The Christmas season has officially begun in Colombia, and everywhere you go now is decorated with something Christmas-related—bells, ribbons, trees, snowmen, etc. However, if you are looking for some extraordinarily Christmassy places to visit in Colombia, you should check out the following:
1. Los alumbrados de Medellín (Christmas lights of Medellín)
Medellín is the second largest city in Colombia, but the best-known all over Colombia for its incredible display of Christmas lights. As Medellín lies on the Medellín River, the city government places Christmas lights not only along the river, but also within the river. The lights here are so spectacular that National Geographic even voted them within the top 10 best places to see holiday lights around the world1. As you walk along the river, you will also come across food stalls with some of the most typical Antioqueñan foods as well as special Christmas treats.
While you can see the lights on your own, on foot, you can also pay for a spot on a traditional bus called a chiva that will take you around the city as well as to other small towns outside Medellin to observe the Christmas lights and decorations.
The lights in Medellín will be on from December 3 until the first or second week of January.
2. Plaza de Bolívar and Parque Nacional in Bogotá
The Plaza de Bolívar is the principal plaza of Bogotá, located in the historic city centre. Around Christmas, the plaza becomes a special site as it becomes filled with all sorts of unique Christmas and holiday decorations.
What makes the Plaza de Bolívar extra special this year is that for the first time the city has put up colored fountains, where you can observe water dancing and jumping to the sound of Christmas music as the colors change with the rhythm2. This new decoration was inaugurated at the end of November and will be in the Plaza de Bolívar until January 6, 2014.
In addition to the incredible light and water show in the Plaza de Bolívar, you can also take a walk through the Parque Nacional to see a wonderful example of the Christmas spirit in Bogotá as you take in the decorations and lights around the park. Here, you will also find vendors selling traditional street and Christmas food as well as artisans selling Christmas-related trinkets.
3. Puente de Boyacá, Boyacá
Located about 2 hours outside Bogotá is the Puente de Boyacá. The actual Puente de Boyacá is a historically significant bridge in a larger park that contains several memorials over the historic battlefield where Colombia officially won her independence in 1819. While an interesting place to visit at any time, during Christmas the park is transformed into a winter wonderland of lights, decorations, typical Christmas music, and delicious food. The lights are up for the month of December and the first week of January.
If you have more time, you may want to check out other towns in Boyacá as it is a department quickly becoming known for its fantastic displays of Christmas lights and decorations.
Paige M. Poole
About the author:
“Paige M. Poole is an Alabamian and traveler at heart who has settled, for now, in Barranquilla, Colombia, and earns her living as an English professor at the Instituto de Idiomas (Language Institute) at la Universidad del Norte (University of the North). When not teaching English, she enjoys blogging, traveling, relaxing on the beach, and spending time with her partner and two cats, Milo and Sophie. You can see more of Paige’s traveling experiences in her personal blog www.trotamunda.wordpress.com
- Christmas in Boyaca (and a bit of Colombian history) (www.uncovercolombia.com)