Monthly weather forecast and climate

Flag of Colombia
Flag of Colombia

The climate of Colombia

Colombia is a tropical country with a complex climatic pattern. The northern tip is semi-arid to arid (Köppen climate classification BWh, BSh). A significant portion in the north and central regions displays tropical savanna and monsoon types (Köppen Am, Aw). More than 50% of the land in the northwest and almost the entire southern half have a tropical rainforest climate (Köppen Af). Patches in the central and western regions have an oceanic climate, with its variants (Köppen Cfb, Csb). The Andes above 4000 meters have a mountain climate (Köppen ET). Colombia lies in the northern part of South America. Venezuela lies in the east and Brazil in the southeast. Ecuador and Peru are in the south, the Pacific Ocean in the west, Panama in the northwest, and the Caribbean Sea in the north. The equatorial location, high mountain ranges, and proximity to the vast ocean waters influence the climate.

Colombia lies on either side of the equator, between 12°N and 4°S, and has six natural regions. The Andes Mountains form the Andean Region, adjacent to the Pacific Coast. The region includes the Cordillera Occidental mountains, the Cordillera Central, and the Cordillera Oriental, with hot, temperate, cold, and frozen types of mountain climate. Magdalena, the principal river in the country, flows through the humid and low-lying Caribbean Region adjacent to the Caribbean Sea. The region also comprises of the Guajira Desert and the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range. The Pacific Region lies near the Pacific Coast, is highly humid, and among the regions of the highest precipitation in the world. The Orinoco Region is a savanna, east of the Andes, in the northeast of the country. The Amazon Region is a rainforest in the Amazon Basin of southern Colombia. The Insular Region comprises maritime areas in the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Pico Cristobal Colon and Pico Simon Bolivar are the highest peaks in Colombia at 5775 meters above sea level.

Much of Colombia lies in the warm altitudinal zone below 1000 meters, with mean annual temperatures above 23.9°C (75°F). The average annual temperatures are between 16.7°C (62.1°F) to 23.9°C (75°F) at altitudes ranging from 1000 meters to 2000 meters. Between 2000 meters and 3000 meters, the climate is in the cold 11.7°C (53.1°F) to 16.7°C (62.1°F) range. The climate is alpine to glacial above 4000 meters, with permanent snow and ice. Summers are hot and humid, with a variable amount of rain. Temperatures reach up to 40°C (104°F) in the deserts during the day and drop to 15°C (59°F) in the night. The average high temperatures remain in the 29.4°C (84.9°F) to 36.1°C (97°F) range during the hot season. Winters are mild to cold and dry in most parts. The average low temperatures remain in the 18.9°C (66°F) to 23.9°C (75°F) range in the lowlands during the cold season. The equator passes through the lower half of Colombia. Different seasons occur at the same time in the northern and southern regions.

The annual rainfall in Colombia varies widely based on altitude. May to October registers the highest amount of precipitation. The regions with the equatorial climate in the western Andes and southeastern Colombia receive abundant rainfall throughout the year. Quibdo is the rainiest city in Colombia, with 8001mm (315") of rainfall and 305 wet days annually. The northernmost tip is arid, with less than 304.8mm (12") of precipitation in the Guajira Peninsula. The northern coast near the Caribbean Sea receives moderate rainfall between 508mm (20") to 635mm (25"). Most regions receive between 762mm (30") to 2286mm (90") of rainfall. Much of Colombia receives abundant annual sunshine between 2500 hours to 2900 hours and has days and nights of equal duration. The Pacific Coast receives only 1800 hours to 2000 hours of sunshine annually. The average water temperatures of the Caribbean Sea are warm between 26.1°C (79°F) and 28.9°C (84°F) and suitable for swimming all year round.

The record high temperature for Colombia is 45°C (113°F), set in Puerto Salgar, Cundinamarca, on December 29, 2015. The lowest recorded temperature in Bogota, the capital, is -3.9°C (25°F).

The best time to visit Colombia

The best time to visit Colombia is generally between December to March. The cold period is less rainy and has ample sunshine. The conditions are mild at low altitudes, and only the high mountains see snow and ice. The ocean waters at an average of 26.1°C (79°F) are warm on the Caribbean coast. The Pacific Ocean is warm throughout the year, but the coast is rainy all year round. A few areas receive low rainfall between August and November. The Amazon rainforest has better conditions during relatively dry periods. Precipitation is the most significant factor determining the best time to visit a particular region of Colombia and varies by season and altitude.

The worst time to visit Colombia

The worst time to visit Colombia is usually from April to October. The heat and humidity are high in most regions, and the rainfall is heavy. The equatorial regions receive almost daily rain, and the sticky atmosphere is unbearable for people from cold countries. Flooded rivers pose significant obstructions. The Amazon Basin is notoriously humid, wet, and uncomfortable in the summer. The arid regions in the north register severe temperatures above 40°C (104°F) in the hot season. Thunderstorms frequently occur in the mountains.

Weather hazards

Colombia is vulnerable to weather hazards, such as thunderstorms, floods, droughts, earthquakes, and volcanoes. Heavy and frequent rainfall brings floods in many regions due to the numerous river systems. The La Nina influenced rainy season in 2010-11 affected 3.5 million people, with damages from unprecedented floods, landslides, and related hazards. A series of floods and landslides affected the country nationwide, in 2017 and 2018. Droughts frequently occur in the northern arid areas due to a shortage of rainfall. Thunderstorms with lightning and heavy rain are standard during the summer. The far north, including the islands of Providencia and San Andres, infrequently witness the passage of the Atlantic Ocean hurricanes. Colombia is in the Pacific Ring of Fire and prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

Weather in January

January is cold to warm in Colombia, with average low temperatures between 18.9°C (66°F) to 25°C (77°F) on the plains. Bogota, at 2600 meters above sea level, registers cold temperatures between 6.1°C (43°F) to 20°C (68°F). Frost is common, but rainfall is hardly 50.8mm (2"), and the daily sunshine lasts for 6 hours. Weather in January »

Weather in February

February has comfortable conditions in much of Colombia, with relatively less precipitation. Cartagena and Barranquilla on the northwestern shores register between 23.9°C (75°F) to 32.2°C (90°F), with daily sunshine of 9 hours and no rainfall. Weather in February »

Weather in March

March brings warm temperatures in Colombia, with moderate rainfall. The daily sunshine lasts for 7 hours in the north and northwest regions but registers below 5 hours in the rest of the country. The average high temperatures touch 32.8°C (91°F) in the Guajira Peninsula and the deserts of the north, with negligible rainfall. Weather in March »

Weather in April

April sees a rise in temperatures and precipitation in Colombia. The equatorial regions in the west and southeast register relative humidity between 75% and 95% and ample precipitation between 304.8mm (12") to 660.4mm (26"). The average temperatures in Tumaco and Leticia are in the 22.8°C (73°F) to 31.1°C (88°F) range. Weather in April »

Weather in May

May is the first maximum of the rainy period, with high humidity in most of Colombia. The precipitation readings are 71.1mm (2.8") in Riohacha, 127mm (5") in Cartagena, Arboletes, and San Andres, 375.9mm (14.8") in Acandi, 718.8mm (28.3") in Quibdo, and 360.7mm (14.2") in Tumaco and Leticia. Weather in May »

Weather in June

June is cloudy, humid, and wet in much of Colombia, but cold in the southern part. Temperatures below altitudes of 1000 meters are usually in the 22.8°C (73°F) to 32.2°C (90°F) range. The extreme north registers many days above 37.8°C (100°F). Weather in June »

Weather in July

July is the warmest month in three-fourth of Colombia that lies above the equator. The deserts and savanna regions register average temperatures between 22.8°C (73°F) to 35°C (95°F), with 7 hours of daily sunshine. Cartagena receives up to 119.4mm (4.7"), while Barranquilla records a summer minimum of 66mm (2.6"). Weather in July »

Weather in August

August has the highest frequency of hurricanes in Colombia, which occur mainly in the far north and the islands of San Andres and Providencia. Quibdo, on the southwest coast, registers 840.7mm (33.1"), the highest rainfall of the year, and temperatures in the 22.8°C (73°F) to 31.1°C (88°F) zone. Weather in August »

Weather in September

September is warm and humid in Colombia, with the summer season in the Northern Hemisphere. The far northern deserts reach average daily highs of 36.1°C (97°F), while the north coast in Riohacha ranges between 23.9°C (75°F) to 32.8°C (91°F). Weather in September »

Weather in October

October is the wettest period that brings the second maximum of the rainy period in Colombia. The precipitation readings are 149.9mm (5.9") in Riohacha, 165.1mm (6.5") in Barannaquilla, 238.8mm (9.4") in Cartagena, 205.7mm (8.1") in Arboletes, 325.1mm (12.8") in San Andres, 640.1mm (25.2") in Quibdo, and 274.3mm (10.8") in Leticia. The daily sunshine lasts less than 5 hours in most regions, and the skies remain cloudy for 73% to 82% of the time. Weather in October »

Weather in November

November is wet in many parts of Colombia and brings the highest precipitation of the year in a few places. The skies remain overcast between 77% and 88% of the time, but the cloud cover decreases in the north during the month. Weather in November »

Weather in December

December is wet and cloudy in many places in Colombia but sees a drop in temperatures in the north. The Guajira Peninsula has average temperatures between 22.8°C (73°F) to 32.2°C (90°F), which begins the best conditions of the year. Weather in December »

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