Reader question: Anyone been to Barranquilla, Colombia? Carnival in Colombia?

Reader question: I was invited to join 3 others in traveling to Cartagena for 1 night and driving 2 hours to Barranquilla for a three night stay – during Colombia’s Carnival. Has anyone been to Colombia (Cartagena or Barranquilla)and/or the Carnival? I have done a lot of research online the past few days and I’m left both excited with this once in a lifetime trip opportunity – but also nervous due the stories of crime and all things that are related to Colombia.

I understand that the country has gotten a lot more safe for tourism in the last 10 years and if we don’t walk around like Lavar Ball’s Big Ballers – the odds are in our favor of us being left alone. I would be traveling with 3 other American’s all 30 years old. We’ve been all over Europe together and enjoy getting wild but understand this is a third world country and not a quick trip to Amsterdam or Dublin.

I’ve come here before and I got great insight before a few of my backpacking trips through Europe so I was hoping for some helpful comments again.

Answer 1: I had a client come in today who recently returned from a trip to Columbia. He is in his 70s and went with his wife and another couple. He raves about the trip and said he never felt unsafe. Accommodations were reasonable and he said dinners were very inexpensive. He enjoyed the experience.

Answer 2: It’s as safe as any other place. Just keep your head about you and just have fun. Don’t be the ugly Americans over there either thinking you can just party and be drunk and obnoxious over there (not saying you are). Be respectful, have fun, don’t try to buy “illegal” drugs over there. Just keep it straight and you should be good.

Sometimes American men get in trouble: Not sure about your marital situations but if you’re looking to pick up girls it can be rather easy. You’re Americans. They think we are millionaires. And to them you are because you’ll see how far an american dollar can take you. But be respectful. Don’t be like the secret service guys that went there a few years ago and not pay what you owe.

Answer 3: The food is great, get ready to dance if you’re going out to party..doesn’t matter if you’re not good. Don’t be stupid either, some women over there will hustle you bone dry if you let them. So keep your head about you and you’ll be fine.

Answer 4: Little tip…don’t bring cash with you. Pull it out of the ATM once you’re there. Reason is if you bring cash then you gotta pay taxes on it. When you use an ATM NEVER use it alone. Make sure your buddies are around you covering. When you punch the numbers in they usually have a metal keypad. After you punch in your pin rub the entire key pad with your fingers. Why? Cuz guys over there have figured out to get heat readings off the keypad once you’re done using it. The hottest keys are the ones you just pressed. So just rub the whole keypad when you’re done and make sure you have your guys blocking the view. Also take out the max which I think is like 300,000 pesos…which is like 150 bucks.

Answer 5: I’ve been to Medellin, Bogota and then the small towns where my family is from. But yeah it can be a fun place, the women there are gorgeous, the city where you’re going is gorgeous. Old colonial type. Food is awesome. Their pizzas and hamburgers are not like the ones here. So don’t expect Italian type pizzas. That can shock some people when they bite into it. Beware of the Aguardiente! A vodka looking shot drink that is basically fire water.

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