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Seasons and Local Holidays in Colombia

We give you an overview of Colombia's seasons and local holidays to ensure your trip is the best one yet.
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 If you plan on making your way to Colombia, you should first think about when is the best time to travel there, considering the wrong time of year can impact your trip immensely.

As well as this, Colombia has some major festivities worth attending, and knowing when these are happening, can make all the difference to making your trip authentically cultural. Depending on your plans, there may be a perfect or not so perfect time to travel to this beautiful country, and this overview is sure to help determine it.

The Colombian Climate

Seasons and Local Holidays in Colombia

Colombia is situated close to the equator, which means that it has a tropical climate, and in saying this, it also means that most of the regions of the country maintain an average temperature during the year, but it is the rain that can make all the difference. There are five natural regions in Colombia, so it is worth checking the climate in each one you plan to go to. However, to avoid any surprises, we can say that Colombia is hot and wet in many parts of the country, humid at the coasts, and cooler in the mountains, which gives you a little idea of the regional climates.

The tropical rainforest of Colombia tends to have a hot and humid climate with heavy rainfall, mainly around the Amazon basin, the Pacific coast, and the jungles of the Catatumbo. In contrast, the tropical mountain climate appears in the Andes, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, and other high-altitude regions. The climate of Colombia and its geographic diversity are so unique that no matter what time of year it is, you can always find a warm beach, a snowy mountain, or a rainy tropical rainforest. Still, it is good to know the ins and outs when planning.

Seasons

Seasons and Local Holidays in Colombia

Colombia differs from some other countries in terms of distinct seasons because it maintains the same temperature throughout the year in each region. Instead, it can be said that the country has a variety of regional climates rather than specific seasons of the year. It is not called the country of ‘Eternal Spring’ for nothing.

There are a few things to note about what to expect when visiting Columbia:

  • There are temperate and chilly climates in the cities of Medellin and Bogota.
  • The western part of the country is home to the Andes, and it is said that for every 304m (1000ft) in altitude, the temperature decreases 3.5F.
  • The coast tends to have sweltering temperatures, while the mountains tend to be quite cold the higher you go. 
  • Locally it is known that the ‘Hot Zone’ is from sea level up to 900m (2,952ft), the ‘Temperate Zone’ is from 900m-1980m (2,952ft-6496ft) and finally the ‘Cold Zone,’ is from 1980m (6,496ft) and above. 
  • The climate is heavily influenced by two phenomena – El Nino (warm, dry phase) and La Nina (cold, wet phase)
  • September and October are the wettest months, while December to March tends to be the driest months.

If you are traveling to Colombia and plan to tour the country with various regions, it is essential to be prepared for each regional climate you might experience. For the mountains, it is good to pack layers of clothing. For the jungle, you may need waterproof clothing and footwear, and for the coast, you can use your summer clothes and swimwear, so it is safe to say that packing light for a Colombian adventure may prove difficult but doable, of course.

Best time to Travel

Seasons and Local Holidays in Colombia

The biggest question most people have when traveling anywhere is, when is the best time to travel? For Colombia, December to March are the best time to travel because the weather is dry, sunny, and warm, even in the Andes, while September/October tend to be the wettest. If you are planning a trip to the Amazon, rain is to be expected – after all, it is called a ‘rain’ forest. 

High Season: December to February
Low Season: October to November
Shoulder Season: March to September

Festivities & Celebrations

Like many Latin American countries, Colombians are a nation that loves to party and celebrate. After all, they did invent salsa dancing, so if you plan to get involved in some of the local festivities, it is good to know when they are happening to plan your trip accordingly. Here are the best and most popular local celebrations not to be missed in Colombia.

Blacks and Whites Carnival (January)

Seasons and Local Holidays in Colombia

Celebrated from the 2nd until the 7th of January each year, this popular festivity is one to add to your list, considering its cultural significance. It is a celebration honoring Colombia’s mixed cultures and races, incorporating and representing Africa, Andean, and Spanish customs and traditions. Like the Barranquilla Carnival, UNESCO decided to recognize this event as a ‘Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Therefore, this symbolic festival is a great place to get an insight into the customs of these different groups, where the locals paint their faces black one day and then white the next day as a representation.

The Manizales Fair (January)

Seasons and Local Holidays in Colombia
Photo by Michael Barón on Unsplash

If the Cali Fair was not enough, don’t worry because the party and celebrations continue during the Manizales Fair, which happens at the beginning of the New Year, right after the Cali Fair ends. It is considered one of the region’s most important festivals, with a mix of tradition, arts, craft shows, folk music, and coffee, of course. As it is held in Manizales, in the coffee region, one of the main events is the ‘Queen of Coffee’ crowning during the International Coffee Pageant.

Barranquilla Carnival (February)

Seasons and Local Holidays in Colombia
Photo by Dawin Rizzo on Unsplash

Known as the BEST party in Colombia, the Barranquilla Carnival, which is traditionally held in February, is the one to attend for street celebrations, parades, dance performances, and processions – it is no wonder UNESCO declared this Colombian party a World Heritage Event. However, suppose you really want to celebrate but won’t be there in February. In that case, it is worth noting that the locals also celebrate a pre-Carnival – around mid-January onwards, and a post-Carnival following the event, so there will always be a moment to celebrate within this period. 

Check out this video to get a glimpse into the world’s second-largest Carnival.

The Flowers Festival (August)

Seasons and Local Holidays in Colombia
Photo by Riz R on Unsplash

As a tribute to fertility, women, and life, this beautiful festival, which is held in Medellin every August, is the most important event for the city. This 10-day event in the ‘City of Eternal Spring’ hosts beauty contests, dog shows, automobile parades, and flower displays everywhere around you. The main event during this spectacular and vibrant parade is the flower parade, and it is such a popular event that crowds make their way there dressed in only their best clothes to enjoy the celebrations.

The Cali Fair (December)

Seasons and Local Holidays in Colombia

Signifying bullfighting season, the Calif Fair is, of course, held in the city of Cali, which is the birthplace of salsa dancing. This event is one of the most important and most celebrated events in Colombia and South America’s continent. You can witness salsa dancing performances, bullfights, beauty contests, fashion shows, and concerts from some of the most famous acts from around the world. It is no wonder, The Cali Fair is said to be one of the world’s greatest festivals, so if you happen to be planning a trip to Colombia, try to attend this event.

Suppose culture is your focus while on your Colombian trip; check out these culturally driven tours below. Also, don’t forget to get some tips from your ‘Destination Expert’ about smaller local festivals that may be happening while you are there.

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