The Most Unique Things to See and Do in Colombia

Discover some of the most unique things to see and do in Colombia, including the colonial village of Barichara
Discover some of the most unique things to see and do in Colombia, including the colonial village of Barichara | © Rafal Cichawa / Alamy Stock Photo

Colombia‘s proximity to the equator means the country has no distinct seasons and its climate is mainly defined by the altitude of the location, which makes it an ideal year-round location. From cultural festivals to natural wonders, here’s our selection of the most unique things to see and do in Colombia.

Amazon Rainforest

The Amazon rainforest is an extraordinary place to visit, and around 10 per cent of its total area is in Colombia (in the southeast part of the country). Leticia is the main city and serves as a useful base to explore the tropical wilderness, while the Chiribiquete National Park features table-top mountains and one of the world’s largest collections of prehistoric rock art. It rains all year round in the Amazon, but July to December is generally slightly drier and a therefore a good time to visit.

Festival de Musica Andina Mono Núnez

A festival and competition that’s held in the Valle del Cauca every May (or June), Festival de Musica Andina Mono Núnez has been a platform for up-and-coming Columbian artists since 1975 and is a great way to get a feel for traditional Latin American music.

Wayuu Festival

The Wayuu festival has been held every year for over 30 years in Uribia in La Guajira (close to the border with Venezuela), and strives to raise awareness of the tribe and celebrate its culture. It takes place every year – usually in May – and is filled with music, dance, theatrical productions, art exhibitions and many other cultural activities which offer unique insights into the Wayuu way of life.

Ibague Folk Festival

The Ibague festival is held yearly in June and July in the city of Ibague. First established in 1974, the event showcases traditional music by local solo artists and groups, and holds competitions and other cultural events. The most popular types of music at the festival are pasillo, sanjuanero and bambuca, which are all played at free concerts in the town’s streets and squares – accompanied, of course, by plenty of energetic dancing.

Independence Day

Colombian Independence Day is celebrated on July 20 every year, with events taking place all around the country. The day is a national holiday and each community has its own way of rejoicing: many have parades, festivals, and concerts to mark the occasion.

Feria de los Flores de Medellín

Feria de los Flores de Medellín is a flower festival held every summer in Medellín. The event draws people to the city from all over the world to experience the vibrant flower parades and jolly atmosphere.

Colombiamoda

Colombiamoda is an annual fashion event held in the Plaza Mayor in Medellín every July. This popular event, inaugurated in 1990, has grown dramatically in recent years to become one of the highest profile fashion events in Latin America. As well as allowing designers to showcase their work, Colombiamoda also has a large trade exhibition and several conferences for international designers to collaborate and share new ideas.

Barichara and San Gil

Barichara is a colonial town in the Santander region in the north of Colombia. It feels like you’ve stepped back in time to another era as you stroll the cobbled streets, lined with beautifully preserved, whitewashed buildings. The nearby town of San Gil, meanwhile, is often referred to as the adventure sports capital of Colombia. There are a large number of activities available here, including paragliding, bungee jumping, abseiling, climbing, whitewater rafting, rappelling down waterfalls and zip lining. May to August is a good time to visit these towns as this is when the river water levels tend to be highest.

Bandola de Sevilla Festival

Bandola de Sevilla Festival is held in Sevilla, close to Cali, in August. The festival is an explosion of culture, and features traditional and contemporary Colombian music. Since 1996 it has been used as a cultural exchange and information session where individuals can learn new things and discover incredible music.

1. Festival del Viento y de las Cometas (Festival of Wind and Kites)

Villa

© El Coleccionista de Instantes Fotografía & Video / Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/azuaje/7576877894/in/photolist-cxxtPL-a6GLpY-a6DYop-cxxugC-cxxxVh-cxxrzQ-cxxwPA-cxxuZY-a6DZae-cxxyhb-cxxpAu-a6E19H-a6GMhG-cxxwDs-cxxqGq-a6GQqJ-a6DXG6-cxxxnd-a6GMZJ-cxxs67-cxxrRA-cxxqTY-cxxqxm-cxxsWW-cxxrtS-a6GQ5m-cxxtfy-cxxqeo-cxxpKd-cxxvDf-cxxqqJ-a6GQRo-cxxw4W-cxxprS-cxxxHJ-a6DY9P-cxxpQu-cxxtL5-cxxycd-cxxsr1-cxxtAW-a6GQjd-cxxrVq-a6GKTu-cxxwyN-cxxvvw-a6DYQM-cxxrk5-cxxrFd-a6GR43

The Festival del Viento y de las Cometas is held every year for three days in August, in Colombia’s whitewashed colonial town of Villa de Leyva. The city is transformed into a kite capital; the sky is awash with bright colours, and there are competitions to find the best handmade kite and the best night-flying kite, among many others.

XXI Festival de Música del Pacifico Petronio Alvarez

The XXI Festival de Música del Pacifico Petronio Alvarez is a large open-air music festival that holds events all over the country (including in Bogota, Guapi, Tumaco, Buenaventura, Quibdo and Cali) simultaneously. The event promotes peace, joy, happiness, coexistence, inclusion and unity within the nation. In addition to fantastic music, workshops and lectures are offered, where people can learn about music and culture.

2. Caño Cristales

Park

Caño Cristales, Colombia | © Mario Carvajal/WikiCommons
© Mario Carvajal / Wikimedia Commons
Caño Cristales is open from May to early November, when the river is filled with water from the rainy season. This is the best season to visit, as it is the time when the colours are at their most vivid. The Caño Cristales is a natural phenomenon that stretches for over 62 miles (100 kilometres) in the Serrania de la Macarena National Park. It’s a river unlike any other, as it’s filled with vibrant red, blue, yellow and black colours. It also has natural swimming pools and waterfalls.

3. Rock al Parque

Park

Rock al Parque is a large, popular music event held in Bogotá’s Simón Bolívar park each year in July. The event attracts a large number of popular acts and a huge number visitors, both locals and people from around the world.

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