The great thing about Colombia is that the weather in most locales is steady and reliable. This is due to the fact that Colombia's proximity to the equator means the weather is determined, oftentimes, not by seasons but by topography and altitude. The capital of Bogotá, due to its location at a high altitude in the Andes, experiences chillier weather with highs in the 60s and lows in the low 40s Fahrenheit. In general, Cartagena and the Caribbean coast see averages in the mid-80s with high humidity. Cali, located in the southern Cauca River Valley, has a tropical savanna climate with average highs reach the mid-'60s.
One exception to all this steady weather is the Amazon region of Colombia. June kicks off the Amazon's "low water" season when more of the area is available to tour and there are better wildlife spotting opportunities.
Crowds & Costs
There's no getting around it: July is the peak month of the peak tourist season. Expect a city like Cartagena, whose Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and model of well-preserved Spanish-colonial architecture, to be brimming with other vacationers. If you come here during this time not only will hotel prices be higher, but some may require minimum-night stays. We certainly recommend visiting Cartagena during your stay, but if you want to leave many of the crowds behind you'll push further east along the coast to Santa Marta, Tayrona National Park, and the less-visited beach town of Palomino.
On a side note—while you can expect many fellow tourists and travelers in other cities like Bogotá, Medellín, and Cali, these metropolitan areas are so big that you shouldn't feel overwhelmed.
Where to Go
If you're looking to escape the heat back home, perhaps a visit to Bogotá and the central Andean highlands will satisfy your needs. There's culture to spare in the colonial La Candelaria neighborhood, plus this is the location of the famed Gold Museum, home to the largest collection of Pre-Columbian gold artifacts in the world. It's a must-visit.
If you really want to escape the summer crowds, you could also make a trip to Colombia's lesser-visited Chocó region on the Pacific coast. Due to the small number of major roadways, it's less accessible than many parts of Colombia, but you can still fly there. There are many charming surf villages along this coast, but the big reason to go is for the humpback whale spotting. The migratory season for these marine animals falls between June and August, so if you come during July you'll be right in the middle of it.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
What to Do
If you're an active traveler, you can also venture out to Bogota's surrounding countryside for hiking and/or horseback riding. Perhaps embark on a trek to Los Nevados National Park. This high-altitude páramo ecosystem is unique in the country. It's home to volcanoes, lakes, and one of the last tropical glaciers in the world—come see it sooner rather than later, as climatologists predict it doesn't have much time left.
If you don't mind the warmer weather and still want to get some hiking in, head to Valle de Cocora, in Colombia's Zona Cafetera (coffee region). Here you can trek across the rolling green hills dotted as they are with towering wax palms, Colombia's national tree. You can even pencil in a visit the popular tourist town of Salento and take a tour of a working coffee farm. Maybe explore more of this region by visiting the city of Manizales (also in coffee country), and Medellín to take advantage of its perpetual springlike climate.
Events in July
Independence Day. There's a dearth of holidays and festivals in the country during July—however, one big one does stand out. July 20th is the anniversary of Colombia's independence from Spain. There are parades and parties throughout the country, with many locals celebrating by listening to traditional folk music. So hit the streets and join the crowds for the big party.
Traveling to Colombia in July? Check out these great itinerary ideas.
Colombian Highlands & the Los Nevados Trek. A good portion of this 9-day journey will take place in the rugged outdoors before you head towards the charming colonial town of Villa de Leyva in the Colombian Highlands. Start and finish the trip with time to explore the cosmopolitan capital of Bogotá for colorful street art, museums, dining, and nightlife.
Explore Colombia's Caribbean Coast. Travel by 4x4 to the lesser-visited La Guajira Peninsula for remote sun-soaked dunes and indigenous tribes. Circle back around to tube down the Rio Don Diego, and then spend a few days hiking around Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona, surrounded by tropical rainforests and one of the few coral reefs in Colombia.
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