January and February are months of Carnival and many festivals in Colombia.
We wanted to share with you today some information about these famous events, part of the cultural heritage of Colombia.

Carnival in Colombia was introduced by the Spaniards but it only really began to flourish in the 1800s. Even so, it was not until 1903 that the first official parade was put together in Barranquilla. Ever since, Carnival celebrations have only gotten bigger and better!

Colombian Carnivals have incorporated elements from the European, African and Amerindian culture.

Carnivals and festivals are very diverse and spread all over the country. Most towns have their own, ranging from those celebrating coffee (and many farm products) to the ones held in honor of the town’s Saint. The common characteristics of the festivals are the nomination of a Beauty Queen and the setting up of public dance floor.

Just to give you an example, in Itagui, a city in the south of Medellin, Colombians organize a pereza festival; literally a laziness festival where people wear bathrobes and slippers!

The two most famous carnivals are the Carnival of Barranquilla and the Blacks and Whites Festival in Pasto. These are a must see for international travelers looking for unique experiences in Colombia.

Did you know?

The Carnival of Barranquilla holds the second largest carnival parades in the world after Rio de Janeiro. It was proclaimed by UNESCO, in November 2003, as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

Barranquilla’s Carnival includes many Colombian dance styles like cumbia and international dances like the Spanish paloteo, the African congo and indigenous mico y micas.


Barranquilla’s Carnival slogan is: Who lives it is who enjoys it! – Quien lo vive, es quien lo goza.

The Blacks and Whites Carnival

These festivals started during the Spanish rule, when the slaves were permitted to party by their masters, who painted their faces in black in support. Nowadays, they either put grease or talcum powder on their faces through a 3-day carnival held in the city of Pasto, in southeastern Colombia. It showcases a mixture of indigenous rituals, Spanish colonial, and later Colombian and Afro-Colombian traditions and customs.


The pre-carnival includes the Day of Water, in which people come out to the streets and playfully celebrate by getting drenched with water.
Celebrations begin early January and include the Blacks day, the Whites day and a large parade.

Want to know more about Colombia?

Don’t hesitate to check the Discover Colombia section of our website or why not start to plan your strip with us?
Please share your comments and experiences.