If you are looking to retire in Colombia, the city of Barranquilla is a great option to keep in mind. We will discuss the weather, how many people there are, how to get around, plus all the basics you will want to know to move and live there comfortably.
Barranquilla is a river city in the north of Colombia. It is a bustling port city and well known for its huge Carnival which is the biggest and brightest in all of Colombia. Its temperature remains a beautiful 24 to 33 degrees Celsius all year. It also has a rich and diverse culture and food scene.
Here are some reasons you may wish to retire to Barranquilla:
- Perfect Weather
- Welcoming People
- Great Quality Food
- Good Healthcare
- Culturally Rich
- Beauty of a Port City
- International Airport
Now let’s take a deep look at what the city of Barranquilla offers us and discover if it has everything you need to retire and live there.
Why live in Barranquilla?
Temperature – 24 to 33 deg C / 75 to 91 F
Population – 1.3 million
Tourist Information – https://www.colombia.travel/en/barranquilla
Barranquilla is a Port City is the fourth most populated city in Colombia after Bogotá, Medellín and Cali. Located on the western bank of the Magdalena River about 7.5 km from its mouth in the Caribbean Sea. It is very humid and tropical with an average humidity above 80% all year. It may take you a year to get used to the humidity but that combined with the constant temperature makes it perfect for retirees especially those with any joint pain..
Barranquilla is the seat of one of the most important folkloric and cultural festivities in Colombia. The Barranquilla Carnival declared cultural heritage of the nation and by the Congress of Colombia and “Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” by Unesco. In 2013 the city itself was designated the American Capital of Culture.
This city offers very diverse gastronomy which ranges from dishes typical to the country and the region as well as international cuisines such as the Middle East and Syrian-Lebanese. Being the Arroz de Lisa is a local city dish of fish and rice accompanied by a yucca bun and an avocado salad.
Supermarkets in Barranquilla
While the ability to eat out is so cheap in Barranquilla you may want to make the occasional meal at home and that means going to a supermarket or grocery store. When searching on google maps look for the following phrases: mecardo, supermercado, hipermercado. The difference is the size of the store where the market is the small local store or mini supermarket and going up from there.
So here is a list of the biggest chains in Barranquilla:
TIP: While you can get your fruit and vegetables from your local market you will find on most city blocks a small fruit and veg shop that will often have just as good quality but at better prices. If you search around these local shops you will find one with a lot of local customers and a roaring trade.
Here is an example table of prices for some staples:
|Milk||1 Liter||$ 0.84 USD|
|Bread||Loaf||$ 1.08 USD|
|Eggs||24||$ 3.63 USD|
|Butter||500 grams||$ 2.52 USD|
|Beef Mince||1000 grams||$ 5.71 USD|
|Chicken Breast||1 kg||$ 2.24 USD|
|Beer||6 pack||$ 1.84 USD|
|Scotch||1 Liter||$ 17.23 USD|
NOTE: these were only valid at the making of this article and check the websites above for current pricing.
What Is The Food Like In Barranquilla?
In Barranquilla you cannot miss the opportunity to try the Colombian Empanadas and the Arepa, very typical dishes of Colombian gastronomy, as well as stuffed potatoes and chunchullo (beef small intestine, which may be grilled or fried). These can often be found at street stalls or small restaurants.
But in itself, Barranquilla stands out for its Arroz de Liza, yuca bun, Arepa de Huevo, and Enyucado (a mixture of yuca and grated coconut with sugar, butter, anise and cheese).
In the rest of Colombia, you can get variations of these silvers, and some somewhat different depending on the region. What makes Colombian gastronomy diverse and very delicious.
Here are some popular restaurants you may want to try:
- El Celler
- Rodizio carne e vinho
- La Cueva
- Teriyaki Komodo
- Zahle Restaurant
- Tart by Michelle Cure
- La Ganache café Bistro
What Types Of Transport Are In Barranquilla?
There are plenty of types of transport to get you around Barranquilla. First of all there is the Ernesto Cortissoz International Airport to get to and from the city. While there is no metro train system there is a bus system with plenty of services to get you around. There are also Uber and Taxis as well which you will find quite cheap as well.
Here is the list of all the transport options available:
- Ernesto Cortissoz International Airport
- Bicycle Paths
- National Buses
- Local Bus System – TransMetro
What To Do In Barranquilla?
Most tourists are attracted to Barranquilla’s famous carnivals, but the city also has other places of interest that attract a lot of attention. From numerous museums, parks, a beautiful bay and the mouth of the Magdalena River in the Caribbean Sea are some of the things that you can not miss in this city.
Here are some activities you may wish to check out:
- Barranquilla Zoo
- Castillo de Salgar
- Monument Ventana al Mundo
- Gran Malecon del Rio-Puerta De Oro Sector
- Caribbean Cultural Park
- The Carnival House
- Customs Square
- Swan Lake
- Sacred Heart
- Botanical Garden
- ParkFounders Park
- San Nicolás Square
What Are The Best Suburbs Of Barranquilla?
The city is divided into five major suburbs that are the Metropolitan area, North-Historical Center, South West, South East, and Riomar. Within it, there are some neighborhoods or areas that are the most popular to live in. Each one of them has similar lifestyles and some are safer and more trendy than others.
This is a neighborhood considered an upper-middle class and a well-known business area. As it is one of the areas with the best security in the city it is normal that you will find good restaurants and well-maintained streets.. It also has shopping centers and boutique hotels.
This is one of the most traditional neighborhoods in Barranquilla. What is particular about this neighborhood is the architectural style with a lot of influence from Jewish, Lebanese, and Italian immigrants. This area is also known as Old Prado. It is considered an upper-middle-class neighborhood with easy walks to museums, universities, and boutique hotels.
Located north of the city away from the noise and surrounded by nature this makes this neighborhood the quietest in Barranquilla. Riomar has an upper-middle-class lifestyle being popular for having a good selection of Creole food restaurants.
Located in the north of the city this neighborhood has the tallest building in the city at 162 meters high and 43 floors. El Golf is considered an upper-middle-class neighborhood. It is a very safe area where you have access to nearby shopping centers, parks, restaurants, and the financial district.
Located in the north of the city, it is considered one of the most exclusive and quiet neighborhoods in the city. Characterized by an upper-middle-class lifestyle. You can find very modern buildings and very safe residential complexes.
How To Rent Or Buy In Barranquilla
Whether you are buying or renting there are options for all budgets in Barranquilla.. If you are looking for something really cheap then you can go to facebook marketplace. Change your filter to Barranquilla and then click on Property Rentals or House Sales. Remember prices will be in local Pesso.
While you will find places to buy on there but you will be dealing directly with the homeowner. As with buying any property in any country make sure you get the right legal advice prior to purchase to make sure the paperwork is in order.
It is always safer for buying or long term leases to go through a real estate agent instead and I have taken the liberty to list a few for you to look at below. They will tell you about local laws and fees and taxes that may be involved.
Top Real Estates To Look At In Barranquilla:
TIP: I generally use Airbnb for the first month with their large discounts on stays over 28 days to get me started and then look for local property. Just be careful for those long stays you have to cancel or change 1 month out or you are stuck with it.
What is the Language in Barranquilla Colombia?
Spanish is the language of Colombia the rest of South America except Brazil so a very handy language to learn. English is spoken in 67 countries and Spanish in 21 so the next widest spoken language country wise. How can you learn Spanish? There are literally thousands of courses, software, youtube videos, podcasts, audiobooks, and real books (old-school television) that you have to choose from.
Here are my recommended steps:
- Download the DuoLingo App on your phone available in iTunes and Google Play.
Use this for a few months and get a couple of levels up doing at least 2 to 3 lessons a day or more.
A great companion while using duo lingo and you are out and about. It will cost a book credit but well worth it and he will tell you some nifty tricks to increase your vocabulary.
- Find a language exchange partner on iTalki or Tandem and start practicing your skills. Both websites have an integrated app that you can get from iTunes or Google Play as well. iTalki makes a book companion to learn Spanish as well which if you like hard copy will be a great start for you.
- Finally, when you get into the country you can do a local language course and not feel completely befuddled and out of place.
The level of security in Barranquilla is good with little crime and a good police presence. But honestly, Colombia has a high crime, traffic drugs, and delinquency rate. Most of them come from the poorest parts of the country. If you are thinking of retiring in Colombia this is a real concern that you should take into account and choose where to live.
Don’t let that stop you from visiting but just pick towns as we did for you above with a high police presence. Just be mindful of personal safety like you do anywhere in the world. Don’t go walking down dark alleys in the middle of the night in the bad part of town wearing diamonds and rolexes.
The private healthcare in Colombia is very similar to that of the United States with only a small gap between their rankings globally as per the World Health Organization rankings. You can see this list of providers below on what they cover with the same quality service you would expect in a top-tier country. The major difference is it will cost you a lot less for similar health care in Colombia, and you can check those prices out on the actual health care providers below.
Here are some of the biggest national Private Health Care Providers in Colombia: