2022 Guide to the Best Restaurants in Medellin

Food in Medellin is a big deal, and tourists and locals alike take it very seriously. At Two Travel, we firmly believe that your culinary experience in a country can make or break a vacation. That’s why we’ve made a list of the best restaurants in Medellin to ensure you are getting the most out of your trip. 

There are a handful of superstar chefs who have put Medellin on the culinary map. With innovative dishes, locally and responsibly sourced ingredients, and Michelin-starred resumes, their projects in the City of Eternal Spring have been a roaring success. But the beautiful thing about Medellin is that you can also find incredibly flavorful food on any and every street corner. Local dishes are hearty and filling, and evoke a comforting sense of home; even if your grandma isn’t an old Latina lady. Which brings us to the following question…

What do people in Medellín eat?

Paisa (local to Medellin) cuisine is famous all over Colombia. The most famous dish is the Bandeja Paisa, which is a mixed platter of some of the most delicious local foods. It consists of rice, beans, avocado, chicharron (fried pork belly), sausage, mincemeat, sweet plantain, and a fried egg. After all, calories don’t count when you’re on vacation!

You can’t leave Medellin without trying an arepa, a delicious and versatile corn patty, served with pretty much everything. Mondongo is a traditional soup packed full of potatoes, yucca, meat, and tripe. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it; Paisas pride themselves on their mondongo recipe!

There’s no better way to start your day than with a delicious calentado, which literally means “heated up”. Yup, you guessed it, it’s last night’s rice-based leftovers, with a fried egg on top. The breakfast of champions! Many of Medellin’s best restaurants have adopted and adapted these traditional foods to put a contemporary and exclusive twist on them. 

Where are the best restaurants in Medellín?

On your trip to Medellin, you will come across a plethora of restaurants. Some of the best restaurants in Medellin are hidden in plain sight; and some are conveniently located for going out to party afterwards. And you’ll find some of the best restaurants in Medellin with a view in this list! As well as its exquisite variety in gastronomy, Medellin is also an excellent place to go out partying. Don’t miss our Guide to the Best Places to Party in Medellín!

The following places are our unmissable recommendations for foodies, so prepare your palate for some big eats at Medellin’s top restaurants. 

Its our passion to help you plan your trip from start to finish, and help you with the small details too! We can make restaurant reservations for you, create personalized itineraries, and even do your shopping. Get in touch with us today to enquire about Two Travel’s Concierge Services.

El Cielo – Best for a Michelin-starred experience 

El Cielo Restaurant, Medellin
Photo by: El Cielo Hotel

El Cielo is an unmissable fine dining experience in Medellin. Its concept is proudly and undeniably Colombian, with avant-garde techniques that make it stand out in an exceptional way. Chef Juan Manuel “Juanma” Barrientos is a young chef who has achieved incredible things throughout his career, leading the path for molecular cuisine in Colombia and the USA. El Cielo D.C and Miami were both awarded a Michelin star, and its branches in Bogota and Medellin are on the same level. The menu is a 22-course sensory experience where you are encouraged to eat with your hands, play with your food, and truly enjoy yourself. This isn’t an experience to be rushed, so make sure you dedicate your evening to it, and let yourself be swept away by the creative innovation of Juanma and his team. 

Price: $$$
Dress code: Smart 
Reservations needed?: Yes, make sure to book early

Carmen – Best for locally inspired fusion

Carmen Restaurant, Medellin
Photo by: Carmen Restaurant

If you’ve read our blog on the Best Restaurants in Cartagena, you’ll already have heard us sing the praises of Carmen Restaurant, which has branches in both Cartagena and Medellin. Carmen works with ingredients of the highest quality; locally sourced and expertly crafted. The restaurant itself is intimate and beautifully designed with its high ceilings and jungle-like conservatory. The cooking of head chef Carmen Angel takes Colombian classics such as the empanada, a stuffed fried patty common in Colombian street food, and makes it sophisticated. The meat is sourced from the nearby Andean mountains, and the fish is freshly caught in the Pacific Ocean. They also have a tasting menu with wine pairings that comes highly recommended. 

Price: $$$
Dress code: Smart 
Reservations needed?: Yes, book ahead 

Oci.Mde – Best for gourmet comfort food

Oci.Mde Restaurant, Medellin
Photo by: Oci.Mde

Home is slow-cooked meat. Home is big plates of delicious food to share. Head chef Laura Londoño has done an incredible job in creating a warm and inviting environment in her restaurant Oci.Mde. Families, groups of friends, and couples gather around tables piled high with food. They share mouthwatering dishes such as the 5-hour braised pork, or short ribs 12 hours braised in lemon and chili caramel sauce. It tastes like comfort food, but still packs enough punch with local Colombian ingredients and innovative techniques to keep you on your toes. Londoño trained at a 3-Michelin star restaurant in Paris, and brought her many years of knowledge to her home country to create her own concept. Although Oci.Mde´s speciality is slow-cooked meat, vegetarian and vegan options are available.

Price: $$
Dress code: Smart / smart casual
Reservations needed?: Highly recommended, especially on weekends 

Colosal – Best for fine dining with a view

Photo by: Carlos Velez

If you want to make the most of the spectacular views on offer in the mountainous valley that surrounds Medellin, don’t think twice about heading to Colosal. Colossal is one of the best restaurants in Medellin with a view. Located in leafy Envigado, just a stone’s throw from Poblado, this restaurant stands out from the crowd. It offers outdoor dining, live bands and DJs, and impeccable service. The food speaks for itself, and has something for everyone. You can enjoy perfectly-cooked meat and fish, to delicious homemade pastas, and substantial salads. Colossal is the perfect place for a romantic evening, and their wine list is extensive and well-crafted.

Price: $$
Dress code: Dress to impress
Reservations needed?: Highly recommended

Panka – Best for Nikkei Japanese-Peruvian fusion

Photo by: Panka

If you fancy something different and full of flavor, make sure you head to Panka. This restaurant is located right in the heart of Provenza, the hottest Medellin district for nightlife and partying. Its our favorite choice for Peruvian-Japanese fusion. Dishes at Panka are colorful and flavorful, and a wide variety of textures and techniques are used. We love the Nikkei risotto with octopus, and the shrimp and salmon maki. The dark, leafy interior of the restaurant gives an intimate and glamorous feel. Don’t leave without trying one of their many craft cocktails; they are exquisite and make a great accompaniment to your meal. It also makes Panka a great place to start your night, before heading down to the bars at Parque Lleras just a few blocks away.

Price: $$
Dress code: This restaurant is in one of Medellin’s hottest neighborhoods, so dress chic!
Reservations needed?: Recommended but not strictly necessary

Mondongo’s – Best for a hearty local Sunday lunch

Photo by: Mondongos

Mondongo’s is the place to head for a Sunday lunch when you need some hearty home cooking to rectify a hangover caused by a heavy night out. Its generous portions, friendly service, and local vibe make it a favorite amongst Paisas and tourists all over the city. Make sure you try its namesake, mondongo soup, served with avocado, fried plantain, lime and arepas. Here is also a perfect place to try the famous bandeja paisa, a traditional lunch in Medellin. Its popularity means that queues can sometimes lead out of the door, but they generously provide bottles of water and the queue moves relatively quickly. Come hungry and prepare yourself for a true local Colombian dining experience.

Price: $
Dress code: Casual
Reservations needed?: No reservations, get there early to avoid queues on weekends.

With so much choice and gastronomic variation in the city of Medellin, this guide is your best go-to for checking all the culinary boxes during your vacation. Let us help you plan all the other details, too!

Medellín Nightlife – the Best Places to Party in Medellin

Medellin apartment

There has never been a better time to visit Medellín, Colombia. This vibrant, international city has recently been awarded 3rd best city to visit in the world by Time Out magazine. While we are proud of this achievement, we are by no means surprised. Alongside impressive architecture, sleek startups, and incredible gastronomy, Medellín’s nightlife has been internationally recognized as being one of the best in the world. 

Medellín is the birthplace of famous Reggaeton and pop artists J Balvin, Karol G, and Maluma. Next time you find yourself singing along to “Provenza” by Karol G, you’ll realize that she is singing about the famous party neighborhood frequented by the young and beautiful crowd of Medellín. There is so much to be discovered in Medellín at night. But with so many bars and clubs in Medellín, it’s often difficult to know where to head first.

Where is the nightlife in Medellín?

Medellin at night

El Poblado (Parque Lleras and Provenza)

From Hipster to High-Class, for a perfect Medellin night

The majority of the best clubs and bars in Medellin are located in el Poblado, a vast and affluent central neighborhood. As el Poblado is so big, you’ll want to be specific about where you’re headed, so make sure you keep this guide at hand. The famous Parque Lleras is a Medellín nightlife must-see. Here, you can find a ton of bars, restaurants, and clubs. It’s a great place to wander around to start your night and soak up the party mood. Parque Lleras is a tree-lined square filled with people, music, and mischief. It is the beating heart of Medellín´s nightlife, with a high density of clubs and bars. At night, the atmosphere is electric.

Our personal preference, however, is to go out to clubs a little more off the beaten track than right in central Lleras. For example, Provenza is a smaller locality, situated within el Poblado. Just a stone’s throw from Parque Lleras, Provenza is definitely the place to see and be seen. Expect classier vibes compared to Lleras. From hipster hole-in-the-wall bars to three-storey clubs, there is something for everyone in this trendy neighborhood. Prices are higher in some of the better clubs and bars compared to other neighborhoods, as good taste doesn’t come cheap. Provenza and Lleras, and everything in between, are often teeming with foreigners and Colombians alike, as they are some of the most touristic spots in Medellín, but for good reason. Here, you will find stylish decor and banging tunes, from Latino beats to EDM.

Laureles

La 70 – For an authentic Colombian fiesta

If you want something less gringo and more Colombian, head to Laureles. In La 70, or “La Setenta”, as it is locally known, you are sure to find a lot of color, lights and dancing. Here, booze is cheaper and there are fewer foreigners. Step out of your comfort zone and take a salsa class. Two left feet? Not a problem, the paisas (locals from Medellín) are so friendly, you’re sure to find a friendly Colombiana (or Colombiano) to teach you some new moves. La 70 is the center of the Laureles party scene, and it’s an awesome place for bar-hopping. While some bars and clubs in Provenza and Poblado can give European / American vibes, parties in this neighborhood are undoubtedly Colombian.

Las Palmas

For a more exclusive vibe

If you want to try something different away from the masses, yet still experience some incredible local clubs, we highly recommend a night out in Las Palmas. This neighborhood is just a short taxi ride from El Poblado, yet you are sure to have a super fun nightlife experience away from the masses. Las Palmas, also an incredible location for exclusive villas and apartments, is at a higher altitude, so the temperature is cooler than in Poblado. Here, enjoy beautiful views of the Medellín valley at night as the entire city sparkles beneath you.

Okay, so now we know the hottest areas to head in Medellin at night. But where exactly should you go? What follows is just a few of our Medellín nightlife recommendations. If you want a whole weekend planned, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Our Medellín Nightlife Recommendations

Salón Amador

A truly unmissable experience in Medellin. Salón Amador is the flagship club for electronic music in Medellín, where house, indie dance, techno and many other forms of dance music reel in punters from across the region. They host big events with famous DJs, both nationally and internationally-known. Salón Amador even plans to launch its own record label to promote local talent. The light shows and intimate feel together with flawless playlists and perfectly mixed drinks make for an unforgettable night. 

Where?:  Calle 10 #40-30, El Poblado

Salón Amador, Medellin nightclub

Bolívar

Bolívar Medellín brings the heat and sabrosura of the Caribbean to the mountains of Medellín. Inspired by 1940s Cuba and 1980s Miami, Bolívar is a treat for the senses. Dance your socks off to reggaeton, dancehall, champeta, trap, and every last Latin hit on the charts. And if you can’t dance, you can find some beautiful and scantily-clad professional dancers who have got all the moves. Grab a tropical cocktail, join us on one of the most beautiful dance floors in town, and feel the Caribbean heat in el Poblado.

Local tip: There’s no cover charge on Thursday nights, which makes it a great option for mid-week debauchery.

Where?: Cra. 36 # 10-38, El Poblado

Bolivar nightclub, Medellín

Vintrash Bar

Vintrash is an upcycled club providing four floors of fun. Right in the heart of Provenza, it attracts a good mix of locals and foreigners. You can enjoy various ambiances; from indie, to Latin, to electronic. Head up to the rooftop to cool down after a long night’s dancing. They also serve food, which makes it a great place to start your night and line your stomach before a heavy night out on the town. We love taking bachelor and bachelorette groups to Vintrash because it’s a great place to go wild, and a guaranteed fun night out.

Where?: Cra. 35 #8A-39, El Poblado (Provenza)

Vintrash, Poblado Medellin

Gusto Nightclub

Located right in central Lleras Park, Gusto nightclub will never disappoint. Nightly escapades at Gusto involve laser light shows, beautiful girls and expertly-poured drinks. It is a great option in this super touristic area that doesn’t feel like a tourist trap.

Where?: Calle 9A, Parque Lleras #38-26

Gusto Nightclub, Medellín

Envy Rooftop

Before heading to Gusto Nightclub, however, make sure you have a sunset cocktail or two at Envy Rooftop. This stunning rooftop has an aquarium-style pool where you can cool off in the afternoon sunshine. It boats gorgeous views of the city, and has light Asian style appetizers which go down perfectly with pre-drinks. They have a live DJ and their lounge playlists are perfect for chilling before a big night out. 

Where?: Calle 9a #37-16, El Poblado

Envy Rooftop, Medellin nightlife

La Oculta Medellín

Do you ever wonder where the young locals go to party? What if we told you it was in a speakeasy-style joint, hidden behind a bookshelf? La Oculta is, like its name suggests, hard to find, but a total gem once you get in. This intimate club is small but perfectly formed, and its glittering chandelier adds a boujee touch to your night. Great to share a bottle of whiskey with a group of friends and listen to local Latin beats. 

Where?: Cra. 35 #7-114, El Poblado (Provenza)

La Oculta Medellin

Finding out secret passwords to get into hidden clubs is so much easier when you book our nighttime concierge services! Enjoy everything that Medellín’s nightlife has to offer – Click below to get a quote and a key to the city.

La Tienda de la 70

Although “tienda” technically translates to store, La Tienda de la 70 is so much more than a neighborhood store. With quintessentially paisa decorations and music, coming to this bar is more of a cultural experience than anything else. Embrace the stereotype and order a bottle of aguardiente – or guaro as the locals call it – and you’ll find yourself dancing on the tables in no time.

Where?: Bulevar Libertadores De América (Carrera 70), Laureles, Medellín

La Chula Medellin – Las Palmas

Grab a big group of friends, get plenty of drinks in, and prepare to have the time of your life at La Chula. This Mexican-themed bar-cum-club, or “Fonda”, as referred to by Medellín locals, will transport you to the loudest and most colorful corner of Mexico, right in the heart of Las Palmas. Down a shot of tequila (or three) while you listen to live mariachis in this awesome spot. If you want to party with locals, La Chula is the place to go. Right next door to La Chula, you can also find La Chula Urbana, where they play all the latest reggaeton hits. We like moving from one club to another to live the local experience.

Where?: KM 3, via Las Palmas

La chula

With a seemingly infinite list of options to choose from, Medellin nightlife is something that has to be experienced first hand. If your night ends queueing in Provenza to buy hot, freshly-made empanadas to soak up all the booze before heading back to your private villa, you know it’s been a successful night. We truly can’t wait to show you the biggest and best of this incredible city and its nightlife, in all its hedonistic glory.

Contact us today to receive customized guidance on how to book your trip of a lifetime in Medellín!

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2022 Guide to the Best Restaurants in Cartagena

Marea Cartagena
Marea Cartagena

Foodies, rejoice! Gastronomy in Cartagena is BIG. Hidden amongst the cobbled streets of the walled city are some of the most talented chefs in Colombia. Wining and dining is our passion. We know all the best restaurants in Cartagena, from the classics to the new kids on the block. Read on for our definitive 2022 guide to the best restaurants in town.

Cartagena, being a touristic city, is a gastronomical melting pot. You can find an abundance of traditional dishes from the Colombian coast such as coconut rice, fried fish, and patacones. However, you can also find a varying range of flavors like Asian, Italian, Lebanese, Spanish, and everything in between. Due to its privileged location on the Caribbean coast, you can also expect some of the best (and freshest!) seafood of your life. It’s possible to eat at a different restaurant for lunch and dinner for every night during your trip to Cartagena, and still not even scratch the surface of the incredible restaurants that are on offer.

Along with the enormous variety in cuisines, Cartagena also has a huge variety of prices. From haute cuisine fine dining experiences at Alma or Carmen, to casual courtyard dining at La Cevichería, to $2 street pizza at Zazzy’s, there is something for everyone on the Cartagena restaurant scene. Some finer restaurants do have a dress code, so keep this in mind and save your sliders for the poolside, and get your long pants pressed! In Cartagena, high season is almost all year round, so make sure to make reservations in advance, especially if you have a bigger group and are looking to dine out on a weekend.

Don’t speak Spanish, or simply don’t fancy spending your well-earned vacay on hold? We got you! Just hire our concierge services. We can call in for you and make any and all reservations you need.

Carmen Cartagena

Carmen Cartagena – Best for fine dining Colombian fusion

Head chefs Carmen Angel and her husband both studied at Le Cordon Bleu, the most prestigious culinary institution in the world. Their experience and passion for local, fresh ingredients make Carmen Cartagena stand out above the rest. The restaurant is situated in an intimate and elegant colonial house downtown, and the menu is a celebration of local flavors, many of which are unique to Colombia. At their Cartagena restaurant, they also serve freshly caught lobster, octopus, and crab, presented in unique and creative ways. At Carmen, every plate is a work of art. Their à la carte menu is your best option for an optimal dining experience. Every tiny detail is executed to perfection, from the attentive service to the award-winning wine list and the innovative craft cocktails. For anyone looking to impress – think proposals, anniversaries, or milestone birthdays, Carmen is the place to come. 

Price: $$$
Dress code: Smart 
Reservations needed?: Yes

La Cevicheria restaurant Cartagena
La Cevicheria

La Cevichería – Best for seafood and people-watching from the plaza

If you went to Cartagena and didn’t pass by La Cevicheria, did you really even go to Cartagena? This cute seafood restaurant perched on the corner of Plaza San Diego may seem small and unassuming, but don’t underestimate it, as La Cevichería is infamous in Cartagena. It even appeared in restaurant magazines and TV shows when Anthony Bourdain visited on his show ‘No Reservations’. Its blue and white color scheme and outdoor dining tables give off a Mediterranean vibe, with a Caribbean twist. The food is also fresh, healthy, and Mediterranean-inspired with a distinctly Colombian flavor. The use of coconut gives a strong nod to the Caribbean, and its homemade hot sauce is unbeatable. So grab a seat, and enjoy the spectacle in the plaza put on by the famous Cartagena street performers (here, Michael Jackson is well and truly alive and comes out to dance every night).

Price: $$
Dress code: Casual
Reservations needed?: No reservations accepted, get there early and queue!

Alma – Best for a romantic gourmet meal

Alma Cartagena

Situated in the super stylish boutique hotel Casa San Agustín, Alma is fast-becoming known as one of the unmissable culinary experiences in Cartagena. Its gastronomic concept pays homage to Caribbean Colombian cuisine and its traditional flavors, with a high-class and contemporary twist. We love going on weekends to enjoy the live Cuban son music, and the atmosphere is always warm and inviting. It’s the perfect spot for a romantic meal. Although fresh fish and seafood are the stars of the menu, Alma also offers vegan options and premium cuts of meat.

Price: $$$
Dress code: Smart. Long pants and closed shoes for men are a must.
Reservations needed?: Yes

La Unica restaurant Cartagena
La Unica

Restaurante La Única – Best for authentic Mexican food

If, after a few days in Cartagena, you have eaten yourself into a ceviche and lobster stupor and want to try something different, we absolutely love La Única. It’s a Mexican restaurant that actually has branches in Mexico – so you know it’s legit. This modern cantina will take you far away from the stereotype of a Mexican restaurant and allow you to focus on the quality and artistry of its food. From tacos and guacamole to grilled octopus and juicy steaks, La Única Cartagena will not disappoint. This restaurant is the perfect place to come with a group of friends, as it has a fun, playful vibe and has great music – from in-house DJs to live mariachi bands. Share a tequila or two with friends and let the good times roll!

Price: $$
Dress code: Smart/ Casual
Reservations needed?: Highly recommended 

Buena Vida Marisqueria
Buena Vida Marisqueria

Buena Vida Marisquería – Best for cheat day and good times

Everything about Buena Vida Marisquería – from the decoration, to the music, to the menu – characterizes the Cartagena we know and love. Colorful, fun, and irresistible are three words we would use to describe this seafood restaurant. While its dishes, such as the crab nachos, seafood mac and cheese and desgranado de camarones aren’t light on calories, they sure are full of flavor. It’s no coincidence that this restaurant’s name means Good Life, as you are guaranteed to have a good time at this restaurant, which consists of 3 floors of deliciousness. The first two floors are for the seafood restaurant, and the top floor is an adults-only rooftop bar with an impressive cocktail menu and smaller snack options from the restaurant. Come with a group of friends to start off an unforgettable Cartagena night. 

Price: $$
Dress code: Casual chic
Reservations needed?: Highly recommended

Candé Cartagena
Candé

Candé – Best for an immersive Cartagena experience 

If Cartagena were a restaurant, she would be Candé. A lot of the culture of a city may come from its gastronomy, but we mustn’t forget about the rest. Music, dance, and traditional dress are all things that Candé incorporates into its dining experience to ensure that its diners are fully immersed in the Cartagenero experience. Enjoy the live musical show at both lunchtime and dinner time, and watch professionals dance the Mapalé and Cumbia, traditional Colombian dances. Stimulate your senses whilst you tuck into some incredible food. Make sure you leave room for dessert, however, as their menu features local delicacies you won’t find anywhere else in the world. Culture, music, and tradition all come together at Candé to provide an unforgettable experience for families, groups, and couples alike. 

Price: $$$
Dress code: Dress smart!
Reservations needed?: Yes. Make sure to request a table where you can see the show.

Cuzco Cocina Peruana – Best for Peruvian fusion

Feel free to cancel your upcoming flight to Peru, because Cuzco Cartagena has everything you need. Cuzco has really put itself on the map as one of the best restaurants in Cartagena. However, it is so much more than just good food. The entire experience offered at Cuzco Cocina Peruana makes for a fantastic night out. Enjoy live music by the glowing pool, some of the best ceviche in the city (and that’s saying something!), and romantic moments below the Colonial arches. Make sure to try chicha morada, a traditional Peruvian drink, but stay for the lobster risotto, a Two Travel favorite. The three varieties of sangria are enough to give you a merry start to your night. If you’re looking for a lively restaurant with a youthful feel, you can also go next door to Baruco by Cuzco. There, you’re also sure to find awesome food and great cocktails to boot.

Price: $$
Dress code: Smart chic
Reservations needed?: Book a couple days in advance

Celele one of the best 50 restaurants in South America
Celele

Celele by Proyecto Caribe Lab – Best for a gastronomical experience 

Hidden away in an unassuming colonial house in Getsemani, the bohemian neighboring barrio to Cartagena’s walled city, lies Celele. Voted as one of the “50 Best Restaurants 2020” and winning multiple other awards for their innovative menu and concept, chefs Jaime Rodriguez and Sebastian Pinzón have really hit the nail on the head. Celele is more than just a restaurant; it is a study of gastronomical anthropology. The chefs have travelled Colombia, talking to indigenous peoples and rediscovering long-forgotten flavors and methods. The food is visually stunning, and each dish has a profound cultural significance behind it. Celele restaurant celebrates the rich biodiversity of Colombia, taking humble ingredients and giving them a high-class spin. 

Price: $$$
Dress code: Smart casual
Reservations needed: Yes

Want to know more about bars in Cartagena? Check out our Guide to the Best Bars in Cartagena!

Marea Cartagena

Marea  – Best for a romantic night on the waterfront

Marea, perched on the edge of the convention center and offering gorgeous views over the harbour and of the walled city entrance, is a romantic and intimate space. It is located on the water on Cartagena bay. Therefore, it’s only fitting that the menu is designed around the fresh fish and seafood brought in by local fisherman every day. Marea also offers terrific views of some of the most iconic architectural structures of Cartagena. Marea and El Gobernador, another top Cartagena restaurant, were owned by the Rausch brothers until recently. Rausch, a well-known chef and Masterchef judge, left a lasting impression on the Cartagena restaurant scene.

Price: $$$
Dress code: Smart
Reservations needed?: Yes

Even more great Cartagena restaurants!

With so many restaurant choices in Cartagena, and new ones popping up every day, this list really could go on forever. We feel the need to make a few honorable mentions for some old favorites of ours with the Two Travel seal of approval. For those days when you really need a great steak, Quebracho Argentinian Grill is your best bet. They offer prime cuts any Argentinian would approve of. If Italian is your thing, Don Ignazio will transport you to the backstreets of Florence. Don’t forget to stop by Verona for some of the best pizzas in Cartagena. If you loved Cuzco and are craving more Peruvian food in your life, definitely check out Gran Inka Gastro Bar. And finally, if you had a long night out on the town and dinner feels like a long time ago, head to Zazzy’s Pizza in the Clock Tower Square to get an authentic New York slice until 3am.

Dining in Cartagena is nothing short of a cultural experience. Don’t forget that we are here for you to make life as easy as possible. We can call and make reservations on your behalf, as well as resolve any other issues or questions you may have!

Don’t work harder, work smarter, and let Two Travel Concierge take care of you and your group!

Christmas in Colombia – Visiting Colombia for the Holidays

Spectacular Christmas lights in Medellín, Colombia.
Spectacular Christmas lights on the river in Medellín, Colombia

Chrstimas in Colombia is a special time of year. Few countries celebrate the Christmas season with as much enthusiasm as they do in Colombia. For the whole month of December, the entire country is alive with vibrant celebrations that include festivals, dancing, family get-togethers, and of course, lots of eating and drinking.

So, if you’re planning a visit to South America or just looking for some alternate ideas for your holiday celebrations, why not consider spending your Christmas in Colombia?

Here’s everything you need to know about traveling to Colombia in December, including weather conditions, travel tips, and some local traditions you won’t want to miss out on!

The Weather in Colombia in December

Weather-wise, December is an incredible time to take a trip to Colombia. As this country is located near the equator, temperatures in the region tend to be fairly even year-round. However, visiting Colombia in December means the notoriously rainy skies of Medellín will start clearing up and you’ll be able to enjoy mildly warmer temperatures and typically dry weather.

Cartagena also has some of the best weather of the year in the months of December and January. Peak rainy season (usually October and early November) has passed, and visitors can enjoy blue skies, light breezes and temperatures in the high 80s and low 90s Fahrenheit (that’s low 30° Celsius for the non-Americans). Perfect weather for visiting the nearby Rosario islands!

Travel Tips during the Holidays in Colombia

Considering the holiday season and Colombia’s more travel-conducive weather during December, it’s no surprise that travel costs do rise during this time. Christmas in Colombia is one of the busiest times of year for local and international tourism. The season runs from December to mid-January, so expect a higher volume of people everywhere. You should also be prepared for higher prices for your flights and accommodations, as well as a minimum stay of 3-4 nights imposed by most hotels. During this high season in Colombia, it’s imperative to book ahead.

Don’t leave it up to luck, make use of Two Travels’ concierge services and let us help you plan your journey, so you don’t fall into any tourist traps.

  • Coming to Cartagena? Book your yacht with us as early as possible.
  • Heading to Medellin for the holidays? Let us make your itinerary, so you can make the best of this beautiful city.

We can also make restaurant reservations for you at the top restaurants in the city; a must-do to avoid disappointment. Finding a private villa for you and your group can also be a struggle during peak season, so let us pull our contacts to get you the best accommodation in town.

Colombian Christmas Traditions

Candle Night in Colombia (Noche de las Velas) 7th December
Candle Night in Colombia is December 7, (Noche de las Velas)

Tradition has always been an important aspect of Colombian culture, and this is particularly emphasized around the Christmas season. Christmas in Colombia officially kicks off on December 7th, on Día de Velitas, or “Little Candles Day”. It’s a magical time to stroll through residential streets, as many families and houses will line the streets with candles they light to bring good fortune. Share a warming shot of aguardiente and light a little candle for good luck. Then, from December 16th, “Novenas” will begin. Novenas are a Catholic tradition that include everything from quaint carol-singing to huge feasts or full-on liquor-soaked parties (depending on who is the host, of course).

The most important celebration of the holiday season takes place on Christmas Eve in Colombia. On this day, the entire family gets together for a meal, games, and a gift exchange. After all the festivities of the day, families usually go to a midnight mass and some people will stay up all night continuing their celebrations. After an entire day and night of celebrating on the 24th, Christmas Day in Colombia usually finds people relaxing, eating delicious leftovers, and spending time with the family.

If you find yourself in Colombia on this date, make sure you soak up the Christmassy vibes by heading out to a restaurant on the evening of the 24th. Not sure which restaurant to head to? Check out some of our favorite restaurants in Cartagena, or our blog on the best restaurants in Medellin!

Travel Itinerary for Colombia during the Holidays

Christmas in Medellin

Medellin is renowned for its famous Christmas lights show. The National Geographic called them some of the best in the world – which makes it a bucket-list item for sure. Each year, the lights follow a theme and tell a story, and the city has a budget of up to $10 million USD to do so. Whether travelling with children, a partner, or friends, the beauty of Medellin’s Christmas lights is not to be missed. In 2022, the lights are inspired by Disney’s movie Encanto, and looks to be a spectacular show! The entire city will be transformed with millions of LED lights into the Disney story that captured so many hearts this year.

Explore the Pueblos

Guatape near Medellin
Guatape, Colombia

After Christmas in the city, it’s time to check out the pueblos – the charming and traditional towns of Colombia. Close to Medellin you have Guatapé, Jardín, and Santa Fe de Antioquia. All three of these towns are picturesque and during the holiday period will be full of lights, color, and food. You can also travel to the coffee region (eje cafetero) to explore the postcard-pretty towns there. Salento and Filandia are two must-see towns in the area, and they also put on colorful light shows in the central squares and parks. You can even enjoy a spot of hiking if you want to burn off some of the calories from all those buñuelos. The Valle de Cocora is a stunning national park just a stone’s throw from Salento, where you will find some of the tallest palm trees in the world – they grow up to 200ft tall!

New Year’s Party in Cartagena

After taking in the wholesome traditions of the interior of Colombia, it’s time to fly north to the Caribbean coast. Cartagena boasts tropical temperatures all year round, which makes it the perfect place to enjoy a rooftop bar, pool party, or yacht party in December! After all, there’s never a better time to work on your tan than in the middle of Winter.

The events on New Year’s Eve in Cartagena are some of the most epic in the country, and we at Two Travel have our names on the VIP guest lists for all the best parties. Make sure to book early to ensure your spot at the hottest New Year’s Eve parties in town. You can also check out our post on NYE in Cartagena for some inspo to book those flights now.

New Year’s Eve is truly one of the best nights of the year in Cartagena. And of course, get in touch with us if you’re looking for the best prices on villas and yachts, because the holiday season can get expensive without local contacts.