This Is Cartagena - Barranquilla Carnival 01 - Typical Dancers from the Barranquilla Carnival
This Is Cartagena - Barranquilla Carnival 02 - Typical Marimonda Dancers from the Barranquilla Carnival
This Is Cartagena - Barranquilla Carnival 03 - Typical Dancers from the Barranquilla Carnival
This Is Cartagena - Barranquilla Carnival 04 - Typical Dancers from the Barranquilla Carnival
This Is Cartagena - Barranquilla Carnival 05 - Typical Dancers from the Barranquilla Carnival
This Is Cartagena - Barranquilla Carnival 06 - Typical Dancers from the Barranquilla Carnival
This Is Cartagena - Barranquilla Carnival 07 - A bit of harmless fun in the Barranquilla Carnival
This Is Cartagena - Carnaval de Barranquilla (8) - ss
Cartagena holds its Carnival in November, with the famous Fiestas of November, but just an hour away in Barranquilla, the real deal takes place between February and March.
Held over four days in the days before Ash Wednesday signals the start of Lent, Colombia's most riotous celebration is a fantastic mix of fantasy parades, mega-concerts and more than a dash of debauchery.
This year the dates are February 25 to March 28.
Nearly two million people make this not only Colombia's biggest folkloric 'fiesta' but also the largest Carnival outside Brazil.
The sense of anticipation builds up after New Year with pre-Carnival, which includes the Guacherna (held two Friday's before lent kicks off on Ash Wednesday). Pre-Carnival celebrations give the dance troupes a chance to test their killer moves out before the big day, the Batalla de las Flores (Battle of the Flowers) which is held the Saturday before lent.
More than 200 groups parade on the Saturday in front of temporary stands holding thousands of buoyant spectators.
Tickets to watch the first three days of parades laid out along the Via 40, an industrial part of town that shuts down during the festivities. All the main bars of Barranquilla and drink companies sponsor their own 'palcos' or balconies charging upwards of $100.00 for entry over all three days.
On the fourth day the parade takes a more intimate route along the Calle 84.
Most people buy tickets for all three days but only go once or twice so tickets can be picked up from touts for as little as $10.00 on days two and three.
On the big day partiers get there for around midday to cheer on sound systems pulling colourful floats carrying Colombia's beauty queens, TV celebrities and its most famous musicians.
In between the celebrities, dance groups - some of them that have been dressing in the same traditional outfits for three generations - perform the folkloric dances typical of the region.
The Mono Cucos, Marimondas and Garabatos are the most popular and some of the biggest groups include up to 500 participants.
If you are interested in participating then gringos are accepted into a handful of those performing that are less concerned with winning prizes for their choreography.
We can help secure tickets or have a few spots for those looking to join up with the most open-minded dance groups.