Best Time to Visit Colombia

Colombia is the ideal year-round destination: warm, tropical weather and a generally stable equatorial climate. One of South America’s most geographically diverse countries, it’s one of the most culturally diverse, as well. Whenever you plan your visit, you’ll have a variety of experiences to choose from.

Fast facts

  • December to February & June to August are the high seasons for tourism
  • March to May & October to November are the two rainy seasons
  • The dry, warm season lasts from December to March
  • July to mid-January is the best time to visit the Amazon
  • July is also the start of the whale-watching season along Colombia's Pacific coast

Overview

Expect consistent temperatures year-round in Colombia, varying from 45-66°F (7-19°C) higher inland to 75°F (24°C) along the coast. The driest and warmest months are from December to March. If you prefer a refreshing spring-like climate, visit from April to June or from October and November, when the country’s rainforests quench their thirst.

Even so, these weather variations are only noticeable for a traveler in the wetter Amazon rainforest region, or the highlands, where nights become chillier in mountainous areas of higher altitude.

We’ve put together a guide, below, to help you find the best places to visit and the top cultural events each month.

Climate chart for Bogota

Bogota climate chart
Annual rainfall and temperate for Bogota, Colombia

December to February (Summer)

Cartagena
Sun setting over the Caribbean sea from the old city walls of Cartagena

During the holiday season, Colombia is incredibly festive and warm. Early planning is highly recommended for December and January, as both national and international visitors travel throughout the country to vacation.

Medellin, glowing with lights and decorations, is an ideal city to visit before hopping on a domestic flight to the charming colonial towns of the Caribbean or Pacific coast. These coastlines host Colombia’s first surf season, which spans from December to March.

If you do not want to be in the heart of the country’s beach party, or fiesta, travel inland to the Andean rivers and mountains of the coffee regions. There is sure to be another fiesta on another beach come the new year.

Events in December

Festival of Lights, Northeast of Bogotá. Villa de Leyva celebrates the feast of the Immaculate Conception with a small festival of lights. Candles and lanterns light balconies and taverns while people mix and mingle in the streets. The aromas of delicious traditional foods and the sounds of folklore music make for an authentic atmosphere.

Festival of Lights, Medellin. Medellin and surrounding cities put up millions of Christmas lights and decorations every year. Chivas (local, hand-painted party buses) take both the locals and visitors around the city to see nightly, awe-dropping firework displays.

The Parade of Myths and Legends Dance (Desfile de Danzas, Mitos y Leyendas), Medellin. This festival attracts over 10,000 visitors awakened by displays of creativity, folklore, and traditional music and dance. Huge, elaborate art floats navigate Medellin’s city streets.

Art Festival of Memory & Imagination (Festival de Arte Memoria y Imaginación), Cartagena. This authentic Colombian festival brings the best talent of Colombia and artists from all over the world to energize Cartagena’s already lively atmosphere. Dance companies, theatre companies, sculptors, painters, poets, filmmakers, musicians, photographers showcase their art in one of Colombia’s most iconic displays of culture.

Events in January

Blacks and Whites' Carnival (El Carnival de Blancos y Negros), Pasto. The largest carnival in Southern Colombia is also one of the country’s oldest celebrations, originating from the time of Spanish rule. Following New Year’s Eve, festival goers paint each other in black and white colors throughout a two-day spectacle. This act celebrates the diverse races represented across Colombia and includes a “Day of Water”, when people of all ages and racial backgrounds are symbolically drenched in water. Other highlights include awe-inspiring displays of creativity by children that host their own carnival.

Events in January & February

La Noche del Rio, Barranquilla. In the week leading up to Carnival in Barranquilla, take a sneak peak into the incredible array of Colombian music and dance showcased at the annual “La Noche del Rio” music festival. The musicians come from the river communities of the mighty Magdalena River. What the Mississippi is for American music, the Magdalena is for Colombian music.  Its cultural repository cradled musicians and artists during Colombia's most violent period and provided hope for peace.

Carnival, Barranquilla. In mid-January up until the first four days of February, the lively city of Barranquilla hosts Colombia’s largest public street celebration: Carnival! The second largest carnival in the world, next to Brazil, Carnival Barranquilla attracts a blend of dances, musical performances, and local traditions including theatrical parades. Performers masquerade historic and contemporary public figures and find inspiration for dramatizations from current events. Make sure to get tickets in advance for official carnival events and plan your accommodations strategically and in a timely fashion.

March to May (Wet season)

Amazon river
The flooded waters of the Amazon river in summer near Leticia

If you plan to travel to Colombia over Easter holy week (Semana Santa) in March, plan ahead. This is a popular time for regional tourism and the coastal cities are crowded. April marks the start of wetter weather, with the heaviest rains in May, in some parts of the country. Persistent rainfall is very unusual and the country is only noticeably cooler at higher altitude zones.

March Events

Estéreo Picnic Music Festival, Bogotá. Estéreo Picnic is Colombia’s biggest alternative music festival and features top international and national talent in alternative rock, indie music, punk rock, reggae, electronica, and hip hop. With 60,000 participants, it is one of the most influential and dynamic contemporary music festivals in South America.

The International Book Fair (Feria Internacional del Libro), Bogotá. The International Book Fair of Bogotá (FILBO) welcomes world-renowned authors and public figures to promote and celebrate the top international and national books. Throughout the city you will find lectures, book fairs, and performances in honour of this world-recognized cultural event.

Events in June

The International Tango Festival, Medellin. In memory of the tango dancer Carlos Gardel, The International Tango Festival showcases the top tango dancers in the world. Throughout the festival, Medellin proudly hosts citywide dance and singing competitions, as well as conferences, art exhibitions, concerts, and most significantly, the official World Tango Championship.

June to August

Andes, Colombia
For hiking and experiencing the Colombian Andes, June to August is ideal for drier weather

Traveling in Colombia from June to August is a great choice. It’s not the high season for tourism, yet it offers great adventure and cultural excursion opportunities. In the Andes, it’s the driest months, which is ideal for hiking.

If you plan on traveling to Medellin, named the city of eternal spring for a consistently ideal climate, consider booking domestic flights well in advance during the last week of July to the first week of August.

In July, head for the Pacific coast to experience the start of the whale watching season.

Events in July

Salsa Festival, Medellin. Medellin comes alive in a weekend of salsa workshops, competitions, performances, and dances in nearly all the clubs and bars in town.  

Colombiamoda Fashion Week, Medellin. The fashion and textile capital of Colombia, Medellin, hosts a fashion week every July. While the runway shows are invite-only, the 3-day event is open to the public during the day.

The Flower Festival (La Feria de las Flores), Medellin. One of Colombia’s most beloved and unique festivals proudly showcases authentic Antioquia culture. The ten-day festival, which runs from the last week of July to the first week of August, significantly increases the population of Medellin, with Colombians migrating from across the country to see the city adorned in flowers and city-wide parades. Other festivities include a folklore troubadour festival where folk musicians battle one another with rhymes, equestrian competitions, special botanical exhibitions, and many other concerts.

The Festival of the Sea: Santa Marta. In July, visit Santa Marta to experience the “Fiesta del Mar”. Initially a water sports festival and beauty pageant, the festival has evolved today into an expression of coastal appreciation and music including Afro- Caribbean concerts, incredible culinary offerings from the sea, and ocean conservation events. Safe waves along the Santa Marta coastline of Parque Tayrona National Park welcome Colombia’s second surf season, which runs from July through September.

Events in August

Festival de Verano, Bogotá. One of the most recognized festivals in Bogotá, the music festival showcases concerts and performances on the main stage of Simon Bolivar Metropolitan Park and in hip venues throughout the city.

September to November (Low Season)

Puerto Narino
Path through the Amazon rain forest in Puerto Narino, Colombia

To travel off the beaten path, visit Colombia at this time when the lowest amount of international tourists visit, yet the country hosts an incredible array of festivals and events. The Caribbean coast is surprisingly wet in October, but offers surf in November. Lower water levels in the Amazon region offer rare hiking opportunities.

Events in September

Green Moon Festival, San Andres, Providencia, and Santa Catalina Islands. “Festival de la Luna Verde” is a folk life tradition celebrated on the island of San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina. This multi-day festival is as unique as its Caribbean island setting of Afro-Caribbean culture, food, and music. Dance and listen to Calypso and Reggae music, with the surprising and welcoming influence of English lyrics, on a beach overlooking the sea from sunrise to sunset.

International Jazz Festival (Festival Internacional del Jazz del Teatro Libre), Bogotá. Founded in 1988, this prestigious cultural event is one of the first internationally recognized music festivals in Latin america. With over 47,000 annual spectators and over 100 musicians from around the world and Colombia, it has become one of the most important music festivals on the continent.

Events in October

International Film Festival, Bogota. For over 33 years, Bogota has hosted a film festival and competition, which features over 270 films from over 44 countries (including Colombia).

Events in November

Independence Day, Cartagena. Visitors to Cartagena on November 11 can enjoy colourful parades, music and dance. Festivities continue prior and after the Independence Day and it is a fantastic way to become introduced to the proud and lively Caribbean culture.