This Country Knows How to Party, Here’s when…
If you’ve ever wanted to turn your back on skyrocketing prices for everything from healthcare to real estate to public transportation and restaurant meals, now’s your chance.
And if you’ve ever wanted to walk away from long, bitterly cold winters and brutally hot summers… then I’ve got the place for you. Medellin, Colombia has more holidays than almost any other country in the world. So if you’re excited about visiting a country that knows how to holiday, make your way to Medellin during any of their 18 annual festivals and work-stoppages.
What makes it so great down here?
The short answer is that Colombia is a predominantly Catholic country, so religious holidays are observed throughout the year, and often on Mondays. For us, this schedule means there are a LOT of spectacular three-day weekends.
What’s really amazing, is when you ask the average Colombian on the street what the a national holiday is, more often then not they might not even know the occasion.
Paisas like to travel to nearby pueblos, the Caribbean coast, or other parts of the country during these long weekends, but it’s worth sticking around for certain holidays that are a lot of fun to celebrate in Medellín.
For this reason, we advise you to take into consideration the variety of annual festivals and events that are worth attending when making your travel plans.
Speaking of travel plans, here’s a splendid option for lodgings while you’re in Medellin enjoying all these festivals!
While there’s always a lot going on in Medellín, there are two absolute best times in our opinion…
The first, is to visit during the 10-day Feria de las Flores (Festival of Flowers), which happens from late July to early August.
The second, equally thrilling time happens in mid to late December when the Christmas lights illuminate Medellin’s city like nothing you’ve ever seen. Aside from the beauty of these events, the festive atmosphere is terrific.
Wikipedia features a complete list of public holidays in Colombia; below, we outline the biggest ones, as well as the major annual festivals and events. Keep these in mind when planning to visit us!
March/April Semana Santa and Easter
The week before Easter, look out for Semana Santa ( the Holy Week), is one of the busiest travel periods for Colombian nationals. Paisas head out to pueblos and the beautiful Caribbean coast during this long holiday weekend, making Medellín a rather quiet place to be during Semana Santa, since the paisas who don’t travel typically spend this time with their families, at church, and holding religious processions in the streets.
June Tango Festival and World Championships
Want to tango? Medellín’s annual celebration of tango features free concerts, dance performances, a competition and much more.
Great deals on lodging during festivals, right here.
July Colombia Salsa Festival
Cali may be the salsa capital of Colombia, but Medellín plays host to the country’s annual salsa festival (referred to as a “salsa congress” in some countries). Te event is a mix of dance workshops, competitions, concerts, and social dancing.
What? You didn’t know? Medellín is the fashion and textile capital of Colombia! This means they proudly host the country’s annual fashion week in the last week of July. This exclusive three-day exhibition is open to the public, so you can get in with an all-access pass for just 80,000 pesos ($45). Worth attending if you are a fan of either fashion or scantily clad models. In the evenings, there are runway shows and after-parties, but those events are by invitation only; so make friends fast, and enjoy an excitement that’s not found anywhere else.
Last Weekend of July and First Week of August La Feria de las Flores
If you love flowers, you won’t want to miss the city’s annual Flower Festival. A 10-day celebration of all things paisa, a cultural extravaganza. This is, hands-down, Medellín’s biggest street party of the year. Highlights include La Cabalgata, an all-day parade featuring thousands of horses; the antique car parade; and the extraordinary flower parade on the last Sunday. A lot of concerts and smaller events are also held to coincide with La Feria.
A three-day music festival annually held in October, Altavoz features bands from around Latin America, and the world. With a balanced mix of genres, ranging from rock and punk, metal to reggae and electrotango, there’s surely something to suit all tastes. We see this wondrous event as a welcome respite for those who need a break from the ubiquitous salsa and vallenato.
October 31 Halloween
Paisas love to dress up and party in the discotecas for Halloween. The women, especially, go all out. Insert “sexy” in front of just about any profession, and there will be a girl wearing that costume. Sexy cops, sexy nurses, sexy fairy-tale characters, sexy angels— you’ll see it all.
November 30 Celebrate the Start of December
On the last night of November, paisas take to the streets to celebrate the start of the December holiday season. The event includes lots of fireworks, especially at the stroke of midnight. For the rest of December, you’ll regularly see fireworks are set throughout the city every night by people celebrating the season.
December 1‒31 Christmas Lights
Starting in late October, workers for the EPM utility company begin stringing up millions of little Christmas lights throughout Medellín, Envigado, and the surrounding cities. (This is the special display we mentioned above.) When the lights go on around December 7th, you’ll experience a city transformed. The displays are special and incredible to behold, with lights up and down the streets of Centro, strung over and along Río Medellín, blanketing Parque Envigado from end to end. Paisas pack chiva party buses to tour the lights, which remain on through the end of the month.
Grab a luxury apartment for the month of December to enjoy the party, right here.
December 7‒8 Immaculate Conception
Aside from Semana Santa and Christmas, celebrating the Virgin Mary and the Immaculate Conception in December may be the most interesting Catholic holiday to observe in Medellín. On the nights of December 7 and 8, paisas light colored candles on the sidewalks, outside their homes, bars, and businesses. People can be also be seen sitting and chatting outside their homes with friends and family. Combined with the Christmas lights, it’s a very picturesque couple of nights.