You’ve decided to take a trip to Colombia! Whether you are looking forward to experiencing beaches of the Caribbean coast, the magic of the coffee region, or the vibrant salsa dancing in Cali, you are in for a treat! Colombia is one of the richest, most diverse countries in South America with its numerous fascinating destinations. As you research Colombia tours, you are surely wondering this: When is the best time of year to vacation in Colombia?
Weather in Colombia
The good news is Colombia is a great country to visit at any time of the year! Due to Colombia’s location near the equator, there is very little temperature variation throughout the year. In fact, the weather in Colombia can generally be classified into two periods based on the amount of precipitation. The dryer months in Colombia span from December to March and again in August and September. The wetter months are from May to July, and again in October through November.
You may be wondering, should I avoid visiting Colombia during the wetter months? The answer is no. A visit to Colombia is great even during the wetter months. You should not expect constant all-day rain. It is generally sunny in the morning with periods of showers in the afternoon. Keep in mind that the weather in Colombia can change very fast!
Pro Tip: It’s important to note that the coast of Colombia lies outside the hurricane belt of the Caribbean, so Colombia truly is a year-round destination.
Best Time to Visit Colombia
Carribean Coastal Region of Colombia
Given Colombia’s close proximity to the United States and Canada, many travelers from the Northern Hemisphere visit Colombia during December and January. This is to escape the winter and enjoy the warm weather of Colombia. Especially in Cartagena and the Caribbean Coast. July and August are also popular months to visit Colombia, during the Northern Hemisphere’s summer.
Pro tip: Those looking to visit Colombia during the off-peak shoulder seasons should plan to visit from September to November or from March to June (except during Easter/Holy Week which is a peak travel week).
Temperature in Colombia
Islas del Rosario, Colombia
While Colombia doesn’t experience much seasonality, that is not to say that the temperature is always the same throughout the country! As the elevation varies greatly throughout Colombia, the temperature can generally be categorized by the elevation of the region.
- Coastal Lowlands [sea level to 1000m] – Includes the Caribbean Coast of Cartagena, Santa Marta, and Barranquilla as well as Cali, San Andres, and Providencia. Temperatures are generally above 75 °F / 24 °C.
- Temperate Regions [1000 – 2000m above sea level] – Includes Medellin Colombia weather, and the coffee region including Manizales, Pereira, and Armenia. Temperatures are generally around 63 – 72 °F / 17 – 22 °C.
- Andean Regions [2000 – 3000m above sea level] – Includes Bogota Colombia weather and Pasto. Temperatures generally range from 50 – 63 °F / 10 – 17 °C.
Colombia Amazon Weather
Grove of Palm Trees Nearby Leticia Colombia
Many first-time visitors to Colombia are surprised to learn that Colombia is part of the Amazon. Accessed from Leticia, Colombia is home to part of the headwaters for the Amazon basin.
The weather in the Amazon region is typically hot and humid during January and February. While during other months, you can expect dry mornings with periods of rain in the afternoon. The water levels of the Amazon also vary with the seasons. During December to May, the water level is higher, while from June to November it is lower.
Festivals in Colombia
Flower Festival in Medellin Colombia
Colombians love to celebrate! With warm weather, delicious food and drink, and more public holidays than almost any other country, there is always a reason to celebrate in Colombia! If you are looking to experience an authentic and vibrant Colombian celebration, consider visiting for one of these festivals:
- Barranquilla Carnival – Barranquilla is home to the world’s second-largest Carnival [the first being Rio de Janeiro] for the four days leading up to Ash Wednesday. The festivities attract over a million participants to the daily street parties and colorful parades.
- Night of the Little Candles – La Noche de Las Velitas (Night of the Little Candles) is the night of December 7th on the eve of the Immaculate Conception. For this special festivity, people place candles and lanterns on windowsills, sidewalks, balconies, and in parks. You will see the warm glow of little candles and lanterns everywhere! On this night, Colombians all across the country leave their homes to socialize with friends, family, and neighbors. They light millions of candles, making a wish for each candle and lantern they light.
- The Flower Festival – World famous for its roses and other flowers, Medellin hosts La Feria de Las Flores (the Flower Festival) for a week every August. The streets are filled with stunning flower displays, a horse parade, and other festivities.
- Independence Day of Cartagena de las Indias– Cartagena was the first province in Colombia to declare independence from the Spanish crown and each year locals still celebrate this event. Visitors to Cartagena on the 11th of November will experience a day filled with colorful parades, live music, and plenty of dancing. This festival has grown so large that all the festivities span nearly a week!
- The Cali Fair – Cali is known as the Capital of Salsa in Colombia and at their annual festival known as “La Feria de Cali,” it is easy to see why. Each year from December 25th – 30th, dancers and musical groups from around Colombia and surrounding countries converge in Cali for the festivities. These include the famous Salsa marathon, horse riding parades and plenty of dancing.