Nothing beats the joy of a festival or fair in the world’s most welcoming country. Be part of the story and join in the fun at festivals in Colombia.
? “Que todo, que todo el mundo te cante, que todo el mundo te mime, celoso estoy pa´que mires, no me voy más ni por miles”... ?
? “Let everyone, let the whole world sing to you, the whole world pamper you, I envy them for looking at you, I wouldn’t leave for anything” ?
Each Colombian region has its own, original, soundtrack – a series of songs that transport its visitors to an exact place or season. This is all part of Colombia’s unmissable festival calendar, a series of unforgettable events that are unique in their own way.
Have you ever watched a film you love, over and over again, because it’s guaranteed to put you in a great mood? Colombia has a similar effect on its visitors. The location of the festival may change every time, but the fun is always guaranteed. Get your “pinta” – that’s the Colombian word for ‘outfit’ – ready and you’re good to go.
We can answer this question by asking another. How many places would you like to visit in Colombia? Thousands, right? Well, that’s the number of festivals and events you’ll find in the most welcoming place on earth. You’ll find a celebration a day here in Colombia: the curtain opens, the action begins and the guests dance as if there were no tomorrow.
Land in Cali and locals will say you’ve landed in heaven, because Cali is known as “a branch of heaven”. You’ll be greeted by the sound of salsa, which most likely will be Grupo Niche, the stars of the Cali Fair soundtrack but far from its only performers.
The party starts in December. The Cali Fair is the way in which the capital of the Valle de Cauca marks the end of every year, with salsa and fun that includes the famous salsadrome, concerts and parades, as well as friendship, festive cheer and, of course, lashings of dance. It’s like stepping straight into a movie musical.
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Besides dance and song, there’s plenty to see in the city of Cali, and Valle de Cauca too. Visitors will enjoy the endless sugarcane fields, as well as the Cali River boardwalk, the River Cat sculpture, Ermita Church and Pascual sports stadium.
Colombia’s festivals often involve dancing and partying until dawn, so it’s worth exploring the Colombian countryside and wildlife, as well as the many other activities on offer for visitors, if you’re looking to unwind. Consider:
Once you’ve seen all those, the party is ready to begin… As the famous salsa song goes, playing on the fact that Cali sits in a valley:
? “Que Cali es Cali señores, lo demás es loma” ?
? “There’s nothing quite like Cali, everything else is just hills” ?
It’s one of the world’s most famous celebrations - the Barranquilla Carnival - and it’s spearheaded by its beloved mascot, Joselito Carnival. This much-loved doll comes to life to the sound of cumbia, puya and other musical genres and slumbers again when the party ends.
The festivities begin in March each year, but it’s worth having your costume well prepared in advance, because vibrant outfits are the key to this buoyant celebration.
There’s a reason the Barranquilla Carnival is the most widely known in Colombia. It really does have it all: costumes, parades and dance… all in one of the most beautiful cities, on the coast of a country where the people are full of happiness and joy, 365 days a year.
? “Tolón tolón dicen las gotas por los charcos de un lugar” ?
? “Splish splash say the drops in the puddle of a place” ?
Even the raindrops in Barranquilla can’t resist dancing to the beat. The city doesn’t stop enjoying itself for a second, and when the party pauses, other fun and activities take over.
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Let’s plan the perfect day for you, what do you say? Imagine that you’ve been dancing all night and plan to relax and recuperate with a morning stroll to the city’s Plaza de la Paz (Peace Plaza). In the afternoon, head out into the wilderness to revitalize the senses. Try Bocas de Ceniza, where the sea and river meet. At night, of course, you’ll be ready to party once more and go out in all your finery.
If you fancy a little sunbathing to get yourself primed for your starring role in the carnival, head to Puerto Colombia or the Salgar Beaches, where you can enjoy a relaxing day full of sea, sunshine and beach snacks.
It’s the sixteenth century. Life has changed forever in the Americas and you’re experiencing a historical flashback as part of one of Colombia’s oldest festivals. The Black and White Carnival celebrates a blend of Colombian cultures and expressions that date back to 1546.
Just as if they were actors in a play, the people in this corner of Colombia go all out to embody the characters in their festival, coming together to exalt their differences.
This great carnival begins in Pasto every January. Parades, make-up, music and fun are its hallmarks. This is another unique festival on the Colombian calendar, in a charming setting that needs to be seen to be believed.
With firm, determined steps, the warriors advance towards the abyss. On the horizon, between two mountains, a stone giant rises. This is Our Lady of Las Lajas church. The scene here is straight out of a fantasy film, but it’s real. This is Nariño. This is Pasto. And this is what you have come to see.
When you have time to step away from the festivities, become an explorer. Conquer places including Las Lajas, the La Cocha lagoon, the famous ‘Green Lagoon’ of the Azufral Volcano, and the Cumbal Volcano … all of these will transform your perception of the Colombian landscape.
As part of your journey through the Colombian festival calendar, you’re going to come across certain words that all allude to the festivities. The following all mean ‘party’ in Colombian Spanish slang, so it’s worth remembering them:
¿Which are your favorite Colombia festivals?
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