Colombia (sometimes fondly known as ' locombia ', referring to the Spanish word 'loco', which means 'mad') is divided into two seasons: the dry season, from December to February and from July to August, and the rainy season, from April to May and from October to November. The months in between make up the country's shoulder season. The climate generally depends on the region and altitude so read on to find out about the best time to visit Colombia. The Amazon and Caribbean regions enjoy a tropical climate, the Pacific region is fairly wet and the Andean region is sometimes very wintry during its coldest months. Colombia really is a country of diversity.
January : Pleasant weather across most of the country
January is in the middle of the dry season and the perfect time to explore Colombia's stunning coastline and nature. However, be careful when choosing which coast to visit... While the Caribbean coast tends to experience very pleasant weather, the Pacific coast is affected by heavy downpours. There are still plenty of outdoor activities even if it might not be the best beach weather. In the Caribbean region, UNESCO-listed Cartagena, and its amazing Hispanic architecture, is an absolute must during your trip.
For hikers visiting the valleys of the West Andes, most of the region tends to enjoy sunny days and pleasant temperatures, perfect for hiking. Although Bogota and the Altiplano Cundiboyacense in the Eastern Ranges of the Colombian Andes mainly enjoy beautiful sunny weather, bear in mind that showers are common. So, make sure you pack for wet weather just in case.
February : The start of the rainy season
In February, rainfall begins to gain ground in Colombia. Although it's still sunny most of the time in Bogota and the surrounding area, it often rains and temperatures are cooler.
The West Andes experiences a lot of rainfall, especially at the western end, in Medellin and other towns in Colombia's famous Coffee Triangle, known locally as the 'Eje Cafetero'. When the sun does come out, the iconic cities of Manizales, Pereira and Armenia are a must in this famous coffee-making region.
Tip : Head to the Caribbean coast for glorious weather While on the Caribbean coast, soak up its white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters... and avoid the Pacific coast, where dark looming clouds bring heavy downpours and unbearably hot temperatures.
March : Wet weather is gaining ground
Although the rainy season doesn't officially begin until April, many regions are already seriously affected by floods in March. Let's start with Bogota and the Altiplano region of the Colombian Andes. There are still about two weeks of sunshine during March, perfect for visiting Boyaca and the surrounding area, located north of the capital. This region is a hiker's paradise and offers breathtaking views of green valleys, lagoons, waterfalls, deserts and glaciers.
On your way to the West Andes, it will become increasingly humid with many showers and torrential rainfall. And it doesn't look any better on the Pacific coast. Only the Caribbean coast still enjoys beautiful weather during March.
April : A heatwave hits the country
Apart from the high-altitude areas, which remain mild, the rest of the country experiences warm and humid weather that is quite uncomfortable. There's also a lot of rainfall, particularly in the Altiplano Cundiboyacense, the high plateau of the Eastern Ranges of the Colombian Andes. With this in mind, remember to pack warm layers, as it's also rather chilly in this region in April . This drop in temperature, combined with wet weather, also occurs in the West Andes.
The beautiful weather in the Caribbean region comes to an end and sunshine is replaced by tropical rain. The same goes for the Amazon region. However, the city of Santa Marta usually stays dry. It's the highest mountainous region in Colombia of more than 16,400ft, with snow-covered peaks all year round. Always have the help of a mountain guide when visiting.
Heavy downpours and tropical heat also hit the Pacific coast.
May : Things are looking up
Colombia's coastal cities continue to experience heavy rainfall, particularly in the Caribbean region where the heat is in full swing, sometimes causing thunderstorms. The Pacific coast is a safer bet during May, when the rain and high temperatures are slowly dying down. With this in mind, head to Gorgona Island, the perfect spot for diving and hiking.
Unlike the country's coast, the Altiplano and Bogota regions are still cold, while the valleys of the Colombian Andes are slowly warming up, however, wet weather is still frequent.
June : Better days are ahead
Sunshine and more enjoyable temperatures return to some of the country.
The Altiplano and Bogota regions continue to warm up nicely and this is the perfect time to go sightseeing. So, head to Guatavita, just under 45 miles from the capital. On your way, spot beautiful 'fincas' (country estates) and the stunning Lake Guatavita.
The sun starts to shine more and more in the famous Coffee Triangle region (West Andes) and everywhere looks colourful again. Showers are also giving way to beautiful sunshine on the Pacific coast. However, be aware that Santiago de Cali is still prone to thunderstorms. Only the Caribbean coast still has hot and humid weather.
July : The dry season is back
Bad weather is now a distant memory in Colombia – except for the Caribbean coast, where it's still unbearably hot and humid.
The sunshine and temperatures are perfect for adventures in the Altiplano and Bogota regions. The weather in the West Andes is also improving despite some persistent rainfall. The same goes for the Pacific coast and whales can even be seen in this region from July onwards . For a truly unique experience, head to Bahia Malaga : around 800 whales visit the bay every year.
August : A month of bad weather
Although it's still officially the dry season in August, there's more and more rainfall throughout the country, including in Bogota and the surrounding area (but on the plus side, the spring temperatures are pleasant), the Pacific coast, heavily affected by torrential rains, and the Colombian Andes. The Caribbean coast continues to experience suffocating heat and relentless rain. In short, August is not the best time to visit Colombia.
September : Varied weather depending on the region
There's varied weather in September depending on where you are in Colombia. Although showers are common, the high-altitude towns in the Altiplano region get a few degrees warmer for exciting adventures in the wild. In the West Andes, everything depends on where you go. Showers affect some cities such as Manizales and Pereira, while Armenia and Medellin enjoy drier weather.
The Pacific coast is also a safe bet as there are more sunny days than rainy days. We highly recommend Malpelo, a tiny island in the Pacific Ocean, declared by UNESCO as a Natural World Heritage Site and home to many endangered species and thankfully a no-fishing zone.
Unsurprisingly, it's best to avoid the Caribbean coast with its tropical weather.
October : Rain is a sure thing
The rainy season is picking up throughout the country, although the region depends on how heavy the rainfall is. The Altiplano and West Andes are often subject to flooding so October is not the best time for outdoor activities.
If you're visiting the Pacific coast, expect heavy downpours and some thunderstorms. However, bear in mind that October is also the last month for whale-watching in the Pacific. The Caribbean coast is still hot and humid.
The Amazon region has the best weather in the country: perfect for hiking and relaxing on idyllic beaches. A truly once-in-a-lifetime experience : Cano Cristales, with its succession of waterfalls and rock formations, some of which are thousands of years old, is arguably one of the finest natural wonders in the world.
November : Head to the Caribbean coast
Remember to pack waterproof clothing in November. Bogota, the Altiplano and West Andean regions are all subject to frequent flooding.
However, it's a different story on the Caribbean coast. Now there are as many sunny days as there are rainy days, perfect for enjoying the splendid beaches. However, be aware that the temperatures are still scorching. On the Pacific coast, the rainy season is still going strong in November.
December : The dry season is back
Colombia's dry season resumes in December. We recommend visiting both the Caribbean coast, to enjoy a sunshine-filled holiday with your toes in the sand, and the Andes, to enjoy endless hiking adventures with not a cloud in the sky. Overall, rainfall tends to decrease quite drastically throughout the country, with the exception of the Amazon region, which is fairly humid throughout the year. In other words, you can go almost wherever you like at this time of year.