Best time to visit Colombia

Wondering when’s the best time to visit Colombia? While that depends on what you most want to see and do during your trip, as a general rule, the best time to visit is during the December-March and July-August dry seasons. During these months you can enjoy the full range of everything this thrilling South American destination has to offer, without heavy rains impacting your plans. For more detail, read on for a month-by-month breakdown of when to go to Colombia.

Best time to visit Colombia at a glance

  • The best time to visit Colombia is during the December-March and July-August dry seasons.
  • Time to avoid: the April-June and September-November rainy seasons, when heavy rains can cause flooding, and make outdoor activities tricky.
  • Crowds will be at their biggest — and costs at their highest — during the December-February high season.
  • Another tourist spike happens in Semana Santa, the week before Easter.
MonthJanFeb MarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg temp. (°C)242525252525242424242424
Avg rain (mm)404270110120100708011014011060

Keen to start planning your trip to Colombia? Contact our local experts who will tailor a unique itinerary to meet your needs.

Colorful houses in Guatape Colombia

Guatape, Colombia © Barna Tanko/Shutterstock

When is the best time to visit Colombia?

The most significant impact the weather will have on when you decide to visit Colombia are the rainy and dry seasons, rather than temperature variations. In fact, Colombia’s closeness to the equator keeps regional temperatures pretty stable throughout the year. 

In terms of the numbers, we’re talking around 24°C (75°F) along the coast and 7–17°C (45–63°F) the higher you are inland.

When it comes to precipitation patterns, Colombia experiences two very distinct dry and two wet seasons, with the driest months running from December to March, and July to August. 

In low-lying areas — especially southern Colombia — rainfall is more constant, but showers never last very long. Meanwhile, the Amazon region's climate is uniformly wet around the year.

On balance, the best time to visit Colombia is during the dry season, with December-March best for exploring the Andean regions, the Amazon, and the northern beaches.

July and August also offer pleasant weather, particularly in the Caribbean region. 

When thinking about the best time to visit Colombia, it's also worth bearing in mind that the most intense tourist seasons are from December to February and Semana Santa (Easter Week), the week before Easter. These are also the priciest periods to visit.

Conversely, the least favourable time to visit Colombia is during the rainy seasons, which happen from April to June and September to November. 

As heavy rains can cause flooding and road closures, outdoor activities are often less enjoyable, or even unfeasible. That’s especially so in the Andean and Amazon regions.

Come September to November, Colombia’s Caribbean Coast also sees more frequent downpours, and humidity is high.

Want more trip inspiration? Browse our suggested itineraries for how to spend 10 days, 14 days, or three weeks in Colombia.

View of The Rock near the town of Guatape

The best time to visit Colombia is during the dry seasons. Guatape image © Jess Kraft/Shutterstock

The best month to visit Colombia

As is usually the case with the “when’s the best time to visit?” question, that all depends on what you most want to do and see during your trip. 

Here we highlight reasons to visit Colombia in each month of the year, bearing in mind what the weather’s doing in different regions and special events of both the cultural and natural variety. 

January: best for beach and book-based fun around Cartagena

While there’s not really a bad time to visit Cartagena (its rainy season is less impactful than in other regions of Colombia), January is an especially great time to visit if you’re into books as much as you love beaches.

At this time of year, Cartagena is hot, dry and still buzzing from the festive season — perfect for exploring its UNESCO-designated old town and snorkelling the nearby Rosario Islands

January also sees the city host the internationally celebrated Hay Festival — expect talks, workshops and events from notable writers and thinkers. Be sure to check the dates — it usually begins towards the end of January and runs into early February.

Editor’s tip: keen to visit Cartagena? Check out our customisable Fascinating Colombia itinerary, which will see you divide your time between Medellin and Cartagena.

Travel Guide Colombia Rough Guides - Cathedral San Pedro Claver in Cartagena

January sees Cartagena host the international Hay Festival © Shutterstock

February: best for carnival buzz in Barranquilla

February sees Barranquilla host the second-largest carnival in South America. Though not really known outside Latin America, it’s second only to Rio’s Carnaval in scale.

Preparations for the spectacle start in mid-January, ahead of festivities that see the city’s streets transformed into a giant party.

Expect colourful costumes and all kinds of music performances, from salsa and cumbia to vallenato and African drumming, with everything kicked off by traditional parades like the “Battle of the Flowers” and “Dance of the Caiman”. 

At the same time, the Caribbean coast is warm and mostly dry in February, with fewer crowds than in December and January. As a result, it’s a great month to combine the carnival with a wider exploration of the region.

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

March: best for star-gazing in the Tatacoa Desert

Within reach of San Agustin, the Tatacoa Desert is an incredible place for truly mind-blowing start-gazing experiences, and March is one of the best months to do exactly that. 

Near the observatory, there’s a lookout point over the Laberintos de Cusco — a maze of otherworldly red rock formations. We also suggest walking the 45-minute trail that runs through this labyrinth to the main road.

The landscape of cracked earth, colossal cacti, and towering rock sculptures is something else.

Editor's tip: reaching for the stars? Discover the world's top stargazing spots.

April: best for uncovering coffee culture in the Zona Cafetera

Colombia's Zona Cafetera — also known as the Coffee Triangle — offers lush landscapes, rich culture, and, of course, exceptional coffee. 

Come April, it’s especially lush and green as the coffee flowers bloom before the rains fully settle in. As such, it’s a great time to visit to tour coffee plantations in the likes of Hacienda Venecia and Finca El Ocaso.

April is also a fantastic month for birdwatching in the area, with the increased rainfall bringing abundant food for birds.

Editor’s tip: don’t miss relaxing in the hot springs near Santa Rosa de Cabal and Pereira. These natural pools offer a serene environment surrounded by lush greenery.

Coffee plantation © Fotos593/Shutterstock

Coffee plantation in Manizales, Colombia © Fotos593/Shutterstock

May: best for authentic folk culture

Given that the weather in Colombia in May sees rain ramp up, this month can present some problems if you’re looking to enjoy adventure activities.

Rather, we suggest you focus your attention on enjoying Colombian culture in May by visiting Valledupar to experience Festival Vallenato — AKA the Festival de la Leyenda Vallenata.

With UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity status, the event celebrates Vallenato music — a key element of Colombian culture. Expect music competitions, concerts, and dazzling dance performances.

Editor’s tip: if you’re into authentic travel experiences, check out our customisable Local Colombia itinerary.

June: best for exploring the Rosario islands’ reefs

Come June, Colombia’s Caribbean region is divinely warm, with underwater visibility especially great at this time of year.

Though June still sits in the wet season and sees around 101mm of rainfall across the month in this area, note it’s less rainy than May, and considerably drier than October, which sees around 206mm. Also note that rainfall comes in short, heavy bursts.

In addition, given that June is still part of a lower season for tourists, taking a trip to the idyllic Rosario islands from Cartagena to snorkel or dive is all the more rewarding. Excursions will be less busy.

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

July: best for hiking the Andean region

July sees Colombia's Andean region in the dry season, with pleasant mild-to-warm temperatures lending themselves well to the likes of hiking.

For example, as revealed in our guide to the weather in Medellín in July, the “City of Eternal Spring” sees day-time temperatures average around 24°C (75°F). 

So, after exploring the city, you could take advantage of conditions that are ideal for outdoor activities and exploring the wider Antioquia region.

Metropolitan cathedral church in Medellin, Colombia © Shutterstock

Medellin, Colombia — gateway to outdoor adventures © Shutterstock

August: best for blooming brilliant festivals

Being among Colombia’s most wonderful festivals, Medellín’s Feria de Flores offers visitors a great reason to visit the city in August. 

Held during the first two weeks of August, it sees local harvesters line the streets bearing huge floral displays. 

Alongside all the botanical beauty, you’ll get to experience dazzling street parties and music performances.

During this same month, Villa de Leyva’s famous Festival del Viento y de los Cometas (kite festival) takes place across the windiest weekend in August

September: best for Amazon adventures

Full disclosure: in keeping with its tropical rainforest climate, September sees Colombia’s Amazon region subject to rain showers, with temperatures between 23°C (73°F) and 31°C (88°F).

That said, with an average of 220 mm (8.7 inches) of rainfall across the month, it’s not as wet as other months.  

At the same time, September sees the high-water levels of the preceding months begin to recede, yet they remain high enough to explore flooded forests and rivers by boat.

As water levels lower, more riverbanks are exposed, which makes spotting the likes of caimans easier.

October: best for Pacific Coast whale-watching

Though October on Colombia's Pacific Coast is rainy, it’s a prime month to visit Nuquí to enjoy unforgettable whale-watching experiences.

The watching season runs from June to November, with the latter months being great for opportunities to see migrating humpback whales nurture their calves.


Humpback whale in Colombia © Shutterstock

November: best for walks on the wild side in Tayrona National Park

November is at the tail end of the rainy season in Tayrona National Park. So, while you can expect occasional rain showers, they usually occur in short, heavy bursts, often in the afternoon or evening.

Come prepared with the right gear for slippery conditions and you’ll get to spot wildlife and walk beautiful trails in lusher, more tranquil seclusion than you can during the upcoming high season.

One of the most popular routes is the trek to El Pueblito — an ancient indigenous village. 

Tayrona is also famous for its beautiful beaches, which are framed by lush forests and rocky outcrops. 

December: best for salsa celebrations and island bliss

December sees the city of Cali heat up with its annual Feria de Cali — a massive salsa festival. 

Running from the 25th to the 30th of December, it celebrates Cali's status as the world's salsa capital. Expect music, concerts, and lots of dancing.

Meanwhile, December is a top time to head to the islands of San Andres and Providencia for a sublime winter sun experience. 

Just bear in mind this is peak season, so don't expect to have the beaches to yourself.

Things not to miss: Johnny Cay In San Andres Island, Colombia.

 Johnny Cay, San Andres Island, Colombia © Shutterstock

When is it rainy season in Colombia?

To recap, though Colombia’s rainy seasons vary slightly by region, there are two main wet seasons.

  • The first rainy season spans April to June. During this time, most parts of the country experience frequent — and substantial — rainfall.
  • A second rainy season runs from October to November, with especially heavy rainfall falling in the Andean and Pacific regions.

Although the Amazon region remains relatively wet throughout the year, these months also see increased rainfall. 

Meanwhile, the Caribbean coast — including cities like Cartagena and Santa Marta — tends to have a more distinct dry season and experiences less intense rainy seasons in comparison with the interior.

Bogota, Colombia © mehdi33300/Shutterstock

Bogota, Colombia © mehdi33300/Shutterstock

Festivals and events in Colombia

Read on for a rundown of some of the major events and festivals that take place in Colombia around the year. 


Celebrated in Pasat, the UNESCO-recognised Carnaval de Blancos y Negros (Blacks and Whites Carnival) is one of Colombia's most important and colourful cultural events. 

Held from 28th December to 6th January, it arose from native Andean and Hispanic traditions. 


Head to Barranquilla in February for the second-biggest carnival in South America, complete with parades, dancing, drinking and music


Semana Santa Holy Week is celebrated with night-time processions by the faithful. They’re especially impressive in Popayán and Mompox.


Held in Neiva, the Festival Folclórico y Reinado Nacional del Bambuco is one of the most important folkloric celebrations in Colombia. It takes place in late June and features traditional music, dance, beauty pageants, and parades.

Typically held in June or July, Rock al Parque in Bogotá is one of the biggest rock music festivals in Latin America.

Gold artifacts on display in the Museo del Oro, Bogota

Artifact in the Museo del Oro, Bogota © Milosz Maslanka/Shutterstock


Held on 20th July, Colombia’s Independence Day heralds a national holiday with parades, music, and cultural events marking Colombia's independence from Spain.


Medellín’s Feria de las Flores sees the city transformed into a bedazzlement of floral displays and parades in August.


Across a weekend in mid or late September, musicians take over Bogotá’s parks to perform world-class jazz at the Jazz al Parque festival.

Meanwhile, from 3rd-5th October, the inhabitants of Quibdó city host events that culminate in the UNESCO-designated Feast of San Pacho.


Held on 11th November, Cartagena’s Independence Day festivities are a vibrant, colourful event, with the Grand Parade (Desfile de la Independencia) a highlight. 


Head to Feria de Cali in December for epic street parties and a whole lot of salsa dancing.

Travel Guide Colombia Rough Guides - Cathedral San Pedro Claver in Cartagena

Cartagena, Colombia © Shutterstock

Still making up your mind? Read up on the best things to do in Colombia, get The Rough Guide to Colombia, and browse our customisable trip itineraries.

If you’re in the market for an indie trip, read our guide to backpacking Colombia.

Rough Guides Editors

written by
Rough Guides Editors

updated 08.05.2024

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