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A Guide to Seeing the Christmas Lights in Medellin with Your Lover

Colombia is well-known for its various scenic tourist destinations — from the lively salsa street parties in Cali to the untouched beauty of the Chingaza National Park. It’s no wonder why millions of tourists come flocking in every year.

But when Christmas rolls in, there’s only one place in every Colombian’s mind that’s best associated with this season — Medellin. To be specific, their world class Alumbrados Navideños or El Alumbrado.

It’s an annual Christmas lights display that has gained international recognition. As hailed by National Geographic, Medellin is one of the Top 10 cities in the world to see holiday lights. According to them, “(The city)… pulses with new vitality and, during the balmy holidays, fantastic lights. Tree canopies drip with oversize ornament shapes; giant 3-D figures twirl along Medellín River and above a carnival-like sidewalk packed with food stalls.”

church lights
Medellin boasts one of the best Christmas lights ever witnessed.

El Alumbrado goes as far back as the 1950s. It initially started as a humble lights display by the local utility company Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM). As years went by, it got bigger and bigger until Medellin became famous for these displays.

Now, about 4 million tourists celebrate Christmas in Medellin just to witness the Alumbrados Navideños in the flesh.

If you’re wondering what to do in Medellin with your significant other, why not go out on a date to see El Alumbrado? Watching a romantic light display with your Latina partner in your arms — can your Christmas get any more romantic than that?

How to Watch the El Alumbrado

The light displays often begin in late November or early December. The best place to see it is in Parques del Río or the River Park, which is the central location for the event. This place is often crowded, so the light displays are built along the river to provide people with a wide passage.

The pedestrian bridges across the river will be closed, so you’ll have to enter through the east side of the river.

If you plan to bring a car, don’t. There are about 300 parking spaces for cars and 50 spaces for motorcycles. It sounds like a lot of space, but take note that there will also be a lot of visitors coming in as well.

You’ll be much better off taking the Medellin metro.

To get there, take the A line of the metro to the Exposiciones station. Once you’re there, take the Metroplus bus line to the Plaza Mayor station and the entrance to Parque Del Rio will be nearby.

There will be colorful Chivas of Traditional Old-Town Busses, but for the most part, they’re used for photo ops and not for transportation.

Other Places to View the El Alumbrado

As beautiful as Parques Del Río is, you can’t avoid running into a few issues. There are bound to be a lot of visitors there — and the chances of bumping into an inconvenience will just be as high.

Fret not — Parques Del Río isn’t the only place with light displays. In recent years, there have been several hundred places where you can see light displays. After all, Medellin isn’t called the City of Christmas Lights for nothing.

If you would like to go somewhere with lesser crowds to watch the display in peace with your partner, here are some other places you can visit instead:

  • Avenida La Playa

With extensive gardens and more pedestrian space, all sightseers are very much delighted to revel in the sky-like decorations.

You’ll be seeing huge figures of Christmas motifs made only with a string of lights. There will also be a giant Christmas tree with dynamic lights at La Playa and Avenida Oriental.

  • Tranvía de Ayacucho

The lights you can see on Tranvía de Ayacucho have taken heavy inspiration from Colombian traditions, omens, and superstitions of December 31st. Yellow underwear, grapes, suitcases (for good luck and plenty of travel in the new year), lentils and rice (for abundance) are among the few light displays you might recognize there.

There will also be carolers scattered on the streets singing “Faltan Cinco pa’, a traditional Christmas song that means “five minutes to midnight”.

  • Carrera 70

The unique thing about the displays on Carrera 70 is the light installations that come in the form of musical instruments such as drums, violins, trumpets, maracas, tambourines, and musical notes.

There will also be various Christmas lights on ceilings and luminous poles between the Plaza de Banderas and the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana.

  • Pueblito Paisa

If you would like to have an overlooking view while surrounded by colorful Christmas lights, Pueblito Paisa is the place to be.

There are several restaurants serving coffee, ice cream, and many typical Colombian foods like bandeja paisa here. A meal, the view of the city, and a display of lights — can it get any more convenient than that?

  • Paseo Bolívar

The light fixtures in Paseo Bolívar are heavily inspired by Noche de las Velitas.

The Noche de las Velitas, or the night of the little candles, is celebrated on December 7th and marks the first day of Christmas. This is in honor of Mary’s immaculate conception.

You’ll be seeing a few light figures depicting this event between Calle San Juan and Plaza Botero, such as a few candles or the likeness of Mary.

  • Avenida Las Palmas

You will find various light displays set up from the Intercontinental Hotel to Calle 33. You can also spot some tree canopies adorned with light ornaments.

On Christmas Day, the roads are placed with barricades to allow people to celebrate Christmas on the streets. This makes the perfect opportunity to take pictures.

Lighting Up Your Holiday in Medellin

Lights on Tree
Make use of this opportunity to make your Latina fall in love with you this Christmas.

There are several places to experience the magic and wonder of Christmas lights and displays. The best part about spending your holidays in the city of Eternal Spring, however, is the company you’re with when you witness El Alumbrado.

Seeing the lights together with your Latina partner on a Colombian holiday is one of the most romantic things to do in Medellin. If you are currently going out with a Latina to see the lights, then you better put your romantic side on and sweep her off her feet.

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