5 Highlights from the Medellin Flower Festival

Sebastien Chaneac

Pretty paisa boys everywhere, gorgeous weather and LOTS of flowers, what more could you possibly want?

Medellin’s Feria de las Flores is an annual festival that takes place end of July/early August and takes over the entire city. It started in 1957 as a party to celebrate and honour Colombia’s massive flower industry.

Today it has grown to become one of the country’s most popular festivals – a 10 days spectacle of parties, live music concerts, antique car parades, orchid competitions and more.

We came to the 60th Feria de las Flores in 2017 and absolutely loved it. If you’re heading to Colombia in the summer, we definitely recommend putting the Medellin Flower Festival on your bucket list. Here’s 5 reasons why…

A parade like no other

The climax of the festival is the Desfile de Silleteros parade on the final day. It’s kind of like a gay pride parade, but instead of gays, it commemorates the labourers who used to hoist wooden silletas on their backs to transport their goods into town.

And it features flowers. Lots and lots of flowers!

Participants in the parade decorate wooden silletas with elaborate flower arrangements, which they carry on their backs for everyone to marvel at. Alongside it are commercial trucks, dancers and drummers.

The parade attracts thousands of people from all across Colombia who gather to watch this colourful procession pass through central Medellin. Everyone was smiling, euphoric and enjoying the party mood that reverberated across the entire city. Check out our most recent vlog post about our experience in the Medellin Flower Festival and the parade:


The Mega Metro Concert with famous Latino pop stars

Each year there is a huge music concert called Metro Concierto de Conciertos, usually on the last Saturday of the festival. It features some of the most famous Latino international pop acts in the world, and as such, attracts a very large crowd.

The 2017 Metro Concert featured Wisin, Marc Anthony, Daddy Yankee and Silvestre Dangond. Previous concerts included the likes of Nicky Jam, Carlos Vives and more.

If you love Latino pop hits as much as we do, this is the concert you need to come to during your travels in Latin America – not only for the excellent music, but for the electric party atmosphere. We’re hoping our favourite Colombian pop star, Shakira, may one day make a surprise appearance here.

Metro Concert Medellin Flower Festival
We'd LOVE to see Shakira perform at next year's huge Metro Concert at the Flower Festival

Visit a Silletera Flower Farm in Santa Elena

The Flower Festival celebrates the labourers who farm and cultivate this prize winning export of Colombia. The silletera flower farms are based in Santa Elena, a suburb of Medellin, which you can visit as a day trip.

We went to the El Pensamiento silletera (meaning “The Thought”) and got to see close up, a demonstration of how the elaborate wooden flower decorations are assembled, as well as trying them out. We definitely recommend visiting a silletera to put into context what the flower festival is all about as well as well as to marvel at some spectacular floral arrangements.

Medellin flower festival silletera farm
A gorgeous display of flowers at a Silletera flower farm in Santa Elena

Free music concerts

Every evening during the Flower Festival, there are large free music concerts taking place across the city. Our favourite was the Trova Competition.

Trova is a style of singing by peasants from suburbia Medellin which involves two men “reading” each other over a few minutes, in rhyming singing style to music, set on a theme given by the judges. For the competition, the judges decide who is eliminated in each round and the winner goes through to the next round until a winner is picked in the final.

It’s almost like a lip synch battle on Ru Paul drag races, but with straight men using heavy Medellin slang Spanish words. It really is like no other music competition we’ve ever seen before. Even if you don’t understand what they’re saying, it’s fun to watch:


Pretty Paisa boys

Colombian guys are hot. But ask anyone in Colombia and they will say the Paisa boys are the sexiest. Paisa is the nickname given to people from Medellin and the region around it.

For us, this is surely a sufficient reason alone to visit the Medellin Flower Festival – paisa boys celebrating in all their splendour and beauty – dancing, singing the night away, always up for a fun party time. One particular paisa boy you’ll want to look out for is Colombian pop star Maluma who is from Medellin…

Medellin Flower Festival sexy paisa boys
Pop singer Maluma one of many sexy Paisa boys you could meet during the Medellin Flower Festival

Happy travels are safe travels

We recommend you always take out travel insurance before your next vacation. What happens if you suffer from illness, injury, theft or a cancellation? With travel insurance, you can have peace of mind and not worry. We love World Nomads travel insurance and have been using it for years. Their comprehensive coverage is second to none and their online claims process is very user friendly.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation, an activity or your insurance, we’ll earn a small commission. There is never an extra cost to you for using these links and it helps us keep the site going.

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Sebastien Chaneac

Sebastien is the co-founder, editor and author of nomadicboys.com. He is a tech geek, a total travel nerd and a food enthusiast. He spends the majority of his time planning Nomadic Boys' travels meticulously right down to the minute details. Sebastien has travelled to over 80 countries with his partner in crime and the love of his life, Stefan. He regularly shares his expertise of what it’s like travelling as a gay couple both on Nomadic Boys and on prominent publications ranging from Pink News, Matador, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian and many more. Originally from France, Sebastien moved to London in the early 2000s where he pursued a career as a computer programmer for Thompson Reuters and Bloomberg. He subsequently left it all to explore his passion for travelling around the world with Stefan to hand, and thus Nomadic Boys was born. Find out more about Nomadic Boys.

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