Barranquilla is divided into many small neighbourhoods or communities numbering over 150 it total and these “barrios” of Barranquilla are located within larger zones. The zones are South West (Sur Occidente), South East (Sur Oriente), The North (Historic Center), Metropolitana and Riomar. People tend to speak just in terms of the north where the clubs, fashionable bars, restaurants and shopping is located and the south where often people just barely manage to make it from week to week.
The original neighbourhoods of the city correspond to the current Historic Center (comprising the shopping center, and parts of the public market and the barrios of San Roque, Abajo and El Rosario). In the barrio Abajo del Rio (to the north of the Center), you can find some of the early houses of built in a traditional manner and thatched roofs. In San Roque you can see the mansions of the wealthy families which were abandoned long ago.
The historic center of Barranquilla was the engine for the growth of the city and where the cultural, commercial life and political power was centered since its establishment in the 17th century. It remains the most important sector of the city in economic and commercial terms and a strategic zone for the future development of Barranquilla and in 1999 was declared an Area of Cultural Interest of National Character by the Department of Culture. Doring the last 20 years this area has been in the process of regeneration.
With the arrival of wealthy immigrants from Europe and other countries in the 1920s Barranquilla began to expand towards the north in to what is now known as El Prado where you will find wide streets and homes in a variety of styles reflecting the tastes of the Republican period, other lesser know areas are Bellavista and Holy Ana. This trend continued throughout the 20th century with the development, always toward the north, of neighborhoods such as Alto Prado, Riomar, Los Nogales, El Golf and Ciudad Jardin. Later luxurious urbanizations were built on the outskirts of the city such as Lagos del Caujaral (on the banks of el Lago del Cisne) and Villa Campestre (along the old route to Puerto Colombia a satellite village that grew up near the sea where there are a mixture of exclusive mansions and basic shacks). The growing wealth of the city has meant in recent years that they have continued to build new housing developments such as Villa Santos or Paseo de la Castellan, each getting a little closer to the neighboring municipality of Port Colombia.
In the second half of the 1930s colonists started to develop to the south west of the city and the areas of San Isidro y Calancala. Counstruction continued in the 1940s with the arrival of immigrants trying to escape the war in Europe and the barrios of Barranquilla expanded. From the 1950s was promoted further as it became the second largest city in Colombia and focus was put on the creation of social and community housing, this was amplified by an increasing population and people leaving the countryside for the relative wealth offered by the cities leading to the development of the extensive neighborhoods in the south of Barranquilla such as Simón Bolívar and at the beginning of the 1980s, development of the Ciudadela de 20 Julio in what used to be open farm land and Barrio Universal. At the same time, neighborhoods aimed at the growing middle-working class arose like Olaya and Paraiso and areas of El Norte saw the building of high-rise buildings of apartments forever changing the skyline of the city.
The last twenty years has seen greater investment and a slow improvement in the services and infrastructure of the city by both the state and private developers hoping to improve the quality of life of the citizens and make it more popular as it was losing ground to Medellin and Cali which were now the second and third largest cities in the Colombia and were seen as more modern and better developed.
In the last four years with Alejandro Char taking the office of Mayor of Barranquilla the pace of development and expansion has started to increase again and the projects have become bigger with the addition of the Metrotransit system and plans to add a drainage system to the city to avoid the potentially lethal arroyos (fast moving rivers) that develop quickly in the center of the city during heavy rains.
For a better idea of the layout of the city see the map of Barranquilla.
Barrios in Barranquilla by area
Villa Santos, El Poblado, Altamira, San Vicente, Altos del Limón, Altos de Riomar, Santa Mónica, Riomar Andalucía, Villa Campestre, Las Flores, La Floresta, San Salvador
La Campiña, El Tabor, Granadillo, Los Alpes, Nuevo Horizonte, El Porvenir, Altos del Prado, El Golf, El Country Paraíso, La Concepción, San Francisco, Santa Ana, América Colombia, El Prado, Bellavista, Modelo, Montecristo, Abajo La Cumbre, Nuevo Horizonte, Ciudad Jardín, Campo Alegre, Los Jobos, Los Nogales, Las Mercedes, Betania, Las Delicias, El Recreo, Boston, El Rosario, Centro, Barlovento, Villanueva, El Boliche
Veinte de Julio, Santa María, Villa Sevilla, Las Granjas, Siete de Abril, Los Girasoles, Ciudadela Veinte de Julio, Parte de La Victoria, Santa Helena, San Roque, Realengo, La Sierra, La Victoria, Los Continentes, Kennedy, La Sierrita, El Santuario, Las Américas, Carrizal, Buenos Aires, Santo Domingo de Guzmán, Villa San Pedro, San Luis
La Sierra, La Victoria, Los Continentes, Kennedy, La Sierrita, El Santuario, Las Américas, Carrizal, Buenos Aires, Santo Domingo de Guzmán, Villa San Pedro, San Luis, Santo Domingo, Lucero, Los Pinos, Loma Fresca, San Isidro, Alfonso López, Los Andes, San Felipe, Carlos Meisel, Nueva Colombia, Las Malvinas, Los Rosales, Pumarejo, Villate, El Carmen, Buena Esperanza, La Sierra, La Ceiba, La Esmeralda, El Bosque, La Pradera, Los Olivos, El Pueblo, Las Estrellas, Pastoral Social, Villa del Rosario, Las Terrazas, Las Colinas, Mercedes Sur, Por Fin, La Paz, Mequejo, La Manga, 7 de agosto, Evaristo, Sourdis, Lipaya, Olaya, El Silencio, La Libertad, Nueva Granada
Chiquinquirá, San Roque, Rebolo, Atlántico, Montes, San José, Boyacá, Los Trupillos, La Luz, La Chinita, Las Nieves, Santa Helena, La Unión, Parte de La Victoria, El Campito, Las Palmas, La Magdalena, El Limón, El TayronaUniversal, Las Dunas, San Nicolás, José Antonio Galán (Cacho Solo), Villa Blanca, El Milagro, Los Laureles, Bella Arena, Villa del Carmen, La Alboraya, Ciudad Cisneros, El Parque, Las Gaviotas, Parte de Buenos Aires