Colombian Holidays and what they mean to you

Colombian Holidays and what they mean to you

Attention temporary inhabitants of Medellin, Colombia, if you find yourselves wondering why it is Monday with desolate streets and less businesses open, don’t be afraid, there wasn’t a zombie apocalypse while you slept, it’s a holiday.

A holiday or “festivo” in Colombia occur quite frequently. In fact, Colombia is tied for second place (along with the Philippines) as countries with the most public holidays (17) only beaten by India (21). So what do all of these holidays mean? Medellin VIP offers a brief explanation of each and what to expect.

January 1st – New Years’ Day

Pretty self-explanatory as it is a holiday in most countries. In Medellin, locals celebrate it by visiting relatives and cooking a stew-like platter called sancocho, the perfect dish for that new year hangover.

January 12th – Three Kings’ Day

Colombia being a country that is heavily influenced by the Catholic faith, views Three Kings’ Day as a national holiday. For some children, this date means a day where they receive gifts from parents that are less fortunate than ours. Parents that can’t afford gifts on the 24th-25th of December, they use the metaphor of the three kings bearing gifts to bless their little ones.

March 23rd – St. Joseph’s Day

Very little is spoken about St. Joseph and what he represents to the Catholic faith. In Colombia, St Joseph embodies faith, love and family and it is for that reason that March 23rd is used as “Man’s Day” to pay homage to the common man.

April 2nd – Good Thursday / Holy Thursday

One of the few Holidays in the year that non-religious folk does NOT look forward to, good Thursday is a day (along with good Friday) where most people go to church and it is actually frowned upon if you work.

April 3rd – Good Friday / Holy Friday

In another rare occurrence, many restaurants, clubs and even stores don’t open and actually view it as bad luck if you work. Legend has it that people shouldn’t even have sex because “you’ll become stuck” (literally) to that person. Scary…

May 1st – Labor Day

This is one of those fun random holidays that can land on any day of the week meaning the night prior will be like a Saturday night. Good news for travelers looking for a party.

May 18th – Day of Ascent

Having lived in both Colombia and the US, holidays are completely different on this side of the pond. In the US when there’s a holiday, both the oldest and youngest of citizens know what holiday it is and why it is celebrated. Colombia is different (or at least here in Medellin), you can ask about 100 people what are the holidays that are celebrated and I guarantee more than 75% of the population will have no idea. May 18th is one of those holidays no one knows why it is but everyone is glad to have off. Day of Ascent is supposed to be the day when Jesus ascends to the heavens to see his old man.

June 8th – Corpus Christi

No, this is not a date to celebrate the existence of this Southern Texas City or its inhabitants. Corpus Christi is actually a day where all Catholics must declare their faith to the all-powerful Jesus Christ. Ask me how many people actually do… Did I mention June has 3 holidays?

June 15th – Day of the Sacred Heart

In the second of the three holidays celebrated in June, Jesus continues to be the central theme. However, most Colombians see this date as the second consecutive Monday off work and not a celebration of Jesus’ ascent to the heavens.

June 29th – Saint Peter and Saint Paul

June 29th is the third and final holiday of this hectic, party-filled month and it commemorates two well-known martyrs in the catholic faith. Peter preached about Jesus Christ for a long time after his death and was killed by the Romans in 64 A.D (crucified upside down). Paul is said to have been martyred 3 years later again killed by the Romans under emperor Nero’s reign. Very few Colombians actually celebrate this date by going to church.

July 20th – Independence Day

Colombia declared independence from the Spanish on July 20, 1810, which actually makes this country almost 205 years old. Don’t be surprised if you see flags hanging from every window.

August 7th – Battle of Boyaca

August 7th, 1819 was the final battle for Colombian independence. The battle of Boyaca is one of the few holidays in the year that Colombians can actually remember what date it falls under.

August 17th – The Virgin’s Ascent / Day of the Engineer

Another peculiar holiday that very few can explain, August 17th commemorates engineers and their influence in the modern world.

October 12th – Columbus Day

Maybe it’s not Columbus day per se being that it’s called “Dia de la Raza” (Race day) but the idea behind it is the same. October 12th celebrates the day Chris Columbus (the real one, not the director of Home Alone) stumbled upon America and his people killed and raped the natives. Hardly a reason to celebrate but hey, when in Rome…

November 2nd – All Saints’ Day

Every historical person important enough to have canonized is honored on this day.

November 16th – Cartagena’s Independence

Colombia’s Miami gets it’s honored with its own national holiday celebrating its independence. For the record, Cartagena became independent in 1811.

December 8th – Immaculate Conception Day

December 7th is called “Dia de las Velitas” or candle day and it is a day when children and their parents come out of their houses and light different colored candles. It is one of the few holidays really worth paying attention to because walking by all neighborhoods in the city, you’ll see children and adults together lighting up the streets with their decorative candles.

December 25th – Christmas Day

The most distinguishable difference between the 25th in Colombia and the US is, in Colombia the 24th is the day when children open their presents from “baby Jesus” (Colombians don’t believe in Santa Claus, instead they believe Jesus’ kid version delivers presents to kids all over the world). While in the US we all know this activity is reserved for the morning of December 25th. So what do Colombians do on the 25th? Simple, they visit family or make the aforementioned stew or sancocho to cure their elements from the prior night.

What do Colombians do on Holidays?

Holidays have become such a normal thing down here that the wealthier Colombians use these long weekends to head over to their vacation homes outside of the city. These homes are usually equipped with pools, saunas, soccer fields, etc. Other locals just use this time to go out and party (this seems to be the most popular way to go).

What to Expect?

June is the month with the most Holidays (3) but on any given night prior to a holiday (usually Sundays), you will find that clubs are open and the usually booming Parque Lleras area is even more filled with people looking to take advantage of a three-day weekend.

Don’t expect to see very much movement on either good Thursday or good Friday though as many businesses are closed but other than that if you get to be here for a 3-day weekend and a normal weekend, you’ll notice the difference considerably.

We may not be the country with the most national holidays but there are very few countries in the world that account for such high liquor sales on the nights prior to a holiday.

Please keep in mind that the holidays mentioned are not all on those dates, they happened to fall on those dates in 2015.

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Medellin Soccer Experience

Most latin American cities are passionate about soccer (also known as futbol) and Medellin is no exception. Our main teams are Independiente Medellin and Atletico Nacional and for many of the fans, the colors red and blue or green and white represent everything. Not exactly the wisest of people but you have to live this passion to understand it.

 
Introducing the Medellin soccer tour, Medellin VIP wants every visitor to get a chance to experience the ambiance felt at the Atanasio Girardot Stadium. From the flocks of beautiful women to the variety of snacks you can find, this tour is the best way to step out of the conventional.
 
Our Medellin soccer tour is the best way to immerse yourself into something that locals hold in high regards. We love our soccer and will go to great lengths to defend the team that represents our city. Join us as we visit the Atanasio Girardot Stadium and take part in the experience that has been tradition for over half a century.  

Included:

    • Round-trip Transportation to Stadium
    • Entrances to the Game
    • VIP Host

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Paragliding in Medellin

If you’re an adventure seeker looking for a new experience in a great city, we strongly suggest our paragliding in Medellin service. Paragliding in Medellin combines the thrill of paragliding with the views of the beautiful landscape of Medellin’s mountains.

 
The day starts off early in the morning and following a confirmation of weather conditions you’ll head up to the mountains where you will soar hundreds of feet up in the air with a licensed paragliding expert. Live an experience like no other and bring your go-pro along so you can brag about this experience back home.
 
Paragliding in Medellin with Medellin VIP is not only more fun but you can also be sure you’re working with a certified company with more than 6 years in the entertainment and hospitality industry in Medellin. Contact us, today!

Included:

  • Private Driver (optional)
  • 15 Min Paragliding Air Time w/ Certified Instructor
  • Protection pads and helmet
  • Dress comfortably

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ATVs in Medellin

There is no better way to see the Antioquian countryside than sitting behind a raptor or grizzly. Introducing our ATV Tour in Medellin, Medellin VIP has found a way to stray from the beaten path and see the Colombia you wanted to see.

 
ATVs in Medellin is the solution to your picky friend looking to add a little adventure and danger (the good kind) to a Medellin bachelor party. With trails ranging in difficulties and different bikes to choose from, our ATV Tours in Medellin are known for being the way to become immersed in Medellin country life.
 
We start by programming the tour during the day to maximize the rest of the afternoon. We pick the group up at your hotel or vacation rental and head up to the mountains in Rionegro. After a crash-course in ATVs, we proceed in choosing the trail that’s right for you. Choose from 2,3 or 4 hours and spend your day getting dirty while taking in the views up in the mountains. Clients that select the longest trails will have the privilege of making it up to a trout farm where you get to catch your lunch. Do this while you stop at a local watering hole and have a beer with the locals. ATVs in Medellin is the best tour for groups of adventure seekers and bachelor party groups looking to get away.

Included:

    • Round-trip Transportation
    • 2,3 or 4 Hour ATV Tour

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Pablo Escobar Tour in Medellin

We’ve all heard the stories, the legend and are all familiar with the culture behind legendary drug Kingpin Pablo Escobar but do we know the truth? The Pablo Escobar Tour is an educational, informational and fun 3 hour tour that takes you to the town where he grew up, you’ll visit his properties, see the house where he was gunned down by the Colombian government (with the help of the CIA) and visit his grave.

 
All of this with the help of a local guide who lived during the dark times and knows a thing or two about the Escobar days. This spectacular tour will show you that there is more than meets the eye and that Narcos isn’t a good source to get all of your information. Get the best of both worlds with our Pablo Escobar Tour.

Included:

    • Apartment/hotel pickup and drop off
    • Bilingual Tour Guide
    • Dress depending on weather conditions

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Guatape Tour

Visiting Medellin and not taking the day trip out to the quaint town of Guatape is like not even having visited Medellin at all. This beautiful small town has been on the bucket list of many travelers and it would be a crime not to visit if you’re down here.

 
Most towns in Colombia are very similar. Spanish architecture, a church in the middle of a square, town drunks, city hall and a bank. Guatape is the only town in Colombia that has had the misfortune of having its citizens permanently relocated. That’s right, in 1978, the town of Guatape was flooded in order to have a hydroelectric dam built. Its citizens were all moved and the remains of the old town are underwater. That’s not all, there is a 7,000 foot monolith that sits in Guatape territory. The rock itself has been there for millions of years and today, there are 742 stairs you can climb in order to reach the summit. These stairs although arduous for those suffering from the effects of a hangover, are worth the adventure as the view from the top is something out of this world. Sold yet?
 
Our Guatape tour provides you not only with the transportation to and from but also a tour of the quaint town, entrances to the rock, a boat tour of the lake and a surprise visit to a villa built by he-who-must-not-be-named. Upgrade to our Medellin VIP Signature Boat Party and this Guatape Tour can be informative, exciting and epic!

Included:

    • Round-trip Transportation
    • Rock Entrances
    • Tour of Guatape

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Exotic Fruit Tour In Medellin

Colombia is one of only 17 megadiverse countries in the world. A type of country that harbors the majority of the world’s species of everything and we’re lucky enough to live right dab in the middle. Medellin’s perfect year round springtime weather allows visitors to get everything at any time of the year. Fruits and vegetables unheard of in North America and Europe are the reason why many tourists can’t get enough of our local markets.

 
Introducing the exotic fruit tour in Medellin, Medellin VIP gives you the opportunity of going on a guided exotic fruit tour! That’s right, the more you eat the more you learn and we encourage you to dig in, get dirty and sink your teeth into everything. There are 22 fruits in Colombia that aren’t found in over 90% of countries in the world and they can all be found at one of our local food markets. Not just that but there is also a cornucopia of small local eateries nestled in this market. Hidden gems that have been there for years that very few people know about and that we’re prepared to reveal.
 
Come enjoy our exotic fruit tour in Medellin and see why our clients can’t get enough of eating fruits in paradise!

Included:

    • Round-trip Transportation
    • Tour of the Market
    • Fruits and Snacks

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Flyboarding in Medellin

The newest, most exciting aquatic activity has finally reached Guatape and needless to say, it’s awesome. Flyboarding is an innovative, one-of-a-kind aquatic sport which allows its participants to do the otherwise impossible, fly over water. Perform awesome stunts and impress your friends with this incredible daytime activity in Guatape. A flyboard is an aquatic jet-pack which provides propulsion that drives a board-like object through water. Invented and patented in 2012 by a French water-craft carrier, flyboarding has been in Guatape for the past 2 years and there is no better place to perform the sport than in this spectacular lake. Take our crash-course in flyboarding and use the equipment long enough to perform your first stunt. Adventure seekers and aquatic activity lovers will really enjoy Flyboarding in Guatape.

Included:

    • Flyboarding Crash-Course and Equipment
    • Transportation to Guatape (optional)

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Medellin City Tour

City tours tend to involve lots of walking and large crowds. Our Medellin City Tour steps out of the conventional. We provide you with a full on ‘day in the life’ of a paisa where you visit the most frequented places while learning about the history of Medellin. From walking around Botero Square to using our impeccably clean Metro Transportation system, our Medellin city tour is the ultimate Medellin crash course.

 
Thanks to the city’s rapid growth and incredible change, the spotlight is now on The City of Eternal Spring. See when the city was founded, where locals frequent, major industries and growth opportunities. In this 4 hour Medellin City Tour, we take you from rich to poor in a matter of minutes and learn how no matter where you go, everyone always has a smile on their face.
 
“It’s ludicrous this place exists and everybody doesn’t want to live here”
-Anthony Bourdain

Included:

    • Transportation to and from your Hotel
    • Local Bilingual Guide
    • Metro Tickets

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Comuna 13 Graffiti Tour

Medellin, a city formerly avoided by travelers is now a city of hope and change. For many of it’s citizens, Medellin is considered as the best city in the world and they’ll all gladly open their doors to show you why. Introducing our Comuna 13 Graffiti Tour, Medellin VIP takes you to a part of town where hip hop, street art and dance is how the neighborhood’s youth escape from their problems and showcase their talents.

 
The Comuna 13 Graffiti Tour takes you up to Comuna 13, an area that for many years was afflicted by guerrilla members that ran the area until military intervention in 2002. Comuna 13 is high up in the mountains and home to electric staircases that help its residents commute to avoid the hundreds of stairs they used to have to climb. The neighborhood has been under scrutiny from other countries and used as an example that change and innovation is possible in even the most impoverished places.
 
Our Comuna 13 Graffiti tour  showcases the major works of art done by local artists. Their work depicts, suffering, hope, change and their overall appreciation for their neighborhood. The Comuna 13 Graffiti tour starts with pick-up at your hotel or apartment followed by a 20 minute drive to Comuna 13 where you will be given the general tour by a local artist. Recommended for those that wish to avoid the conventional city tour.

Included:

    • Transportation to and from your Hotel
    • Local Bilingual Guide

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Comuna 13 Graffiti Tour

Medellin is a progressive city that has seen an exponential drop in crime in the past 5 years and the city formerly avoided by travelers is now a city of hope and change. For many of it’s citizens, Medellin is considered as the best city in the world and they’ll all gladly open their doors to show you why this is. Introducing our Graffiti Tour, Medellin VIP takes you to a part of town where hip hop, street art and dance is how the neighborhood’s youth escape from their problems and showcase their talents.

 
This tour takes you up to Comuna 13, an area that for many years was afflicted by guerrilla members that ran the area until a few years ago that the government intervened. Comuna 13 is high up in the mountains and home to electric staircases that help its residents commute to avoid the hundreds of stairs they knew as their only method to get from one place to the other. The neighborhood, has been under scrutiny from other countries and used as an example that change and innovation is possible in even the most impoverished places.
 
Our graffiti tour  showcases the major works of art done by local artists. Their work depicts, suffering, hope, change and their overall appreciation for their neighborhood. The grafitti tour starts with pick-up at your hotel or apartment followed by a 20 minute drive to Comuna 13 where you will be given the general tour by a local artist. Recommended for those that wish to avoid the conventional city tour.

Included:

    • Transportation to and from your Hotel
    • Local Bilingual Guide

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Helicopter Tours in Medellin

Helicopters are the very definition of VIP. From their use in the executive world to transport rich businessmen, to cutting travel times down to a fraction, there’s no denying the awesomeness of helicopters. So, what if I told you that you can see the city of Medellin while getting a bird’s eye view of north to south? In under 20 minutes!

 
Introducing, Helicopter Tours in Medellin, Medellin VIP wants all visitors to get unreal views of the Aburra Valley while getting a VIP Tour not available everywhere. A Helicopter Tour of Medellin is the most stylish way to enjoy the city of eternal spring. Choose from multiple types of tours, from North-South to Pablo’s Hacienda Napoles Helicopter Tours and even Guatape Helicopter Tours, your trip to Medellin will be an unforgettable experience.
 
Upgrade your excitement level while getting spectacular photographic material. Impress your friends or significant other with our helicopter tours in Medellin.

Included:

    • Transportation to and from your Hotel
    • 12-20 Minute Flight

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