Ready to have a unique holiday season this year? This is why spending Christmas in Colombia is a glittering choice for a holiday abroad.
South America is a region I’m looking forward to exploring in the not-so-distant future.
The only time I’ve really experienced Latin America was with a quick three-week trip to the green country of Costa Rica. It was my first trip abroad when I was 18. I never made it further south and Latin America as a whole has been high on my list for awhile now.
But even though I’m not going to South America anytime soon, it doesn’t mean that I can’t still daydream about the place. One location in particular that I’ve heard amazing things about is Colombia, especially experiencing Christmas in Colombia.
What used to be seen as a dangerous and sketchy country in South America run by drug lords, now has a huge tourism draw, and is seen as an intriguing and attractive place to visit.
Medellín, the second largest city in Colombia, is one of those spots in the country that I’ve heard about time and time again. Dave, the guy behind Travel Blog Success and Go Backpacking, lived there for quite some time, and there have been plenty of other travelers who constantly rave about it as well.
It’s one of those cities that I want to see when I get to that part of the world, and, when I do get there, I’m hoping it will be during the holidays.
Note: This post was sponsored by Medellín Travel
Christmas in Colombia – Why it’s a Unique Experience
You see, Medellín is huge on Christmas.
It’s not all that surprising with its large Catholic population, but if you want to see a culture that goes all out for the holidays, look no further than this place.
They’re like that house that puts in 110% for their Christmas decorations, and the closest neighbors can only say “ditto” with a sign pointing to their house.
It would be hard to beat the impressive effort they put into lighting up the whole city during Christmas. Even National Geographic ranked Medellín as one of the top 10 places to see Christmas lights in the world.
Driving around finding the best Christmas lights has always my favorite part of the holidays, after quality family time, of course. I would love to go to a city that creates an impressive display to this extent. I think I’d have to stay there for a month just to bask in the beautiful lights of Christmas.
Medellín is the only city in South America that is part of LUCI, or Lighting Urban Community International. LUCI is an organization of illuminated cities around the world that uses light to drive sustainable urban, social, and economic development.
Medellín’s holiday celebrations include 41 million LED bulbs and 950 kilometers (590 miles) worth of Christmas lights. They’re not kidding around! They also create 42,000 Christmas figures that revolve around a different theme each year and that can be found throughout the city.
Lastly, the food scene is already a big draw in Medellín, but it comes alive even more with the spirit of Christmas in Colombia and the essence of the holiday – eating good food with good people.
This time of the year is when traditional Christmas foods are re-introduced to the cuisine that you probably won’t find at other times of the year. There are fried cheese balls (buñuelos), sweet custard puddings (Natillas), rice puddings (Arroz con leche), and stuffed pork dishes (Lechona), just to name a few.
In addition to the food and lights, you can also bet there will be a Christmas festival or two, plenty of dancing, mingling with locals, and live music. Everyone gets into the festive spirit in Colombia, but especially in Medellín where locals take their love for all things Christmas seriously.
If you’re looking for an impressive and unique holiday destination this December, Medellín is it.
The holiday markets in Europe are brilliant, the Christmas tree in New York’s Rockefeller Center is stunning, but have you ever experienced the holiday season in South America?
It’s not a destination that is always thought about right off the bat when it comes to a “white Christmas” cliche. And that’s a good thing – less tourists and stressed out holiday groups for you to deal with…and, you know, warm weather.
So, put aside your ugly sweaters and fruit pudding, this Christmas could be a very different kind of holiday for you! I can’t wait to experience it for myself someday soon.
All photos in this post are from Medellín Travel.
Where’s your favorite place to travel during the holiday season? Have you spent Christmas in Colombia before?
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