Weather in Colombia in December

Heralding the dry season in many parts of the country, the weather in Colombia in December means sunny days, clear skies and warm-to-hot temperatures in a number of regions. However, there are notable regional variations, with the Pacific Coast and Amazon remaining pretty rainy, and the Andean region staying true to its typical spring-like climate. Ablaze with seasonal events, December is also peak season in many parts of the country. Read on for detail on the weather in Colombia in December along with itinerary ideas.

What is the weather like in Colombia in December?

As a result of differences in climate and altitude, the weather in Colombia in December varies according to region, as detailed below.

Andean region

In December, cities like Bogotá, Medellín and Cali, experience mild temperatures and less rain.

As a result of its altitude, Bogotá, the Colombian capital, is one of the coolest destinations in the area, with average temperatures of 14°C (57°F).

Meanwhile, Medellín will be warmer, in keeping with its City of Eternal Spring nickname.

Editor’s tip: read our guide to the weather in Medellín in December.

Caribbean coast
 

In December, the likes of Cartagena, Barranquilla, and Santa Marta on Colombia’s Caribbean Coast see daytime temperatures hit 30°C (86°F).

With low rainfall, hot, sunny days, and warm evenings, this is peak tourist season around these parts, with international visitors from colder climes drawn to the region’s beaches and UNESCO attractions. 

Editor’s tip: read more detail on the weather in Cartagena in December.

Pacific coast

Colombia’s Pacific Coast sees a whole lot of rain around the year, and December is no exception. It remains wet and humid, with average temperatures of 27°C (81°F).

That said, October is usually the rainiest month of the year, and this region sees fewer crowds in December than the Caribbean Coast and islands of the Insular region.

So, if you’re seeking tropical adventures in the epic outdoors and aren’t averse to rain, this could be the region to visit.

Amazon region

Leticia — gateway to Colombia's Amazon region — sees a mix of rain and warm weather in December. 

With average temperatures hovering around 27°C (81°F), the rainforest is lush and vibrant, making December a top time for wildlife-focussed river trips. Just be prepared for frequent tropical showers.

Insular region

In December, the islands of San Andrés and Providencia in Colombia’s Insular region experience clear, sunny, warm days.

No surprise then, that this is a peak season month on the islands, with visitors drawn to their beaches, and warm waters that are ripe for snorkelling and diving adventures.

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

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

The weather in Colombia in December is hot and dry on the Insular region's idyllic islands © Shutterstock

Temperatures in Colombia in December

Unsurprisingly, Colombia experiences different temperatures in each of its regions in December, as detailed below.

Andean region: while Bogotá sees lows of 6°C (43°F) and highs of 19°C (66°F), Medellín’s December temperatures range from 16°C (61°F) to 28°C (82°F).

Caribbean coast: expect lows of 24°C (75°F) and highs averaging 31°C (88°F). 

Pacific coast: humid and warm, the Pacific Coasts sees lows of 23°C (73°F) and highs of 30°C (86°F).

Amazon region: expect a range of 23°C to 31°C (73°F to 88°F).

Insular region: San Andrés and Providencia enjoy average lows of 25°C (77°F) and highs of 30°C (86°F) in December.

Want an overview of the weather in Colombia around the year? Read up on the best time to visit Colombia.

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

Cartagena, Colombia © Shutterstock

Is December a good time to visit Colombia?

Yep — December a good time to visit Colombia, which is why this month attracts so many visitors.

That’s especially the case when it comes to Colombia’s Caribbean Coast and the islands of the Insular region, which are dry and blissfully warm at this time of year.

At the same time, cities like Bogotá, Medellín and Cali in the Andean region offer pleasantly mild temperatures and reduced rainfall in December — all the better for mixing mountain excursions with urban exploration.

December is also loaded with festivals and events, which we cover in more detail below.

The flipside of all these great reasons to visit Colombia in December is that this is peak season. All well and good if you enjoy the buzz of being in big crowds, but less appealing if you prefer, for example, more secluded beach experiences and are looking to travel on a budget.

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

Metropolitan cathedral church in Medellin, Colombia © Shutterstock

Metropolitan cathedral, Medellin, Colombia © Shutterstock

What about crowds and costs?

Sitting in peak season, visiting Colombia in December means you should expect big crowds and higher costs for flights, accommodation and tours. 

As always, book early to secure your preferred place to stay. That’s especially the case if you have your eye on a particular dream location on San Andrés and Providencia, or in the likes of Cartagena.

For fewer crowds and the possibility of lower costs, consider visiting in November, when the weather is similar to December in many regions. Alternatively, note that the rainier Pacific Coast sees smaller crowds than the Caribbean Coast and islands in December. 

Colorful houses in Guatape Colombia

Guatape, Colombia © Shutterstock

Festivals and events in Colombia in December

Colombia plays host to several festivals in December, from celebrations that showcase culture and dance, to seasonal Christmas events.

Here’s a rundown some of the December events you can look forward to, and seasonal traditions.

Alumbrados Navideños

Not an event as such, but certainly a draw, Colombia’s Alumbrados Navideños (Christmas Lights) are a sight to behold across many cities and towns, with Medellín’s being especially notable.

Novena Aguinaldos

Celebrated by Catholics in Colombia, and in parts of Ecuador and Venezuela, Novena Aguinaldos, is a nine-day religious ceremony observed from 16th-24th December.

Also known as the novena to Baby Jesus, it sees families come together to pray, with music and singing of villancicos — Spanish Christmas carols — also part of proceedings.

La Noche de las Velitas (Day of the Little Candles)

Held on the night of 7th December — eve of the Immaculate Conception — La Noche de las Velitas (Day of the Little Candles) sees streets, homes, and public places adorned with candles and lanterns.

Feria de Cali (Cali Fair)

Held in Cali from the 25th-30th of December, Feria de Cali celebrates Cali's status as the world's salsa capital. Expect music, concerts, and a whole lot of dancing.

Carnaval de Blancos y Negros (Blacks and Whites Carnival)

Celebrated in Pasat, this UNESCO recognised carnival is one of Colombia's most colourful — and important — cultural events. Held from 28th December to 6th January, it arose from native Andean and Hispanic traditions. 

One of its highlights is the New Year’s Eve Old Year’s parade that sees marchers bearing satirical figures representing celebrities and current events.

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

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

Ready for your dream trip to Colombia in December?

If you’re keen to experience a rewarding range of Colombia in December, consider taking a trip that’s been curated by a Rough Guides' local expert.

As revealed in our guide to back-packing 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.
Bogota, Colombia © mehdi33300/Shutterstock

Bogota, Colombia © Shutterstock

Visit Colombia in other months

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

  • January: this peak season month is packed with festivals, with low rainfall in most regions. It's mild in the Andes, and hot on the Caribbean coast.
  • February: the weather is similar to January, with minimal rainfall (especially in coastal and Andean regions) and slightly fewer visitors than January.
  • March: with moderate visitor numbers, this transitional month remains dry in the north as it becomes wetter in the south.
  • April: with low visitor numbers, this is the beginning of the wet season in the Andean and Pacific regions.
  • May: wet season weather ramps up in most regions, with high rainfall in the Andean and Amazon regions, and small visitor numbers. 
  • June: while the drier season starts in the Andes, the Amazon remains rainy. Visitor numbers increase as school holidays begin.
  • July: it’s dry season in the Andes and Caribbean, while Amazon is still wet, and visitor numbers are high due to summer vacationers. 
  • August: similar to July, it’s dry in the north, wet in the south, and summer peak season continues.
  • September: as the second rainy season starts in the Andes, visitor numbers decline.
  • October: wet in most of the Andean region, October sees fewer tourists due to rain, though it’s drier on the Caribbean coast.
  • November: this month sees the approach of the end of the rainy season in many regions, and visitor numbers increase through the month.
Joanne Owen

written by
Joanne Owen

updated 29.03.2024

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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