Colombia’s proximity to the equator means that the country has no seasons and its climate is dependant upon the altitude of the location. At sea level, the climate is a year-round 30° C or more, while high in Bogotá’s mountains, the air is cooler at an average of 18° C. Although Colombia is the ideal destination to visit year round, summer in the northern hemisphere is a great time to catch the country’s festivals and special events. Here’s our round-up of the best things to do in Colombia from May to August.
The Amazon rainforest is a unique place to visit, and part of the forest that lies within Colombia features a small number of indigenous communities and also contains Leticia, the region’s capital. The region’s drier season is from May until July, and at this time of year, visitors can hike or trek through the forest, and experience what the area has to offer, without being drenched with rain day and night.
Festival de Musica Andina Mono Núnez
A music festival and competition that’s held in the Valle de Cauca every May, Festival de Musica Andina Mono Núnez showcases music and competitions, and has been a platform for up-and-coming Columbian artists since 1975.
The Wayuu festival has been held every year for over 30 years in Uribia. It strives to raise awareness of the tribe and its culture, and many people visit to discover more about the Wayuu tribe and how they live. This event is filled with music, traditions, learning, workshops, customs, languages and many other unique insights into the Wayuu way of life.
Ibague Folk Festival
The Ibague festival is held yearly in June and July within the city of Ibague. First established in 1974, the event showcases traditional artisan music from solo artists, groups and musicians, and holds competitions and other 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 plazas and squares.
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 cities and towns each celebrate in their own ways: many have parades, festivals, and street events.
Feria de los Flores de Medellín (Flower Festival)
Feria de los Flores de Medellín is a flower festival that is held every summer in Medellín. The event draws people to the city from all over the world to experience the traditional brightly coloured flower parades and the festive mood.
Colombiamoda is a fashion event held in Colombia’s second-biggest city, Medellín. This popular event has grown dramatically in the last five years and has now become one of the major fashion events in Latin America. As well as allowing designers to showcase their work, Colombiamoda also has a large trade exhibition. It also showcases new ideas and designers, and holds a small number of conferences.
Colombiamoda, Calle 14 #40a- 173, Medellin, Colombia 574 444 5086
Barichara is a whitewashed colonial town located in the Santander region of Colombia. The cobbled streets and the beautiful white buildings with orange roofs give visitors the feeling of stepping back in time. Located close to Barichara is San Gil, 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, zip lining and cliff jumping. May to August is a good time to visit these towns, because the rain has filled the rivers, allowing all these activities to take place.
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.
Festival del Viento y de las Cometas (Festival of Wind and Kites)
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.
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.
Rock al Parque
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.