10 Best Ways to Celebrate the Winter Holidays in Colombia

Last year, I was in Bogota like now with my girlfriend.

Not having planned a trip back home to the US for New Years, I figured I would be celebrating New Years in Colombia.

Now when I was younger, celebrating New Years in Colombia meant getting wasted on beer and having sex with some chick I met on Tinder or wherever.

But not this time – time for a mature way to celebrate New Years!

How so?

Well, there was a cool rock bar in Bogota I went to with my girlfriend for us to sit down and enjoy a live performance.

And then go back to my place for the night to enjoy a quick meal she cooked and then have a good night together.

Maybe not the most exciting way to celebrate New Years but I enjoy a simple way of doing things.

But over the years of living here, I have seen events and celebrations held for New Years in Colombia.

And you can enjoy them if you happen to be in Colombia for New Years here!

So here are some ideas for you all based on what I have seen…

Idea 1: Celebration with the Gringos

Over the years of living here, I have noticed some bars get a lot more gringos or foreigners here than others…

You know, the typical Irish bar, right?

So if you are all alone in Colombia and want to meet some fellow foreigners down here, try going to some bar that attracts other foreigners.

I guarantee you that you will find other foreigners like yourself.

It’s something I have done occasionally over the years here and has resulted in meeting cool people along the way.

From places like the US, Canada, Australia, England, Germany, Norway, etc.

And on top of that, you can usually find a usual “gringo hunter” or two in these venues also.

Gringo hunters, as written about here, are usually chicks in Colombia that are seeking to date or get laid with foreigners.

Obviously, they tend to go to the bars where more foreigners would show up.

So why not celebrate New Years with some fellow Americans or other foreigners while maybe getting laid also afterwards?

Good dudes. Cute chicks. Beer.

What more could you need?

Idea 2: Bring Family Over

If for some reason you won’t be able to return to your home country…

Why not bring the people you love from your home country to Colombia?

This was something I did back in 2011 when I had family visit me in Colombia.

This is especially recommended if you plan on living down here long term as your family can see how your life is down here and the city you live in.

And perhaps even the girl you are dating if you happen to have someone special in your life?

So if your family does come down to visit, make preparations. Get reservations for a nice restaurant perhaps and plan out a good day and night for everyone to enjoy.

It will definitely be an interesting experience for them if they have been to Colombia or outside the US and also a good experience for your girl also for her to meet your family.

Idea 3: Go to a Finca

If you want a more relaxing way to celebrate New Years or Christmas, then get yourself set up in a finca.

For those who don’t know, fincas are usually some estate building or cottage on a piece of land in the rural countryside.

They usually offer great experiences to really enjoy a nice weekend with someone you love.

It’s common for Colombians with enough money to visit a finca for a vacation or holiday.

And there’s a good reason why – they are usually very relaxing and enjoyable.

So if you are interested to know more about it, check out this article I wrote here.

Idea 4: Take a Trip

Speaking of taking a nice trip to a finca…

Why not leave Colombia and go somewhere really nice to celebrate New Years or Christmas?

Now granted, there are plenty of places to do so in Colombia and we will cover more of them below but…

It’s not a bad idea to go to Patagonia in Chile or Argentina for example.

Or perhaps a nice city like Miami – which is a place that a lot of Colombians and other Latinos in Latin America sometimes love to visit when they have enough money.

When you live here long enough, you will see the Latinos with enough money take trips to Miami or NYC for vacation.

So if you have a Colombian girl to celebrate the holidays with, she might enjoy going to a place like that.

And you might like it too – NYC is a fun place to be for vacation.

Or why not somewhere in Europe?

I’ve been around Europe plenty of times and have enjoyed Italy quite a bit.

Just something to consider as a possible way to enjoy the holidays with someone special in your life.

Idea 5: Ruta de Navidad

To celebrate Christmas in Colombia, why not go to Bogota to enjoy the Ruta de Navidad?

The Ruta de Navidad is a special occasion where the city is lit up with Christmas lights and hosts different Christmas festivities throughout the capital.

These events are organized the town hall of Bogota.

One of the coolest points to see along the “Christmas Route” or Ruta de Navidad is at a park called Parque El Tunal. Here you will find a very tall Christmas tree with plenty of lights.

Then you have all the musical celebrations in Plaza de Bolivar.

After enjoying all of that, you can also check out the decorations in San Victorino, Chorro de Quevedo, Plazoleta de los Periodistas, Parque El Virrey, Carrera Séptima, Parque de la Independencia, Parque 93 and Parque Nacional.

And much more!

Without any doubt, Bogota is definitely one of the best cities to be celebrating Christmas and the New Years in Colombia.

So if you happen to speak Spanish and want to learn more, check out their website for more information on the Ruta de Navidad here.

Idea 6: Go to the Caribbean Coast

Why not celebrate the holidays on the Caribbean Coast?

Here you will find a lot of celebrations in Cartagena for example.

Which is another of one of the best cities to be celebrating the holidays at during this time.

You will find plenty of music and excitement in the Old Town of Cartagena to be a fun experience and memorable.

And outside of Cartagena, you can get a nice hotel situated near any of the amazing beaches nearby.

If you want more information anyway on some of the beaches you can enjoy in Colombia and also on the Caribbean Coast, check out this article I wrote here.

Idea 7: Enjoy some of the Traditions

In Colombia, there are certain traditions that you can do to celebrate New Years or Christmas with your friends and Colombian partner.

Supposedly, one tradition you can engage in is running around the street in public with a suitcase. This is supposedly a way to bring about more travel opportunities for you in the future.

On top of that, eating 12 grapes for New Years is supposed to bring good luck to you where the 12 grapes represents the next 12 months of good luck.

Another tradition is to get a life-sized doll to symbolize the Año Viejo or last year. Then you are supposed to burn the doll before midnight of New Years to get rid of any negativity of the previous year.

These are just some of the traditions that you can enjoy while doing anything else on the list also.

Idea 8: Enjoy Los Alumbrados in Medellin

This is a seasonal event in Medellin where millions of Christmas lights are hung up throughout the city.

And where light shows and other cultural events are held in Medellin to celebrate Christmas.

You will usually find plenty of these lights near La Playa Avenue and the Medellin River while you can also find more events in other parts of Medellin also.

What is also cool about this is that many of these events are held throughout the entire month of December so you can visit anytime and enjoy something cool being held there.

Similar to Bogota and Cartagena, Medellin is definitely one of the other coolest cities to enjoy Christmas and the New Year at.

But where else can you have a good time in Colombia?

Idea 9: Experience the Feria de Cali

Another cool Colombian city to enjoy the holidays is at Cali.

Where they host the Feria or Cali near the very end of December from the 25th to the 30th.

This is an exciting festival where you can learn to dance salsa, watch live performances and people dancing down the street…

While enjoying some good drinks with your friends or someone special.

If you speak Spanish and want to know more, check out the website for the Feria de Cali here.

Idea 10: Enjoy the Feria de Manizales


After you are done celebrating the Holidays in December in Bogota, Medellin or wherever you decide to go…

You don’t have to stop the fun just yet!

Head on over to Manizales where you can enjoy the Feria de Manizales.

Which is a festival in this city in the Colombian Coffee Triangle that starts in the first weekend after the New Year.

And while you are at it, why not enjoy visiting a finca in this area at the same time.

Knock out two birds with one stone basically and have double the fun. 😉

And if you want to know more about the Feria de Manizales, check out the Facebook page for it here.

Final Thoughts

Thankfully, many of these ideas are things you can do any year to enjoy the holidays in Colombia.

So make sure to stop by to this wonderful country and engage in some of these activities.

It will definitely be memorable and enjoyable.

For myself, I’ll be having a nice dinner with my Colombian girlfriend and continuing to enjoy all the Christmas lighting and holiday events in the rest of December.

And if you have any ideas for how to enjoy the holidays here or questions, let me know in the comment section below or send me an email.

Thank you for reading and take care

Hasta luego parceros,


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(1) comment

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