For the short journey between Cartagena and Barranquilla, consider booking a tourist bus. These coach buses have very cushy seats with plenty of leg room. The cabin is well air conditioned. The best past of all, about the trip, is the very low price of this journey.
It's not such a long journey from Cartagena to Barranquilla, but that doesn't mean the ride shouldn't be comfortable. Throughout the day, shared minivans depart from the city center. It might get cramped in the van but nonetheless, it is very clean and updated. The cabin is air conditioned and it makes a toilet stop mid-way.
There are 5 operators that run from Cartagena to Barranquilla. If you decide to take a car, you can take the Standard and SUV options.
Barranquilla is often overlooked for Colombia’s sexier cities like Cartagena and Santa Marta. Still, it’s actually a great place to base yourself when visiting the Atlántico Department. Aptly named the “Golden State,” Barranquilla was the port that introduced Colombia to many firsts. The first telephones, radios, trains, and even fútbol were brought to Colombians through this city.
Want to come for Carnival?
UNESCO declared the Carnival held in Barranquilla every February the largest in the entire country. It’s a great look into local traditions and customs. But, unfortunately, it’s also when it will be the most crowded with domestic and international tourists.
If Carnival isn’t your thing, or you’d prefer to visit during the off-season, the Caribbean coast is gorgeous all year long.
Barranquilla is where you can walk in Gabriel García Márquez’s footsteps. In the 1940s and 1950s, he joined forces with the Barranquilla Group, a group of writers, philosophers, and journalists who became one of the most prolific literary groups of this era.
If this hasn’t convinced you that a trip from Cartagena to Barranquilla is worth it, the food will.
There are fruterías all over that serve delicious juice, pastries, and Colombian delicacies that you can’t pass up.
Also, because this city is located so close to the Atlantic Ocean and the Magdalena River, the seafood options are fantastic. Las Flores is a section of Barranquilla situated near the river that serves the daily catch from both bodies of water.
The distance from Cartagena to Barranquilla is 121 km (approximately 75 miles).
You’ll most likely be taking a bus or car as your form of transport from Cartagena to Barranquilla because the distance is so short. Luckily, the roads are easy to navigate and fairly well-kept. If you are driving yourself or have the option to choose which road to take, opt for Route 90A to ensure you get to see all of the beautiful coastal scenery!
The best part about this trip is the scenery. You’ll have the opportunity to pass through smaller Colombian towns on your drive northeast and catch a glimpse at the local way of life. If you decide to stop for lunch along the way, you’ll be treated to more delicious seafood, no matter which town you stop in to stretch your legs.
Now that you’re excited to go, you may be thinking, How do I get from Cartagena to Barranquilla?
There are a few options to get you there safely.
Taking a bus, minivan, or car are all popular options. While both Cartagena and Barranquilla have their own airports, most people opt to arrive by land. There are no direct flights. So, choosing the best way to get from Cartagena to Barranquilla will come down to what works best for you!
One of the best ways to get from Cartagena to Barranquilla is by bus. Tourist buses are actually quite comfortable, with cushy seats and plenty of legroom. The seats recline, and there is a toilet on board as well.
The best part about taking the bus is how cheap it is. Bus tickets from Cartagena to Barranquilla start at just $11.
The bus offers WiFi, but the service may be spotty in some areas, so be prepared with other forms of entertainment.
It takes three hours, with several departures between 4 am and 4 pm each day. The bus departs from Cartagena Bus Terminal and will drop you off at Terminal Metropolitana de Transportes in Barranquilla. This is quite a bit south of the city center, but catching a taxi into town is cheap and easy once you arrive.
While you cannot cancel your ticket once it’s been booked, it is possible to change it for free up to 24 hours before departure. It’s ideal if your travel plans are constantly changing.
Another way to get from Cartagena to Barranquilla is by minivan. Minivans are a great option because they are clean and have AC. They will also make a toilet stop halfway through the journey. Minivans depart from the city center every two hours starting at 6 am and drop off at Marsol Bus Station, right in the center of Barranquilla. The ride takes about two hours and only costs $17.25.
If you’re traveling in a big group, have a ton of luggage, or just don’t like the idea of sharing a space with 10 strangers, it’s possible to rent an entire minivan as a private transfer. These work like hiring any other private transfer, and you will have space for up to twelve people.
Hiring a minivan private transfer costs around $150 for the entire vehicle, regardless of how many people you share the minivan with.
The best way to travel from Cartagena to Barranquilla and control where you get to stop is by hiring a private car. You can do this by arranging a private transfer, which includes a driver, or simply renting a car and driving yourself.
If you choose to arrange a transfer, there are a few options. The benefit to a private transfer is that you get to control your schedule and toilet stops. You will also guarantee that you will be picked up and dropped off at your hotels in Cartagena and Barranquilla, respectively. This saves you the hassle of finding bus stops and navigating a new city.
The options for private transfer are a standard car, an SUV, and a standard two-person car.
A standard car can hold up to three people and 20 kg of luggage. The SUV option can take four people and additional luggage. There is a standard 2 pax option as well. All three options cost about $116 each way and can be split between everyone in the car.
Renting a car is just as simple.
The best place to pick up and return the car is at the airport. This is where you will find the most options and competitive prices. The road from Cartagena to Barranquilla is relatively safe. However, tourists are still advised to avoid driving at night, just to be safe. It is essential to let the rental car company know that you will be leaving the car in Barranquilla if you don’t plan to make the return journey!
Whether you hire a transfer or drive yourself, this option should take about two hours.
Because most people opt to drive or take land transportation from Cartagena to Barranquilla, there are no direct flights.
However, if you feel like you have to fly, it is an option. Internal flights in Colombia are relatively cheap, and you can usually score decent deals, especially if you book early. Flights between Cartagena and Bogota--where you will most likely have to connect--and Bogota and Barranquilla are around an hour and a half each.
Layovers can range between 1-3 hours, depending on the airline and time of your flight. While connections any longer than that are rare, flying actually takes much longer than simply hitting the road.
Regardless of how you choose to get to Barranquilla, you are bound to enjoy your time there. It is a vastly underrated city that has so much to offer. You’ll be glad you have the opportunity to explore once you arrive.