Colombia weather in December
|Avg. temperature: 19.9°C / 67.8°F
|Sun: 138 Hrs per month
|Rain: 81 mm per month
|Avg. humidity: 76%
Visiting Colombia in December
Are you dreaming of a not White Christmas? Are you trying to escape the biting cold and want to sink into the sand and sun? Colombia is the best place to take your relaxing vacation but never feel short of the festivities and the non-stop celebrations that Christmas brings all around the world. Colombia is a devout Roman Catholic country, this means that Colombians go big on Christmas all around the country. December is known as ‘Dia de las Velitas’ or Day of the Little Candles. Candles and lanterns are adorned around people’s houses and in the streets and shops creating a picturesque setting for the beautiful Christmas season.
From the 16th to the 24th of December, families gather in ‘novenas’ to pray, sing carols and decorate on the days leading up to Christmas. Other than Christmas trees and candles, people traditionally decorate their own versions or designs of the Nativity Scenes, which create an attraction of their own with their individualistic stylisms. Enjoy delicious Colombian Christmas fare! Try festive treats like Natilla, a Christmas flan as well as Bunuelos, Colombian fried doughnut balls, and Manjar Blanco, a rice pudding dish with sugar and cinnamon.
Another interesting Christmas tradition is the 28th of December, which is Innocents Day. This is Colombia’s answer to April Fools Day, where families and friends play pranks and jokes on each other, TV stations and street comedy performances are also common on this day.
Colombia’s seasonless climate is thanks to its position close to the equator. Colombia’s weather patterns are determined by the topography and altitude of wherever you choose to visit. Although it may be colder in Bogota high up in the Andes in comparison to the hot tropical climate in Cartagena, Bogota and other higher altitude cities will experience slightly hotter and drier climates as the heat from the Southern Hemisphere traces throughout the country.
The friendly disposition of the Colombian people and the vibrance of every city in every corner will be sure to bring as much holiday joy for you as much as it would at home!
Things to do in Colombia in December
Dia de las Velitas & Light Festivals
Little Candles Day on December 7th commences the Christmas season in Colombia. This is when Colombians light little candles and put them in paper lanterns to free them into the sky with their wishes and prayers, as well as placing them on windowsills and on terraces. Bogota shuts down during the evening to allow families to decorate the roads, plazas and parks. Cerro Monserrate peak in Bogota lights up in pure extravagance and splendor. In the Caribbean, people light their candles in the early morning on December 8th, as it marks the day of the Immaculate Conception, and families in Cali light their candles along the Cali River. The banks of the river as well as the river itself luminates through the night in a grand spectacle.
Medellin is famous for its Christmas lights and are put up well in advance in the holiday season. The hundreds of parks are lit up in a beautiful display of light as well as streets, avenues and arteries are lined with lights and candles and other decorations. This is a municipality-sponsored event, with millions in the budget to keep the tradition alive no matter what.
Festival de Luces
In the town of Villa de Leyva, the city is also filled with lights, but with a twist. A celebration of lights is put on with an extravagant display of fireworks. The festival is put on by the local firework companies and other national fireworks producers to bring the country together with fireworks. Villa de Leyva is a beautiful colonial town with the largest solely cobbled plaza in South America. Sprinkled with beautiful haciendas and not short of many attractions, like the statue of Jesus Christ overlooking the city, countless museums and homages to independence figures with cathedrals towering over the town. Take a nature walk to La Periquera waterfall, with its terraced flows and unique foliage.
Feria de Cali
Cali comes alive with the salsa festival in the last week of December. The Cali Fair is one of the most important cultural celebrations in the city. Everything synonymous with the culture of the region is amplified with horse riding, dance parties and parades. The Salsa Marathon portion of the festival will bring even the worst dancer to put on their dance shoes! Every year has different additions, but some additions have attracted Samba schools from Brazil, horseback racing, bullfights (cruelty-free) and athletic events. For you Salsa geeks and record enthusiasts, the Encuentro de Melomanos y Coleccionistas is an event in the fair for vinyl collectors, which is a local pastime. Bring some easy shoes, sunglasses and a cocktail and take in this exciting atmosphere!
If you want to just relax and enjoy the warm escape, Santa Marta is a great place to spend a quiet Christmas season. Santa Marta is the oldest town in Colombia and the first Spanish settlement in South America. Take a stroll along the corniche along the harbour where you can revel at the beauty of the Caribbean, and taste the local cuisine with one of the many vending stands dotted along the corniche. If you want an island excursion, Isla San Andres is a great location for some snorkel and sun. The beaches are known as ‘Mar de Siete Colores’ which means the Sea of Seven Colours. This refers to the beautiful multicoloured reefs that create perfect snorkeling opportunities.
Hotels in Colombia in December
December falls into the holiday season, which coincides with festivals and off times for not only international travellers, but also the local population as well. This means that it will be a peak season for travel. You will most likely be contending with local vacationers as well as foreign tourists. Flights and hotels will have an increase in price, and hotels will enforce a minimum night stay policy during this season, but prices for admissions for tourist destinations and museums as well as food will not change. Do not let this steer you away as Colombia is a very large country and there is something for everybody. Every corner of the country has a different culture, different history and a different set of attractions and experiences to offer.