Best time to visit Colombia

Leaving at the right time can make the difference between a good trip and an exceptional trip, can’t it? In this article we will help you choose the ideal time for your trip to Colombia. Let’s dive in
pueblo kogi sierra nevada de santa marta

Table of Contents

There are many different styles of travelers. Maybe you want to focus on the weather and have good weather, discover a particular region, experience certain events, avoid crowds in tourist places or save money on airline tickets and hotels … 

You will find here everything you need to know to leave at the best time according to your desires!


 

Best time to visit Colombia – Tips & Advices

In a rush ? read this first

  • Colombia can be visited all year round.
  • The best time to go to Colombia is from December to March and the months of July and August (dry season).
  • The climate depends mainly on the region and altitude.
  • Close to the equator Colombia has constant temperatures all year round.
 
  • Best time For a “spring climate”: Medellín, 1500m of altitude with an average of 22°C.
  • Best time For a “summer climate”: the Caribbean coast with an average of 28°C.
  • Best time For an “autumn climate”: Bogotá, 2600m of altitude with an average of 14°C.
  • Best time For a “winter climate”: the high mountains, Los Nevados, Sierra Nevada de Cocuy and Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.
 
  • The high season in Colombia is from December to March with the peak from the end of December to mid January (local holidays), high prices, need to book in advance.
  • The intermediate season is from April to September, average prices, booking recommended.
  • The low season is from October to November, lowest prices, it is not necessary to book in advance.

Climate in Colombia

As the country is spread over a large area with extreme geographical variations between deserts, high mountains, Caribbean beaches and the Amazon rainforest, there is no “average climate”. The climate and temperatures vary according to three factors which are:

  1. The seasons
  2. The Regions
  3. Altitude

With such factors, there is not really a “best” general period to travel in Colombia, it depends on the region you wish to visit!

Seasons in Colombia

Colombia is generally composed of two seasons:

  • The dry season: from December to March and from June to September.
  • The rainy season: April to May and October to November

In Amazonia, there are two periods: low water period (from July to January) and high water period (from February to the end of June). During the low water period the sandy banks of the river are exposed.

Winter in Colombia

From December to February the winter months are the driest and sunniest. This is the high season in Colombia with the most national and international tourists and therefore the highest prices and requiring advance bookings in many places.

The Amazon is the exception with a lot of rainfall.

Summer in Colombia

From June to August. The Andes, Bogotá and Cali experience a second dry season during the summer months. There are many European and American tourists because it is the school holidays but this is moderate and it is quite possible to visit the tourist places in good conditions. This is also the best time to visit the Amazon.

Altitude

From the Caribbean coast at sea level to the highest point in Colombia, the Cristóbal Colón peak at 5770 meters above sea level, there are great differences in temperature. Colombians call “tierra calienta” (warm land) for the coasts and the Amazon and “tierra fría” (cold land) for the high altitude regions.

The average temperature depending on the altitude in Colombia: develop

  • More than 24°C up to 1000 meters of altitude
  • Between 17°C and 22°C from 1000 to 2000 meters of altitude
  • Between 10°C and 17°C from 2000 to 3000 meters of altitude
  • Between 6°C and 10°C from 3000 to 4000 meters of altitude
  • Less than 6°C at an altitude of more than 4000 metres

If you plan to go to the mountains it is important to bring warm and waterproof clothing. Precipitation is frequent in the mountains, so plan to store your belongings in waterproof plastic bags to have a dry change of clothes in case of heavy rain.

Mountain trails can be muddy, a pair of waterproof walking shoes can make your hike much more enjoyable by avoiding getting your feet wet.

Temperatures can approach zero at high altitudes, even freezing temperatures at night and on glaciers.

The coldest areas are the Sierra Nevada de Cocuy in, the Los Nevados National Park in the Quindío and the heights of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

For information and recommendations specific to each park the official website of the Colombian National Parks (in English or Spanish).

Best season for Tourism in Colombia

High season in Colombia

The high season is from December to March with the best weather across the country.

Be aware that from the end of December to mid-January, Colombians go on holiday. If

you want peace and quiet and enjoy the tourist places without being in the crowd avoid travelling during these periods.

In addition, prices increase in high season (Colombian holidays) and there is less availability, it is necessary to book several weeks or months in advance in most tourist places.

This is also the case during Holy Week which takes place in March around Easter.

Intermediate Season in Colombia

April to September is the shoulder season.

There are a little more holidaymakers in July and August with the school holidays of Europeans and North Americans, but this is still reasonable and still allows you to enjoy the majority of tourist places relatively quietly.

It is advisable to book in advance to make sure you have the best accommodation.

Low Season in Colombia

The months of October and November are the cheapest season with the fewest tourists.

It rains frequently in most of the country but with luck it is possible to have several days without rain.

If the sun is not your priority it is an opportunity to discover the country for less and to be quiet most of the time since there are few holidaymakers during this period.

It is generally not obligatory to book and it is possible to get out at the last minute without too much difficulty.

Best period for tourist activities in Colombia

Colombia has many wonders, so you might as well go there at the right time to enjoy them.

Some of the places you can’t miss are open only part of the year.

It would be a shame to come all the way here without being able to visit them. Here are the opening and closing dates of some sites.

Here is a summary table as well as the details of each destination below.

  • Best time to go to Caño Cristales: the site opens in June. It is interesting to see the site from June to November. The algae of the river give the colors to the water. It is interesting to go there when the water level is the highest, that is to say at the beginning of the season from June to mid-August when the colors are the most beautiful and intense.
  • Best time to go for whale watching on the Pacific coast: from the end of June to mid-October.
  • Best time to go to the Lost City: closed in September. We advise you to avoid the rainy season in October and November because the trails are muddy. We recommend that you go there during the dry season from January to March to make sure you don’t get rain. It is also possible to go there from April to August but there is a little more chance of rain.
  • Best time to go trekking in Los Nevados National Park: from December to March and July-August, outside these periods there can be a lot of rain and the trails can be very muddy and difficult to walk.
  • Best time to go trekking in Tayrona Park: closed from January 28th to February 28th 2018. Tayrona Park closes about one month a year for maintenance to preserve its flora and fauna.
  • Best time to go trekking in the Amazon: the period of base waters is from June to December. We recommend you go from June to August because there is a little less rain than the rest of the year.

Best Season for Trekking in Colombia

There are some great treks to do in Colombia, but the time of year has a great influence on the quality and practicability of the trails.

We recommend treks from mid-December to March and the months of July and August.

Indeed it is the dry season, outside these months the trails will probably be muddy, which is still feasible but can be physically difficult and not necessarily pleasant to get wet feet and sink in the mud.

Best season to go to the beach in Colombia

The most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean are Providencia, Barlovento, Playa Blanca and Palomino.

The best period to go there is from December to April with maximum sunshine, almost no rain and temperatures between 24°C and 31°C with an average water temperature of 28°C.

The best beaches on the Pacific coast are located around Nuquí and Bahía Solano, they are wild beaches, ideal places to admire natural landscapes still intact.

It is a very humid region with a lot of rainfall all year round. The ideal period is from January to March with temperatures between 25°C and 28°C and an average water temperature of 27°C.

see also : 

 
Tayrona National Park is a paradise for nature lovers.

Weather in Colombia by region and location

The country is made up of very different regions, each with its own climate, some places even have their own microclimate.

Colombia is composed of 5 main regions:

  • Amazon: High temperatures and a very humid climate.
  • Pacific coast: high temperatures and very humid climate
  • Caribbean coast: high temperatures and low humidity
  • The Andes: almost spring weather all year round
  • Los Llanos: warm temperate climate and low humidity.

 

Best time to visit Bogotá

the dry season is from June to September and from December to February. There is a 25% to 60% chance of precipitation during this period. The weather changes quickly during the day and rainfall usually doesn’t last very long. The rainy season is from April to June with a peak in April and May and from September to November with a peak in November. Temperatures are between 10°C and 18°C all year round. It is useful to always carry an umbrella, jacket and sunglasses with you.

 

Best time to visit Cartagena

the dry season is from December to April to get the most sun. During this period it hardly rains with chances of rainfall between 1% and 10%. The rainy season is from May to November with a peak in October. Temperatures are between 24°C and 31°C all year round. It is useful to always carry sunglasses, a hat and something to drink.

 

Best time to visit Medellín

the dry season is from December to March. During this period the probability of rainfall is between 50% and 60%. The rainy season is from March to November with a peak in May and October. Temperatures are between 17°C and 25°C all year round. It is useful to always carry an umbrella, jacket and sunglasses.

 

Best time to visit Cali

the dry season is from June to September. The probability of precipitation is 18% to 30% during this period. The rainy season is from March to May with a peak in April and October and November with a peak in October. Temperatures are between 19°C and 30°C all year round.

 

Best time to visit the Amazon

the “dry” season is from June to August. The probability of precipitation during the dry season is between 40% and 60%, this is the “dry” season and the period of low water. Nevertheless, humidity remains very high throughout the year. It rains most of the year in Amazonia. Temperatures are between 23°C and 30°C all year round.

 

Best time to visit the Coffee Zone

the dry season is from December to February and July and August. During this period the probability of rainfall is between 50% and 60%. The rainy season is from March to June with a peak in April and May and from September to November with a peak in October and November. Temperatures are between 17°C and 26°C all year round.

 

Best time to visit the Pacific coast

despite being one of the regions with the most rainfall in the world it is possible to enjoy the Pacific coast all year round. The “dry” season is from January to March with rainfall probabilities between 66% and 80%. The tropical climate is more or less constant all year round. The air is humid with temperatures between 20°C and 26°C.

 

Best time to visit Llanos

the dry season is from December to March. During this period the probability of rainfall is between 13% and 40%. The rainy season is from April to November with a peak in May and October. Temperatures are between 19°C and 27°C all year round. It is useful to always carry a jacket and sunglasses with you.

For precise weather information on every city in Colombia we recommend the WeatherSpark website which is very detailed.


What is the best month to go to Colombia?

Visit Colombia in January ( 100% tourism)

The winter months are the driest and sunniest. This is the high season and therefore the prices are the highest. It is necessary to plan your trip in advance.

Events and holidays :

  • January 2 to 7, 2019: the Carnival of Negros y Blancos (White and Black), one of the biggest holidays in Colombia in the city of Pasto. This traditional carnival has been recognized by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural World Heritage of Humanity.
  • 4 to 9 January 2019: The Carnival of Riosucio, also known as Carnaval del Diablo, takes place in the small town of Riosucio is one of the most authentic carnivals, it has existed since 1847.
  • 6 January: Dia de los Reyes Magos (Epiphany)

 

Visit Colombia in February ( 60% tourism)

The month of February also enjoys a very good climate. There are fewer tourists than the two previous months.

Events and holidays :

  • February 22nd, 2019: La Guacherna, it is a pre-carnival in Barranquilla which consists of a night parade from 7pm.
  • February 28 to March 5, 2019: Carnavales del Fuego in San Andres de Tumaco. Is one of the most important carnivals in the Pacific region.
  • Visit Colombia in March (60% of tourism).
  • The dry season ends in March but rainfall is usually short during the day. 
    Events and Holidays :
  • 2 to 5 March: the Barranquilla Carnival, the 3rd most important Carnival in the world (after the Rio Carnival and the Venice Carnival). With more than a million participants.
  • 19 March: Dia de San José

 

Visit Colombia in April ( 40% of tourism) 

This is the rainy season in most of the country. It is still possible to visit.
Events and holidays :

  • April 14 to 20, 2019: Semana Santa, religious holiday the Holy Week commemorates the Passion and Death of Christ. It is a week when many Colombians travel and hotels and transportation are more expensive and require advance reservations.

 

Visiting Colombia in May ( 40% of tourism)

This is the rainy season in most of the country. It is still possible to visit. There is less tourism which allows to benefit from better rates and more availability.

Events and holidays :

  • May 1st: Dia del Trabajo (Labour Day)

 

Visit Colombia in June ( 40% of tourism)

June is an intermediate month, it’s not yet full season but there are a few tourists. It is the end of the rainy season and the beginning of the dry season in several regions of the country.

Events and holidays :

  • June 4th: Corpus Christi
  • 11 June: El Sagrado Corazón de Jesús

 

Visit Colombia in July ( 70% tourism)

The summer months are dry and sunny. This is the high season and therefore the prices are the highest. It is necessary to plan your trip in advance as there are a lot of international tourists with summer holidays.

Events and holidays :

  • July 1st: Jeep Parade in the Quindio Desfile of Yipao
  • 2 July: Dia de San Pedro y San Pablo
  • 20 July: Dia de la Independencia (National Day)

 

Visit Colombia in August ( 70% tourism)

The summer months are dry and sunny. This is the high season and therefore the prices are the highest. It is necessary to plan your trip in advance as there are many international tourists with summer holidays.

Events and holidays :

  • August 2nd to 11th, 2019: Feria de las Flores in Medellín, the flower festival takes place over ten days during which there are many shows and flower exhibitions. It is one of the largest horticultural events in the world.
  • 5 and 6 August: Bogotá Carnival
  • 7 August: Batalla de Boyacá
  • August 20: La asunción de Nuestra Señora (Assumption)

 

Visit Colombia in September ( 30% tourism)

September is a “calm month in Colombia” it is the beginning of the rainy season in a large part of the country, but it is possible to have several days without rain.

 

Visiting Colombia in October ( 20% of tourism)

October is the low season and rainy season in Colombia, there is relatively little tourism during this month, you will not be disturbed by the crowds.

Events and Holidays

  • 15th of October: Dia de la Raza

Visit Colombia in November ( 20% tourism)

November is the low season and rainy season in Colombia, there is relatively little tourism during this month, you will not be disturbed by the crowds.

Events and Holidays :

November 5th: Independencia de Cartagena, marks the day of the city’s independence after 10 years of rebellion against Spain.


Visit Colombia in December ( 100% tourism)

December is the high season and the beginning of the dry season in Colombia, there is a lot of tourism during this month, especially at the end of the month with the holidays.

Events :

  • December 7: the Carnival of Mitos y Leyendas in Medellín
  • December 8: Inmaculada Concepción (Immaculate Conception)

Best time to travel cheap in Colombia

If you have a tight budget or are flexible on your dates, there are many ways to spend less.

In our experience after a decade of organizing trips to Colombia the best time to get cheaper airfares are the months of February, March and April.

The most expensive airline tickets are in January, July, August and December, which is the high season as in many places.

The rest of the year prices also vary and it is possible to get good deals. You can use different flight search engines like Skyscanner or Google Flights and compare prices according to dates and/or airports.


When to book hotels in Colombia?

Colombia is a tourist destination that is on the rise, to get the best hotels we advise you to plan your trip in advance.

Booking six to eight months in advance allows you to have rooms in the best hotels. If you book through online platforms be careful about the rating and comments of previous customers because not all hotels are the same and there are big differences in quality.


 CONCLUSION

There are things to do all year round in Colombia. The best time depends above all on your desires!

The most important thing is to take a pair of sunglasses, a jacket and an umbrella, you will be ready for almost any situation. 

So when are you coming to Colombia? Where do you want to go? We’re waiting for you! 

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