Portraits from Carnaval de Barranquilla

Here’s a photo essay of portraits from Carnaval that were taken during the four days of Carnaval de Barranquilla. If you ever have a chance to make it to one of the world’s major Carnavals I’d highly recommend going.  I haven’t been to any others, but the amazing thing about the Carnaval de Barranquilla is the fact that it’s still mostly a locals event.  There are plenty of visitors from all over Colombia, but there are surprisingly few foreigners.  From what I’ve heard, this just is not the case with the Carnavals in Venice, Rio, Salvador, or New Orleans.  Get here quick, before that changes!


This guy played his part perfectly.  Stoic stare the whole time.  Helped that he was skelton skinny, and very tall.



These slave boys run around covered in shoe polish and stretch their move into contorted positions.  I don’t know how long they have to exercise their mouth muscles to be able to come up with some of the crazy positions. One woman’s dance routine last year took three months of practice.  Maybe these guys do it year round, since they don’t need to be with their friends to perfect their style.



Just one example of the beautiful poses that these dancers put on for the photographers.  They always have a beaming smile, and a perfect pose for the camera.  I don’t know how they keep the energy up for so long.  My guess, however, is that the city just feeds off of the collective energy that is created for this magnificent event.



The costumes come in all shapes, sizes, colours, and motifs.  This guy was telling me that if I kissed his ring I could be his boy slave.  Needless to say, I didn’t take him up on his offer.

Here I am posing with an Amazon hunter boy.  I think he’s ready to go in for the kill.

As I showed in my previous post, a common occurrence during Carnaval are foam fights.  This time we had to leave our foam at the checkpoint, so we decided to have some fun with it.  Doesn’t Marcello look beautiful?

This woman looks a bit confused.  I’m sure she has seen a few Carnavals in her days.  It’d be great to talk with an abuela about their experiences over the years of Carnavals.  Maybe next year.

These beautiful dresses are used during the beautiful dance called the cumbia.  I learned to dance this dance last night.  I quite enjoyed it.  It’s a suave dance, and the men use their sombreros to frame the women.  The candles were used in days past to illuminate the dance.

This is a mascot for one of the local soccer (futbol) teams.  Apparently the team from Barranquilla won the Colombian league last year.

I took this while sitting on some steps.  I love the blue dusk sky framing him.  He didn’t know I took the photo.  I hope he’s OK with that.

This is another photo after the foam fight was done.  We had called a truce, and our adversary sat still for long enough to get this great shot.  I don’t know what Marcello’s doing here, but I know we were having fun.


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  1. December 26, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    I have heard that carnavals are very, very cool. Definitely hoping to see a few in my lifetime, both big and small! Awesome post and neat photos!

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