Barranquilla is one of the most important cities in Colombia as it operates as a river port located on the Western bank of the Magdalena river. In the past, it was the main port from where travellers and goods arrived and departed, thus earning itself the name 'Puerta de oro' (The Golden Door).  Barranquilla is the fourth most populated city of the country with a population of 1.6 million, after Bogotá, Medellin and Cali.

Barranquilla offers a wealth of different activities from strolling along luxurious beaches such as Puerto Velero, Santa Veronica, Dulce Cano, Sabanilla and Pradomar to fishing in the rivers and lakes or participating in water sports such as canoeing and kayaking.  Barranquilla is a coastal city, and its bays and beaches surrounding are accommodating to kite surfers and sailors practicing at all levels.

Professionals in the health sector are a common find in Barranquilla, especially in the fields of plastic surgery, dental, dermatology and cosmetology. In keeping with the health- concious scene, Barranquilla boasts some of the most amazing spa facilities offered in Columbia.  Unwind with a massage or facial after a long day of sightseeing.

Business and commercial tourism thrive in Barranquilla, particularly around the carnival and New Year seasons. While the hotel infrastructure tends to be focused around the business market, it is still possible to find every kind of service, ranging from hostels to five star hotels, making this city suited to travellers on any budget.

The best tourist attractions in Barranquilla include the port of Puerto Colombia and the Barranquilla Zoo which contains over 140 species of animal.  For travellers keen to experience areas of natural beauty, travel to the Bocas de Cenzia - the mouth of the Magdalena River, which leads into the Caribbean Sea.  Remember to bring a camera as the views are absolutely breathtaking.

Photos by : 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 by Jose David Villalobos; 7 by Pandesal - all on Wikimedia Commons