Department of Atlántico, land of migrants and interculturality


Credit: ProColombia

The department of Atlántico is one of the most important territories of  Colombia,  a land that represents  development. The first airport  in Latin America was built here, as well as the first  seaport  in the country, where mail, radio and television arrived.

This department is part of the tourist region of the Greater Colombian Caribbean. A territory where  indigenous peoples  and  raizales live,  full  of biodiversity thanks to  its different landscapes such as  jungles, deserts, sea and reefs.  


The capital of the department of Atlántico used to be called Hacienda de  San Nicolás or Villa de Barranquilla. From its foundations it has been considered a free territory to which migrants arrived, mainly from Europe and the Middle East,  bringing greater  interculturality to the place together with indigenous  and African peoples.  

Strategic location

Since its foundation, Atlántico has always had a strategic location, not only because of its geography in the Caribbean Sea  and the Magdalena River, but also because it is located between two notable departments:  Bolívar  and  Magdalena.

For the tourist offer of this department we recommend the top five destinations to visit as Salinas del Rey beach (Santa Verónica), Usiacurí, Carnival Museum (Barranquilla), Salgar Castle and El Prado neighborhood (Barranquilla).

It is also important to invite tourists to visit the Gran Malecón del Río, Bocas de Ceniza, Salgar, Puerto Velero, Tubará, Santa Verónica, Luruaco, Ciénaga del Totumo and Piojó.

Highlight: We invite you to download the brochure of the department of Bolívar,  land in which one of the most impressive colonial jewels of the country is located.

Fairs and parties

In the department of Atlántico, being a cultural and artistic land, festivities are celebrated  that pay homage to  folklore, diversity and tradition. Some of the greatest expressions are  the Carnival of Barranquilla, Sabor Barranquilla, Festival of the mask and the bejuco, Festival of the egg arepa, Festival of the Merecumbé and Festival of the Totumo of Tubará.

Highlight: The Carnival of Barranquilla is one of the most important festivities in the country. In 2003 it was declared  a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by Unesco.


Credit: ProColombia

Photo capt: The Carnival of Barranquilla is one of the biggest cultural, historical and musical expressions of the Greater Colombian Caribbean.


The gastronomy is one of the strengths of the department thanks to its fusion  of  indigenous, African, European and Arabic food. From the above, a unique flavor is born,  being one of the  greatest attractions for visitors.

Among its preparations are the rice  of  lisa, seafood and coconut; rib sancochos,  beef tail, Creole, mondongo and three-phase hen; buns  de mazorca,  yucca, angelito,clean; fried  as the empanada, egg arepa,  carimañola and  chicharrones.


As well as gastronomy, music is one of the greatest expressions of the department, inspired by European, indigenous and African culture.  Thanks to these fusions, native rhythms such as  the famous Colombian cumbia  and  merecumbé  are  derived.

Highlight:  The origins of cumbia are derived from indigenous pre-Columbian melodies and African rhythms from the Greater Colombian Caribbean. In turn, the merecumbé is a musical style created by the composer Francisco "Pacho" Galán and is a mixture of merengue from the department of Magdalena and indigenous cumbia.

Also, from these cultures are derived dances such as the  mapalé, the chandé, the son de negro, doodle,  and costumes such as the bold Puloy, the marimonda and the monocuco.

The marimonda costume

Photo caper: The marimonda costume is one of the most emblematic of the carnival. It is a hybrid of an elephant and a primate.

The Atlantic has been the cradle of artists of international stature such as the Barranquilla singer, Shakira. Also  recognized personalities  such as  Alci and Checo Acosta, Francisco Galán, Efraín Mejía, Meira Delmar, Marvel Moreno, Esthercita Forero and José María Peñaranda.

Finally, the history ofthe department of Atlántico is full of  intercultural, innovative, musical and artistic elements that have contributed to the development of its cities and towns. This has  made it a legacy not only for the  Greater Colombian Caribbean, but  for the entire country.

Listen to the stories of this region

Discover unpublished information about the  Atlantic department  in its podcast and magazine. In addition, in  the  toolkit  find the best recommendations to promote your department in a different and successful way.


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