Weather in Cartagena in September

Joanne Owen

written by
Joanne Owen

updated 24.04.2024

September sees the Colombian city of Cartagena in the heart of its rainy season. Hot and humid, with an average of 200mm (7.9 inches) of rain experienced across the month, this is a low season for tourism, which means lower costs for accommodation, the likelihood of wet weather disrupting your outdoor activity plans, and more space in the city’s cultural hotspots. Read on for details on the weather in Cartagena in September, along with itinerary ideas.

Is September a good time to visit Cartagena?

The answer to that question all depends on why you’re visiting, and what you most want to do during your trip. 

Given that the weather in Cartagena in September is hot, humid, and prone to rain, you’ll need to weigh up the benefits of visiting during this low-season month (smaller crowds and lower costs) with the problems these conditions might cause. 

For example, your time on the area’s beautiful beaches and islands might be interrupted or cut short by showers. Hikes and excursions to mangroves might be trickier.

That said, Cartagena is known for its UNESCO-designated historic and cultural attractions and has no shortage of museums and galleries to explore when wet weather strikes. It’s also stacked with cafés, bars, and restaurants that remain pleasingly lively around the year.

So, if you’re keen to uncover Cartagena’s cultural offerings, and like it hot and humid, with refreshing rain showers that usually strike in heavy bursts in the late afternoon and early evening, September could be a good time to visit. 

Keen to visit Cartagena? Talk to our local Colombia experts to kick-start creating your dream trip. 


 The weather in Cartagena in September is hot, humid and prone to rain © Shutterstock

Average temperatures in Cartagena in September

Consistent with the city's tropical climate, which maintains relatively steady temperatures around the year, the weather in Cartagena in September heralds an average daily high of 31°C (88°F).

At night, the temperature typically cools down to around 25°C (77°F) — a range that’s on par with August.

As highlighted above, September sits in the heart of the region’s wet season. In fact, it’s one of the wettest months of the year in Cartagena and sees an average of 200mm (7.9 inches) across the month.

For wider context, August sees an average of 113mm (4.45 inches), and October experiences around 206mm (8.11 inches). Meanwhile, the dry season months of January, February, and March see a mere 1mm (0.04 inches).

Considering the typical rain patterns, and the fact that temperatures are cooler in the mornings and evenings, plan outdoor activities during those times, and set aside the rain-prone afternoons for indoor experiences. Oh, and be sure to bring a brolly and light raincoat.

Editor’s tip: for a bigger picture of the weather, read up on the best time to visit Colombia.

What about the crowds and cost?

As is usually the case in destinations that are subject to tropical rainy season conditions, September is a low-season month for tourism in Cartagena. 

As a result of the reduced demand for flights, accommodation, and tour services, you can expect crowds to be small, and costs to be lower.

For context, Cartagena’s high season runs from December to January, with an additional mini-peak seen around Semana Santa (Easter week). Both these periods see an increase in the average cost of flights and accommodation.

If you’re looking to balance moderate rain with moderate crowds and costs, you might be better off visiting during the February-April or late-November to early December shoulder seasons.

That’s especially the case if enjoying the area’s adventure activities is top of your wish list — September’s rain might hamper some of your plans. 

Meanwhile, bargain hunters, culture vultures, and lovers of tropical conditions shouldn’t be too quick to disregard September.

Still not sure where to go? Discover some of the best places to visit in September.

Happy, smiling Palenquera fresh fruit street vendors in the Old Town of Cartagena de Indias, Colombia © Shutterstock

Fruit vendors in Cartagena's Old Town © Shutterstock

Unforgettable customisable Colombia itineraries

If you fancy seeing a rewarding range of Colombia, consider taking a trip that’s been curated by a Rough Guides' local expert.

As revealed in our guide to backpacking Colombia, going it alone takes some planning and can present challenges. In contrast, taking the Rough Guides’ route means our experts will take care of planning an unforgettable trip that’s been 100% tailored to your preferences.

Here are a few sample itineraries to spark inspiration:

  • Magnificent Colombian Highlights (11 days): from exploring bustling Bogota and charming Cartagena to uncovering the natural wonders of Puerto Narino and Medellín’s vibrant culture, this trip is rich in experiences and magnificent in nature. 
  • Fascination Colombia - Medellín and Cartagena (11 days): this immersive two-centre trip will see you divide your time between Medellin and Cartagena, with each base offering opportunities to experience a richness of Colombian culture, from taking authentic cooking classes to exploring the great outdoors on horseback.
  • Unforgettable Colombia - cities, coffee, and islands (13 days): encompassing Colombia's three main areas, including the capital, Bogotá, the beautiful colonial town of Villa de Leyva, and Cartagena, this diverse trip will see you uncover coffee culture in lush hillsides and valleys before blissing out on the idyllic Islas del Rosario.
Metropolitan cathedral church in Medellin, Colombia © Shutterstock

Rough Guides' trips can take you from Medellín (pictured) to Cartagena, and beyond © Shutterstock

What to do and see in Cartagena in September

As a result of this month sitting in the heart of the rainy season, our top tips for visiting Cartagena in September are to put culture at the top of your itinerary, to be flexible with your plans, and to plan outdoor experiences for the cooler, less rainy mornings.

Here are some suggestions for how to do exactly that.

Tour the wonders of the Walled City

Visiting Cartagena’s UNESCO World Heritage Site Walled City and Old Town is a must-do no matter when you visit, with low season September being a great time to experience them in the company of fewer fellow tourists.

Either explore them independently, taking time to people watch on the pretty plazas, or else take a guided tour to discover the history behind the likes of San Felipe de Barajas Castle, the Palace of the Inquisition, and Santo Domingo Church.

Explore museums and galleries

When the rain falls, Cartagena isn’t short of fascinating museums that serve immersive insights into history and culture. 

While these attract big crowds during the high and shoulder seasons, September’s low visitor numbers will see you explore them in a more immersive fashion.

Head to the Museo del Oro Zenú (Gold Museum) to see exquisite gold artefacts, and dive into maritime history at the Caribbean Naval Museum.

Meanwhile, art aficionados should spend time in the Museum of Modern Art to see contemporary and modern works by Colombian and Latin American artists. 

Editor’s tip: head to the colourful Getsemaní district to soak up local culture and street art — this lively area has plenty of bars and cafés to shelter in when showers strike.

Man pushing cart through Gethesmane neighborhood.  Cartagena, Colombia

Getsemaní district, Cartagena, Colombia © Matt Garceau

Board a boat to idyllic islands

One of the most popular and rewarding experiences to enjoy from Cartagena is to book a morning boat trip to the beautiful Rosario Islands. 

Sitting in low season, doing this in September means you’ll get to savour this trip in less crowded conditions. 

Most trips stop off so you can snorkel the stunning coral reefs. On arrival, you could kayak or paddle-board the calm waters that lap the island’s idyllic shores before blissing out on pretty Playa Blanca.

Editor’s tip: take a night-time tour of the Rosario Islands to experience the magic of bioluminescent plankton.

Visit Bazurto Market

A labyrinth of passages and stalls, Bazurto Market is a wonderful way to experience Cartagena’s living culture firsthand.

Alongside the huge variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and seafood, there’s an area devoted to handmade crafts, jewellery, and traditional clothing.

Add to that musicians performing traditional champeta and vallenato music, and visiting the market is a great way to spend a good few hours in the city. 

Editor’s tip: foodies could take a food-themed walking tour of the market or wider city. This will see you sample regional specialties like arepas and ceviche at their most delicious.

Still, making up your mind? Read up on the best things to do in Colombia, and get the Rough Guide to Colombia.


Sample local ceviche on a food-themed tour © Shutterstock

Visit Cartagena in different months

To be better informed before booking your trip, find out what to expect from the weather in Cartagena around the year.

  • January: expect hot, dry weather and average temperatures of 31°C (88°F) in this peak season month.
  • February: similar to January, shoulder-season February sees hot, dry conditions with temperatures averaging 31°C (88°F), and fewer tourists than January.
  • March: the heat continues as the dry season transitions towards more humid conditions later in the month — still ideal for hitting the beach.
  • April: this marks the start of the wet season, with increased humidity, occasional showers and fewer visitors as the shoulder season shifts to low season.
  • May: expect more frequent rain showers as the wet season progresses, while temperatures remain warm, averaging around 31°C (88°F).
  • June: the wet season continues with regular rain in this low season month, though there are still plenty of sunny intervals. 
  • July: similar to June, July offers a mix of rain and sunshine, with daytime temperatures still hitting an average of around 31°C (88°F).
  • August: another mix of rain, and hot, sunny days. Expect visitor numbers to remain low, and look to mix the beach with indoor cultural activities.
  • October: this is usually the wettest month, so expect significant rainfall and prepare to be flexible with your travel plans.
  • November: the rain starts to decrease during November as the region shifts back to the dry season, with visitor numbers increasing as the month wears on.
  • December: the dry season begins with less rainfall and more sunny days. Temperatures average around 31°C (88°F), making it a popular time for visitors.
Joanne Owen

written by
Joanne Owen

updated 24.04.2024

Joanne is a Pembrokeshire-born writer with a passion for the nature, cultures and histories of the Caribbean region, especially Dominica. Also passionate about inspiring a love of adventure in young people, she’s the author of several books for children and young adults, hosts international writing workshops, and has written articles on the Caribbean and inspirational community initiatives for Rough Guides. Follow her @JoanneOwen on Twitter and @joanneowenwrites on Instagram.

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