For additional information on major festivals, see www.colombia.travel/en/fairs-and-festivals. For information about regional festivals, see individual destination chapters.
Carnaval de Negros y Blancos, Pasto. Dating to indigenous groups celebrating the lunar calendar, this Carnival of blacks and whites is one of Colombia’s biggest festivals. Music, food, dancing, and parades with enormous floats put the town in party mode. January 4 to 6.
Feria de Manizales, Manizales. Essentially a bullfighting festival, Manizales annual fair attracts some of the top toreros from around the world. The weeklong event becomes a giant party with parades and pageants. Early to mid-January.
Hay Festival, Cartagena. Originally from England, this literary and arts festival branched out to Colombia more than a decade ago and now attracts tens of thousands of visitors. Nearly 150 events are set up in venues all over the city during the 4-day festival. Late January.
Carnaval de Barranquilla. The second-largest Carnaval celebration outside of Rio de Janeiro is as wild as they come. Days are filled with dancing cumbia, masquerade parades, pageants, and concerts. The weekend before Ash Wednesday.
Cartagena Festival Internacional de Cine (Cartagena Film Festival), Cartagena. Getting bigger each year, this film festival attracts stars from around the Americas. Screenings and judging take place in theaters around town, including at Teatro Colón near the Centro de Convenciones. Founded in 1959, it is the oldest film festival in Latin America. Early March.
Festival Iberoamericano de Teatro de Bogotá, Bogotá. More than 100 performing arts companies from more than 80 countries around the world come to Bogotá. They perform on stages, in the bullring, in shopping malls, on plazas, and elsewhere around the city. The event lasts for 2 weeks and occurs every other year. Late March to early April.
Semana Santa. Handsome and spectacularly reverent processions mark Easter week, particularly in the city of Popayán. Other important celebrations take place in Mompós, Pamplona, and Bogotá. Late March/early April.
Rock al Parque, Bogotá. South America’s largest rock festival takes place in Simón Bolívar Park, attracting the biggest bands on the Colombian music scene. The annual 3-day festival was launched in 1985 and attracts hundreds of thousands of concertgoers each year. It is free of charge. Early July.
Festival de la Confraternidad Amazónica, Leticia. A festival of cultural integration among communities in the Tres Fronteras region, which includes Colombia, Peru, and Brazil The event is marked with dances, music, pageants, and food. July 15 to 20.
Fiestas Patrias. A series of patriotic parties mark Colombia’s 1810 independence from Spain. Major events include a Grand National Concert and a 17-day hike to relive the journey liberator Simón Bolívar took several hundred years ago. Major celebrations occur in Bogotá, Medellín, and Cartagena. July 20.
Petronio Álvarez Festival, Cali. Named in honor of a musician from Cascajal, this annual festival is a celebration of the native music and culture of Colombia’s Pacific Coast. Nicknamed “el Petronio.” Early August.
Feria de las Flores, Medellín. This weeklong event is one of Colombia’s most important festivals, attracting visitors from all over Colombia and the world. Festivities include orchid exhibitions, paso fino horse parades, a pageant, concerts, and awards. Early August.
Alimentarte, Bogotá. The capital’s biggest culinary festival attracts some of the best chefs in the world, and more than 150 restaurants. The 3-day event includes demonstrations, deals in restaurants, food stands in Parque Virrey, and a showcase of Colombian ingredients. Late August.
Congreso Nacional Gastronómico, Popayán. The national culinary festival includes conferences and workshops, as well as the preparation of traditional foods. First week of September.
Festival Mundial de Salsa, Cali. This global salsa competition brings together more than 5,000 dancers from all of the salsa schools in Cali with dance academies from other cities and abroad. September.
Festival de Jazz, Mompós. This annual jazz festival attracts an array of national and international musicians to this Magdalena River town. Early October.
Concurso Nacional de Belleza, Cartagena. This 4-day event celebrates the annual contest to elect Miss Colombia, with pageants and an awards ceremony on the final night. Early November.
Feria de Cali, Cali. One of the largest parties in Colombia, the Cali fair celebrates bullfighting, salsa dancing, pageantry, and basically anything that makes Caleños happy. December 25 to 30.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.