Colombia is the perfect vacation spot. It has unique street art, salsa bars, and quite possibly the world’s best coffee. With so much to offer, it has managed to remain relatively undiscovered.
It’s no secret that Colombia has had a checkered past, and unfortunately it has struggled to overcome the stereotypes that have been perpetuated through shows like Netflix’s Narcos.
Today, however, that’s all in the past. The Colombian government has made the safety of tourists a number one priority it has become a foodie’s delight, a backpacker’s dream, and a beach bum’s haven.
So when is the best time to visit this paraiso (paradise)? That depends on a few different things:
- The weather
2. The festivals and events
3. Is it a high season?
Colombia only has two seasons: the wet season and the dry season. The temperature varies based on the altitude but remains pretty mild throughout the country. It fluctuates between a moderate 86°F and 67°F.
Let’s deep dive into the pros and cons of each month of the year and discover which time of the year is the best time for you to visit Colombia.
January is definitely one of the best months to visit Colombia. It’s a bit windy on the Caribbean coast which makes for ideal beach days and it is honestly just one big party that lasts the entire month.
While most touristy areas are really crowded in January, especially on the Caribbean coast, there are so many cultural events and festivals to attend that it’s worth it.
Carneval de Negros y Blancos in El Pasto is one of the best. It was started to commemorate the end of slavery in Colombia and has evolved into a celebration of Colombia’s cultural diversity. You can watch parades during the day, then be one with your inner child and throw flour and eggs at fellow festival-goers while dancing the night away.
- Avoid the Caribbean coast and head to the Pacific Coast if you don’t want to be around the crowds
- Spend New Year’s Eve in Cali, then head to El Pasto for the festival mentioned above
February is a sunny month that rounds out the end of Colombia’s high season. In February you can attend the Carnival de Barranquilla – The biggest one in Colombia!
Thousands of participants perform dances in the streets for 4 days straight. It’s an incredible way to experience Colombia’s culture.
- Stay around the Caribbean Coast, then go to the Carnival of Barranquilla
- Book accommodation several months in advance for the Carnaval de Barranquilla
The weather in March is a mix of rain and sun. While it can rain on occasion, don’t let that stop you from visiting as there is still lots to do there are virtually no tourists.
- Religious processions during the Holy Week (Easter) are best at Popayán or Jerió
- Leatherback turtles come to lay their eggs on the beaches of Acandí, towards Capurganá. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience where you can observe the turtles laying their eggs before crawling back to the sea.
April marks the start of the rainy season, but a little rain never hurt anybody! If you get up early, you can beat the afternoon thunderstorms and still enjoy your vacation.
May is especially rainy in mountainous regions like Medellín, Bogotà, and Cali.
- This a good time to visit the more tourist cities like Cartagena or Guatapé as it’s still low season.
- If you really don’t like the rain and prefer to escape the “bad” weather, fly to the islands of San Andres and Providencia during the month of May.
In the month of June, you can expect regular afternoon showers in most of Colombia.
If you’re traveling alone or like to meet people, this is a great month to go as Colombia is a popular destination for Latin American backpackers on their spring break.
- The Rainbow River of Natural Park Caño Cristales officially opens up just for you – well not just for you, but it’s a breathtaking sight to behold.
- The Amazon is flooded which makes jungle hikes impossible, but kayaking through it is possible.
By July, the sunny days are back and what’s more, the majestic Humpback whale pods make their way to the Pacific Coast of Colombia to give birth. During this month only, visitors can take a boat tour out to see the baby whales or even go diving with them.
One of the highlights of the month of Rock al Parque or “Rock in the Park” is just like the name suggests… a rock festival that’s held each year in Bogotás Simón Bolivar Park. It’s 3 days of free concerts – yes, you heard me right, free.
August is another great month to visit Columbia. It’s sunny and beautiful and there are colorful flowers everywhere.
In Medellin or the”City of the Eternal Spring,” flowers are in full bloom. The celebrations kick off during the first two weeks of August and florists line the streets and carry colorful floral displays on their backs. Take time to smell the roses and go to Medellin in August.
September ushers in the rainy season in Colombia and things tend to get cheaper during this time.
- Hiking in the Amazon rainforest is still possible during this time.
October is smack dab in the middle of the rainy season and if you’re a music lover – plan your trip for October. There are hip-hop concerts in Bogota, electronic festivals in the Tatacoa desert, and a jazz fest in Mompos
- If watching baby turtles hatch is on your bucket list, keep in mind that the turtle eggs start to hatch in October on the Pacific coast
November is the rainiest month of the year. It rains almost every day, so make sure you have a waterproof rain poncho. On the plus side, hotel prices are at an all-time low in November.
Remember the rainbow river mentioned earlier in Caño Cristales Park? It closes to the public again in November.
In December, the rains die down and the high season kicks into high gear again. Christmas time is a favorite holiday for Colombian and in cities like Medellin and Cali, they put lots of effort into their Christmas lights.
If you like salsa dancing, don’t miss the Feria de Cali. Salsa was born in Cali so you know it’s gonna be good. It takes place between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
To Sum Up
The temperature in Colombia largely depends on the altitude and where you are hoping to visit, so before you decide when to visit, it would be best to decide where you want to go and what you want to do!