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When to leave following the seasons or not, can make the difference between a good trip and an exceptional one, right? In this article we will help you choose the ideal period for your trip to Colombia.
There are several styles of travelers. Maybe you want to focus on the weather, discover a particular region, experience certain events, avoid crowds in tourist areas or save money on airfare and hotels… You will find here everything you need to know to leave at the best time according to your desires!
The best periods to travel in Colombia in summary
- Colombia can be visited all year round.
- Best time to go to Colombia: December to March and the months of July and August (dry season).
- The climate depends mainly on the region and the altitude.
- Close to the equator, Colombia has constant temperatures all year round.
- For a “spring climate“: Medellín, 1500m of altitude with 22°C on average.
- For a “summer climate“: the Caribbean coast with 28°C on average.
- For an “autumn climate“: Bogotá, 2600m of altitude with 14°C on average.
- 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 the middle of January (local vacations), high prices, necessary to book in advance.
- The intermediate season is from April to September, average prices, reservation recommended.
- The low season is from October to November, lowest prices, it is not mandatory to book in advance.
The climate in Colombia
As the country is spread over a large area with extreme geographical variations between deserts, high mountains, Caribbean beaches or Amazonian forest, there is no “average climate”. The climate and temperatures vary according to three factors:
- The seasons
- The regions
- The altitude
With such factors, there is really no general “best” time to travel in Colombia, it depends on the region you want 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
December to February are the driest and sunniest months of the winter. This is the high season in Colombia with the most national and international tourists and therefore the highest prices and requiring advance reservations in many places. The Amazon is the exception with lots of rainfall.
Summer in Colombia
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 vacations, but this is moderate and it is quite possible to visit the tourist places in good conditions. It is also the best time to visit the Amazon.
From the Caribbean coast at sea level to the highest point of Colombia, the Cristobal Colón peak at 5770 meters above sea level, there are great differences in temperature. Colombians call the coastal and Amazon regions “tierra calienta” (hot land) and the highlands “tierra fría” (cold land).
The average temperature as a function of altitude in Colombia :
- 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 meters
If you plan to go to the mountains, it is important to bring warm and waterproof clothing. Rainfall is frequent in the mountains, so plan to put your belongings in waterproof plastic bags to have a dry change of clothes in case of heavy rain.
Mountain trails can be muddy, so a pair of waterproof walking shoes can make your hike much more enjoyable by keeping your feet from getting wet.
Temperatures can approach zero at high altitudes, and can even reach negative temperatures at night and at the level of the glaciers. The coldest areas are the Sierra Nevada de Cocuy, the Los Nevados National Park in Quindío and the heights of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. For specific information and recommendations for 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 in the whole country. Be aware that from the end of December to mid-January, Colombians go on vacation. If you want to enjoy the peace and quiet of the tourist spots without being in the crowd, avoid traveling during these periods.
In addition, prices increase in high season (Colombian vacations) and there is less availability, it is necessary to book several weeks or months in advance in the majority of tourist places. This is also the case during Holy Week, which takes place in March around Easter.
Intermediate” season in Colombia
From April to September it is the intermediate season. There are a few more holidaymakers in July and August with the school vacations of Europeans and North Americans, but this is still reasonable and allows you to enjoy the majority of the tourist sites relatively quietly. It is advisable to book in advance to be sure to have the best accommodations.
Low Season in Colombia
The months of October and November are the cheapest season with the least amount of 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, this is an opportunity to discover the country for less and to be quiet most of the time since there are few holiday makers at this period. It is usually not necessary to make reservations and it is possible to get out of it at the last minute without too much difficulty.
Best period according to the tourist activities of Colombia
Colombia has many wonders, so you might as well go there at the right time to enjoy them fully.
- When to go to Caño Cristales : the site opens in June. It is interesting to see the site from June to November. The algae in the river give the colors to the water. It is interesting to go when the water level is the highest ie at the beginning of the season from June to mid-August when the colors are the most beautiful and intense.
- When to go whale watching on the Pacific coast: from late June to mid-October.
- When to go to the Lost City: closed the month of September. We advise you to avoid the rainy season in October and November because the trails are muddy. We recommend that you go during the dry season from January to March to be sure of not having rain. It is also possible to go from April to August but there is a little more chance of rain.
- When to go trekking in Los Nevados National Park: 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 on.
- When to go hike at Tayrona Park: Tayrona Park closes for about a month a year for maintenance to preserve its flora and fauna (check the annual closing dates here)
- When to go on an excursion to the Amazon: the low water period 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 superb treks to do in Colombia however the time of year greatly affects the quality and practicability of the trails. We recommend trekking from mid-December to March and the months of July and August. Indeed it is the dry season, outside of these months the trails will probably be muddy, which is still doable but can be physically difficult and not necessarily pleasant to have wet feet and sink into the mud.
Best season to go to the beach in Colombia
The most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean are Providencia, Barlovento, Playa Blanca or even Palomino. The best time to go 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 of 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 lots 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.
Weather in Colombia by region and location
The country is composed of very different regions, each with its own climate, some places even have their own micro climate.
Colombia is composed of 5 main regions:
- Amazonia: high temperatures and very humid climate
- Pacific Coast: high temperatures and very humid climate
- Caribbean Coast: high temperatures and low humidity
- The Andes: almost spring-like climate all year round
- Los Llanos: warm temperate climate and low humidity
|City/Region||Dry Season||Rainy season||Average temperature|
|Bogotá||December to March and July – August||April to June and September to November – peak in November||10°C to 18°C|
|Cartagena – Caribbean Coast||December to April||May to November – peak in October||24°C to 31°C|
|Medellín||December to March||April to November – peak in May and October||17°C to 25°C|
|Cali||June to September||October to May – peak in April, October and November||19°C to 30°C|
|Amazonas||June to August (humid region all year round)||September to May (humid region all year round)||23°C to 30°C|
|Coffee area/ Eje Cafetero||December to February and July – August||March to May and September to November – peak in April-May and October-November||17°C to 26°C|
|Pacific Coast||January to March (humid region all year round)||April to December (humid region all year round)||20°C to 26°C|
|Llanos||December to March||April to November – peak in May and October||19°C to 27°C|
- Best time to visit Bogotá: the dry season is from June to September and December to February. There is a 25% to 60% chance of rainfall during this period. The weather changes rapidly during the day and rainfall usually does not 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, a jacket and sunglasses.
- Best time to visit Carthagena: the dry season is from December to April to have 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, a jacket and sunglasses.
- Best time to visit Cali: The dry season is from June to September. The probability of rainfall is 18% to 30% during this period. The rainy season is from March to May with a peak in April as well as October and November with a peak in October. Temperatures are between 19°C and 30°C all year round.
- Best time to visit theAmazon : the “dry” season is from June to August. The probability of rainfall during the dry season is between 40% and 60%, this is the “dry” season and the period of low water. The humidity remains very high throughout the year. It rains the majority of the year in the Amazon. 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 as well as 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 most rainy regions 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 throughout the year. The air is humid with temperatures between 20°C and 26°C.
- Best time to visit the 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 have a jacket and sunglasses with you.
For very accurate climate information on each city in Colombia we recommend WeatherSpark which is very detailed.
There are things to do all year round in Colombia. The best time of year depends on what you want to do! The most important thing is to take a pair of sunglasses, a jacket and an umbrella, you will be prepared for almost any situation.
So when are you coming to Colombia? Where do you want to go? We are waiting for you!