On average there’s a festival a day in Colombia. It’s no wonder Colombians are consistently voted the happiest people on earth. Music, dancing, colourful costumes, tropical flowers and exotic fruit are just part of normal, everyday life here. You want a carnival? Barranquilla, on the northern coast, hosts the second largest carnival in the world, a tropical cocktail of music and dance, all wrapped up in the spirit of the Caribbean. Approaching its 50 year anniversary, El Festival de La Leyenda Vallenata, is amongst the most popular. Every year thousands of Colombians from all over the country descend onto the city of Valledupar to participate in the festivities that culminate in the crowning of the King of the Accordion. For five days the town moves to the beat of the caja drum while the melancholic melodies of the accordion instill a magical atmosphere of a time gone by.

La Feria de Las Flores in Medellín is a ten day celebration that showcases the floral diversity of the Antioquia region. As well as being the largest open-air flower display in the world, the festival flaunts the high spirits and warmth of the “Paisa” people and includes an exhibition of classic cars, a horse parade and numerous concerts. Another major attraction is El Carnaval de Blancos y Negros in Pasto, a celebration of Colombia’s ethnic and cultural diversity. One of the oldest carnivals on the continent, it’s an explosion of colour and sound, a street battle of paint and powder, while the still active Galeras volcano provides a stunning backdrop. Experiencing any one of the major festivals is a cultural immersion and a piece of Colombia to take back and treasure for a long time to come.

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