Carnival is the artistic and cultural groups that participate in the parades. They are responsible for safeguarding the tangible and intangible heritage of the celebrations whilst simultaneously creating new traditions that enrich the carnival experience. To help you identify and understand the different forms of creative expression [...]

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One of the most important ingredients of Barranquilla Carnival is the artistic and cultural groups that participate in the parades. They are responsible for safeguarding the tangible and intangible heritage of the celebrations whilst simultaneously creating new traditions that enrich the carnival experience.

To help you identify and understand the different forms of creative expression on display, we present a rundown of the main components that give life to this amazing manifestation of the human spirit.

Comparsas of Barranquilla Carnival

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Leaders of the Tradition performing their dance during Barranquilla Carnival / Source

Comparsas. A comparsa is a band of people who join together to perform music and dance routines in the parades. Older troupes who still compete are known as ‘Líderes de la Tradición’ (Leaders of the Tradition), with some of them dating back to the nineteenth century, namely Congo Grande de Barranquilla (1875), El Torito Ribereño (1878) and Congo Grande de Galapa (1886). In addition to these leaders, every year more and more comparsas emerge, and today over 150 folk groups grace the runway on Via 40. There are two types of comparsa: the Traditional Comparsas and the Comparsas of Fantasy. Each star on separate days; the former takes centre stage in the Great Traditional Parade while the latter lights up proceedings during the Great Fantasy Parade.

Costumes of Barranquilla Carnival

El Congo represents the ancient warriors of Africa

El Congo represents the ancient warriors of Africa / Source

Costumes. The costumes worn by the street performers are fanciful and elegant in equal measure. Some represent the indigenous heritage of the region while others are recent creations from popular imagination. The oldest costumes emanate from mythical imagery or indigenous African and European history, such as el Torito (the little bull), la Marimonda, los Congos, los Diablos Arlequines (the Harlequin Devils), el Hombre Caimán (the Cayman Man), las Aves Coyongos (the Coyongos Birds), los Indios Farotos (the Farotos Indians), and los Negros del Cangurú (the Black Kangaroos) among many others. The rest were born from an original idea developed in the mass media, some of the best examples of which include María Moñitos, Barriga de Trapo (Barriga Rag), Macho Man, and los Gorilas (the Gorillas).

Dances of Barranquilla Carnival

Barranquilla Carnival

Cumbia music fuses both Spanish and African influences / Source

Dances. The choreographed dances are organised around the different characters of Barranquilla Carnival. Every dance has a particular rhythm, wardrobe, and music that characterises it. The movements of the dances depicting animals, objects, legends, myths, and historical events are some of the most powerful and beautiful components of Colombia’s cultural heritage. The dances are usually divided into two groups: traditional dances and dances of relationship. The first dances take the body and clothing as the central element, through which they imitate and represent various beings and objects. The latter dances have a more theatrical quality about them as they depict events of key importance. Some of the most typical dances are la danza de los Monocucos (Monocucos dance), la danza de los Congos (the dance of the Congos), la danza del Mapalé (dance of the Mapalé), la danza de las Farofas (dance of the Farofas), la danza del Garabato (dance of the Garabato), la danza del Son Negro (the dance of the Son Negro), la danza del Paloteo (the dance of the Paloteo), la Cumbiamba (the Cumbiamba) among many others.

Music at Barranquilla Carnival

music at bc

Local cultural groups play the sound of Colombia with traditional instruments / Source

Music. The amount of rhythms in the region of Lower Magdalena in the Caribbean is immeasurable. La tambora, la puya, el porro, el bullerengue sentao, el garabato, el vallenato, la guaracha, el merecumbé, and el mapalé are just some of them. The dominant tempo of Barranquilla Carnival, however, comes from cumbia – one of the most popular forms of music in Colombia that has spread across the South American continent. The rhythm dominates the Battle of Flowers and the Great Traditional Parade and it is also the sound of many of the songs that are considered hymns of the carnival.

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As the official Carnival slogan says: “Quién lo vive, es quién lo goza” (Who lives it, is who enjoys it) – to go is a once in a lifetime experience. To learn more about this unique celebration take a look at our Essential Guide to Barranquilla Carnival, while our website Colombia4u offers the best tours and travel activities around the country.

Buy your Barranquilla Carnival tickets here

By David Luna Translated by Simon Hall

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Essential Guide to Barranquilla Carnival http://www.daytours4u.com/en/colombia4u/essential-guide-to-barranquilla-carnival/ Wed, 03 Feb 2016 08:00:56 +0000 http://daytours4u.com/en/?p=9070 Want to experience one of the great masterpieces of humanity? Come to Colombia and join the Barranquilla Carnival celebrations.

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All the preparations have been finalised and the most anticipated cultural event of the year in Colombia – Barranquilla Carnival – is set to kick off. It is a party out of the ordinary: full of colour, joy, and fantasy in which the indigenous Caribbean cultural traditions and charisma of Barranquilla are showcased through an extravagant array of parades, competitions, and concerts. Together they generate a unique festive atmosphere, where people take to the streets and party to the sound of flutes, drums, and accordions.

Barranquilla CarnivalBarranquilla Carnival is a unique work of humanity / Image Source

If your plan is to travel to Colombia during carnival season, do not miss this simply extraordinary event, recognised by UNESCO as a “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” for its deep ethnic roots, technical and aesthetic qualities, and also the cultural expressions of the various communities living in the Colombian Caribbean and the Lower Magdalena River region. It is an area full of mysteries, legends, myth, and dances that collectively define Colombia.

The Barranquilla Carnival motto tells us that “Quien lo vive es quien lo goza”, translated into English as “Who lives it, is who enjoys it”. This essential guide offers insider tips and advice so that you can learn which activities are not to be missed during your visit to the birthplace of magical realism.

Barranquilla CarnivalThe Carnival is always awash with colour / Image Source

Where and When is Barranquilla Carnival Celebrated

Barranquilla Carnival is celebrated every year in the city of Barranquilla, the largest port city in Colombia located at the mouth of the Magdalena River. This charming coastal paradise is accessible by air – through national airline carriers – and by buses that operate from all the country’s major cities. A flight takes anything between 45 and 90 minutes depending on your point of departure, while a bus journey can be anything from 13 to 22 hours long from Medellin and Cali respectively.

The Carnival officially runs for 4 days, and every year these days correspond to the Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday that precede Ash Wednesday (the day that marks the beginning of Lent and fasting). During this long weekend, spectators have the opportunity to enjoy a whole host of activities that include parades, dances, festivals, competitions, plays, and concerts. These events pay homage to the diversity and creativity of the people who call this region home.

The festivities begin early on Saturday and end the day before Ash Wednesday. People gather on the main streets of the city and indulge in some chaotic revelry. The main events and cultural activities are listed below.

Barranquilla CarnivalThe streets are filled with love during Barranquilla Carnival / Image Source

The Main Activities at Barranquilla Carnival

The Battle of Flowers (Carnival Saturday – begins at 12pm). The Battle of Flowers is the inaugural parade of Barranquilla Carnival and it is perhaps the most well-known due to the attention it garners from the media, and understandably so. Throughout the procession, which is led by the Carnival Queen, viewers are treated to a show of spectacular floats and flamboyant dancing from popular artistic groups in the region – a true display of fantasy and beauty that should not be missed. For tickets, click here.

Great Traditional Parade (Carnival Sunday – begins at 1pm). Every year, this dazzling parade take place along Via 40 (Street 40) and it is undoubtedly one of the most representative expressions of Barranquilla Carnival. Over 160 troupes come and entertain the crowds with an astonishing blend of Spanish and African styled music, as they compete against each in various categories to be crowned champions.

Burial of Joselito Carnaval (Carnival Monday – begins 4pm). A fun and delightful way to close the ceremonies is the mock funeral of crowd favourite carnival character Joselito Carnaval. Locals dress up as this party-loving character, who dies each year and rises the following year once again to enjoy the festivities.

Night Parties. After the parades, concerts, and competitions during the day, the celebrations are taken to different neighbourhoods across the city. The most popular parties feature renowned DJ’s who select the finest classic and tropical dance hits that keep both Colombians and tourists alike jiving all night long.

Dances and Fiestas. One of the most exclusive parties at Barranquilla Carnival is the Grand Fiesta at the Dann Carlton Hotel. It is arguably the most famous event at this time of year due to the numerous musicians and artists of international stardom that have performed there.

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Now that you have an idea of what Barranquilla Carnival is all about, it just needs you to join in this epic celebration and enjoy 4 days in one of the liveliest and most delirious parties in Colombia. Go to our website and buy the Colombia4u Carnival Parades Package which includes tickets and transfers to all the main events.

If you would like to learn more about the cultural heritage of Barranquilla Carnival, follow the link and read our pocket guide.

By David Luna / Translated by Simon Hall

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Insider Tips for Barranquilla Carnival http://www.daytours4u.com/en/colombia4u/insider-tips-for-barranquilla-carnival/ Mon, 18 Jan 2016 08:00:49 +0000 http://www.colombia4u.com/blog/en/?p=22 Daytours4u presents an inside guide to Barranquilla Carnival, Colombia's biggest and most extravagant folklore celebration.

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Rivaling Rio’s famous extravaganza in breadth and numbers is Colombia’s Barranquilla Carnival. It’s a four-day Latino dance party in Colombia’s fourth-largest city, packed with seductive rhythms, gyrating bodies, and all of life’s colours. Whether you enjoy it with the family, with a friend, or alone through unguarded libations, there are some things you can expect and other things that would stifle precious serendipity. Just enjoy the party, and read this before you go.

Barranquilla Carnival is a spectacularly vibrant celebration / Image Source

• It’s Colombia’s favourite party, which means you should book accommodation well in advance – rooms get scarce and can increase sixfold in price.

• Book a room close to Carrera 40 – that is where all the action is. You can dance your way home, stopping at restaurants, kiosks, corners, and house parties along the way; and you’ll be closer to the nightclub after-parties (check online and ask around).

• Taxis are plentiful and reasonably priced: rides go from ten to fifteen thousand pesos (US$4.30 to $6.50), all over town.

• Get to the parade early. This can’t be stressed enough. The boxes are often overbooked and even if you have legitimate tickets, it is possible you will not be able to enter if you arrive late.

• It is best to buy your tickets in advance. Tickets on offer from sellers on the street may be fake.

• Buy a hand-woven sombrero or wear your own hat with sunglasses. And don’t forget the sunscreen, or you will get torched.

• There are also “public” areas where you can rent individual plastic chairs for a small fee or stand for free, but those areas are fewer and farther between.

Your ticket is valid for the entire day: you can take a walk away from your seat if you want to stock up on beers and snacks, go to the washroom, or head down the road for lunch. There are walking vendors that sell cold food and drinks, and you can also bring your own treats.

• You can arrive at 11am but the parades actually start around 1:30pm, with the first dancers busting moves like angels. The parades’ final dancers come through around dusk.

• One last tip, Carnivalers: dress casually and lightly (everyone else does). Carnival is hot, hot, hot!

In addition to the parades, there are other festivals around town during the four days, like the Festival de Comedias and the Festival de Orquestas, a mix of contemporary and traditional theater and music that typifies the Carnival spirit. Check the official Carnival website for more information.

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If you are visiting South America for carnival this summer, we can help you enrich your travel experiences. Check out our tours and activities in Rio de Janeiro, São PauloChile, Colombia, Uruguay, Buenos Aires, and across Argentina.

By Brannon Gerling

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