As you may be aware, Medellin’s annual Feria de las Flores is 10 day or so celebration of the region’s flower industry. Each August , travelers the world over flock to the land of “eternal spring” to take in the pageantry and celebration of one of Latin America’s most festive events.
The event kicks off with the Desfile de Caballos (Horse Parade) and ends with Desfile de Silleteros (Flower Bearers Parade) with a plethora of events in between.
Perhaps it’s because the event coincides with vacation season in North America; or perhaps it’s because Colombia is finally shaking it’s outdated image as a scary, violent destination; or perhaps it’s because the event is so damned beautiful and fun, (it’s probably all 3) but each August it seems your seeing more and more foreign travelers.
As a result, in August at least and in certain areas of the upscale Poblado neighborhood you’ll have no problems if you don’t speak a word of Spanish as there is almost always someone around who speaks some English.
But if you speak even some, primitive Spanish, you’ll have a much easier time moving around the more interesting (and yes, still relatively safe) areas of Medellin and enjoying the spectacle that is the Feria de las Flores while interacting with some of the friendliest people on the planet… Paisas (residents of the state of Antioquia and other surrounding areas).
If you do go for Feria and want a good vantage point for the parades then you may want to invest in tickets that guarantee you good seating in the grandstands. They are relatively cheap and I hear you can pick some up at the major hotels and shopping malls.
But if you’re like me and not a great “planner aheader” then not to worry. You can usually find a decent vantage point if your willing to get there early & climb a tree (if you can find one empty).
But the fact that Feria de las Flores 2011 is in the history books shouldn’t make you hesitate one bit about visiting Medellin or Colombia any other time of year. Paisas are, deservedly so, very proud of their city’s turnaround during the past decade and in general, you’ll find them very hospitable, friendly and welcoming to travelers no matter the time of year.
For more information on what Colombia and Medellin specifically have to offer the adventurous and the not so adventurous traveler be sure and visit Medellin Info and the Medellin Convention & Visitors Bureau sites. In my opinion, Colombia really is an amazing, hidden gem of a country and Medellin is one of the best cities in all of Latin America. So get there and enjoy already!