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Rhythms, Flavors, and Warmth: A Symphony of Barranquilla’s Cultural Feast

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Navigating Barranquilla’s Many Facets, Amid Carnival Festivities, Culinary Adventures, and the Inherent Warmth of its Locals.

February 9th – 11th, 2024

Experiencing the enchanting rhythms of Barranquilla, Colombia, began with a seamless flight from the lively city of Miami aboard Avianca Airlines. The journey was not just a mere transportation from point A to B; it was a prelude to the vibrant symphony of Colombian hospitality that awaited me.

Avianca’s gate agents and flight attendants performed their roles with an almost choreographed finesse, transforming a routine flight into an aerial ballet of service and friendliness. The warm welcome extended beyond the clouds, as I touched down in Barranquilla, greeted not just by the solid ground, but also by the fantastic taste of Aguila beer (my new favorite) and the pulsating beats of local music – an auditory embrace that set the tone for my Colombian adventure.

My accommodation at the Holiday Inn unfolded like a grand overture to my stay. This wasn’t your typical Holiday Inn; it was a majestic sanctuary where comfort and opulence danced together. The breakfast buffet was a symphony of flavors, and the rooftop pool, was the perfect stage for the sun to bid its daily adieu.

Lunch at Varadero was a culinary sanctuary, an exploration of seafood wonders that tantalized my taste buds and left my senses in awe. Each dish was a carefully composed sonnet of flavors, from the fall-off-the-bone braised beef to the other-worldly octopus (another new favorite) and the immaculately cooked salmon.

As the afternoon sun dipped below the horizon, I reclined by the rooftop pool, a witness to a visual sonnet painted in hues of orange and pink. The sky, a canvas, and Barranquilla’s skyline, the masterpiece.

The evening beckoned with an Arab-themed dinner, a poetic fusion of flavors. While the overall experience may have been a gentle serenade, the hearty kabobs and juicy vegetables were a welcomed spectacle. Wrapping up the day, the dessert, an almond sprinkled ice cream served as a sweet finale.

Day 2 heralded a new movement in the symphony of my Barranquilla escapade. An early-morning gym session was the prelude to a massive breakfast buffet that seemed to have everything from local favorites to classic breakfast foods. While the meal was a great start to the day, the journey to the Carnival venue really is where things were set in motion. The melodic expedition took me through several streets adorned with carnival revelers decked out in meticulously crafted costumes along with plenty of accessories.

After navigating through the crowd, we found our way to the Avianca Grandstand, securing front-row seats for the carnival parade. It truly was a spectacular composition. As it unfolded before my eyes, I realized this was not just a parade; it was a living, breathing melody of colors and sounds. Each float and each participant harmoniously united in an exuberant celebration of Colombian culture. To put it in American terms, imagine your local holiday parade, but taken to an extremely high level of seriousness, with triple the participants and impressive floats featuring stunning designs. As each float passed along with their own band or DJ, the excitement in the crowd escalated, reaching a fever pitch when the Queen made her grand entrance.

Amidst the carnival’s exuberance, a touching moment unfolded at a local grocery store. In my quest for relief from heartburn, a chance encounter with a fellow shopper named James turned into a generous act of kindness. Not speaking the native language, one would think it’d be too much of a struggle to get what you needed to get or where you needed to go, but as the gentleman showed me, there’s just an undeniable warmth from the Barranquillan people.

Next, was dinner at Manuel Restaurante, an Italian-themed restaurant where guests are taken on a culinary journey. Breads and butters, raw fish in light olive oil, fish tacos with a golden drizzle, and the pièce de résistance – ravioli in the transcendental Parmesan sauce were all featured. Considering I’ve been all around the world, having spent several weeks in Italy twice, Manuel’s Parmesan sauce is the absolute greatest sauce I’ve ever tasted in my life!!! Hands down, it’s not even a competition! Manuel’s is the best restaurant in Colombia.

As I boarded my flight home on Avianca Airlines and said goodbye to Barranquilla, the echoes of this Colombian adventure continued to reverberate, leaving me eagerly anticipating the encore of my return.

Adding to the allure, Avianca proudly announces its status as the official airline of the Barranquilla Carnival, a UNESCO-declared Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity over two decades ago. In a concerted effort to facilitate attendance at this renowned event, Avianca offered an impressive 88,000 seats to and from the capital of Atlántico between February 5th and 17th. With 18 daily direct flights, the airline ensures convenient travel options for carnival enthusiasts, spanning from the pre-carnival days to the weekend following the grand finale.

“It is very important to participate in the Barranquilla Carnival, one of the largest celebrations in the Caribbean and the country. We are official sponsors of this festival that celebrates the traditions of Colombia, and it’s no coincidence: this was the city where we were born 104 years ago, and today, more than a century later, it continues to be a key location for our company, its employees, and, of course, for connectivity. From Barranquilla, we provide direct connections to Bogotá, Cali, Medellín, and Miami with an offering of more than 130 weekly frequencies”, commented María Carolina Cortés, Vice President of Corporate Communications at Avianca. 

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