In 2015 I found a cheap airfare to Barranquilla, Columbia and booked it mostly for a chance to visit a country that I had never been to before. My flights were on Copa Airlines which I like and I departed from Orlando, Florida and connected in their very nice Panama City, Panama hub.
I arranged my flights so that I had almost a 24 hour layover in Panama City both going to Colombia and back. I’m going to write a blog post about all of the times I’ve been to Panama City in the future.
The flight from Panama City (PTY) to Barranquilla (BAQ) was pretty short and over water for most of the time. The immigration form you need to fill out prior to landing was entirely in Spanish, but another passenger assisted me with the one question I didn’t understand.
The airport was OK and I soon was inside of a taxi on my way to my hotel. The driver really didn’t speak English so my basic Spanish skills came in handy again. I think that I had exchanged some money prior to this trip and had some Colombian currency to pay and tip with.
After a little while my phone which has service from Google Project Fi was able to find a cellular signal and roam on the ComcelOccel/Celcaribe network with a HSPA+ connection.
Looking out the window of the car reminded me of the places I had visited in Mexico and Central America. We arrived at the Hilton Garden in which was fairly new, and I was checked into the hotel pretty easily by their bi-lingual staff.
As a frequent guest of Hilton properties I was upgraded to suite. I took some pictures as well as a short Periscope video which I’ve used in this post. The hotel’s WiFi worked great for me during my stay.
The room was sort of on a corner of the building and had plenty of windows. It’s a shame that I was only there for one night.
The bathroom was clean and nicely appointed. There was a coffee machine and a mini fridge just outside the bathroom in the entry to the room.
I grabbed a burger from the onsite restaurant in the lobby. It was pretty good as I expected.
I was surprised for a moment when I checked my account on the TV before checking out of the hotel the next day but of course those prices were in Colombian Pesos. It was about $85 for my meals and the single night stay.
I got to the airport a couple of hours early and spent the time surfing the internet using the cellular data service on my phone. Project Fi offers 256k connection speeds when roaming in Colombia and that’s what I saw.
I also bought a couple of beers in the airport to use up my final Colombian Pesos. They cost about $1.20 a piece and it helped the time go by while I was waiting for security to allow me to go to the gate area.
When I got to the gate area, I experienced the most intensive search of my carry on bag I have ever experienced. Even more detailed than the ones in Germany! They were looking for cocaine and of course I didn’t have any in my suitcase. Every thing was smooth on my flight back to Panama City, Panama, a place that I have been several times.
I recorded a short Periscope video tour of my hotel room.