Colombia is one of the most beautiful countries in the entire world. International travelers frequently flock to Colombia to explore its rich biodiversity, lush highlands, and tropical seaside resorts. But Colombia offers so much more – the energy and liveliness of the Colombian people is unmatched and underscores why it’s known as the land of the the rhythm.

There is no better example of this than the annual festivals that transform the entire country.

Join us as we explore three of the biggest festivals in Colombia that unite the country each year in celebrations of colors, sounds, food, games, and fun. The experience of witnessing Colombian festivals up close promises to be unforgettable.

Flower Festival

Flower Festival
Photo by: Oscar Garces

Flower Festival Courtesy Bureau of Medellín

Because of its pleasant climate, Medellin is known as the City of never-ending spring, making it the perfect city to host festivals. The Flower Festival was founded to showcase Medellin’s rich heritage and role as the flower capital of Colombia, celebrating with a week-long event of concerts, parades, parties, expos, fireworks, and social events for both Colombian and international travelers. Your entire family will love joining this festival that bursts with vibrant colors, fantastic food, and over 150 exciting events involving animals, dancers, and musicians.

One of the highlights of the Flower Festival is the “Silletero Parade”, in which flower farmers display their most ornate flower arrangements on a route through the city. The annual festival takes place for ten days each year around the end of July and beginning of August.  

Carnival of Barranquilla

Carnival of Barranquilla
Photo by: Kobby Dagan

Carnival of Barranquilla Courtesy Carnival of Barranquilla

If you’re looking for a festival that your entire family will love, the Carnival of Barranquilla is a great option. Heralded by many as the biggest party in the world, the Carnival of Barranquilla is the second largest carnival globally and celebrates the fusion of European, Indian, and African cultures that have created modern-day Colombia.

As you explore the Carnival, you will be transported into a world of children and adults alike dressed in ornate costumes as Carnival characters. Wandering the lively streets, sample a rich array of Colombian food and drink prepared fresh on site as talented dance troupes try to win the hearts of the audience and the minds of the competition judges.

The Carnival, that has been recognized by UNESCO for its extravagant parties, musical and masquerade parades, and street dances, takes place each year a few days before Ash Wednesday.

Blacks and Whites Carnival

Blacks and Whites Carnival
Photo by: Andres Virciescas

Blacks and Whites Carnival Courtesy Corpocarnaval Miguel Garzon

Celebrated every year between the end of December and the first week of January, the Blacks and Whites Carnival takes place in San Juan de Pasto, southwest Colombia, and gets its name from carnival attendees who paint their faces black and white during this three-day whirlwind of wild colors, lively musicians, and dynamic dancers. As you stroll through the festivities, you just may find yourself showered with foam and talcum powder, a festival tradition that transforms Pasto into a wonderland.

The carnival’s origins are a mix of Andean, Amazonian, and Pacific cultural expressions, and the celebration is designated as a UNESCO Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Join Colombian natives and other visitors in this celebration of old legend, ancestral rituals, and multicultural and social diversity.

For an experience unlike any other, take a trip to explore and feel the rhythm of Colombia's festivals. From song and dance to food and culture, Colombia and its people offer an unparalleled experience that will leave you and your family and friends wanting more.