Atlantico is one of the smallest of the departments into which the South American nation of Colombia is divided, but it is also one of the most densely populated. Visitors can find cheap hotels in Atlantico communities throughout the department, but probably the best place is Barranquilla. This port city is the capital of Atlantico. It is wedged between the Caribbean coast and the Magdalena River.
Barranquilla is famous for its Carnival, which is second only to the one in Rio de Janiero. In 2003 UNESCO declared the Barranquilla Carnival to be a “masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity“. Among Barranquilla’s sites of interest are the Parque Simon Bolivar, the Church of San Nicolas, and the Anthropological Museum. The long bridge over the Magdalena River offers some excellent views of the city and the river. For a good day trip from your budget hotel in Atlantico, go to the attractive bathing resort of Puerto Colombia, 19 kilometers from Barranquilla. There is a clean, sandy beach, and great seafood in nearby Salgar. Just five kilometers south of Barranquilla is the old colonial town of Soledad. It has quaint, narrow streets and a cathedral that is worth a visit. If you are in the town of Santo Tomas on Good Friday, you can watch flagellants do symbolic Easter penance.
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