Christmas 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
December is a wonderful time to visit Colombia. As this country is located near the equator, temperatures in the region tend to be fairly even year-round and both Medellin and Cartagena offer unique advantages in terms of weather and experiences.
Medellin, often referred to as the “City of Eternal Spring,” offers a mild and dry climate that enjoys a consistently pleasant climate throughout the year making it perfect for outdoor activities. In December, the weather is particularly mild, with average daytime temperatures ranging from 64°F (18°C) to 75°F (25°C), which makes it an ideal escape from colder climates during the Northern Hemisphere’s winter.
While Cartagena, located on the Caribbean coast of Colombia, enjoys warm and sunny weather throughout the year. In December, temperatures range from 75°F (24°C) to 87°F (31°C), making it an excellent destination for those seeking a tropical climate during the holiday season and enjoying the beach without the scorching heat of the summer months, ideal for beach lovers and cultural explorers. Perfect weather for visiting the nearby Rosario islands!
Your choice between these two cities will depend on your preferences for climate and the type of holiday experience you seek.
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
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 includes 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 traveling with children, a partner, or friends, the beauty of Medellin’s Christmas lights is not to be missed. In 2022, the lights were inspired by Disney’s movie Encanto and didn’t disappoint in being a spectacular show where the entire city was transformed with millions of LED lights into the Disney story that captured so many hearts.
Explore the Pueblos
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 del 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 200 ft 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.