When is the Best Time to Visit Colombia?

Choosing the optimal timing for your trip
When is the Best Time to Visit Colombia?

The good news is that there isn't a bad time of the year to visit Colombia. Whenever you go, you are sure to enjoy yourself. That said, there are a couple of things which you might want to take into account when arranging your trip to help you maximize your good times.

The first thing to be aware of is the fact that the Colombian calendar is packed full of large and colorful festivals, events and public holidays. Some of the highlights include world renowned salsa festivals, crazy carnivals (like the one in Barranquilla), beauty pageants and other celebrations which attract large numbers of both international and domestic tourists.

If you are planning on traveling through the sites of some of the country's most famous celebrations, you might want to schedule your trip to coincide with one of these huge events. Few who do so are left disappointed by the sights, sounds and smells they experience there.

The greatest peaks in local tourism are in December and January, and around Easter

Something else to consider is what the cycle of local tourism, still the dominant sort in Colombia, is like. The greatest peaks for this are in December and January, and around Easter week. Travel to the big popular destinations around these times is more challenging as you will need to book hotels and transport well in advance. Prices also rise during this periods to as a result of the larger visitor numbers.

This is equally the case during the frequent public holidays – some 20 in total – held in Colombia throughout the year. The majority of such holidays are tacked onto the nearest weekend (making an extra-long weekend, known locally as a "bridge" or "puente"), and demand for accommodation and tourist services escalates dramatically during such periods.

What about the Weather?

The wide diversity of climates within the country means you needn't let weather conditions dictate the timing of your visit to Colombia. If you don't like the weather in one part of the country, you can simply visit another which has a climate more to your taste. Not bad eh?

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The capital, Bogota, at just over 2,600m above sea level has a milder climate than the coastal cities. The capital is invariable overcast, though temperatures can reach around 20-25°C when the sun shines. Temperatures plummet in shaded areas and at night.

The highly pleasant climate of Medellin has earned it the nickname 'City of the Eternal Spring'

Medellín, as its nickname the City of the Eternal Spring (Ciudad de la Eterna Primavera) suggests, benefits from a highly pleasant climate. Although the sun shines regularly in the city, temperatures remain comfortably warm rather than hot (generally around 25°C, with a peak of about 32°C). The climate is rarely humid, but tropical downpours are still common, particularly between the months of September and November.

Low lying areas along the Caribbean coast are hotter and often more humid. Cartagena and the nearby area of Santa Marta, for example, have average humidity rates of about 85% and temperatures normally hover around the 30°C mark. Cali and other low-lying cities exhibit similar weather systems.

Temperatures in the jungle provinces, such as the Amazon region in the southeast or Chocó in the northwest, are permanently above 27°C and have significant rainfall. In Leticia, the wettest months of the year are between January and June during which time the river height increases substantially up to 15m (it gets as low as 4m in parts in the dry season between August and December).

Climatic conditions vary greatly as a result of the micro-climates created by the mountainous topography

Climatic conditions vary greatly within the different regions of Colombia as a result of substantial differences in altitude between various destinations, and the micro-climates created by the mountainous topography. Generally speaking however, the driest period is between December and April, and the wettest is between August and November.

Visiting during the ‘wet season’ is still entirely possible, but you may face occasional difficulties with road transport in some areas (particularly the more remote ones). Flooding and landslides are common after heavy rains and, given the comparative scarcity of road infrastructure and alternative transport routes, will lead to significant delays along transport arteries.

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