Are you planning on visiting Colombia during December and January but you don’t know what the best place to be for New Year’s Eve is? If the answer is yes, then you are in the right place. In this post,
I will tell you the top 3 places to celebrate the end of the year in the best Colombia vacation spots.
During the last two weeks of December and the first two weeks of January, Colombia becomes a huge festival. There are plenty of important celebrations taking place, and both locals and foreigners gather to spend their holidays across the entire country.
This period is characterized by having the best celebrations of the year. From religious to historical and cultural celebrations, this is a time to relax, forget about your problems and spend time with your friends and family.
Among all the celebrations happening during that time frame, the two most important and widely celebrated in Colombia are Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
Traditionally, Colombians have celebrated Christmas at home with their families. They usually gather with their many cousins, aunts, and uncles to have an abundant meal and give presents to each other.
On the other hand, most Colombians like to celebrate New Year’s Eve with their friends. They often travel together to the countryside or the Caribbean coast and party hard all night long.
New Year’s Eve is considered a moment to celebrate the end of the year and welcome the new one, in style. Most of the people have huge meals together with their friends until right before midnight when they go out to the streets to enjoy the crowds, the fireworks, and some live music.
The legendary parties of New Year’s Eve in Colombia involve lots of dancing and drinking, and they usually end around 5 am when the sun rises.
There are a lot of great places to celebrate this important date in Colombia, but not all of them are necessarily linked with crazy parties and big crowds.
There are great celebration options for all type of travelers. The following are my favorite 3 Colombia vacation spots to celebrate New Year’s Eve.
From all places in Colombia to spend New Year’s Eve, Cartagena is the most popular one for both locals and foreigners. For Colombians, this has been the case for decades while for foreigners it is a bit more recent.
There is no doubt that Cartagena is a magic city. Its cute and colorful streets, its colonial churches and its cozy plazas, make this place incredibly charming.
Cartagena is a top tourist attraction all year long. But besides being a great city for sightseeing and relaxing, it is a fantastic place to party.
This is especially true during New Year´s Eve when the entire city becomes one huge party. It is like a carnival in which both locals and foreigners go to the streets to enjoy the fantastic fireworks and party as if it was their last day on earth.
The celebration is usually divided into 3 parts: (i) the dinner, (ii) the final countdown and the street parties, and (iii) the after-party in a club.
For the dinner, Cartagena is perhaps the best option in Colombia as there are plenty of excellent restaurants to choose from. Most of them offer a fixed menu for this night, and it is essential to make reservations in advance.
I advise you to book one restaurant that also offers live music to start getting into the party atmosphere. Additionally, it is essential that the restaurant is located in the old colonial center, so you don’t have to take a taxi to get there for the final countdown. As you can imagine, getting a taxi or an uber on New Year’s Eve is almost impossible.
Once you have finished your meal and had a few drinks, you should head towards the Plaza del Reloj to join everyone else for the final countdown and start the crazy street party. Here you will meet locals and foreigners having the times of their lives.
Once you have had enough of the street parties, you can head towards one of the many nightclubs of the city to continue the dancing until the sun rises. It is quite common for the best clubs to have invited DJs from other parts of the world, so it is essential that you buy your entry tickets in advance.
Even though Cartagena is not cheap, especially during this season, celebrating New Year´s Eve here is your best option if you are looking for a crazy party.
As I mentioned before, Cartagena is a trendy destination during those dates. Therefore, it is vital that you book your flights, hotels, restaurants and club tickets for at least one month in advance.
By the way, it is not only Cartagena that is popular for New Year´s Eve, also the Caribbean islands are a well-liked destinations for many Colombians and foreigners to start the new year. (List of best Colombian islands can be checked here)
As I said before, there are also some great destinations to spend New Year’s Eve for those who are not interested in partying. The best of those destinations is Ciudad Perdida (“The Lost City”).
Ciudad Perdida is an archaeological place hidden in the jungles of the mountains surrounding Santa Marta, in the north of Colombia. It is something like the Colombian Machu Picchu.
Visiting Ciudad Perdida involves an amazing adventure of 4 days hiking through the mountains and jungles, crossing creeks and rivers, and passing by some indigenous villages on the way.
It is an unforgettable experience, but during New Year´s Eve, the whole thing gets even more special.
During any other time, you will only be allowed to be in Ciudad Perdida itself for around 3 hours before you start going back down. During New Year’s Eve, you will be able to be there a lot longer and even spend the night right there.
To make things even better, some indigenous people from the Kogi tribes that live in these mountains, perform a small ceremony in Ciudad Perdida and you are allowed to participate in it.
So, when all other tourists are leaving Ciudad Perdida and starting their hike back down, you know you will have plenty more time to fully discover and enjoy this amazing archaeological place, participate in an indigenous ceremony and even spend the night right there.
It is a magical way to spend New Year’s Eve for those who love archaeology, nature and are not looking to party. If you are interested in hiking, you should this list of our top 5 of best hikes in Colombia.
However, to be able to have this option of spending New Year’s Eve in Ciudad Perdida itself, you will need to book the whole tour (5 days) with us, at least one month in advance. This is because only a small group of 12 people are allowed to have this experience.
Barichara is usually named as the most beautiful town in Colombia, and I actually agree with this statement.
It is a gorgeous little town located right next to a green canyon. The town´s architecture is one of the best samples of the times of the Spanish colony. Its cobblestone streets, big churches, and cozy plazas, make this town one of the best relaxing getaways in Colombia.
For wealthy Colombians, Barichara has been a touristic spot for already quite some time. For foreigners, it is still a place to really discover. Its location makes it a bit out of the typical tourist path, and therefore it is not as visited as other colonial towns as Villa de Leyva.
Nevertheless, this town is a fantastic place to visit, especially during New Year’s Eve.
Celebrating this particular date in Barichara is an authentic and unforgettable experience. You will be able to eat traditional food, party with locals, enjoy and even participate in the fireworks show and welcome the sunrise with a view over the surrounding canyon.
Usually, the New Year’s Eve celebration in Barichara consists of 3 parts: (i) the dinner, (ii) the countdown and fireworks show and (iii) partying on a viewpoint until the sun rises.
Even though Barichara does not have as many restaurants as Cartagena, a few great options are serving local food and offering a cozy bohemian atmosphere.
After dinner, people head towards the central plaza for the final countdown and to enjoy the fireworks show that is usually being launched from the town’s principal church.
In Barichara, you are allowed to buy and fire your fireworks. Plenty of locals buy some the day before and release them all right after midnight. As at this moment, the official fireworks show is also taking place; people get to witness a sky completely covered by fireworks coming from all directions. It is a breath-taking scene. You can check a video of fireworks on New Years eve in Barichara here.
Once the fireworks are done, the party starts. There is usually live music in a small stage in the main square where lots of people gather to dance.
However, the main party spot is a couple of blocks away from the central plaza, right in the best viewpoint over the gorgeous surrounding canyon.
The party takes place on the small viewpoint and the surrounding streets, where locals dance and drink as if there was no tomorrow.
Those who manage to survive the party all the way till sunrise, are rewarded with a beautiful view all over the surrounding green canyon. A truly authentic and unforgettable experience.
There are lots of amazing Colombia vacation spots to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Even though most of these places are related to partying, there also some great options for those looking for alternative celebrations.
New Year’s Eve is a massive celebration in Colombia, and you will undoubtedly have fun anywhere you are, but if you want to have the best possible celebration, you should choose from one of these 3 top places: Cartagena, Ciudad Perdida, and Barichara.
Cartagena is the perfect choice for those looking for a crazy party with both locals and foreigners in a big city. Ciudad Perdida is the ideal option for those looking for an alternative celebration amid nature and cultural exchanges with indigenous tribes. And finally, Barichara is the best choice for those looking for an authentic celebration in a small colonial town.
For those who won´t be able to celebrate New Years Eve in Colombia, we can recommend to check out a local football match. Like this you can experience a little bit the party atmosphere and sing and dance with Colombians. We have some information about attending a local football match here.