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When is the best time to visit Colombia? A weather guide

by Pilar Dujan | February 23, 2024
Best time to visit Colombia and Valle del Cocora

¿When is the best time to visit Colombia? You can expect a trip to Colombia to be filled with fun in the sun and lively parties. After applying for the Check Mig Colombia, the most important thing to do is to learn about the weather in Colombia so you can enjoy the trip to the fullest.

When is the best time to visit Colombia? Are there certain events that you shouldn’t miss? Find out the answer to all of this, and also essential packing tips.

The Weather

The weather in Colombia, compared to other countries, isn’t subject to many seasonal or geographic changes. However, it is affected by altitude: western Colombia is home to the Andes. This mountain range creates a more temperate and chilly weather than the one you will find along the Equator. 

As a generalization, the weather in Colombia is mostly hot and tropical with high humidity, particularly along the Caribbean coast in the north. The temperatures and humidity drop as the altitude rises (like, for example, in the Andes). The weather in southwest Colombia, where the Amazon is, is similar to the northern part of the country: tropical and rainy all year long.

In terms of seasons, you won’t find the four typical ones. Instead, the weather in Colombia can be classified in dry or rainy seasons. 

There are two rainy seasons: April and May, and also October and November. The two dry seasons are: December and January, and also July and August. These aren’t ubiquitous to all of Colombia: there can be some small geographic changes, but they generally remain the same with a one or two-month difference.

Other two weather phenomena that greatly affect the weather in Colombia are El Niño and La Niña. El Niño brings warm and dry weather, whereas La Niña brings cold and wet weather. They can create, for example, droughts, fires or landslides.

Best time to visit Colombia and Bogota

Weather in Cartagena Colombia 

Cartagena sits right on the coast of the Caribbean sea. Due to its location, the weather in Cartagena Colombia is hot, tropical and humid. The days can get extremely hot, and the temperatures don’t drop much during the night. You need to take this into account when you choose which things to do in Cartagena.

On average, the temperatures during the dry season are within the 23ºC - 31ºC range. On the other hand, during the wet season they are within the 25ºC - 31ºC range. As you can tell, the weather in Cartagena Colombia is hot all year long

In terms of rainfall, the rainiest month in Cartagena is October, and the least rainy month is January.

Weather in Bogota Colombia

Bogota is the capital of Colombia, and the city with the coldest weather out of all the most visited ones: it’s classified as a subtropical highland climate. This is because of the altitude: the city sits on the East Andes, more than 2.500 meters high, so the weather in Bogota Colombia is temperate or even chilly, especially at night. 

There aren’t seasonal changes in temperatures: you can expect an average of 7ºC - 19ºC all year long. 

There’s rainfall all year long, but the rainiest month is May. On the contrary, January sees the least amount of rainfall.

Weather in Barranquilla Colombia

Barranquilla is located in the northernmost region of the country, even closer to the Equator than Cartagena. Due to its location, the weather in Barranquilla Colombia is very hot and humid all year long

The average temperatures are consistent across all months and seasons: you can expect a daily climate of 24ºC - 32ºC. 

The month with the most rainfall is October, and February is the one with the least. 

Weather in Santa Marta Colombia

Santa Marta is very close to Barranquilla, also on the coast of the Caribbean sea. The weather in Santa Marta Colombia is hot and humid all year long

Due to its location close to the Equator, average temperatures remain consistent throughout the year: from 24ºC to 32ºC approximately.

Santa Marta’s not a city that sees a lot of rainfall. It mostly falls in October and, contrarily, in February there’s no rainfall at all.

Weather in Santa Marta Colombia

When is the best time to visit Colombia?

The weather in Colombia is favorable all year long, so there’s not a specific best time to visit Colombia. However, it would be easier to avoid traveling during the rainy season, especially the months of October and November.

The dry seasons could be considered the best time to visit Colombia. Specifically, the months with the best weather in Colombia are December to March. This is the best time to visit Colombia for those interested in enjoying the stunning beaches in Colombia.

However, you should be aware that from December to March is the high season for tourism, so keep that in mind when you plan which things to do in Colombia as the crowds will probably be bigger than during other times of the year.

Best time to visit Colombia: top festivals and events 

Barranquilla Carnival (Carnaval de Barranquilla)

The Barranquilla Carnival is the second-largest carnival in the world and the biggest public event in all of Colombia. It was designated a World Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

It’s a four-day party that takes place in early February, right on the streets of Barranquilla. This celebration is full of music, dancing, floats, concerts and masquerades. 

Even though the carnival itself takes place in February, in the days before Lent, you can see the city coming to life in January: this is the time when the streets begin to be decorated, and there are also smaller parades to enjoy. This colorful display of Colombian traditions will be an unforgettable experience! 

Medellin Flower Festival (Feria de las Flores)

This flower festival is one of the best things to do in Medellin, Colombia. Known as the City of Eternal Spring, Medellín hosts the Flower Festival during the first half of August

Lasting about 10 days, during the Flower Festival you can take part in horse-riding parades, musical events, firework shows and flower-centered events. The best of those is the Saddler’s Parade: local flower farmers carry magnificent displays, with over 25 different flower varieties per basket. You can also see a special exhibition at the Medellín Botanical Gardens during the festival.

It’s another great opportunity to discover the traditions of the country, with displays of their typical dances and food. 

Saddler Parade in Medellin, Colombia

Cali Fair

The Cali Fair is a can’t-miss activity for those looking to dive into Colombia’s salsa culture. It started in 1957 as a bullfighting fair and the tradition continues to this day, but centered around salsa.

This five-day event includes dance performances and concerts, as well as salsa parties on the street. It takes place at the end of the year, right after Christmas.

Manizales Fair

Manizales is a city located right in the Eje Cafetero (coffee axis). Besides the green landscapes that surround it, Manizales is famous for its fair. 

It takes place in January, from the 3rd to the 12th. The Manizales Fair was inspired by the Spanish city of Seville's April Fair, and its influence can be seen in the bullfighting that takes place in the Manizales Fair.

Besides bullfighting, other activities include concerts, parades, special exhibitions and a Coffee Pageant. 

Black and White Carnival (Carnaval de Negros y Blancos)

This festival takes place in the city of Pasto, southern Colombia, in the first week of January. It’s one of the oldest festivals in the continent: its origins can be traced back to 1607. It was designated part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

During the times of colonial rule, the Spanish allowed the black slaves to have a day of celebration on January 5th. During that day, the masters joined in the festivities and painted their faces black. The next day, the slaves would paint their faces white. 

Today, the tradition continues: the Black and White Carnival still takes place across two days, when everybody paints their face in black and white

Packing tips to visit Colombia

  • If your trip is limited to the coastal regions of Colombia, pack very light. Don’t forget your bathing suit! 
  • Colombia is a great country for scuba diving and snorkeling. Pack your snorkeling kit if you have it to avoid having to rent one when you arrive.
  • If your travel itinerary includes visits to cities of high altitudes like Bogota or the Eje cafetero, you’ll need warm clothes. Jackets, long pants and warm socks will be of help, especially at night.
  • You need to meet the Colombia vaccine requirements to avoid falling sick on the trip. For example, the vaccine against yellow fever is mandatory for all travelers, so you won’t be allowed to enter the country without the inoculation certificate. 
  • Other items you can’t forget under any circumstances are: insect repellent, medicine against stomach illnesses, a strong sunscreen and a hat or baseball cap to protect yourself against the sun.