Saturday, October 8, 2016

Cities of the coast: Barranquilla and Puerto Colombia

Puerto Colombia beach

Barranquilla is a town on the Caribbean coast of Colombia between the popular destinations of Santa Marta and Cartagena. Sadly, although this city is undergoing a construction boom of apartments on its fringes, the city itself is a disappointment. The historic centre is dirty and dangerous (the only place in South America that I've felt unsafe during the day) and all of its "attractions" are either closed or damaged and vandalised.

The Cathedral built in the modernist style would be beautiful if it wasn't so heavily vandalised (hence the photo from distance)

Thankfully a 30 minute bus ride brings you to the little coastal town of Puerto Colombia (which is still part of Barranquilla city). This town is a fishing village that has the potential to be a destination in itself, but needs some investment in something other than the apartments on the way to the town.
The Malecon is a tired and broken street with nothing on it until you reach a set of wooden walkways through the mangroves which are a nice way to reach the main restaurants and bars near the beach.

Puerto Colombia beach through the mangroves

The town also has an impressive pier, which like many things in the city of Barranquilla is broken and under repair, which is a pity since it would add greatly to the natural beauty if this town.

Puerto Colombia pier

From the section of the Malecon near the pier you can watch the fishermen taking in the afternoon catch on the beach and enjoy a quiet beer in one of the many bars on the beach.

Bringing in the nets

The town centre of Puerto Colombia has several buildings from the 1800's which give the town a historic feel, much more so than Barranquilla itself whose historic buildings are in disrepair.

Puerto Colombia church

Puerto Colombia town hall

Puerto Colombia has real potential to become a tourist attraction for both local and foreign visitors but sadly lacks the serious investment that it needs, much like the city of Barranquilla itself. Considering the huge concrete jungle of soulless (unsold) gated apartment developments that are occurring on the outskirts of the city, it makes one wonder about the priorities and interests of the Barranquilla government.