Colombia marks the beginning of the tourist season with festivals of food, music and dance, alongside increased security measures.
The official start of the season has seen authorities in Cartagena step up security around the city to ensure that visitors to the popular holiday destination have an untroubled stay.
“We are ready to welcome our visitors. We have teamed up with the authorities to ensure this holiday is a success in terms of maritime operations,” said Luis Ernesto Araujo Rumi, chief executive of the Cartagena tourist board.
On dry land, however, Colombia is preparing for a weekend crammed full of events to cater for even the most idiosyncratic of tastes.
In Baramoa, Northern Colombia, the hotly-anticipated Festival of Cake kicks off tomorrow and runs until Sunday. Pitelero “pastel” is a culinary institution which involves seasoned rice wrapped and stuffed with beef, pork, chicken, lamb or rabbit, and draws crowds from around the country.
Sucre plays host to the unique Festival Nacional de Pito Atravesao, which is dedicated to preserving and promoting the “Pito” – a traditional wooden flute featured in the cumbia music played along Colombia’s coast. The festival is a celebration of all things cumbia including dancers, songwriters and folksingers. Meanwhile 35 groups from around the country will compete for the title of premiere whistle-blower, and the chance to win the unlikely first prize of an oversize hammock.
The accordians are out in force up north as La Guajira plays host to not one, but two festivals in honour of the instrument; the 32nd annual “Cradle of Accordians” festival in Villanueva, and Maicao’s Festival de la Frontera, which is now in its 7th year. The region also scoops the prize for most bafflingly named event thanks to its staging of “The Festival of Salt, Gas and Pink Flamingos.” Despite its somewhat confusing title, the festival aims to stage a diverse selection of Colombia’s most famous tropical music stars.
For more information about more festivals in Colombia click here.