Surely when you think of the Colombian Caribbean the first thing that comes to your mind is Cartagena. Don't worry! This beautiful colonial city has a natural charm with its great walls and stories of times of conquest, however, few know that just two hours away it is possible to visit unique places, away from large groups of tourists and common places that everyone visits.
If you want to live truly authentic experiences or get involved with the local culture in a traditional environment, discover here five unexplored places you must visit on your next trip to Colombia:
1. Baranoa, Atlántico. Play with one of the most famous bands in the Caribbean.
Don't worry if you don't know how to play an instrument yet. The teachers and children of the Banda Departamental de Baranoa will teach you the basic sounds of the 'Alegre', the Tambora or the 'Llamador' (typical drums), when you visit their headquarters located just 40 minutes from Barranquilla and 1.3 hours from Cartagena, approximately.
Here, from Monday to Friday, more than 150 underprivileged children from the department of Atlántico are trained as musicians while they receive travelers from around the world who enjoy the sounds of trumpets, lyres, percussion, saxophone and many other instruments that sing some of our most representative songs. But that's not all! During your visit you can be part of a musical ensemble that will allow you to perform a song live with more than 50 children on stage and have the privilege of feeling like an artist of our region, at least for a day.
2. Galapa, Atlántico. Paint your own Carnival crafts
Known for being a land of artisans and for being the place where hundreds of handicrafts allusive to the Barranquilla Carnival are produced, this place that few know keeps secrets of the makers of this important celebration of the country.
Here you can visit the house-workshop of a master craftsman and learn about the process of making handicrafts, from the carving of a piece of wood to the painting of every detail. In addition to seeing it up close, you will be able to paint a typical Carnival handicraft with the guidance of a local master and take home a souvenir from their stores with export products at local prices!
3. Usiacurí, Atlántico. Get to know their handicrafts in Palma de Iraca.
Usiacurí is a small municipality in the department of Atlántico located 1 hour from Barranquilla, which besides being the place where the poet Julio Flores lived, It is also known as for its handicrafts in Iraca Palm and the workshops of the masters who receive foreigners to share their techniques and sell some of their most exclusive products.
Designers around the world have set their eyes on this art that celebrities such as Ivanka Trump have already used in some official ceremonies. Usiacurí is known as the 'Pesebre' of the Atlantic for its small houses and mountainous terrain, as well as for having hot springs known for their healing properties.
4. Salamanca Island Park, Magdalena. Get to know its canals by boat
Known for being the 'airport' of migratory birds, this protected area has a natural charm with its mangroves and hundreds of species of birds that inhabit the place. Despite being geographically located in the department of Magdalena, it is easier to get there from Barranquilla, taking a boat tour on the river that will allow you to access some of its canals and enjoy all the vegetation.
In addition to this you can reach the Ciénaga El Torno that will lead you to a virgin beach of the Caribbean Sea, in a tour where you will appreciate more than five ecosystems with an incredible view of Barranquilla. Are you one of those who seeks to leave a legacy in the destinations you visit? Here you can join a cleaning day #PorLasPlayasdelCaribe that despite being virgin sectors receive tons of garbage from the interior of the country. A small contribution that saves lives.
5. Barranquilla! Visit its unique spots
The 'Arenosa', the capital of the Atlántico is also known, not only a tourist destination during Carnival time (between February and March) as some people think. Although the party is felt 365 days a year; music, gastronomy, dance and art, are characteristic features that lead travelers to say "I'm staying in Barranquilla!
This city, which has experienced great economic growth in recent years, is now opening new tourist areas such as the Gran Malecón del Río, a 5-kilometer walk from where you can enjoy the best view of the Magdalena River and eat a typical dish at the gastronomic market 'El Caimán' - allusive to the famous song "se va el Caimán para Barranquilla" (the Caiman is leaving to Barranquilla).
The Carnival Museum or the Window to the World Monument are just two new spaces of the many places that can be visited on a tour of the city located just two hours from Cartagena. The experiences are also unique! Visiting the craft beer breweries made in Barranquilla, learning to dance the rhythms of the Caribbean in a dance school, cooking a typical dish with a local cuisine matron, or walking through the great Prado neighborhood to finish with a Colombian coffee tasting, are just some of the tours that Caribia Tours offers you with local guides that will make your visit to the Colombian Caribbean a truly unique experience.