Tomorrow is the start of August (that’s flown by!), and with August come many exciting opportunities for travel in Colombia. Of course, every month here is pretty amazing for travel, however, August offers a number of unique chances to experience a range of Colombian traditions and festivals, as well as some once-in-a-year moments that can’t be experienced more than, you know, once a year. So here’s the Colombia Travel Blog tip-list on what to do in August:
“Let’s go fly a kite…”
August is the month of maybe the most colorful and fun of Colombia’s many festivals (sorry San Antero Donkey Festival): the Wind and Kite Festival of Villa de Leyva. On a weekend every August (since 1975 incidentally) thousands of colorful kites dot the blue skies around the cobbled streets of Villa de Leyva, on account of the especially high winds this time of year. It’s a delightfully whimsical way to pass a weekend…
When to go: this year’s festival takes places on August 16-18th.
“Nothing but Flowers…”
Actually, maybe this one is more colorful…the Medellin Flower Festival is a yearly tradition in Colombia’s second city. It’s not all flowers, although they’re the main focus of festivities; you can also find parades, horse shows, and a number of artistic contests. But mainly it’s all about flowers! The highlight is the annual silleteros parade, when hundreds of flower arrangers carry huge flower arrangements on their backs through the city, in honor of former slaves who would have had to carry men.
When to go: August 3-12 this year.
“Baila esta cumbia…”
More festivals! This is a special one, however, in that it takes places in a quiet, untouristy little town on the banks of the Magdalena River. Dating back to 1970, when cumbia master Jose Barros decided to move to El Banco, the festival offers more cumbia that you can shake a (musical) stick at, and, seeing as cumbia is native to this region of the upper Magdalena, El Banco is a particularly special place to hear it’s distinctive strains as the greatest river in Colombia passes you by. To make it extra special, our friends at Awake Adventures are running a special 6-day trip kayaking along the river from Tamalameque to Mompos, with a stop at the festival along the way. Check out the details here.
When to go: August 14-17 for the festival. August 14-19 for the kayaking adventure.
“It’s been a long time since I rock and rolled…”
Actually, it’s only been a year. If traditional music like cumbia isn’t your thing, then head to Bogota this August for the annual guitar-fest that is Rock al Parque. We wrote about this year’s edition in more detail here, but suffice it to says, it’s a fun weekend of heavy riffing, black-clothing and good ol’fashioned rock ‘n’ roll…
When to go: August 16, 17, and 18. Lineup details here.