4 – 6 January: Carnival de Negros y Blancos, Pasto
Celebrated in an Andean city in the south west of Colombia, this wonderful festival celebrates the multicultural heritage of the region, including Indian, Spanish and African cultures. Celebrations include the Day of the Water –prepare to get wet! Plus there is a children’s carnival and a family parade, amazing floats and vibrant costumes.
4 – 11 January - Feria de Manizales (Manizales festival). Celebrate the culture of coffee and the traditional culture of the region. Events include equestrian displays and bullfighting. All set in the lush surrounds of the beautiful Zona cafeteria (coffee region) of Colombia.
29 January – 1 February – Hay Festival, Cartagena. This is a cultural celebration of literature, film, music and art. This is your chance to rub shoulders with prominent writers, journalists, film- makers and musicians from around the world, who descend on the historical city to take part in events and hold discussions. There are also events for children.
Baranquilla carnival, celebrated four days before Ash Wednesday each year. It’s a celebration of Colombian culture, music, colour and local folklore, and one of the world’s best parties. Celebrations include a series of colourful floats, and locals and visitors join together to rumba in typical Colombian style.
International film festival, Cartagena. Film buffs will love a week’s worth of the best films from Latin America and Spain
Semana Santa (Easter week)
Easter in Popayan - Holy Week processions in Popayán are a 400-year long tradition, with locals participating in traditional religious processions in the city streets
Easter in Mompox – Easter celebrations here reflect the mixture of Christian and pagan rituals. Their unique processions are fascinating spectacles for tourists. There are also children’s celebrations the week before Easter week.
Ibero-American Theater Festival of Bogotá (pictured)
Every two years, in March/April for 17 days, including Easter week
This is one of the largest performing arts festivals in the world, with over 2 million spectators enjoying 450 performances. The city comes alive with street performers, parades and theatre performances showcasing dance, circus, music and puppetry.
Bogota International Book Fair, held every year in late April, for 2 weeks.
Bookworms unite each year in this unique event which turns Bogota into the world’s largest library. Bringing authors and publishers from around the world, each year a different country is invited to be the host. There are also cultural events, and children’s workshops.
Colombiamoda (fashion week), Medellin, 3 days
Bringing the world’s fashionistas to the textile capital of Colombia, this three day celebration of Latin American designers is an important opportunity to showcase their creations to the rest of the world.
The Medellin Flower Fair
Flower festival (Feria de flores), Medellin. An eight day celebration of vibrant colours, spectacular floral exhibitions as well as other events such as equestrian and antique cars.
Alimentarte (Food festival), Bogota
Celebrating the evolution of Bogota cuisine as well as fare from around the world, the city’s best chefs put on a gastronomical display for all to enjoy. Visit the festival stalls and sample the signature dishes of some of Bogota’s leading restaurants.
Cali World Salsa Dance Festival. Thousands of participants from Cali, Colombia and around the world join together to compete in the ultimate salsa showdown. Tourists can enjoy spectacular salsa shows by world class dancers.
Jazz el Parque, Bogota, 2 days
Enjoy the cool sounds of jazz in some of Bogota’s most picturesque parks. Events take place in Parque Simón Bolívar, Parque Nacional,Parque de la Independencia, Parque del Renacimiento, La Media Torta, Parque de Los Novios.
National Beauty Pageant, Cartagena, in the first two weeks November
As part of the two week celebration of the Independence of Cartagena, the National Beauty Pageant is a spectacle not to be missed. Some of the sexiest women in the world ride floats through the gorgeous cobble stoned streets of this amazing city, as well as other events that take place during the week long event. The event unsurprisingly draws people from around the world, tourists, celebrities and paparazzi alike.
Christmas time, anywhere. Navidad is a wonderful time to be in Colombia. People gather together to celebrate with their families on December 24, and many decorate their streets and houses with colourful lights.
Two stand out light festivals are mentioned here.
Festival of the lights – Medellin, First week December – first week January
Medellin turns on a light spangled spectacular each year, with millions of lights in intricate patterns and displays illuminating the city centre. Locals and tourists spend hours each evening walking up and down the river enjoying the display, local eats and soaking up the Christmas spirit.
7,8 December Festival of the lights – Villa de Lleyva
Christmas celebrations traditionally begin with ‘Noche de las velitas’ (night of the candles), on December 7. Villa de Lleyva, a beautiful historic town only a few hours from Bogota, is a family favourite for this celebration. The town treats its visitors to a spectacular fireworks display, lantern displays and choir performances.
Experience football fever, South American style. The Colombian ‘Primera A’ (A league) final is played across two matches in the home grounds of the qualifying teams. Matches are also played regularly around the country during the season.
Feria de Cali
Rock el parque bogota
Salsa el parque bogota