Best Nightlife in Colombia | Top 11 Places to Party
I was hammered. Three sheets to the wind. The nightlife in Colombia had gotten the best of me. The sexy bartender with the cute accent who kept “practicing” her English had gotten me drunk. Hijo de puta!
Midnight was fast approaching. It was time to bounce from the rooftop bar to a club. So, my buddies and I paid our bills and hit the streets.
There were a few clubs down the road and we were anxious to check them out. A little perreando was on our radar. Ya tu sabes.
There was only one issue…
I forgot to hit the restroom before leaving the rooftop bar. Being hammered, I had to piss. Waiting simply wasn't an option. I quickly scanned the streets in my drunken state.
There was an isolated area about 20 feet away. I sprinted over and whipped it out. The relief was instant, as I began urinating on the stone wall in front of me.
But an abrupt noise prematurely ended my damn near orgasmic state. My buddy was yelling…
“Jake! What the F*%K are you doing?! You're pissing on a church and the police are walking this way!”
Oh, shit! I cut it off mid-stream, quickly zipped my pants up, and tried to act like nothing had happened. Luckily, the police didn't catch me and the night went on as planned.
While Colombia nightlife is good fun, pissing on Iglesia de San Pedro Claver in a drunken stupor isn't my finest moment.
However, if you're looking to create your finest moment, you'll find everything you need to enjoy nightlife in Colombia below, including:
Table of Contents
Understanding Nightlife in Colombia
Now, before you go pissing on churches and attempting to dance salsa, let's talk a little more about nightlife in Colombia and what you can expect.
Here's a few of the finer points on partying in Colombia:
Colombia Nightlife Culture
In most Colombia cities, nightlife involves going out with a big group of friends you've had since high school. Colombians go out with old friends, share a bottle of booze, and dance salsa, bachata, and reggaeton.
While many Westerners prefer to go out and mingle with new people, especially those of the opposite sex, that's simply not common in Colombia.
This is especially true in smaller cities and towns, like Ibague or Armenia.
Types of Music
Colombia is a Spanish-speaking country, so you can expect the vast majority of the music to be in Spanish. Electronic and techno are popular in certain clubs, but the majority of the places focus on salsa and reggaeton.
Outside of Bogota nightlife, most places are “crossover” discos.
This means they play a variety of genres throughout the night. Typically, a crossover club will play salsa, merengue, reggaeton, and maybe some electronic music.
Always Go Out On Payday
This is a major key in Colombia. If you really want to have a good time, always go out on payday or just after it. Colombian payday is always on the 1st and 15th of every month.
On the flip side, if payday lands on a Saturday, I'd suggest showing up a little earlier than you normally do. Shit will be packed.
Some of my best nights partying in Colombia occurred when Saturday was also payday.
Spanish is Important for Nightlife in Colombia
In tourist bars that are gringo heavy, you'll find a lot of Colombians who speak English. Hell, in Bogota and Medellin, you have a decent shot at meeting English speakers on any night out.
Once you get into smaller cities, you'll need to speak some Spanish. I wouldn't venture to somewhere like Pereira, Colombia without some Spanish skills.
Luckily, it's easy to learn Spanish these days. With a few months of study, you'll think you sound like Rico Suave en Espanol – if you're drunk enough.
Safety in Colombia
Is Colombia dangerous? If you're new to the country or considering a trip to Colombia, you may be wondering if it's safe.
Well, I wrote a whole post about the dangers of Colombia. Overall, you've got to pay attention here. If you're a dipsh*t in your home country, you might have issues in Colombia.
If you generally don't have issues back home, you should be able to stay out of trouble in Colombia. There are three major things you need to worry about when partying in Colombia.
First, always guard your drink. Certain Colombian girls will attempt to drug gringos and steal their electronics and money. You'll think she wants a little amor – when she just wants your MacBook.
Next, never resist a robbery attempt in Colombia. If someone confronts you and wants your cell phone, just give it to them. Putting up a fight is how you end up getting stabbed or shot.
Finally, you have to pay attention to the area you're staying in while in Colombia. It's always a good idea to spend more on accommodation here and stay in a safe neighborhood.
Personally, I always try to stay in Airbnb apartments in areas like:
- Zona T, Bogota
- Granada, Cali
- Laurales, Medellin
- Bocagrande, Cartagena
If you get an Airbnb apartment in these neighborhoods, you'll be able to walk around all day and night without much worry. You'll also be within walking distance to some of the best Colombia nightlife spots known to this gringo!
It should be noted that hotels are preferable on short trips. If you're staying less than a week in any Colombian city, I've found hotels are better than Airbnb and often more cost-effective.
Te lo juro.
Colombia Nightlife Costs
In terms of the cost of living and partying, Colombia is a mid-tier Latin American country.
By that I mean, it's notably more expensive than Ecuador, Bolivia, and Guatemala — but much cheaper than Chile and Brazil. Wages and alcohol taxes are quite low, so you won't have to spend a whole heap of money on a night out in Colombia, at least not compared to the West.
Venues vary widely, however, from swanky cocktail bars to hole-in-the-wall pubs, and with prices to match. Spend a night out ordering shots for glamorous women at a high-end Zona T club, and you'll be short a pretty penny. But head to a backpacker haunt to stuff your face with big jugs of cheap-ass beer, and you'll come home with change from a 20.
Nightlife in Colombia is as expensive or cheap as you make it.
Here's a general idea of how prices will breakdown depending on what city you're in and how fancy the joint is:
- Cover charge: $0-16 USD
- Beer: $1-7 USD
- Drink: $2-10 USD
- Bottle of wine: $15-60 USD
- Bottle of booze at a club: $25-250 USD
A pretty wide range there, eh? I mean, we are talking about a whole damn country here — so that's to be expected.
Partying in a swanky Zona T club in Bogota might be expensive. Grabbing some aguardiente at a small bar in Ibague will be far from expensive. Hell, it'll be insanely cheap.
Best Nightlife in Colombia | Top 11 Places to Party in the Country
Now we're getting to the good stuff. The absolute best places to enjoy a little Colombia nightlife.
I've spent many a night abusing substances and attempting to shake these goofy gringo hips. Never works well, but I always have a damn good time. After extensive research, here are my favorite places to party in all of Colombia:
~ Bogota ~
- Vintrash Bar: Home of the legendary Gringo Tuesday, this is a must visit club if you're in Bogota. Obviously, you'll want to come here on Tuesdays, but I also enjoy this spot on weekend nights as well. If your budget is tight, Vintrash Bar is one of the cheaper spots in Zona T, too.
- Armando Records: Another classic Colombia nightlife spot, Armando Records is one of the most famous clubs in Zona T. The club is decent sized and tends to play electronic music. Drugs certainly aren't uncommon here. Wednesday nights can be good fun here. Weekend nights will almost always be solid here.
- Baum: Ever since Mint sadly closed its doors, Baum has become one of my favorite spots to hit in the wee hours of the morning. The gigantic superclub doesn't close until 8 am, whereas most places shut at 3 am, so it's a top choice for kick-ons and a Bogota nightlife staple.
- Hotel V: If you're looking to buy a bottle and enjoy a big Saturday night out in Bogota, there's no better option than Hotel V. The large club is located in the heart of Zona T and packed with people looking to have a good time. They typically play reggaeton music and the party tends to pop around 1 am on weekend nights.
Hotel San Simon is the best hotel for party animals in Bogota.
~ Medellin ~
- Bendito Seas: While Babylon used to the ladies' nightspot in Medellin, Bendito Seas has taken the cake. Come here on Thursday night. This is one of the few spots in Medellin nightlife where people don't necessarily go out in big groups. They play reggaeton, electronic, and even a little hip-hop on occasion. You won't find sexy Colombian girls dancing to “Back That Ass Up” too often, but it's commonplace here!
- Son Havana: Now, we're getting to Colombian-style music and nightlife. I couldn't write a guide to nightlife in Colombia and not include a few salsa clubs. That's just not right! If you like salsa music and are in Medellin, Son Havana is the best spot to go. Highly recommended bar in the Laureles neighborhood.
The Click Clack Hotel is the best place to stay for party animals in Medellin.
~ Santa Marta ~
- La Brisa Loca: La Brisa Loca may be my favorite place to party in all of Colombia. This place truly is one hell of a time. Basically, it's a hostel bar that turns into a raging nightclub on Saturday nights. It's on the roof of the hostel and fills with people from all over Colombia and the world. The DJs play all types of music and the drinks are damn cheap. The breeze rolls in from the Caribbean and people dance the night away. Again, drugs certainly aren't uncommon here. This is the Santa Marta nightlife spot.
The Best Hotel in El Centro For Fiesta is the Bonita Bay Concept Hotel.
~ Cali ~
- La Topa Tolandra: I'll be honest. I don't like salsa. Hell, I'd say I hate it. But, even I had a damn good time partying in La Topa Tolandra in Cali, Colombia. This small salsa club is world-famous and fills up on Mondays when Caleños basically offer free salsa lessons to us goofy gringos.
- La Purga: Ok, this spot is a little weird. Hell, it's a lot weird, especially when talking about nightlife in Colombia. But, if you're looking to party in Cali without salsa music, it's your best option. La Purga is a good-sized club that plays reggaeton and trap music. Just make sure you come here with some friends, as this place is a little more aggressive (in every which way) than others on this list. Still, one of my favorite Cali, Colombia nightlife spots.
- Cafe Mi Tierra: A gigantic, open-air crossover club in Menga, to the north of Cali, Colombia. If you have a group of friends or a date, this place is absolutely ideal. It's cheap, big, and the music is fantastic. I've spent more than a few fun nights here during my months in Cali.
The Moonshine Boutique Hostel is the best place to stay for nightlife aficionados in Cali.
~ Cartagena ~
- La Jugada Clubhouse: It can be hard to find good nightlife in Cartagena. The city is filled with hustlers and many locals tend to stay away from the tourists when they're not trying to rip them off. That being said – La Jugade Clubhouse can be a lot of fun. The club features five levels and an international ambiance. It's not cheap, but it's definitely the best place I found to party in Cartagena.
Casa Ebano 967 is the best hotel for alcohol afficionados in Cartagena.
Best Nights to Rumba in Colombia
Colombians love a lively fiesta. These might just be the most party hearty people in the whole wide world.
But not every night of the week is going to be a sure thing. Obviously, Friday and Saturday–and to a lesser extent Thursday–are a given. Hell, even Sundays can be good in some cities in Colombia.
You're going to have to do a bit of legwork to find out where the party's at. Ask around in your hotel/hostel, find out if the big clubs are marketing on Facebook or Instagram, or just waltz around the nearest Zona Rosa and check out what's up.
With a bit of determination, you can find a bopping bar or club almost every night of the week in almost every big city in Colombia.
P.S: The best mid-week party in Colombia is Gringo Tuesdays in Bogota. Ya tu sabes.
What City in Colombia Has the Best Nightlife?
Many travelers wonder which Colombian city is the best place to party in the country.
Does that Caribbean breeze and rum ensure Cartagena nightlife is out of control? Are Paisas in Medellin some of the best people to party with in Colombia? Is Cali the nightlife capital of Colombia due to the unique salsa vibes found throughout the city?
You can have a damn good time partying in all of the cities above, however, none of them are the absolute best city to party in Colombia.
That unique distinction goes to none other than the capital — Bogota. Nightlife in Bogota is some of the absolute best in Latin America, not just Colombia.
Why? Well, there's a number of reasons for all that. The main one being that Zona T is one of the best nightlife districts in the world. Hosting dozens of bars, clubs, and high-end restaurants. Nearly everyone who wants to party in Bogota, a massive city, heads straight to this zona rosa.
If you like a good party…
Go straight to BOGOTA.
Nightlife in Colombia | Gringo's Travel Guide
While some complain about the big groups that frequent most clubs and all the constant non-stop salsa music, nightlife in Colombia can be amazing. You just have to know where to look!
That's why I created this list.
To give you the absolute best places to party in Colombia. If Colombia nightlife is a priority while you're on vacation, you needn't look any further than what you've got right here.