Home Bogota Bogota’s crazy weather: what clothes to wear and what to expect?

Bogota’s crazy weather: what clothes to wear and what to expect?

by Sabine
Published Last updated on
Languages / Talen

Although I previously wrote extensively about the weather in Colombia, Bogotá deserves a separate article about this. Because if you leave your country for tropical Colombia and think you will arrive in warm summer weather, you will be quite shocked. The weather in Bogotá is confusing and already several friends and family who visited me, had no idea what to wear every day. What to wear in Bogotá (and what especially not) and how to cope with this crazy climate? Read it here and be prepared!

Checking the weather before coming to Bogotá? Don’t!

Many people check the weather every day. I always did too, down to the last detail. In a lot of countries, even days in advance, you know what the weather is going to be, right down to the hour when it will rain.

Of course the thought of preparing yourself well for a trip to Colombia using Google or whatever weather forecast is very logical, but for Bogotá (and the rest of Colombia) completely useless.

The chances of what the Internet says being true are very small, and besides, it is never specific to the place in Bogotá. Because as implausible as it sounds: rain in the south does not mean rain in the north.

Conclusion: get that weather app off your phone as soon as possible or at least teach yourself not to look at it for during your stay in Colombia.


The Bogotá weather

When you think of Colombia, white beaches and palm trees probably come to mind first. But unfortunately: this only applies to a small part in this diverse country.

Bogotá and surroundings are a completely different story. The climate depends on the altitude where you are, and Bogotá is located at an altitude of over 2,600 meters. And that means a cold weather with more rain.

The average temperature is around 17 degrees, but in one day you can easily experience 5 degrees AND 20 degrees. After sunset it cools down considerably and if it’s cloudy all day, you don’t have to expect temperatures above 15 to 17 degrees either.

When the sun does shine, it can feel quite warm in the sun (20 degrees or a little more), but as soon as you walk into the shade for a while you notice a big difference immediately. Especially if it’s also a little windy and you walk through the sun in a t-shirt into the shade, it’s suddenly chilling.


The weather can turn quickly

On top of that, the weather can change quickly and you can experience at least three seasons within an hour.

Not to mention the size of the city: if you leave in the sun, you may find yourself walking into rain half an hour later and 10 kilometers north.

The two rainy seasons run from February/March through May, and from October to early December. However, every year it remains to be seen how much and when it will actually rain, and you can also expect rain outside those periods. Only between mid-December and late January does it virtually not rain and the weather is usually beautiful.

Is Bogotá really that rainy?

By the way, I certainly don’t think Bogotá is a very rainy city. It seems that way now, but usually it rains only briefly (except during the rainy season) and many days are beautiful. The times I walk under an umbrella are certainly not very many. Bit: I do actually always take one with me… for just in case.

And more about rain: every day there is a 100% chance of rain. Except between mid-December and the end of January, that is. It does not mean that it rains all day long, but it does mean that you can always expect rain.

Also, don’t think that a few drops won’t get you wet: here in Bogotá, those showers are often so intense that your socks are flooded after only 10 seconds, the streets flood and you suddenly find yourself in a completely different world. Believe me: the times I have experienced this can no longer be counted on one hand.

In any case: on most days, the weather is just fine in Bogotá. Cold, but dry. An umbrella does always go with me for safety. I walk at least 7,000 steps almost every day and without rain.


What clothes to bring to Bogotá?

It’s wise to remember before you leave that you won’t be getting on the plane in your sandals and shorts. Many flights don’t arrive until late afternoon or early evening, and then you don’t want to step out into the cold right away.

What clothes to bring for in Bogotá?

  • Closed shoes, preferably ones you can walk well and longer with (also taking into account the bad streets here);
  • Long pants (no Bogotan walks in shorts, even when it’s 20 degrees or more, except on Sundays when playing sports or outings in the park on nice days);
  • A t-shirt with a cardigan for when it gets colder (layers are the most convenient, to be prepared for everything);
  • A jacket. Many Bogotans look like it’s freezing cold, but really: a summer coat is enough for when it gets chillier, I myself always carry a scarf as well;
  • Your sunglasses;
  • An umbrella! Not an article of clothing, but a very good idea when you’re out and about in Bogotá.


Clothing and safety in Bogotá

Wear as normal clothing as possible to fit in with the locals. Colombians generally look very neat and tidy. So, if you, as a tourist, walk around in, say, zip-off pants, you stand out tremendously. In this case, it is also important for safety: stand out as little as possible as a tourist. More safety tips for in Bogotá can be found here.


I myself always wear jeans or pants in black, blue or beige. I always have a coat on (also for sun protection) and always long sleeves. On weekends or when I go for a walk I often have a t-shirt on with a jacket over it. My shoes vary from warm booties to simple sneakers. In the rainy season, I often bring an extra pair of socks for when I get wet. Almost never do I go out on the street without an umbrella.


What do you leave in your hotel?

Assuming for a moment that you will continue traveling through Colombia after Bogotá, you can therefore leave your summer clothes, such as short skirts and shorts, in your suitcase. Zip pants are best saved for hiking. Sandals are also not very suitable in this city: too cold and too open for when it rains or for when you have to step through deep puddles.


Conclusion: the weather in Bogotá is totally unpredictable

The weather in Bogotá is completely unpredictable. So, if you are going to spend a day hiking or exploring other neighborhoods, it is best to be prepared for anything. Bring an umbrella and dress in a way that you can change some clothes. Especially if you go to parks in Bogotá where it can suddenly get very hot in the bright sun in the grass. A t-shirt with a cardigan, for example. Sunshine in the morning is no guarantee of sunshine in the afternoon! Nor does waking up in 10 degrees mean that it can’t suddenly be 20 degrees at 1 in the afternoon.


Extra tip: use sunscreen a lot! Throughout Colombia, sun strength is between 8 and 17 (depending on location), even in Bogotá when it is only 15 degrees and cloudy. Learn more about traveling in a high altitude area here.


The climate in Bogotá: like it or not?

There are travelers who arrive in Bogotá precisely when it has just been pouring with rain for a few days: that, of course, sucks. But if you are here longer you will come to appreciate this climate. Not too hot, not too cold, everything nice and green because of the rain and 365 days a year you can wear the same kind of clothes.

No more stress about what to wear, or spending half an hour using the weather forecast on your phone to figure out what to wear today. The sun shines almost every day and there is so much fun to do in Bogotá: what more do you want? I love it!


Don’t be scared after horror stories about Bogotá’s weather, but enjoy the diversity of this city, in culture as well as in climate!


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