The climate in Colombia stays pretty consistent throughout the year but December to March is considered the best time to visit for warm temperatures and sunny conditions. You can also visit Colombia between June and September as these months receive very little rainfall. However, these two periods are also the busiest, so expect to see large crowds at popular sites and increased accommodation prices.
When is the best time to visit Cartagena?
The best time to visit Cartagena coincides with the best time to visit Colombia in general with the period of December to April promising the most comfortable temperatures (warm without being too hot) and minimal rainfall. This is also Colombia’s peak season for travel, so expect to see plenty of tourists crowding Cartagena’s old town and exploring its historic buildings.
When is the best time to visit Bogota?
There are a few options when it comes to the best time to visit Bogota; from December to March when the whole country experiences reasonably nice weather and from June to November when the weather holds steady and doesn’t fall into the same rainier patterns as other regions across the country. While December to March is the peak season to travel (tourist galore), June to November is relatively quiet, allowing you to wander the museums, explore the street art and admire the city’s cathedrals on your own.
Best for: beach hopping along the country’s northern coast and street parties/parades
The weather conditions in Colombia in January can differ dramatically depending on where in the country you are. Temperatures can range from a comfortable 17°C near the Ecuadorian border to around 35°C in the country’s northeast (near the Venezuelan border) so it’s best to pack for all seasons if you plan on travelling around.
Because of the large variances in temperatures across the country, weather conditions can be vastly different too with heavy rainfall and thunderstorms expected in the west, while Bogota enjoys plenty of sunshine hours and minimum rainfall. Regardless of where you are, Colombia starts the new year off with a bang thanks to vibrant local parades and bustling street parties in several major cities.
Best for: carnival celebrations and visiting UNESCO Word Heritage-listed sites
Colombia has two distinct seasons – a dry period and a wet period – with the first of those dry periods running from December to March, so February is one of the last months to make the most of the dry weather (until June). Having said that, it’s a relatively quiet month to visit so you won’t have to deal with hoards of tourists and the exorbitant prices of peak season months.
While there’s plenty to do in Colombia in February, one of the main drawcards of the month is Barranquilla’s carnival celebrations. Known as one of the biggest folkloric celebrations in all of South America, this festival holts all normal activities in favour of street dances, musicals and masquerade parades and brings together people from all over.
Best for: learning how to salsa dance and religious celebrations
Countrywide, the weather is fairly moderate in March, but exact temperatures differ depending on the altitude of the city you’re in. For this reason, coastal regions can experience very hot and humid weather, while cities such as Bogota tend to be colder. However generally, it’s still a pleasant month to visit Colombia.
Semana Santa (also known as Holy Week) is a massive religious celebration that takes place every March throughout the country and is well worth participating in if you’re travelling through Colombia at the time. Festivities often include large processions and gatherings full of delicious traditional food. Sign us up.
Best for: city exploring and coffee plantation visits
April in Colombia is officially the start of the year’s first wet period (which runs until the end of May), but that doesn’t mean you still can’t enjoy your time away. Altitude plays a big role in determining the weather patterns, so you can expect popular destinations such as Bogota and the Amazon region to be inundated with constant and often heavy rainfall. This can also affect any activities near or on the Amazon River as flooding during this time is quite common.
But one of the silver linings of travelling in April is that it fits into one of Colombia’s shoulder seasons, so there’ll be greater availability, cheaper accommodation prices and fewer crowds at popular sites. Soak up as much of Colombia’s culture as you can by exploring cities such as Medellin (which enjoys a semi-springtime climate all year round) and visiting coffee plantations in the country’s south.
Best for: camping and other outdoorsy-type activities
The low season in May is still in full swing in Colombia, so it’s a great time to make the most of the country’s vibrant cities and iconic locations without the swarms of tourists. Off-peak season also usually means crappy weather conditions, but May is the exception with little to no rainfall expected across the month. While perfect weather can’t be guaranteed, temperatures do stick around the 20°C mark in Bogota, climbing higher as you spread across the country to reach highs of 30°C+ in the country’s northern regions.
Best for: road trippin’ and learning about Colombia’s culture
June marks the beginning of Colombia’s second dry season, also coinciding with the beginning of the country’s peak season. But while it might technically be the ‘dry’ season, rainfall can still occur in several regions as Colombia’s climate is primarily dictated by topography. If it does rain though, it’s likely to be light and brief so you still have plenty of time to explore captivating landscapes.
Because the weather is so nice in June, it’s a great time to head out of the cities and out into the vast Colombian wilderness on the road trip of a lifetime. Don’t get us wrong, Cartagena and Bogota are beautiful but there’s nothing like cruising with your best buds past endless rainforest greenery towards fascinating national parks and historic heritage-listed sites.
Best for: exploring the Amazon region, hiking and local market wandering
One of the great things about Colombia is that, while its cities are definitely worth a visit, it also has a lot of national parks and natural beauty to explore so even if you travel in the peak season of July, not everywhere you go will be crowded with thousands of tourists. Swap the concrete for greenery and make your way to the lush Amazon region where river levels are low (thanks to minimal rainfall) and the wildlife comes out to play. Or try hiking through Los Nevados National Park in search of tropical glaciers, volcanoes and glittering lakes.
Best for: flower festivals, kite festivals and Amazon River exploring
August in Colombia is all about the festivals with Feria de Flores taking place in Medellin over the first two weeks of August and Festival del Viento y de los Cometas (kite festival) being held on the windiest weekend in Villa de Levya in the country’s centre. Both festivals attract a lot of curious travellers to the respective regions with activities such as horse shows, concerts, decorations and ‘best handmade kite’ competitions on offer.
Best for: whale watching, boating on the Amazon River and festivals
September in Colombia marks the end of the country’s second dry period so while weather conditions are still optimal, expect increased rainfall and overcast days with lower temperatures towards the end of the month. However, this isn’t true for all regions as Colombia’s coastlines are always relatively hot and humid thanks to their low altitude and proximity to the equator.
This is also a good time to travel if you’re looking for fewer crowds and lower accommodation prices (who isn’t?) as September is technically part of Colombia’s shoulder seasons and therefore doesn’t attract as many travellers as the peak months do.
Some popular activities to do during this time include whale watching and ooo-ing and ahh-ing over baby sea turtles in the Choco region of the country, showing off your salsa moves at various festivals and taking a boat ride along the Amazon River.
Best for: café hopping, gallery wanderings and Halloween festivities
October is the official beginning of the second wet period in Colombia, but fear not, this one only lasts for two months (until the start of December). Average weather conditions aren’t the greatest so having inside activities lined up for when the rain starts pouring and the days are a little colder is a smart move. Rainfall falls intermittently throughout the day with the potential of heavier thunderstorms in the afternoon so there’s not a lot of sunlight hours to enjoy during the day.
Best for: trying traditional Colombia food and museum wanderings
Generally, Colombia is a quite humid country experiencing above-average humidity levels throughout the year but November is the most humid month with a 74% rating. So, keep this in mind when you’re planning outdoor activities and make sure to drink lots of water to avoid dehydration.
But don’t let that deter you from vising. While being in Colombia’s second wet period, November still promises pretty decent weather with average temperatures of 19°C across the country (keep in mind this can go up or down depending on the altitude of the destination you’re in). Expect plenty of rainfall though with 127 mm expected.
Best for: Christmas and New Years festivities
Colombia’s dry period is back in December; unfortunately, so are the tourists. Expect to see plenty of North Americans looking to trade a white Christmas for a tropical one with pleasant weather expected across the country. Bogota remains relatively dry, the Caribbean coastlines are as hot as always and Medellin enjoys moderate temperatures and plenty of sunshine.
To go with the good weather, the good times keep on rolling as the month progresses with the country preparing for Christmas and New Years celebrations. Festive parades fill the streets in most larger cities and locals really go all out in decorating their homes and businesses with coloured lights and images of Christmas – think candy canes, reindeers and Christmas trees.
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