Last updated on November 10th, 2023 at 06:11 am
My name is Frank, and I run a travel agency in Bogota, Colombia. Have fun while reading!
Exploring the Top Colombian New Year’s Destinations
When it comes to celebrating New Year’s Eve in Colombia, you’re spoiled for choice with a diverse range of destinations that offer unique experiences. In this chapter, we’ll go over top Colombian cities where you can live an unforgettable New Year’s celebrations.
Cartagena as a Magical Destination for New Year in Colombia
Cartagena is one of the most beautiful and vibrant cities in Colombia, and a perfect destination to ring in the new year. Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway, a cultural immersion, or a fun-filled party, Cartagena has something for everyone. Here are some of the best things to do in Cartagena to make your New Year’s Eve unforgettable.
Stay in a Historic Hotel
Cartagena’s walled city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and home to many charming and elegant hotels that reflect the colonial architecture and history of the city. You can choose from a variety of options, from luxury resorts to cozy boutique hotels.
This plan is ideal for travelers who want to enjoy the beauty and history of Cartagena, as most historic hotels are just steps away from some of the most emblematic places of the city, such as the Plaza de Santo Domingo, the Palace of the Inquisition, the Gold Museum, or the Clock Tower. It is also close to the city wall, where you can stroll and admire the sunset over the Caribbean Sea. Some of the best hotels in Cartagena are:
- Hotel Casa La Factoría By Faranda Boutique: It is a luxury accommodation located in the historic center of Cartagena, in an old colonial house restored with lots of charm.
- Casa Pestagua Hotel Boutique, Spa: It is a hotel that occupies an impressive aristocratic mansion from the 18th century that belonged to the Count of Pestagua. The hotel offers suites and rooms with decoration that transports you to the colonial past.
- Bastión Luxury Hotel: It is a 5-star hotel that offers you an experience of luxury and charm in the historic center of Cartagena. The hotel is in an old colonial house of the 16th century that has been remodeled with a modern and elegant style.
Read our blog to discover the best hotels in Cartagena.
Explore the Walled City
The walled city of Cartagena is the historic and cultural center of the city, where you can admire the stunning architecture, visit the museums and churches, shop at the boutiques and markets, and dine at the restaurants and cafes. Some of the must-see attractions in the walled city are:
- Cartagena’s Cathedral: This impressive church was built between 1575 and 1612 and is dedicated to Saint Catherine of Alexandria. It has a beautiful facade, a dome, and a bell tower. Inside, you can see paintings, sculptures, and altars.
- Torre del Reloj: This clock tower is the main entrance to the walled city, and one of its most iconic landmarks. It was built in 1631 as part of the fortifications of Cartagena. At night, it is illuminated and surrounded by street performers.
- Plaza Bolivar: This square is named after Simon Bolivar, the liberator of Colombia and other South American countries. It is a peaceful and shady spot where you can relax and watch the pigeons. It is also home to the Palace of Inquisition, where you can learn about the history of Cartagena during the Spanish colonial period.
Enjoy Cartagena’s Nightlife
Cartagena is known for its lively and diverse nightlife. You can join the street parties in the plazas and squares of the walled city and Getsemani, where locals and tourists alike gather to celebrate with live bands and DJs. You also have plenty of options in Bocagrande or La Boquilla. These areas are full of bars and clubs playing various musical styles, from salsa to reggaeton to electronic. Some of the best places to party in Cartagena are:
This popular bar in Getsemani is a hotspot for salsa lovers. It features a retro decor and live music every night. The bar is conveniently located at the intersection of Carrera 10 and Calle 30. Its decor captures the golden age of Havana, adorned with photos of famous artists and movie posters.
The bar offers a variety of drinks, including mojitos, daiquiris, rum, and beer. Two orchestras, La Brava and charanga Tierra Tiembla, take turns entertaining the crowd with lively rhythms such as salsa, son, bolero, and cha cha cha. Occasionally, other groups and guest musicians also perform. The bar is open from Tuesday to Sunday, starting at 8 pm.
Bar La Movida is a gastro-bar that opened in Cartagena in 2012. It has quickly become a popular destination for nightlife and entertainment. The bar offers a variety of dishes from sushi to tacos, and other options. There is a wide selection of drinks available too.
One of the highlights of Bar La Movida is its rooftop terrace, called Rossy The Rooftop. Here, guests can enjoy live DJ music and fire shows. The bar plays a range of music genres, including afro house, melodic house & techno, and disco.
It is open from Sunday to Tuesday, from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., and from Wednesday to Saturday, from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. The bar also hosts special events, such as Taco Tuesdays and organizes parties on boats, such as the one they held in December 2019 on the Galeón Phantom.
Tu Candela Gastro Bar
Tu Candela Gastro Bar is a popular bar and restaurant located in the historic center of Cartagena. It is situated in the Portal de los Dulces, behind the Torre del Reloj, in a vibrant area known for its nightlife. The bar is housed in a colonial-style building with a second floor that provides a view of the Muelle de los Pegasos. Open 365 days a year, it offers a lively and colorful Caribbean atmosphere.
The bar serves a variety of cocktails, including mojitos, gin and tonic, margaritas, pisco, aguardiente, and beers. Additionally, its menu includes pizza, seafood, ceviches, and burgers.
Watch the Fireworks
One of the highlights of New Year’s Eve in Cartagena is watching the fireworks display over the bay of Cartagena. The fireworks start at midnight and last for about 15 minutes. You can see them from different locations around the city, such as:
- The walled city: You can walk along the fortified walls that surround the old city and enjoy panoramic views of the fireworks and the ocean.
- Parque de la Marina: This park is located near the Torre del Reloj and has benches and grassy areas where you can sit and watch the fireworks with your family and friends.
- A boat cruise: You can book a boat cruise that will take you to the bay of Cartagena and let you see the fireworks from the water. You can also enjoy music, food, and drinks on board.
Visit the Islands near Cartagena
Spending New Year’s Eve in the islands near Cartagena is the right choice if you want to escape the crowds and enjoy some tranquility in nature. You can take a boat from the Muelle de la Bodeguita or the Muelle Turistico and reach these paradisiacal destinations in less than an hour. Some of the best islands to visit are:
- Isla Grande: This is the largest and most developed island of the Rosario Islands, a national park with coral reefs and marine life. You can relax on the white-sand beaches, swim in the turquoise waters, or explore the mangroves and lagoons by kayak.
- Isla Baru: This island is connected to the mainland by a bridge and has some of the most beautiful beaches in Colombia. You can sunbathe on Playa Blanca, snorkel in the coral gardens, or visit the Aviario Nacional, a bird sanctuary with more than 2,000 birds.
- Isla Tierra Bomba: This island is the closest to Cartagena and has a mix of rustic and luxurious resorts. You can enjoy the calm and clear sea, play beach volleyball, or visit the Fort of San Fernando, a colonial fortress that offers stunning views of the city.
Visit our Cartagena travel guide and discover everything you can do in the city.
Why Medellin is a Must-Visit Destination for New Year in Colombia
Known as the City of Eternal Spring, Medellin is famous for its pleasant climate and vibrant culture. New Year’s Eve in Medellin is a spectacular affair, with fireworks lighting up the sky over the city’s picturesque hills. The locals are known for their warmth, and you’ll find welcoming celebrations in every neighborhood.
Stay in El Poblado
El Poblado is the most popular neighborhood for tourists and locals alike. It is a trendy and lively area that has many hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs, and shops to choose from. You can find accommodation for any budget and taste, from luxury hotels to boutique hotels to affordable hostels. Some of the best hotels in El Poblado are:
- Dann Carlton Medellín: It is a great option for 5-star hotels in Medellín. Whether you are traveling for romance, family, or business, you will enjoy a luxurious stay at this hotel.
- Diez Hotel Categoria Colombia: This hotel reflects the richness and beauty of Colombian culture. It is ideal for travelers who want to immerse themselves in the local culture without compromising comfort.
- Hotel Estelar Milla de Oro: It is a great choice for luxury hotels in Medellin’s business and shopping area. Besides it is ideal for business travelers who want high-quality services.
To know more, read our blog on the best hotels in Medellin.
Ruta de la luz
One of the most iconic attractions of Medellín during the holiday season is the Ruta de la luz (Route of Light). It is a spectacular display of lights and festive decorations that illuminate the city. The Ruta de la luz features around 26,000 handmade figures, 8 million LED bulbs, 6 tons of metallic paper, 680 kilometers of LED hose, 180 tons of iron, and other elements that are installed in various spaces.
You can admire the Ruta de la luz by walking, biking, or taking public transportation along the main avenues and parks of the city, such as Parques del Río, Edificio EPM, Parque de los Pies Descalzos, and Parque Norte. You can also visit the nearby towns of Sabaneta and Envigado, which have their own light displays.
Another must-see spot in Medellín, especially during this season, is the Pueblito Paisa. This tourist attraction, created in 1978, is located on top of the Nutibara hill and is a representation of a traditional Antioquian village. As if it were frozen in time, this village with elements from the 19th and 20th centuries lights up and is also a strategic point to get a panoramic view of the city.
At the Pueblito Paisa, you can enjoy the architecture, the crafts, the gastronomy, and the history of the region. You can also take advantage of the cultural events and shows that take place there, such as concerts and dances.
Night hike on Medellin’s hills
The capital of Antioquia has a beautiful attraction in its mountains. From there, you can see a colorful and diverse landscape of buildings and nature.
At night, especially in December, the city and its surroundings are illuminated by the Christmas lights. You can enjoy this view by taking the Night Route to the Cerro Pan de Azúcar, which goes through the trails of this area, passing by natural spots to the circular garden that connects to the urban zone.
This is a great opportunity to connect with nature, exercise, and marvel at the beauty of Medellín from a different perspective. You can also visit other hills, such as El Volador, La Asomadera, and El Picacho, which offer similar experiences.
Party at the Best Bars and Clubs in Medellin
Medellin is famous for its nightlife, and New Year’s Eve is no exception. You can find various venues to suit your mood and music preference, from salsa and reggaeton to rock and electronic. An option is to join the street parties in El Poblado, where you mingle with the locals. You can also head to one of the many bars and clubs in El Poblado or other areas. Some of the best places to party in Medellin are:
Envy Rooftop is a trendy rooftop lounge and bar situated on the top floor of Hotel The Charlee in Medellin. It offers breathtaking views of the city and mountains, along with a unique aquarium-style pool.
This bar features a live DJ and hosts different events throughout the week. For example, live band on Wednesdays and brunch on the last Sunday of each month. Additionally, it organizes special events and parties for various occasions. To celebrate New Year’s, they hold a special party with live music and DJ, party elements and grapes, releasing eco-balloons, and a New Year’s toast.
Operating hours for Envy Rooftop are as follows: Sunday to Tuesday from 4:00 pm to 12:00 am, and Wednesday to Saturday from 2:00 pm to 2:00 am. The kitchen serves food from 5:00 pm to 12:00 am every day. Please note that the pool is exclusively reserved for hotel guests and is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Visitors can enjoy the pool only during special events and brunch days.
Have in mind that Envy Rooftop has an elegant dress code.
Salón Amador is a nightclub located in the Poblado neighborhood. It pays homage to Carlos Coroliano Amador, a prominent businessman and entrepreneur from the 19th century. The club is housed in a building that was previously owned by Amador and his family.
This nightclub offers a diverse range of electronic music genres, including house and techno. It regularly hosts both national and international DJs, with past performances by artists such as Lee Foss, Octave One, M.A.N.D.Y., Roman Flugel, Scuba, and No Regular Play.
The New Year’s welcome celebration features special live DJs, starting at 11 pm and running into the early hours.
With a capacity of 600 people, the club boasts a state-of-the-art sound system. Additionally, it features a bar and a lounge area. Salón Amador opens from Thursday to Sunday, from 10 pm to 4 am.
Watch the Fireworks
One of the highlights of New Year’s Eve in Medellin is watching the fireworks display over the city. The fireworks start at midnight and last for about 20 minutes. You can see them from different locations around the city, such as:
- Cerro Nutibara: This is a hill that boasts a park, a museum, and a replica of a traditional Antioquian village. It also has a lookout point that offers panoramic views of the city and the fireworks.
- Parque de los Pies Descalzos: This park is known for its zen garden, bamboo forest, and fountain. You can sit and watch the fireworks with your family and friends in its large open space.
- Parque Lleras: This is the main square of El Poblado, where you can find many bars, restaurants, and clubs There you can join the street party and watch the fireworks with the crowd in a festive atmosphere.
Visit our Medellin travel guide and discover everything you can do in the city.
Grand Celebrations in Bogota for New Year in Colombia
The capital city, Bogota, hosts grand New Year’s celebrations that cater to all tastes. From massive street parties on the bustling Avenida Septima to elegant dinners in the city’s finest restaurants, Bogota has it all. If you’re seeking a vibrant urban celebration, Bogota is the place to be.
Read our blog to discover the best hotels in Bogota.
Watch the Fireworks at Plaza Bolívar
One of the most popular events in Bogota is the annual fireworks display at Plaza Bolívar, the main square of the city. Thousands of people gather around the square to witness the dazzling show of lights and colors that illuminates the sky and the historic buildings. You can also enjoy live music, street performances, and food stalls that offer delicious local cuisine.
The fireworks start at midnight, but you should arrive early to secure a good spot and join the festive atmosphere. The show is free and open to the public.
Party at Andres Carne de Res
Andrés Carne de Res is a famous restaurant and dance club in Bogotá that offers a unique experience for its guests. The original location is in the town of Chía, about 30 kilometers away from the city center, but there is also another branch called Andrés DC in the heart of Bogotá, in the Zona T area.
The restaurant is known for varied menu, featuring Colombian and international dishes, such as grilled meats, seafood, salads, soups, desserts, and more. The restaurant also has a wide selection of drinks, including cocktails, beers, wines, and spirits.
The club also hosts live shows, performances, and special events, such as New Year’s Eve party.
The New Year’s Eve party at Andrés Carne de Res is one of the most popular and exciting events in Bogotá. The party starts at 9:00 PM and lasts until dawn. The ticket includes a welcome drink, a buffet dinner, a champagne toast, a souvenir, and access to all the entertainment options.
Hike to the Cerro de Monserrate
For a breathtaking view of the city and a spiritual experience, hike to the Cerro de Monserrate, a hill that rises above Bogota and hosts a monastery and a statue of the Fallen Christ. The hike is about 1.5 miles long and takes about an hour to complete. You can also take a cable car or a funicular if you prefer a more comfortable ride.
At the top, you can admire the panoramic view of the city, visit the chapel and the market, or have a snack at the cafe. The hill is open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends and holidays.
This is a great option for the morning or afternoon of December 31st, before you get ready for the dinner and party celebration.
Explore the La Candelaria Neighborhood
La Candelaria is the historic and cultural heart of Bogota, where you can find some of the most important and beautiful attractions of the city. You can walk along the cobblestone streets and admire the colonial buildings that house museums, churches, and cafes. Some of the highlights of La Candelaria are:
- Gold Museum: This museum displays more than 30,000 pieces of pre-Columbian gold, as well as pottery, textiles, and stone. It also has a room that simulates a gold offering ritual, where you can see a spectacular light and sound show. The museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Botero Museum: This museum exhibits the works of the famous Colombian artist Fernando Botero, who is known for his exaggerated and voluptuous figures. It also has a collection of paintings by other renowned artists, such as Picasso, Monet, and Dali. The museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The entrance is free.
- Catedral Primada: This is the largest and oldest cathedral in Colombia, built between 1807 and 1823. It has a neoclassical style, a dome, and a bell tower. The cathedral is open from Monday to Friday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The entrance is free.
Join the Bogota Christmas Route
Bogota is a wonderful city to visit during the Christmas season, as it is decorated with beautiful lights and displays that create a magical atmosphere.
The Bogota Tourism Board has created the Christmas Route, a route through the city that takes you to all the parks and plazas with Christmas lights and markets. You can also enjoy concerts, shows, and activities that celebrate the Colombian traditions and culture. Some of the places that you can visit along the Christmas Route are:
- Parque El Virrey: This park has a large Christmas tree and a nativity scene made of recycled materials. There are also musical performances and a market where you can buy handicrafts and food.
- Parque Nacional: This park has a light show that represents the biodiversity and regions of Colombia. It also has a giant globe that projects images of the world and a tunnel of stars that leads to a wishing tree.
- Plaza de Bolívar: This square has a spectacular projection and mapping show that tells the story of Bogota and Colombia. It also has a Christmas tree and a fountain that changes colors.
The theme and design of the lights may vary from year to year, so the past descriptions are based on decorations from previous years.
Visit our Bogotá travel guide and discover everything you can do in the city.
New Year Full of Nature in Santa Marta, Colombia
For those who prefer a more serene New Years’ experience, Santa Marta offers a peaceful coastal celebration. The city’s laid-back charm and connection to nature make it a perfect destination for a tranquil getaway.
Stay in a Beachfront Hotel
Santa Marta has many hotels to choose from, but nothing beats staying in a beachfront hotel that offers stunning views of the sea and the sunsets. Some of the best beachfront hotels in Santa Marta are:
- Irotama Resort: This five-star resort is located on a private beach in Pozos Colorados, a quiet and exclusive area of Santa Marta. It offers spacious and elegant rooms, suites, and villas, as well as four restaurants, three bars, a spa, a golf course, and a water park.
- Santorini Hotel and Resort: This four-star hotel is situated on the beach in Bello Horizonte, a lively and modern area of the city. It features contemporary rooms, a restaurant, a bar, a pool, and a gym.
- La Casa del Farol Hotel Boutique: This three-star hotel is a cozy boutique hotel that has 14 rooms, each decorated with a different theme inspired by a city. It also has a rooftop terrace, a jacuzzi, and a breakfast service. It is in the historic center of Santa Marta, near the beach and the marina.
Read our blog to discover the best hotels in Santa Marta.
Visit the Tayrona National Park
The Tayrona National Park is one of the most beautiful and diverse natural parks in Colombia, covering an area of 150 square kilometers of tropical forest, coral reefs, and sandy beaches. It is home to a rich wildlife, such as monkeys, birds, reptiles, and fish. You can hike, camp, snorkel, or relax in this natural paradise. You can also visit the archaeological site of Pueblito, where the remains of an ancient indigenous village sit. Some of the best beaches and attractions in the Tayrona National Park are:
- Cabo San Juan: This is one of the most popular and picturesque beaches in the park, with clear turquoise water, white sand, and palm trees. It has a camping area, a restaurant, and a lookout point.
- Playa Cristal: This is one of the most beautiful and pristine beaches in Colombia, located inside the park. It has clear turquoise water, white sand, and coral formations. You can swim, snorkel, or sunbathe in this spot. You can also enjoy fresh seafood and drinks at the local stalls. To get to Playa Cristal, you need to take a boat from the town of Taganga.
- La Piscina: This is a calm and shallow beach that is ideal for swimming and snorkeling. It has crystal clear water, golden sand, and rocky formations. It is also surrounded by lush vegetation and wildlife.
Enjoy the Nightlife and Gastronomy in Santa Marta
Santa Marta has a lively and diverse nightlife and gastronomy. You can join the New Year’s Street parties in the historic center and the marina, with live bands and DJs. Or the Rodadero and Taganga are two of the most popular nightlife destinations in Santa Marta. Some of the best places to party and eat in Santa Marta are:
La Puerta Bar is an iconic and popular pub located in the historic center of Santa Marta on Calle 17 #2-29. The bar is open from Thursday to Saturday starting at 7 pm. It is famous for its diverse and lively musical selection, which includes salsa, champeta, vallenato, crossover, and more genres. The bar has hosted some of the best groups of the new generation of Colombian music, such as Systema Solar, Li Saumet, Kombilesa Mi, El Caribefunk, Pernett, Yembele, Ramon Chicharron, Los Zirumas, as well as international groups, such as Labess and Sally Station.
La Puerta Bar’s decor is sophisticated and interesting, with colorful lights, paintings, and posters. The bar offers a wide drink menu. Additionally, they serve delicious dishes such as laing, a coconut milk-based stew with vegetables and meat. Overall, La Puerta Bar is a must-visit destination for anyone looking for an exciting night out in Santa Marta.
Located at Calle 17 # 3-64 near the Parque de los Novios, Crab’s Bar is the perfect spot to enjoy good rock music, have fun with friends, and appreciate the artistic and cultural scene of Santa Marta. If you’re searching for a bar that offers a refreshing alternative to the mainstream music scene, then Crab’s Bar is the place to be.
The bar boasts a range of services including games, live music, and a second-floor terrace with a giant screen for watching videos. Crab’s Bar has been a popular destination for rock, art, and blues enthusiasts since 1999.
In addition to a diverse menu of drinks and snacks, Crab’s Bar offers a welcoming atmosphere for guests aged 18 and over. The bar is open from Thursday to Saturday starting at 8:00 pm.
Explore Santa Marta’s Historic and Cultural Attractions
Santa Marta has a rich and fascinating history and culture, dating back to the pre-Columbian, colonial, and independence periods. You can learn about the past and present of the city by visiting some of the museums, churches, and monuments that showcase its heritage and identity. Some of the best historic and cultural attractions in Santa Marta are:
- Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino: This is a historical estate where the liberator Simon Bolivar spent his last days in 1830. It has a museum, a botanical garden, and a monument dedicated to Bolivar and the American nations. You can learn about the life and legacy of Bolivar, as well as the history and culture of Colombia.
- Cathedral of Santa Marta: This is the oldest church in Colombia, built in 1766, with a neoclassical style. It is also the burial place of Rodrigo de Bastidas, the founder of Santa Marta. The entrance is free.
- Tayrona Gold Museum: This museum displays the gold and pottery artifacts of the Tayrona culture, the indigenous people who inhabited the region before the Spanish conquest. It also has a room that explains the history and customs of the Tayrona people. The museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The entrance is free.
Visit our Santa Marta travel guide and discover everything you can do in the city.
San Andres Islands for New Year in Colombia
San Andres, a Colombian island paradise in the Caribbean, provides a unique setting for a tropical New Year’s celebration. It is part of the Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve that boasts a rich biodiversity and a unique culture. San Andrés is a popular tourist destination, thanks to its stunning beaches, coral reefs, and warm culture. Here are some of the best things to do in San Andrés to celebrate the new year:
Relax at the Beaches
San Andrés has some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, with soft white sand and clear turquoise water. You can enjoy the sun, the sea, and the breeze, as well as swim, snorkel, or kayak. Some of the best beaches in San Andrés are:
- Spratt Bight: This is the main beach in San Andrés, located in the north end of the island. It has a wide and long stretch of sand, a boardwalk, and various hotels, restaurants, and shops. You can also rent jet skis, banana boats, or parasailing equipment.
- San Luis: This is a quieter and more secluded beach, located in the east side of the island. It has a rustic and natural charm, with wooden houses, coconut groves, and coral formations. You can also see the sun rise over the sea.
- Rocky Cay: This is a small island that can be reached by walking through the shallow water from the main island. It has a sandy beach, a shipwreck, and a coral reef. You can also visit the nearby Acuario, a natural pool with colorful fish and starfish.
Read our blog to discover the best hotels in San Andres.
Dive in the Coral Reefs
San Andrés is surrounded by a coral reef that forms part of the Seaflower Biosphere Reserve, one of the largest and most diverse marine protected areas in the world. The reef hosts a rich marine life, including fish, turtles, rays, sharks, and dolphins. You can dive in the reef and explore its beauty and secrets, as well as learn about its conservation and importance. Some of the best dive sites in San Andrés are:
- Blue Wall: This is a vertical wall that drops from 15 to 40 meters deep, covered with sponges, corals, and sea fans. You can see barracudas, groupers, snappers, and moray eels.
- Trampa Tortuga: This is a shallow reef that has a turtle-shaped rock formation, hence its name. You can see turtles, stingrays, lobsters, and octopuses.
- Nirvana: This is a shipwreck that sank in 1988, lying at 12 meters deep. You can see the remains of the boat, as well as schools of fish, crabs, and shrimps.
Enjoy San Andres’ Nightlife and Gastronomy
San Andrés offers a variety of nightlife and gastronomy options. You can party with locals and tourists in the street or in bars and clubs, listening to reggae, salsa, electronic, and more. Some of the best places to have fun and eat in San Andrés are:
Coco Loco is a vibrant bar and disco club with a prime location on Av. Colombia. It is situated within walking distance of the beach and other notable tourist attractions, making it the perfect place to spend your evenings.
It features a large dance floor, a stage, and a bar. The ambiance is lively, and the music is predominantly Latin, featuring genres such as bachata, merengue, salsa, and reggaeton.
Coco Loco is known for its signature drink, the coco loco, which is a refreshing and delicious concoction made with coconut water, coconut cream, rum, and lime juice. If you’re not in the mood for a coco loco, the bar also offers an extensive list of other drinks like margaritas, mojitos, caipirinhas, and shots.
As a popular spot for both locals and tourists, it is common for Coco Loco to get crowded and noisy during peak hours. However, if you’re looking for an upbeat and lively night out, Coco Loco is the perfect place to be. But if you seek a quieter or more intimate experience, you might want to explore other options on the island.
La Regatta Restaurant offers a delightful Caribbean cuisine and an enchanting view of the sea, making it a must-visit destination in San Andrés. The restaurant is located on Newball Avenue, adjacent to the Nautical Club, and is built on wooden stilts over the water, creating a unique and romantic atmosphere that is perfect for a memorable dining experience.
The menu at La Regatta is huge. From seafood, fish, lobster, crab, shrimp, octopus, squid, to salads, soups, pasta, rice, meat, chicken, and desserts, there is something for everyone. The restaurant is renowned for its signature dishes such as the coconut rice, fried plantains, ceviche, grilled lobster, and the coconut flan. The bar offers a wide range of cocktails, wine, beer, and other drinks.
Restaurante La Regatta is open from Monday to Saturday, with lunch being served from 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM, and dinner from 6:30 PM to 10:30 PM.
Explore the Historic and Cultural Attractions
Some of the best historic and cultural attractions to visit in San Andrés are:
- San Andrés Old Point Mangle National Park: This is a natural park that covers an area of 310 hectares of mangrove forest, lagoon, and sea. It is home to a variety of wildlife, such as crabs, birds, and fish. You can also visit the Old Point Lighthouse, a historic landmark that dates to 1870. The park is open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm every day, so you can enjoy a relaxing walk among the mangroves on the last day of the year.
- Baptist Church: This is the oldest church in San Andrés, built in 1847 by the English settlers who brought the Baptist faith to the island. It has a simple and elegant architecture, with a white façade and a wooden tower. The church is open for worship services on Sundays at 10:00 am and 6:00 pm, but you can also visit it during the week to admire its history. If you want to celebrate New Year’s Eve in a spiritual way, you can join the special service that starts at 9:00 pm on December 31.
Visit our San Andres travel guide and discover everything you can do in the city.
Salsa-Fueled Celebrations in Cali for New Year in Colombia
Cali, the salsa capital of the world, knows how to throw a party. New Year’s Eve in Cali is a rhythmic celebration filled with lively salsa music and dance. Join the locals as they take to the streets to dance the night away or attend one of the many salsa clubs for a vibrant and energetic New Years’ experience. Cali’s infectious energy will have you moving to the beat all night long.
Read our blog to discover the best hotels in Cali.
Attend the Feria de Cali
The Feria de Cali is the biggest and most famous festival in Cali, and it takes place every year from December 25th to 30th. The Feria de Cali is a celebration of salsa music and dance, with concerts, shows, parades, and competitions. You can join the locals and dance to the rhythm of salsa in the streets, parks, and stadiums. Some of the highlights of the Feria de Cali are:
- Salsodromo: This is the opening event of the Feria de Cali, where thousands of dancers perform a spectacular choreography along a 1.5 km route. You can watch the show from the stands or join the crowd and dance along.
- Superconcierto: This is the main concert of the Feria de Cali, where national and international artists perform live on a huge stage. You can enjoy different genres of music, from salsa to pop to reggae.
- Encuentro de Melomanos y Coleccionistas: This is a meeting of music lovers and collectors, where you can listen to rare and vintage vinyl records of salsa and other genres. You can also buy, sell, or exchange records with other enthusiasts.
Visit the Cristo Rey Monument
The Cristo Rey is a giant statue of Christ that stands on a hill overlooking Cali. It is one of the most emblematic landmarks of the city, and a popular destination for pilgrims and tourists. You can reach the Cristo Rey by car, bus, or cable car, and enjoy the panoramic views of Cali and its surroundings. You can also visit the chapel and museum at the base of the statue, where you can learn about its history and significance.
Watch the Fireworks
Another exciting way to welcome the new year in Cali is to watch the fireworks display. The fireworks start at midnight and last for about 10 minutes. You can see them from different locations around Cali, such as:
- La Ermita: This is a beautiful Gothic church in downtown Cali, where you can admire its stained-glass windows and architecture. It is also a good spot to watch the fireworks from its plaza or nearby streets.
- La Loma de la Cruz: This is a hill in San Antonio, one of the oldest and most charming neighborhoods in Cali. It has a park with a cross that symbolizes the faith of Cali. Watching the fireworks from its viewpoint or nearby cafes is a recommended plan.
Dance in Cali’s Nightclubs
The best way to end your New Year’s Eve in Cali is to dance until dawn at one of the many clubs and bars that offer salsa music and entertainment. You can find different options for all tastes and budgets, from upscale lounges to cozy pubs. Some of the best places to dance in Cali are:
Zaperoco Bar, the iconic salsa club in Cali, Colombia, has been the go-to destination for salsa enthusiasts since 1993. Fondly known as the Temple of Salsa, the club offers an unforgettable experience to its visitors with its live music every Thursday. Located on Av. 5 Nte. #16-46, in the San Vicente neighborhood, Zaperoco Bar boasts of a bohemian theme and a cozy atmosphere, complete with a small dance floor and a wide selection of drinks.
Las Brisas is a resort and event center. It offers pools for adults and children with waterfall, slide and slides. It also has trails and large green areas, where you can enjoy with your family.
Las Brisas is also known as the Temple of the Rumba Caleña. Since 1974, Las Brisas has been sharing joy and entertainment with its visitors, offering a typical Vallecaucano restaurant, social and business events, and live music shows.
Visit our Cali travel guide and discover everything you can do in the city.
Pasto’s Black and White Carnival for New Year in Colombia
Pasto is the capital of the Nariño department in southern Colombia, and a city with a rich and diverse cultural heritage. Pasto is famous for its Blacks and Whites’ Carnival, a UNESCO-recognized festival that celebrates racial harmony and diversity. You can experience the best of Pasto by doing these things on New Year’s Eve.
Read our blog to discover the best hotels in Pasto.
Explore the City Center
The city center of Pasto is a charming and historic place, where you can admire the colonial architecture, visit the museums and churches, shop at the handicrafts market, and taste the local cuisine. Some of the must-see attractions in the city center are:
- Plaza de Nariño: This is the main square of Pasto, where you can see the statue of Antonio Nariño, a hero of Colombian independence. It is also surrounded by important buildings such as the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mercy, the City Hall, and the Palace of Justice.
- Gold Museum: This museum showcases the gold and silver artifacts of the ancient cultures that inhabited the region, such as the Pastos, Quillacingas, and Awa. You can also learn about their customs, beliefs, and rituals.
- Taminango Museum of Arts and Popular Traditions: This museum displays the works of local artisans who preserve and promote the traditional crafts of Pasto, such as wood carving, pottery, leatherwork, and carnival masks.
Watch the Fireworks
Another exciting way to welcome the new year in Pasto is to watch the fireworks display that lights up the sky over the city. The fireworks start at midnight and last for about 10 minutes. You can see them from different locations around Pasto, such as:
- Morasurco Hill: This is a hill that overlooks Pasto from the north-east side. It has a park with a cross that symbolizes the faith of Pasto. It is also a good spot to watch the fireworks from its viewpoint or nearby restaurants.
- Las Lajas Sanctuary: This is a stunning church that is built on a bridge over a gorge near Ipiales. It is one of the most beautiful and impressive religious monuments in Colombia. It is also a good spot to watch the fireworks from its plaza or nearby hotels.
- Laguna de la Cocha: This is a lake that is located about 20 km from Pasto. It is one of the largest natural lakes in Colombia and has a scenic landscape with islands and forests. It is also a good spot to watch the fireworks from its shore or nearby cabins.
Early Blacks and Whites’ Carnival events
The best way to end your New Year’s Eve in Pasto is to enjoy one of the many events that are part of the Blacks and Whites’ Carnival. The carnival officially starts on January 2nd with the Children’s Carnival (Carnavalito), but there are many pre-carnival activities that take place on December 31st. You can find different options for all ages and preferences, from cultural shows to comedy acts to concerts.
The Arrival of the Castañeda Family
The arrival of the Castañedas is a traditional and colorful parade that takes place on January 4th every year as part of the Carnaval de Negros y Blancos in Pasto, Colombia. The parade starts at 2:00 p.m. and goes through the main streets of the city, such as Calle 18, Carrera 27, and Avenida Boyacá. The parade ends at the Plaza del Carnaval, where the family is received by the mayor and other authorities.
The event is free and open to the public. The parade is accompanied by music, dancing, and confetti, creating a festive atmosphere. The participants wear costumes that represent different characters of the family, such as Pericles Carnaval, the announcer of the festival, his wife Doña Eulalia, their children, relatives, friends, and servants. They also carry props that symbolize their belongings, such as animals, furniture, musical instruments, and kitchen utensils.
The event is a celebration of the hospitality and kindness of the people of Pasto, who welcome a family of travelers who are on their way to visit the Santuario de Las Lajas. The event also symbolizes the encounter, the return, the tradition, and the collective memory of the pastusos and nariñenses.
The Concert of the Year
The Concert of the Year is a musical event that takes place on January 6th, the last day of the Black and White Carnival. It is a celebration of the diversity and richness of the Colombian culture, featuring artists from different regions and genres.
The concert is held at the Plaza de Nariño, the main square of the city, and attracts thousands of spectators who enjoy the music and dance until dawn. The concert is free and open to the public, and anyone can join the party or watch it from the nearby streets. The concert starts at 8:00 p.m. and end at 6:00 a.m. the next day.
Visit our Pasto travel guide and discover everything you can do in the city.
We hope this guide has been a valuable resource in helping you prepare for your New Year’s journey to Colombia. ¡Feliz Año Nuevo! (Happy New Year!)