Although Medellín is the Colombian city that is most internationally recognized for its Christmas lights, there are other not-to-miss places throughout Colombia that also dazzle at this time of year.
In addition to the most enthusiastic, who go to great lengths to create the best designs and share the Christmas spirit with everyone, many locals and visitors from around the world also enjoy the festivities and spectacles. There is nothing like walking around these cities and towns in search of illuminated treasures. So what are you waiting for? Visit Colombia and experience the delightful joy and creativity with which Colombians celebrate Christmas.
The Colombian capital shines during this season. The city’s lighting display is made up of 100 kilometers of rope lighting, 167,000 strings of LED mini lights, and 12 million light bulbs, illuminating about 7.5 kilometers of roads and more than 120,000 square meters of parks and squares—including emblematic places such as Plaza de Bolívar, Usaquén, and the Parque Nacional. There is something magical about walking along these streets; you will feel as if you were transported to another world—a place where color, music, and the best energy are the main ingredients.
This municipality, 5 hours from Bogotá, is known for having one of the most striking nativity scenes in Colombia. Although the majority of Colombian homes display small mangers symbolizing strong beliefs, this town goes above and beyond to stand out. More than 100 moving figures and 30 scenes represent the region’s customs; figures of artisans, ranchers, farmers, artists, houses, animals, and many others make the place come alive. In addition to seeing the lights, you can enjoy a sabajón de feijoa, a regionally typical creamy drink with a touch of alcohol, while perusing locally made crafts and ruanas, or ponchos. This is a not-to-miss destination in order to experience Colombian Christmas.
This Boyacá municipality’s decoratively lit streets and balconies make it feel like a movie set; it will leave you breathless. The beauty of the landscape as well as various events—such as the fireworks show that lights up the sky and the musical stroll through the streets—make Corrales one of the most visited places during the Christmas season.
‘Colombia’s Municipality of Light’ uses about 7,000 meters of rope lighting and 1.5 million bulbs in its Christmas lighting displays. You can also go up to the lookout point, enjoy delicious foods such as the tamal, drink hot chocolate or agua de panela, and enjoy live carranga music in the main square. If you want to learn more about carranga, come visit us and discover it for yourself.
Every year in Barranquilla, Christmas lights adorn 19 different emblematic places in the city. Among these are the Plaza de la Paz, the Metropolitan Stadium, and the Plaza de San Nicolás, as well as the Buenavista, Las Nieves, La Union, and Santo Domingo parks. The lights decorate each space filling them with character and flavor, matching the spirit of the costeño people themselves. The colors, shapes, and other details are perfectly combined, prompting people to spend time outside drinking a few beers and enjoying the Christmas atmosphere.
Paisas are very proud of their city. Medellín has become well-known thanks to the annual Christmas decoration and lighting that amazes both locals and foreigners who come specifically to see it. The combination of lights, large trees, 3D figures, and ornamental decorations make up the secret ingredients. In 2011, National Geographic magazine named Medellín’s Christmas light display as one of the 10 best in the world, alongside cities such as Hong Kong, Madrid, Brussels, and Vienna.
Here visitors can enjoy walking along the streets, lighting candles, relishing in the mild climate, and eating typical Colombian delicacies such as natilla, buñuelos, and the classic bandeja paisa—a must-try dish, no matter what time of year.
Quindío is also a must-see destination, because passionate locals have the tradition of going all out with their lighting displays—here there are no limits to creativity and enjoyment. Around 20,000 visitors come to this charming place to experience the Feast of the Immaculate Conception amidst candles, fireworks, and spectacular lanterns created by regional artisans. Their handiwork keeps Colombian traditions alive, enchanting anyone and everyone with the magic of Christmas in Colombia.
Between 120 and 140 lanterns are needed to illuminate each block of the town. Thanks to the lanterns’ beautiful designs, in 2009 the Ministry of Culture recognized this lovely tradition as intangible cultural heritage of the department.
Each year, thousands of caleños congregate around the Bulevar del Río for the Christmas lighting ceremony, which consists of more than 2 million light bulbs, rope lighting, and LED strings. The capital of salsa enjoys Christmas with food, lots of dancing, fireworks, and the best traditions.
In addition, during this season, Cali is getting ready to enjoy the Feria de Cali, which brings together thousands of people from Colombia and around the world. The festivities revolve around salsa, celebrations, colors, music, bars, food, and partying. Although salsa is the main component, the Christmas atmosphere, lights, and people’s cheerfulness also contribute to the festivities.
In recent years, Cali has added a mapping light show to the program, which projects allegorical Christmas images on buildings and churches to give them a touch of magic.
Although all around the world December is the perfect time to light up the nights, Colombian culture has something special that it adds to the season. The music, buñuelos, songs, novenas, gifts, and joy also help to illuminate every corner of a country that makes the most of the Christmas season.
Go ahead and get excited to travel to these destinations, learn about their cultures, and experience Christmas in a different way; the best thing about Colombia is knowing that in any corner, we can find light to brighten our lives, as there are always Colombians willing to contribute a secret ingredient to Christmas: sabrosura.