There is a multitude of reasons why you might find yourself dreaming of and planning a trip to Cartagena. Are you a photographer attracted to the bright buildings, blue seas, Caribbean influences interlaced with the South American identity, and cosmopolitan contrasts? Or are you a beach bum looking for a city beach retreat with nearby islands enticing you to explore? Maybe, you are a seasoned traveler looking for an intriguing and relatively little-known place from which to launch your travels around Columbia? Perhaps, you just want a winter getaway in the sun? Or even, all the above? For whatever reason you have heard and felt the siren call of Cartagena, you will want to know when is the best time to visit Cartagena? There is always more than meets the eye to a seemingly innocuous question like that.
Stay with me, as I break down the reasons you may go to Cartagena and the best time to visit according to your travel tastes.
Firstly though, I bring you a brief summary of the weather pattern and climate in Cartagena.
The Best Time to Visit Cartagena according to the Weather
In short, Cartagena is hot, humid, and sunny, with warm nights, all year around. The temperatures vary very little over the year. However, there are some subtleties and considerations to make when choosing the time of year you want to visit.
The spring is March to May. This is a dry time of year (with 0-5 days of rain per month) with warm weather. Temperatures range from 87.8°F (31°C) to 90.5°F (32.5°C).
Summer is from June to August and temperatures range from 78.6°F (25.9°C) to 90.8°F (32.7°C). There is more chance of rain with 5-7 days of rain per month.
The autumn is from September to November. During these months, temperatures range from 88.8°F (31.6°C) to 90.8°F (32.7°C). At this time of year, you can get breezes and wind from the sea, and around 7-9 days of rain per month.
Winter is from December to February and temperatures are generally very comfortable for the whole period. Temperatures range from 87.6°F (30.9°C) to 89.5°F (31.9°C). You can expect around 0-3 days of rain per month.
Now with no further adieu, who should visit when?
The Photography Enthusiast
If you are keen on photography, then I am sure you will want to visit at a quiet time of year, so you can get those perfect, tourist-free shots! However, you also want good weather to capture the best images possible. This makes the spring an excellent time to visit because this is the slow season for visitors. You will also find the weather is still very good with little chance of rain.
On the other hand, if you want to capture shots, showing an atmospheric mood, then consider September to November. These months remain quiet but you get some variation in the weather with winds and 7-9 days of rain in a month. These conditions can set the stage for some exciting individual shots of the area. You could even take a 4-hour photography tour with locals, to get you started.
The Thrifty Budget Traveler
If you are on a budget, then you will want to avoid the busiest months of the year: December, June, and July. The cheapest times of year are the months from September to November. During these months there is some chance of rain (7-9 days in the month) and more wind than other times of the year.
Having said that though, really the difference in the weather is very minimal, and you can make some good savings. Columbia is a very affordable destination for backpackers. You can do much to keep your costs down from using hostels to eating at cheap local eateries and relying on local transport to get around.
The Culture Vulture
Cartagena makes a fascinating destination for people who enjoy culture. The seaside city has its roots very much in the South American soil, yet there is a tantalizing taste of the Caribbean which has made its way over the sea. An exciting festival to catch is the Independence Day and Beauty Pageant which takes place every year in November.
If you can’t get to Cartagena for the festival then don’t worry. No matter the time of year you visit, the place has lots more treats in store for you. From the colonial architecture to the delectable gastronomy to the colorful old town, culture vultures are going to find it hard to leave.
The Intrepid Family
If you are looking for an exciting destination for your family to discover, then Cartagena will make an excellent choice. There are a lot of attractions which are excellent for children. For example, children will love the beaches, the colorful buildings, the exciting food with delicious fresh fruits, and in the old town you can find maestros who will play live music especially for you.
December – Feb is a good time to visit with children because of the good temperatures and mostly dry days. The month is not too hot and not cold which make the trip an excellent short winter getaway for families.
The Beach Bum
There is no doubt, if you are in it for the beaches, then you will want to be nicely roasted. This means the best time to visit for you will also be the hottest. In Cartagena, the hottest time of year is June – August. This is also the busiest time of year, so book early to get good deals. Furthermore, consider escaping the crowds for a day or two into the beautiful, picture perfect Rosario Islands.
Now, Ready, Set, Book, Pack, Go
Now, you have found the perfect time to visit for your traveling tastes, all you need to do is book, pack your bags and get on that flight. Cartagena is an exciting destination and so far is relatively unknown, so in my book that makes every moment a perfect time to visit!
Lastly, are you heading deeper into Columbia for a longer trip? Then, have a think about the weather at your next destination before you book because the climate can vary a lot across the country.
Have you ever been to Cartagena? When did you go? What was the highlight of your stay? Or you can’t wait to go? When are you going and why? What are you looking forward to the most? Let us know in the comments!