Best time To Travel To Colombia (2020): Avoid bad weather and tourists

Best time To Travel To Colombia (2020): Avoid bad weather and tourists

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Find in this article all you need to know to decide when it’s the best time to travel to Colombia. Make your choice by taking into consideration the weather, the main events and the high season.

Best time to travel to Colombia: What you must know

Temperatures in Colombia: They stay stable all year long. The temperatures changes according to the altitudes and sunshine.

Is Colombia cold: When you’re at an altitude above 1500 m sea level, the night is coldish. Take a jumper.

The rainy season in Colombia: The rainiest months are April, May, October, and November. There are many different microclimates in the country.

Can you travel to Colombia during the rainy season: 100% yes, especially on the Caribbean coast. It usually rains in the afternoon or at night.

High season in Colombia: Mid-December to Mid January, Holy week, Mid June to July, every 3-day weekends.

My favorite months to travel to Colombia: February – March, June – September

Cheapest months to go to Colombia: March-June, September-November

Whale watching season: July to September

Month to go to Caño Cristales: Mid-June to November

Best tips: Try to stay in big cities during the weekends. Don’t trust the weather on the internet.

Look at the table of contents to in this post to get more in-depth information about when to go to Colombia

Start from here to plan a Colombia trip faster and better

Table Of Contents: Best Time To Travel To Colombia

  1. Weather in Colombia
  2. How to avoid the tourists
  3. When and how to find cheap flights
  4. Best time for planning activities in Colombia
  5. Weather and events in the largest cities of Colombia
  6. Conclusion
  7. Plan your trip step by step
  8. Use our premium service

The weather in Colombia

It’s THE big recurring question I receive every week. Nobody wants to travel with an umbrella and a bathing cap.

Best time to visit Colombia for the weather

As Colombia is near the equator, there are only two seasons: dry and rainy

But, I want to reassure you. There is no monsoon. It means you shouldn’t cancel your backpacking trip because you just realize you will be there during the rainy season.

#1 Best time to travel to Colombia for the Temperatures

The temperature doesn’t vary much throughout the year. It means the degrees are proportional to the altitude. Basically, it’s:

Temperatures in Colombia (+)

  • < 1000 m -> More than 24ºdeg Celsius – Cartagena, Santa Marta, Cali
  • 1000 – 2000m -> Around 20ºdeg Celsius – Medellin, Manizales
  • 2000 – 3000 m -> Around 14º deg Celsius – Bogota, Pasto
  • > 3000 m -> Less than 10º deg Celsius

Source: Wikipedia

However, the sun can be extreme during the day. You should always use sunscreen if you decide to go on a hike.

#2 Best time to get sunny days

In theory, there are two seasons in Colombia:

  • Dry season: Decembre to Mars
  • Raining season: April to June
  • Mini Dry Season: July to Septembre
  • Raining Season: October to November

But, it’s a little more complicated in reality.

Sunset Tatacoa desert Best time to travel to Colombia
Sunset in Tatacoa desert

First, don’t think it will rain all day long during the rainy season. Usually, it’s sunny in the morning and cloudy/rainy in the afternoon.

Also, the weather can change fast. And because of the high percentage of humidity, don’t trust the forecasts. Facebook told me to stay inside my hostel 30 days in a row. Facebook is dumb. True story.

Second, there are different kinds of weather in Colombia.

1 - When visiting the Pacific Coast and the Amazon in Colombia (+)

The Pacific Coast and the Amazon are rainforests. It means there are important rainfalls all year long. Although it’s less rainy during summertime.

The weather on the Pacific Coast:
  • January – February: Blue sky and almost no rain
  • April & May: Heavy rain. Great for surfing
  • October & November: Heavy rain
  • Other months: It depends

It usually doesn’t rain in the morning. But, it happens that it rains for days.

The Weather in the Amazon:
  • January – February: Blue sky and a bit rainy. Very hot and humid
  • Other months: It depends. There is more chance of rain during late afternoons than mornings

The season regarding the water level of the Amazon is more important as it will have an impact on your activities there.

  • From December to May: The water level increases
  • From June to November: The water level decreases

2 - When visiting the South of Colombia (+)

The South of Colombia is usually drier than the Caribbean Coast during October and November. However, it rains more from April to July.

3 - When visiting the Caribbean Coast of Colombia (+)

The rainiest months are May, Septembre, October, and November.

4 - When visiting San Andres and Providencia Islands (+)

The best months to travel to San Andres and Providencia islands are from December to May.

Weather in Colombia best time to travel to Colombia

You can check out the average rainfalls on world weather online

#3 Weather in Colombia for each month of the year

As I said earlier, it’s kind of complicated to know what will be the weather in Colombia as there are many micro-climates. Let’s give a try to get an overall idea for your Colombia itinerary:

Weather in Colombia per month (+)

  • Colombia in January: Sunny days and lots of people on vacation, especially on the Eastern Caribbean coast. Rains in Providencia.
  • Colombia in February: Sunny days and fewer tourists. Good period to plan a multi-day hike.
  • Colombia in March: Sunny days and low seasons. In humid regions like the Pacific coast and the Amazon, rainfalls are more frequent in the afternoons. Everyone is on holiday during the holy week.
  • Colombia in April: The rainy season begins. Plan your activities for the morning.
  • Colombia in May: Rainiest month, especially on the Pacific coast, zona cafetera and Antioquia. It’s better to stay on the Caribbean Coast.
  • Colombia in June: The weather varies between sunny days and rainy afternoons. You can visit caño Cristales.
  • Colombia in July: Mostly sunny days, except in some around San Agustin. The whales watching season starts.
  • Colombia in August: Mostly sunny days. Good period to plan a multi-day hike.
  • Colombia in September: The weather varies between sunny days and rainy afternoons.
  • Colombia in October: Rainiest month. It will rain most of the afternoons. It’s better to stick to the Caribbean coast if you don’t like to be wet.
  • Colombia in November: Rainiest month. It will rain most of the afternoons. Don’t go to the Pacific coast.
  • Colombia in December: Mostly sunny days, especially after the 15th. It’s also the beginning of the high season.

Best Time To Travel To Colombia To Avoid The Tourists

There are two main summer vacations in the world:

  • Northern Hemisphere (USA / Canada / Europe): July and August
  • Southern Hemisphere (South America / Oceania): December and January

Colombians love to travel in their country during their holidays. And many of them are going to the Carribean Coast. Prices explode in Cartagena from December to February.

Most of the Colombians leave on vacation the last weeks of December, the holy week (Easter) and during their 17 public holidays. If you’re looking for quietness, you should avoid going to the most famous highlights of Colombia during these periods.

The different touristic seasons in Colombia (+)

From December to February: It’s the high season in Colombia. Prices increase on the Caribbean Coast because many Colombians and Americans travel to Cartagena de Indias. It’s also the period where South American Students and Australians explore the continent with their backpacks.

From March to June: Fewer foreigners are traveling to Colombia. However, many Colombians travel during the holy week (Easter)

From July to August: Then comes the turn of the Europeans to discover the secrets of Colombia. And Colombian students are on vacation in July.

From September to Novembre: It’s the low touristic season in Colombia.

colonial town in the old center of Cartagena
A colonial house in the old center of Cartagena

Read more: Best tips for traveling to Colombia

Best Time To Travel To Colombia For Booking A Cheap Flight

First, there are five principles to follow if you want to book a cheap flight to Colombia.

  • Say yes to shitty flights
  • Travel during the low tourist season of your country
  • Be flexible
  • Navigate Incognito (On the internet)
  • Use a VPN and change your localization

From Europe, the cheapest flights are usually from Spain. And from the USA, there are cheap flights from Miami / Fort Lauderdale to Cartagena de Indias.

Technics to get the cheapest flights to Colombia (+)

A] Tools to find cheap flights to Colombia

Nowadays, there are many new websites to help you to find the cheapest flights. I wrote down a list of the ones I like to use.

1 – Apps to know where you should take off

With Google flights, you quickly know where is the cheapest city to take off by clicking on “Explore destinations.”

I want to discover Google Flight

Kiwi is another excellent website with even more features! Besides selecting the cheapest airports, they offer a guarantee for the flight connection (If you book two flights or more from different airline companies).

I want to discover Kiwi

2 – Apps to know when it’s the best time to travel to Colombia

On Google Flights and Kiwi, prices are directly on the calendar. You can easily navigate throughout to find the perfect dates to visit Colombia.

Another option is to use Hopper. They have analyzed the last 30 years of all flights to understand the algorithms which calculate the price tickets. Thanks to all these data, they advise you about the future evolution of the price regarding your flight ticket.

I want to discover Hopper

3 – Apps to add a FREE STOP in your Colombia itinerary

I guess you know the expression “Layover” when you’re at the airport. It’s the number of hours you have to wait in an uncomfortable aluminum chair before taking your next flight. And in general, more you wait, and cheaper is your flight ticket.

But did you know you also can get a “Stopover”? Instead of dying of boredom at the airport, you visit a city for a few days. Moreover, it’s often cheaper than direct flights!

Many travelers try to find these fantastic opportunities. And it wasn’t easy a few years ago. However, today Airwander has built the perfect tool to help you to add a free stop during your vacation.

I want to find free stops with Airwander for my next vacation

4 – Apps to find airlines mistake fare

The best way to travel cheap is to find airline mistake fares. Indeed, it’s possible that a human error or a computer glitch happens. Suddenly, a flight costs 40 $ instead of 400 $.

Secret flying has a team that scans the web to find these great deals.

I want to discover Secret flying

5 – Apps to quickly find the best prices to travel to Colombia

If you already know where/when you want to fly and you don’t want to spend more hours looking for flights, you should use the “classic 3”.  They compare millions of flights to find you the cheapest deals. I have got a preference for Kayak and Momondo.

I want to discover Kayak

I want to discover Momondo

I want to discover Skyscanner

Best Time for planning activities in Colombia

Depending on where you plan to travel to Colombia, there are months better than others. It would be unfortunate to miss the whales season on the Pacific coast or the river of 5 colors if you travel to Caño Cristales.

Orange boat and pier with view of San Andres y Providencia
Isla de Providencia

 

#1 Best time to visit Providencia and San Andres in Colombia

The seasons in Providencia (+)

The sunniest months are from December to May.

However, beaches are covered by algae in December and January.

The rainiest months are usually June, and from October to mid-November.

The best period for diving is from July to September.

#2 Best time to visit the Amazon in Colombia

The seasons in the Amazon (+)

In the Amazon, the weather doesn’t matter. But the months have an impact on the water level of the river.

  • From December to May, the water level increases
  • From June to November, the water level decreases

When the water level is low, there is more chance to observe turtles and migratory birds. But it’s complicated to navigate. Whereas when the water level is hight, you can travel more in-depth in the jungle with the speedboat or kayak between the trees!

More information about traveling to the Amazon

#3 Best time to visit Caño Cristales and San Jose del Guaviare in Colombia

The seasons for Caño Cristales and San Jose del Guaviare (+)

The aquatic plants that give beautiful colors to the river in Caño Cristales and San Jose del Guaviare only appears during the raining season. You will be able to visit the National park of Caño Cristales from June to the end of November.

Read more: Explore Caño Cristales like an insider

#4 Months to observe the whales and turtles on the Pacific coast

Whales and turtles (+)

Don’t miss the whale season from July to October.

Or the turtles from July to December

#5 Best time for diving in Colombia

Diving in Colombia (+)

On the Caribbean Coast, the sea is rough during the dry season because of the wind. However, there is fantastic visibility underwater during the rainy season. The sea is like a mirror. The best months are from May to September.

On the Pacific Coast, the best conditions for diving are from January to February. Also, you can swim with whale sharks from March to April!

#6 Best time for hiking in Colombia

The seasons for hiking in Colombia (+)

The Cordillera mountains offer many choices for mountain lovers. During the hikes, the weather can suddenly change. You should always carry a rain jacket and warm clothes.

And, the Paramo landscapes (kind of tundra/wetland between the timberline and the snowline) are beautiful but also very humid. During the rainy season, you risk hiking in the mud. Be prepared 😉

The best months for hiking in Colombia are from January to March and July to August.

Back to the Table of Contents

Best Time To Travel To The Biggest Cities Of Colombia

#1 Best time to visit Medellin in Colombia

Weather & Events in Medellin (+)

Medellin is called The city of the eternal spring. The temperature is perfect however don’t suppose it will never rain.

The rainy months are usually April, May, September, and October.

And there are two awesome events you should try to attend.

  • Feria de las Flores (Fair Flower): 10 days in August
  • The Christmas lights: December

#2 Best time to visit Bogota in Colombia

Weather & Events in Bogota (+)

Bogota is one of the highest capital in the world. Don’t expect warm temperatures at night. And the weather is often cloudy/rainy in the afternoon, especially from April to June and September to November.

Bogota host many awesome music festivals like:

  • Baum festival: May
  • Rock in the Park: July
  • Jazz in the Park: Septembre
  • Theatre Festival: April

Read more: How to pick your district in Bogota

Sunset over Bogota
Sunset over Bogota

#3 Best time to visit Cali in Colombia

Weather & Events in Cali (+)

The weather is warm and humid in Cali. It doesn’t rain often, and you don’t have to care as you will spend your days and nights dancing salsa.

From Cali, you’re near the Pacific coast. It could be a good occasion to observe the whales from July to September.

Cali is the capital of the Salsa in Colombia. There are 2 important events during the year:

  • Festival of Music Petronio Alvarez (Pacific music): Mid August
  • The world Salsa Festival: Septembre
  • La Feria de Cali (Cali Fair): End of December

#4 Best time to visit Cartagena de Indias in Colombia

Weather & Events in Cartagena (+)

Cartagena de Indias is invaded by visitors from December to February. Prices explode, and sweaty tourists are everywhere.

But it’s also the best period for the weather. There are a cool breeze and no rain. The best option is to travel to Cartagena just after the high season (In March) and from June to August.

The rainy months are the same as Bogota: April-May and from September to November. But don’t worry, there are still plenty of sunny days during the rainy season.

There are two major events in Cartagena:

  • Cartagena International Film Festival: March
  • Independence day and Miss beauty: November

Read more: How to visit Bogota, Cartagena, Cali and Medellin as an insider

Conclusion For The Best Time To Travel To Colombia

Because I’m in love with Colombia, I only have one sentence to say:

There is no bad month to travel to Colombia

Yes, I’m maybe not 100% objective. But it’s what you should retain from this article. The temperature doesn’t vary much throughout the year, and there are plenty of sunny days during the rainy season, especially in the morning.

You should plan your trip according to the weather only if you want to spend most of your time on the Caribbean Coast, visiting the astonishing Caño Cristales river or watching the whales.

Also, Colombia is not too touristy yet. You won’t be bothered by an army of travelers, even during the high seasons – Except Around Cartagena and Santa Marta.

Don’t forget to check out the different events occurring during your stay. Colombians know how to party, and it would be too bad to miss the opportunity to discover this fantastic aspect of the country.

Start from here to plan a Colombia trip faster and better

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Best time to travel to Colombia

Best time to travel to Colombia

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I fell in love with Colombia 5 years ago. Through this website, we help every month thousands of travelers to plan their trip to this beautiful country. Use our Premium service on the site www.Colombia-insider.com if you want us to take care of everything for the organization of your trip to Colombia.

7 comments

  1. Berkley Williams says:

    great article with good information. I’ve been to Colombia about 11 times now and still your information was very helpful even though I’ve traveled there so much.

    • James says:

      I am going to Colombia for the month of March for my first time. What do you think of this itinerary? It is not complete yet since I am spending the whole month there.
      Day 1. Arrival to Cartagena from USA. Overnight in Cartagena
      Day 2.3. Cartagena on your own to explore the city. Overnight in Cartagena
      Day 4. Cartagena on your own. Overnight in Cartagena.
      Day 5. Transfer to Santa Marta by bus. Leisure afternoon in Santa Marta to explore the city. Overnight.
      Day 6.7.8.9 The Lost City Trek.
      Overnight in Palomino on Day 9.
      Day 10. 11.12 Punta Gallinas.
      Overnight in Santa Marta on Day 12.
      Day 13. Flight to Pereira. Overnight in Salento.
      Day 14. Valle de Cocora Hike. Overnight in Salento.
      Day 15. Coffee Finca, Buenavista and Pijao hike. Overnight in Salento.
      Day 16. Flight to Bogota in the afternoon. Leisure afternoon to explore the city. Overnight in Bogota.
      Day 17. Bogota City Tour. Overnight.
      Day 18. Zipaquira and Guatavita Lake. Overnight in Bogota.
      Day 19.20 Villa de Leyva.
      Overnight in Bogota on Day 20

      • Tom says:

        Hey James! It sounds great. You did a good job. I have 2 remarks.

        Day 15: You could sleep overnight in Armenia. There is an airport and it’s closer to Buenavista.
        Day 18: Book a driver who drives you from Bogota to Zipaquira to Guatavita Lake and who drops you in Villa de Leyva. You will save a bunch of time!

        Each week, we draw by lot one itinerary sent by the members of our community. We review it for free! Don’t hesitate to join us and send your itinerary!

  2. Attila says:

    Hello,

    We would travel to Colombia in June but I worry a little bit because of weather. We would like to hike in PN Los Nevados and PN Cocuy. We would like to visit Cano cristales, Cococra valley, Tatacoa desert, San Agustin, Dona Juaa Cascabel Volcanic complex, What do you think is it doable in June? We are not too big fan of the rain.
    Thank you.

    • Adrien says:

      Hi,

      In general, the weather in June is better than in May. However, the trails will be muddy in Los Nevados and Cocuy. It’s easily manageable if you have got the right equipment: Hiking shoes, rain jacket, etc.

      Caño Cristales open mid-June.
      Cocora Valley: It’s better to start early in the morning. It can be rainy or sunny in the Coffee region in June. Same in Antioquia.
      Tatacoa: No issue
      San Agustin: It’s usually rainy in June, but there are some sunny days!
      Dona Juaa Cascabel Volcanic complex: I’ve never been, but Putumayo is a very humid region.

      In a word, avoid the long hike if you don’t like the rain. Plan your activities for the morning and wake up early.

      We’re soon launching our travel advice company to organize tailor-made trips to Colombia. The “experience” section on our website is not ready yet. You can have a look here!

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