When Is the Best Time to Visit Cartagena, Colombia for Good Weather?

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when to visit cartagena colombia
Torre del Reloj in Cartagena, Colombia.

There’s no denying it; Cartagena is a tropical paradise. Given its unique positioning near the Equator and at the southern tip of the Caribbean Sea, it never really gets cold in Cartagena. But when to visit Cartagena, Colombia for good weather? There are a few things that you need to know about the weather before planning your trip to the Colombian Caribbean coast, so read on to get informed.

Cartagena de Indias is a picturesque colonial city in Colombia. It is famous for its colorful buildings adorned with bougainvillea on cobblestone streets and white-sand tropical islands nearby. The old town of Cartagena tells stories of a rich heritage through its charming architecture and leafy plazas. Tourists and visitors from all over the world flock to Cartagena all year round to wander its romantic streets, enjoy its beaches, and visit its idyllic islands. Want to know when to visit Cartagena? We have all the info below.  

We are always in Cartagena, rain or shine, and it’s our passion to help you plan your trip in the best way possible. Get in touch to start building your journey!

Weather in Cartagena, Colombia

when to visit cartagena colombia
Rosario Islands near Cartagena, Colombia.

Cartagena’s climate is as warm and inviting as its people. The city basks in a tropical wet and dry climate, marked by a hot temperature year-round, making any season a good time to visit. However, for those looking to escape the rain and enjoy the city at its sunniest, the best time to visit would be during the dry season, which spans from December to April. During these months, the sky is clearer, the streets are perfect for leisurely strolls. The evenings are cool enough for exploring the city’s renowned culinary scene (see our Best Restaurants in Cartagena blog for our top recommendations!) or its lively nightlife (check out our Best Bars in Cartagena blog for your key to Cartagena nightlife).

Weather patterns in Cartagena

Cartagena experiences a tropical monsoon climate characterized primarily by two distinct seasons: the dry season and the rainy season. Understanding these weather patterns can help you plan your visit to ensure you get the best out of your trip. Here, we break down the weather in Cartagena by month. The dry season typically spans from December to April, while the rainy season extends from May to November. During the dry season, the weather is characterized by clear skies, abundant sunshine, and minimal rainfall. The driest month is typically January, with an average rainfall of 0.2 inches. Conversely, the rainy season brings frequent showers and occasional thunderstorms, often accompanied by high humidity levels. The rainiest month is October, with an average of 9.1 inches of rainfall.

Source: Climates to Travel

Dry Season in Cartagena (December to April) 

when to visit cartagena colombia
Sunny Day in Cartagena, Colombia.

Most people would recommend this season if you’re wondering when to travel to Cartagena. During the dry season in Cartagena, the weather is predominantly sunny, with clear blue skies and minimal rainfall. This makes it the perfect climate for outdoor activities and exploring the city’s quaint streets and stunning beaches. Temperatures during this period are warm, typically ranging from 24°C to 30°C (75°F to 86°F). This season is ideal for beach outings, strolling through the old town, or enjoying its many rooftop bars and terraces without the worry of sudden showers. There is also more wind during this time of year. Cool breezes refresh the hot streets, bringing a refreshing change from the humidity experienced the rest of the year. 

Rainy Season in Cartagena (May to November)

when to visit cartagena colombia
Rainy Day in Cartagena, Colombia.

The rainy season begins around May and extends through November. This period is marked by higher humidity and frequent rain showers. These can be quite heavy at times, particularly in the months of October and November. While the rain may come in quick bursts, often in the afternoon, it rarely disrupts an entire day’s plans. The temperatures remain warm, similar to the dry season. However, the increased moisture in the air can make the heat feel more intense. Despite the rain, the vibrant life in the city continues to thrive. The showers bring a refreshing change to the landscape, cooling down the air, albeit temporarily! Travelers visiting during this season can enjoy the verdant surroundings and fewer crowds at major tourist attractions, often leading to a more relaxed and intimate experience. 

One thing to keep in mind during the rainy season is that the infrastructure of the old town can easily collapse under the abundant rainfall. One or two hours of heavy rain can easily flood the old town, reducing mobility and causing disruptions. The flooding goes down quite quickly, however; once the sun comes out, it quickly evaporates. 

Best time to Visit Cartagena for Good Weather 

when to visit cartagena colombia
Young woman walking on a colorful street in the Old City of Cartagena, Colombia

Deciding on the best time to visit Cartagena largely depends on your preference for sunnier days versus experiencing the city with fewer tourists and potentially lower costs. The drier weather from December to April also coincides with Cartagena’s high season, which is between mid-December and mid-to-late January. With little to no rain and fresher weather due to increased winds, this is, without a doubt, the most pleasant season to visit Cartagena. However, prices of accommodation and flights go up in the high season, so make sure to budget more for trips during this time. 

Shoulder Season – Neither high season nor low season

Many tourists and visitors have also started visiting Cartagena during its “shoulder seasons”. The shoulder season isn’t either high season when tourism and prices are at an all-time high, or low season when there is a higher possibility of rain. It is a sweet spot when the weather is great, prices are lower, and there are fewer crowds. Shoulder season in Cartagena is in April and May, as well as November and the first half of December. Just make sure you avoid visiting during Holy Week (Easter Week) as the whole country floods with local tourism and prices rocket during this week.

Things to do in Cartagena During the Best Weather

Although Cartagena can—and must—be enjoyed all year round, certain activities are best suited to the drier season. Here’s a guide to some of the top things to do in Cartagena during these optimal months:

Enjoy the nightlife and party alfresco

when to visit cartagena colombia
Nightlife in El Baron, one of Cartagena’s best bars.

Cartagena is a city designed for the warm weather and year-round sunshine. Many of its bars and clubs have outdoor areas and rooftops. One of the joys of Cartagena is having an alfresco drink whilst feeling the warm breeze around your shoulders. We love to visit the rooftop terrace at Alquímico and La Jugada Club House and party on the patio at La Movida. If you’re looking for an intimate space to drink wine or cocktails and people-watch, we’ll meet you at an outdoor table at El Barón. Although all of these places also have indoor options, we love the open-air culture of their rooftops and patios. 

Rent a boat and explore the islands 

when to visit cartagena colombia
Luxury boat heading to Rosario Islands in Cartagena, Colombia.

Another unmissable activity to do in Cartagena during its months of sunny and dry weather is to rent a boat and take a trip to the islands. The nearby islands of the Islas del Rosario National Park offer white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters, ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing. Renting your own yacht, speedboat, or catamaran is the superior way to explore the islands. You are totally in control of your day and can bring your own drinks to chill in the Caribbean Sea with your group. 

Want to rent a yacht, speedboat, or catamaran with us? Get in touch for a quote today!

Attend cultural events and festivals 

when to visit cartagena colombia
Cultural performance during the Hay Festival at the Heredia Theater in Cartagena, Colombia.

Cartagena hosts several significant events during these months. The Cartagena International Music Festival, usually held in January, is a classical music event that attracts musicians and audiences from around the world. Additionally, the Hay Festival in late January features international artists, writers, and thinkers. You can find a wealth of talks and performances. There are many other music events and festivals that take place throughout the year, including the Wild Brunch. This highly-anticipated techno festival takes place a few days before New Year’s Eve and features live DJ and band performances. It’s our favorite way to end the year with a bang.

Visit historical monuments and attractions 

when to visit cartagena colombia
San Felipe Castle in Cartagena, Colombia.

There’s nothing quite like a sunny day to hike up to the top of Castillo San Felipe, Cartagena’s historical fortress built hundreds of years ago to protect the city from invading pirates. Learn about the city’s fascinating history, from indigenous settlements to African slaves to European colonizers. You can also enjoy stunning views of the city from the vantage point at the top of the fortress. There are also some day trips from Cartagena which are best enjoyed in the drier weather. For example, visiting the Botanical Gardens in Turbaco, the pink sea at Galerazamba, or the famous mud volcano, are all activities best enjoyed in the tropical sunshine. 

Want to learn more about day trips you can take from Cartagena? Get in touch with our concierge team today! 

Visit Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena shines brightest during its dry season, from December to April. The idyllic blend of sunny weather, cultural festivities, and outdoor activities makes it an unmissable travel destination in Colombia. But if you want to know when to visit Cartagena, rest assured that any time of the year will bring joy, adventure, and magical realism. Whether you’re a party seeker, a beach lover, or a foodie, Cartagena always has something special to offer. So pack your bags, bring your spirit of adventure, and prepare for an unforgettable journey to the jewel of the Caribbean coast.

We are always in Cartagena, rain or shine, and it’s our passion to help you plan your trip in the best way possible. Get in touch to start building your journey!


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