Weather in Colombia in January

Thinking of heading to Colombia in January? While this high season month generally sees warm, dry weather that’s well suited to all manner of travel experiences — blissing out on Caribbean beaches, uncovering culture, exploring the Amazon region — it’s worth being aware of regional variations. Read on for detail on the weather in Colombia in January, and to discover the answer to that all-important question — is January a good time to visit Colombia? 

What is the weather like in Colombia in January?

Sitting in a dry season that runs from December to March (a second dry season occurs in July and August), the weather in Colombia in January is generally warm with low rainfall, and lots of sunny days.

That said, Colombia’s varied topography means there are regional differences to consider. Read on for a run-down of the main features of the weather in in Colombia in January across different regions.

Andean region

In cities like Bogotá, the Colombian capital, you can expect mild, dry conditions in January, with daytime temperatures around 14°C (57°F). The nights will be cooler.

Meanwhile, Medellín enjoys warmer, spring-like weather with average temperatures sitting around the 22°C (72°F) mark. January is also a dry month in Medellín.

Editor’s tip: read more on the weather in Medellín in January.

Caribbean coast

Encompassing Cartagena and Santa Marta, Colombia’s Caribbean Coast is typically dry, hot and sunny in January, resulting in lower humidity and clearer skies — perfect for blending beach activities with exploring cultural attractions.

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

Pacific coast 

Hot and humid, temperatures on Colombia’s Pacific Coast typically range from 27°C to 30°C (80°F to 86°F) in January. Although it's less rainy than other times of the year, expect occasional showers.

Amazon region 

In the likes of Leticia in Colombia’s Amazon region, the weather is consistently hot and humid. Rainfall is common even in January, but slightly reduced in comparison with other months.

Eastern plains 

Including Llanos and Villavicencio, the weather in the Eastern Plains in January is warm and dry, making it a popular time to watch wildlife.

Insular region

Colombia’s Insular region enjoys warm, dry sunny weather in January — ideal for snorkelling, swimming, and blissing out on the beaches of the islands of San Andrés and Providencia.

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

Tropical Beach in Tayrona National Park, Colombia © chrisontour84/Shutterstock

 The weather in Colombia in January is generally warm with little rainfall © Shutterstock

Temperatures in Colombia in January

Given the regional variations of the weather in Colombia in January, it’ll come as no surprise that temperatures vary too.

Overall, it’s a dry month around the country, but here’s more detail on temperatures in different areas.

Andean region: in Bogota, average daytime temperatures sit around 14°C (57°F), with cooler nights. Medellín is warmer, averaging 22°C (72°F), while Cali typically sees a range of 23°C-31°C (73°F to 88°F). 

Caribbean coast: January’s average daytime temperatures on Colombia’s Caribbean Coast hover around 31°C (88°F). 

Pacific coast: it’s hot and humid here in January, with a temperature range of 27°C-30°C (80°F to 86°F).

Amazon region: consistently hot and humid, January temperatures average 27°C (80°F).

Eastern plains: January temperatures on the Eastern Plains are warm-to-hot, with a range of 23°C to 32°C (73°F to 90°F).

Insular region: head to the islands of San Andrés and Providencia in January for an average temperature of 27°C (81°F).

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

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

January is a wonderful time to visit San Andreas © Shutterstock

Is January a good time to visit Colombia? 

Overall, January is a great month to visit Colombia, with most regions drier than average, and many areas warm and sunny.

For example, in cities like Bogotá, Medellín, and Cali in the Andean region, you'll enjoy clear, mild days that are perfect for mixing urban exploration with outdoor activities.

Meanwhile, popular destinations like Cartagena and Santa Marta on the Caribbean Coast are warm and sunny, making it an excellent time for beach activities, history-themed walking tours, and enjoying the vibrant nightlife and food scenes.

However, note that January is a peak tourist season month, which means big crowds and higher costs — more on those topics below.

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

colombia-cartagena-shutterstock_510842902

Cartagena, Colombia © Shutterstock

What about crowds and costs?

January sits within one of Colombia’s high seasons that runs from December to February. FYI, a second spike is seen from June-August.

Though December usually sees the biggest number of visitors overall, January’s New Year holidays and events are also busy with both international tourists and local vacationers.

As a result, prices are likely to be higher than average through January, and destinations will be more crowded, so you’ll want to book flights, accommodation and activities in advance.

Editor’s tip: if you’re looking to bag yourself a low season bargain, April-June and September-November see the lowest costs, and the smallest crowds. 

The flipside is that these are also the wettest months. To avoid the heaviest rain in these periods, head to Colombia's Caribbean Coast.

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

Festivals and events in Colombia in January

January sees Colombia host a variety of vibrant festivals and events. Here are a few highlights.

Carnival of Blancos y Negros 

Celebrated in Pasat in early January, 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 bear satirical figures representing celebrities and current events.

Cartagena International Music Festival

Showcasing renowned national and international artists, this classical music festival sees Cartagena’s UNESCO-designated delights provide a beautiful backdrop for performances.

Hay Festival 

Held in Cartagena in late in January or early February, this international literary festival gathers writers, artists, and thinkers from around the world. 

Feria de Manizales

Similar to Medellín's Feria de las Flores, Manizales’ Feria de Manizales celebrates the region's coffee culture and Andean traditions. It features an International Coffee Pageant, an exuberant outdoor tango contest, and lots of music.

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

Coffee plantation © Fotos593/Shutterstock

Coffee plantation in Manizales, Colombia  © Fotos593/Shutterstock

Ready for your dream trip to Colombia in January?

If you fancy seeing a rewarding range of Colombia in January, 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.
Colorful houses in Guatape Colombia

Colourful houses in Guatapé © Barna Tanko/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.

  • 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.
  • December: as the dry season kicks in across most of the country, expect sun and high visitor numbers in this peak season month.
Joanne Owen

written by
Joanne Owen

updated 27.03.2024

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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