Best time to visit Colombia 🌞: Avoid the rain and tourists

Best time to visit Colombia 🌞: Avoid the rain and tourists

Before taking your plane tickets, you want to know the best time to visit Colombia. In general, most sites will tell you that the best months to visit Colombia are January to March and July to August. Indeed, these are the sunniest months.

The answer is not that simple. We’ve been traveling to Colombia since 2015, and we’ve put together this guide to help you decide what your best month to visit Colombia will be.

Thanks to this article, you will be able to make your decision according to the climate, your destinations, the tourist season, the activities you wish to do, and the festivals in the country.

T. Contents: Best time to visit Colombia

When to visit Colombia month by month

Wondering what month you should get those plane tickets?

There are different factors to consider when deciding when to travel to Colombia.

  • The weather in general
  • The festivals going on
  • Is it a high season?

Let’s analyze each month.

About the dates of the festivals, please check on the internet because there may be some changes due to COVID. You can find many of these events here.

1# Visiting Colombia in January

Janvier Colombie

Weather in January

January is one of the best months to visit Colombia. It’s a bit windy on the Caribbean coast, which is pleasant to tolerate the heat of the day.

January is a busy month for tourists

In January, it is still the summer vacation for children and students. Besides, it is just after New Year’s Day. So there are many Colombians who travel around the country. Many foreign tourists also come to escape the winter in the northern hemisphere.

Therefore, the prices are higher.

Good to know: Colombians love to travel to Cartagena and Santa Marta for vacations.

January’s festivals & main events

  • Carnaval de Negros y Blancos: It is a carnival to fight against racism and represent the cultural diversity of Colombia. It is in Pasto. I went there in 2017. Basically, there are parades during the day, and you throw flour and eggs at each other in the evening. Then you dance and drink.
  • Feria de Manizales: This is usually just after the festival in Pasto. The inhabitants were inspired by the traditions of the city of Seville in Spain. Most of the events are free and some are very fun; putting the most stuff on a Willys jeep and doing tricks.
  • Festival de Música Clásica: It is the most important classical music festival in Colombia. You can also listen to traditional music concerts from Colombia and Europe. It takes place in Cartagena. Read our Cartagena travel guide.
  • Hay Festival: Also in Cartagena, this festival is dedicated to art and especially to literature.

Where to travel in January:

  • Stay away from the Caribbean coast and head to the Pacific Coast (less busy)
  • Spend New Year’s Eve in Cali, then go down to Pasto for the festival

2# Visiting Colombia in February

Weather in February

February is a sunny month and an excellent choice to visit Colombia.

February is the end of the high season

Some foreign tourists are in Colombia for the sunny days, but you should not meet too many people (except very touristy places). Many hoteliers apply high season prices in February.

February’s festivals & main events

  • Carnaval de Barranquilla: This carnival is one of the most important in the world! Thousands of participants parade and dance during 4 days, with beautiful colorful costumes. If you plan to go, book your accommodation several months in advance.

Where to travel in February:

3# Visiting Colombia in March

March Colombia

Weather in March

It’s a mix of rain and sun. This won’t stop you from visiting. On the other hand, it will be more complicated to organize treks of several days.

In March, there are few tourists

This is a perfect time to visit Colombia, especially if you have a small budget. Check the dates of the Holy week (sometimes end of March). All Colombians are on vacation during this period.

March’s festivals & main events

  • If you want to see the religious processions during the Holy Week, go to Popayán or Jerió.
  • Festival Nacional de la música Colombiana: It seems that there are more than 1000 different rituals in Colombia. This music festival in Ibagué is the opportunity to discover some of them 😉
  • Festival Internacional de Cine: Did you know that many films have been shot in Cartagena? During this film festival, hundreds of films from Latin America are presented to the audience and juries.
  • Leatherback turtles come to lay their eggs on the beaches of Acandí, towards Capurganá. Read our Capurganá travel guide.

Where to travel in March:

4# Visiting Colombia in April

April Colombia (1)

Weather in April

It is the beginning of the rainy season. It is usually not in the morning, so plan your activities accordingly. In short, get up early. There is less wind. The boat trips on the Caribbean coast will be less rough.

In April, pays attention to the holy week

During Holy Week, Colombians have a week of vacation (at least from Wednesday to Sunday). Book your transportation and accommodation in advance. Stay in a large city if you don’t want to be stuck together with thousands of Colombians.

April’s festivals & events

  • Festival Vallenato: Vallenato is a style of music that comes from Valledupar, Colombia, and is very popular on the Caribbean coast.
  • Leatherback turtles come to lay their eggs on the beaches of Acandí, towards Capurganá.
  • You can surf on the Pacific Coast.

Where to travel in April:

  • If you want to discover what’s happening during the Holy Week, travel to Popayán or Jericó. Make your bookings in advance!

5# Visiting Colombia in May

May Colombia

Weather in May

May is one of the rainiest months in Colombia. This is especially true in the Andean region (around Medellín, Bogotá, Pereira and Cali).

May is a month with few tourists

This is a good opportunity to visit a tourist city like Cartagena or Guatapé.

May’s festivals & events

  • Festival de la cultura Wayúu: The Wayuu are an indigenous community that lives in La Guajira. This festival, which takes place in Uribia, is an opportunity to present the different facets of their culture: dance, gastronomy, and crafts. Read our La Guajira Travel guide.
  • Baum Festival: Baum is a very famous discotheque in Bogotá. Every year they organize a huge party with many DJs.
  • End of the surf season on the Pacific Coast. although you can surf all year round if you have a low surfing level. Personally, I fall all the time so I have more fun with small waves.
  • It’s also a good fishing season on the Pacific coast.

Where to travel in May:

  • If you want to escape the bad weather, take a plane and fly to the islands of San Andres and Providencia.

6# Visiting Colombia in June

June Colombia

Weather in June

There are regular showers in the afternoon. Stay on the Caribbean coast if you want sun. The sea is very calm towards Capurganá.

In June, students are on vacation

You will meet a lot of backpackers from Latin America.

June’s festival & events

Where to travel in June:

Visiting Colombia in July

Julio Colombia

Weather in July

Sunny days come back.

Foreign tourists come back in July

If you don’t like tourists, avoid the eastern Caribbean coast. Read our Eastern Caribbean Coast guide. There are many companies that come to Medellín because of Colombiamoda (fashion week).

July’s festivals & events

  • The turtles begin to come to the Pacific coast to lay their eggs on the beaches.
  • Humpback whales come to the Pacific coast to give birth! There are boat tours, and you can also go diving. Read our Pacific Coast travel guide.
  • Rock al Parque: It’s a rock festival in Bogotá, in the Simón Bolivar Park. 3 days of free concerts. Lots of people. Read our Bogotá travel guide.

Where to travel in July:

  • Go to the Pacific coast to observe humpback whales. Guachalito is a beautiful and peaceful area. We loved staying there.

Visiting Colombia in August

Agusto Colombia

Weather in August

August is a beautiful sunny month. It is a very good month to visit Colombia and to organize treks over several days.

Europeans like to visit Colombia in August

There are some tourists but in general, the agencies do not apply high season rates. Airline tickets from Europe are more expensive. Prices raise in Medellin during the Feria de las Flores.

August’s festivals & events

  • Feria de la Flores: It is the most important festival in Medellín. During 10 days, tens of flowery parades take place in the city. Read our Medellín travel guide.
  • Festival del Viento y las Cometas: In August, the wind constantly blows in Villa de Leyva. The locals had the idea to make kite competitions. They must show dexterity and creativity according to the competition of the day. Read our Villa de Leyva Travel guide.

Where to travel in August:

  • Stay in the Antioquia region if you want to attend the festival in Medellín or travel around Bogotá & the department of Boyacá.

Visiting Colombia in Septembre

Septiembre Colombia

Weather in September

It starts raining again in the afternoons. This is somewhat less the case in the south of Colombia.

There are few tourists in Colombia

Enjoy visiting tourist places like Cartagena, Tayrona, Salento or Guatapé.

September’s festivals & events

  • Jazz al Parque: Free jazz concerts in the city of Bogotá.
  • Festival Petronio Alvarez: Pacific culture is in the spotlight, with delicious food recipes, the famous Viche, and free concerts. This takes place in the city of Cali. Read our Cali travel guide.
  • Festival de la Luna Verde: Festival of Creole culture on the island of San Andrés. The locals know how to have fun on this Caribbean island.
  • It’s the end of the whale season on the Pacific Coast.

Where to travel in September:

Visiting Colombia in October

October Colombia

Weather in October

It rains regularly in the afternoon all over Colombia.

There are almost no tourists

If you are traveling alone, you may find it difficult to make new travel friends.

October’s festivals & events

  • Hip Hop al Parque: Free Hip Hop concerts in the city of Bogotá.
  • Festival Tatacoa: Fun electronic festival nearby the Tatacoa desert. You can party at night and visit the desert during the day. Although, the place will be crowded.
  • Jazz festival in Mompós.
  • Beginning of the hatching of the eggs of baby turtles on the Pacific coast

Where to travel in October:

Visiting Colombia in November

November Colombia

Weather in November

It is the rainiest month of the year in Colombia. I don’t recommend the Pacific Coast.

Tourists play hide and seek

This is a good month to haggle over the price of hotel nights.

November’s festivals & events

  • Caño Cristales Park closes.
  • Beauty contest and Independence Day in Cartagena.

Where to travel in November:

  • Stay on the Caribbean Coast.

Visiting Colombia in December

December Colombia

Weather in December

The sunny days are more and more frequent as the end of the year approaches.

Foreign and local tourists return

From December 15, it is the return of the high season. Students are on vacation, and Colombians will travel to see their families and celebrate Christmas. Avoid the most famous tourist places if you can.

December’s festivals & events

  • In Colombia, people love Christmas lights. Some cities like Medellín and Cali put a lot of energy into it. Don’t hesitate to ask for information because it’s worth it!
  • December 7 is el día de las velitas. Families light candles outside to celebrate the Immaculate Conception. The city of Villa de Leyva organizes many fireworks for the occasion.
  • Feria de Cali: If you like salsa, then you can’t miss this festival that takes place between Christmas and New Year’s Day in Cali. Dancers from the many schools in the city train all year round for this event. Euphoria, parades, and parties are the order of the day. We loved it.

Where to travel in December:

  • Visit the capital of Bogotá
  • Admire the Christmas lights in Medellín
  • Visit the South of Colombia and stop in Cali for the Feria.

Explanation of Colombia’s seasons

1# The temperature is the same all year round

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

  • < 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

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

2# The main Colombia seasons

In theory, there are two seasons in Colombia:

  • Windy season. It’s “summer,” with mostly sunny days: Mid December – March; Mid July – Mid September.
  • Rainy season. It’s “winter.” There are sudden downpours during the day or night.

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

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. It can also rain all day long in the Andean region. It depends. Nobody knows.

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

You can check out the average rainfalls to get a better overall idea

Public Holidays and Colombian Holidays

Colombians don’t have many vacations, but they do have a lot of public holidays. And it almost always ends up on a Monday.

If, for example, the religious date is a Wednesday, the holiday will be the following Monday.

This allows them to have a 3-day weekend. They all take the opportunity to see their families and travel to Colombia.

Why is this important to know?

  • Popular places like Tayrona, Salento, or Guatapé will be crowded.
  • You will have more difficulty booking your transportation or your hotel at the last minute.
  • 01/01: New Year
  • 06/01: Three Kings Day
  • 19/01: Día de San José
  • End of March/April: Holly week
  • 1/05: Labor Day
  • 13/05: La Ascensión del Señor
  • 03/06: Corpus Christi 
  • 11/06: El Sagrado Corazón de Jesús
  • 29/06: San Pedro y San Pablo
  • 20/07: Día de la Independencia
  • 07/08: Batalla de Boyacá
  • 15/08: Asunción de la Virgen María
  • 12/10: Día de la Raza
  • 01/11: Todos los Santos
  • 11/11: Independencia de Cartagena
  • 08/12: Inmaculada Concepción
  • 25/12: Christmas

Take a look at Colombia-sa‘s website to check these dates and find out which Mondays are public holidays.

Concerning the school vacations, there are two periods: June and Mid-December to Mid-January.

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.

When visiting Providencia

When visiting 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.

When visiting 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 more difficult to navigate along the river. When the water level is high, you can travel more in-depth in the jungle with the speedboat or kayak between the trees!

When visiting Caño Cristales

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

When is the whale season

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

When is the turtle season

  • Leatherback turtles come to lay their eggs on the beach of Acandí (towards Capurganá) around March/April.
  • There are 5 species of sea turtles that come to lay their eggs on the Pacific coast. The first turtles arrive around July. And it lasts until November/December. The eggs take 60 days to hatch.

When can you surf in Colombia

  • On the Caribbean coast, the wave season is from December to April and from June to August.
  • On the Pacific coast, the biggest waves are from May to October. Termales (close to Nuquí) is an ideal spot.

When can you dive 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!
  • If you plan to dive in the Caribbean islands (Rosario islands, Isla Fuerte, Providencia), there is good visibility all year round.

When to organize multi-day hikes

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 August.

Best time to visit the main Colombia cities

Although it’s safe to travel to Colombia, be more cautious in big cities to avoid being the target of petty theft.

Except on the coast, the locals never wear shorts and flip-flops in Colombia. Do the same so you don’t look too much like a tourist 😉

Best months to visit Medellín

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

What to wear during your visit to Medellín:

  • It is hot during the day. A pair of jeans and a tee shirt will do perfectly.
  • It gets fresher in the evening. For me, it is the perfect temperature. If you are a little chilly, a little sweater will be perfect.

Best months to visit Bogotá

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: September
  • Theatre Festival: April

What to wear during your visit to Bogotá:

  • During the day, it can be cool or warm. Bogotanos say you can have all 4 seasons in one day. Put a sweater and an umbrella in your bag. Before going out, apply sunscreen on your face. Don’t forget that you are at 2700m of altitude 😉
  • It gets cooler in the evening. You’ll need a jacket. Around 12-15 degrees Celsius.

Best months to visit 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: September
  • La Feria de Cali (Cali Fair): End of December

What to wear during your visit to Cali:

  • It is very hot during the day. It’s a plus if you can get a room with air-conditioning or a pool in the hotel.
  • A small breeze starts to blow around 5 pm. This is my favorite time of the day. A pair of jeans and a tee shirt will do perfectly.

Best months to visit 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 is a cool breeze and no rain. The best option is to travel to Cartagena after the high season.

When coming, don’t forget to stay a few days on the Rosario islands.

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

What to wear during your visit to Cartagena:

  • The weather is warm & humid during the day and at night. It’s a plus if you can get a room with air-conditioning or a pool in the hotel. You can wear shorts and a teeshirt.
  • Don’t forget your bathing suit!

When to visit Colombia: The bottom line

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

There’s no bad month to travel to Colombia

The temperature doesn’t vary much throughout the year and there are plenty of sunny days during the rainy season.

You should plan your trip according to what you want to do in Colombia; resting on Caribbean islands, visiting the astonishing Caño Cristales river, whale watching, etc.

Also, Colombia is not too touristy yet — except in the most touristic destinations of the country.

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.

What to do next

Read more of our articles to be ready for your Colombia trip ⬇️⬇️. All these articles are in our Colombia travel tips section.

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I fell in love with Colombia in 2015. Through this website, we help every month thousands of travelers to plan their trip to this beautiful country.