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Adapting to the climate in Colombia

Hello everyone,

Adjusting to new climatic conditions is key in any expatriation process. Moving to Colombia is no exception.

What are the climate characteristics of Colombia?

How does the local weather impact your daily life, mood or health?

What are the pros and cons of the climate in Colombia?

Share you advice and help people adapt quickly to their new weather environment.

Thanks in advance,

Priscilla

Climate and weather in Colombia is largely determined by altitude - the higher you go, the cooler it is both day and night.  But also areas on the coasts are affected by the oceans and often see little day/night temperature difference, with high humidity.  There are also micro-climates that exist because of prevailing wind and rainfall patterns in and around the mountainous terrain, that may leave one area dry and hot and another wet and cool or wet and humid much of the time.  Each major city in Colombia has its own weather and climate, and so do numerous smaller villages and towns - there really is an amazing variety.

Most places when it rains, it does so quickly and then it passes, within several hours or so at most.  In many areas it may rain heavily, the phrase "tropical downpour" springs to mind - you can get several inches of rain in just a few minutes sometimes.

The big "pro" for me is that the weather is so nice so much of the time.  And if you want to get cooler, you go up a mountain.  If you want hotter, you descend a few hundred meters.  The "con" for me is there's not much change of season, mostly you just have a drier period and a wetter period, there are not 4 distinct seasons like in most of North America, and the day/night length because of the proximity to the Equator is for all practical purposes constant year-round, there are no long summer days but neither do you find the interminable darkness of winter nights.  Also my collection of down jackets and wool shirts is mostly useless in Colombia, unless I am going up near or into the snow line.

The biggest natural and weather-related dangers are mostly caused by lightning and rain but also earthquakes and include landslides, rockslides, mudslides and floods, and also some areas are subject to volcanic lahars if and when they occur which is fortunately seldom.  Reading about the tragedy which occurred in and around Armero in November 1985 in which over 20,000 people perished in minutes is a sobering jolt of the possible reality of life and death in Colombia.

The thread How Expat Visitors Can Keep Cool in Medellín -- started on this forum just a day or so before Priscilla started this thread -- is relevant here.  Some of the hacks at Cool in Medellín probably apply in various places in the Republic.

cccmedia, posting from metro Medellín

Climate is good 👍

I agree with others about climate.

I live in Bogota and, well, it is quite cool in the mornings and evenings. During the day it can go from 18 to 21 (sometimes to 23). It has a humid + dry feeling - I can't explain! It is very humid, but you feel like you need to drink water quite often and things dry fast. I compare with Sao Paulo to say that. As the weather does not change much, you need the same set of clothes for most of the year - maybe about 10 days cooler/colder and 10 days warmer/hoter.

Because of these, MANY people get sick here. Some advice: drink lots of water, take your sweater with you (even though it is sunny out there) and train your body to adjust to the various experiences Bogota gives you.

Other 3 cities that are important in Colombia:
- Medellin. Although people consider climate as perfect (the city of eternal spring), it may feel hot for those of us who live in Bogota.
- Cali. It is very warm...
- Barranquilla. That is very hot!!

Also, don't believe fully in Bogotans (disclaimer: I am Brazilian) when they talk about climate... A bad example was going to a town in Choco (a department/province of Colombia). I was told it was very hot, and it was frozen cold!!! Check websites for that, it is much better.

Anyway, for me the climate is better than Brazil, but sometimes it gets bored and I just go to another city, in the same country, with different weather...

Take care, Marcelo

marcelobulk :

Medellin. Although people consider climate as perfect (the city of eternal spring), it may feel hot for those of us who live in Bogota.

Coming from Quito, at 10 percent higher altitude than Bogotá, I can tell you for sure ... Medellin -- along the Metro route, for instance -- doesn’t just feel hot.  It IS hot.  At least it is this time of year. 88-90 F when I visited last week.

Maybe at La Ceja or some higher elevation in Aburrá valley, it’s springtime throughout the year.  But for Medellín, ese buque ha zarpado.*

Medellin needs to put away 'in a lock box’ that title City of Eternal you-know-what.  That’s from a previa época before global warming, city expansion and the gradual arrival of much more vehicular traffic made the hotter months summer-like.

If anybody has an idea which months in MDE might still be spring-like, please post about that.

cccmedia from Pereira


  *translation:  that ship has sailed.

Climate determines temperature more than anything else. Departmento of Choco may be wetter than Bolivar because of rain patterns. All in all it's very easy to adapt depending if you like warmer or cooler.

I have traveled many parts of the world and I think Colombia has probably the best or one of the best climates. Bucaramanga and Santander in general has an average temp of about 75 F and probably 60-65F during the night (sometimes it can get colder and sometimes hotter). But living in Maryland and Florida, the summer was brutal with heat reaching 110 in Florida and humid of 98%, you felt your shirt melting of your body and lack of oxygen, we could barely stay outside for longer than 15 minutes. In Santander we usually have dinner outside in our patio and enjoy the cool nights with a little blanket and shorts, anyone can adjust to the weather here, specially people who suffer allergies like my wife who could barely breath in Marylands springs.

MarkGonz :

Colombia has probably the best or one of the best climates. Bucaramanga and Santander in general has an average temp of about 75 F....

in Maryland and Florida, the summer was brutal with heat reaching 110 in Florida and humid of 98%, you felt your shirt melting off your body and lack of oxygen....

Bucaramanga in Colombia’s Santander department has an average high temperature of 81 F. degrees, and it doesn’t vary by more than a degree from 81 in any month of the year.  (Wikipedia)

That’s a great change for anyone who has had to deal with the extreme heat and humidity in much of the southern tier of the USA.

cccmedia from Eje Cafetero, Colombia

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