Los Alumbrados, Christmas Lighting, has been a tradition for the city for more than 50 years, lasting from beginning December to mid January. Medellín is renowned for hosting the biggest, brightest and most beautiful Alumbrados in Colombia. This traditional lighting display is the fantastic work of designers, architects, technicians and many workers who start planning it a whole year in advance and start to set it up weeks ahead of time. Each year it's more elaborate and majestic than the year before.
It is an amazing spectacle of millions of lights and every year they have a different theme. Fountains of Lights was the theme for the 2009 Christmas lights spectacle as a tribute to water. The 15 million bulb display included various representations of waterfalls, waves and rains, plus the most representative figure of every region. The city invested 20 billion Colombian pesos to make water flow from trees, walkways and overhangs in the streets. Although it is quite ridiculous to waste so much electricity and energy for one whole month, for Colombians it would be out of the question to have Christmas without these Alumbrados.
The most impressive parts are centered around Cerro Nutibara, Rio Medellín at Puente de Guayaquil (metro stations Industriales and Exposiciones) and downtown. It is best to simply walk from the bridge along the river toward downtown or up to Cerro Nutibara. For hundreds and hundreds of metres people walk gazing at the simply stunning decorations. Other locations that have display are Parque Norte, Jardín Botánico and Las Palmas.
All in all, a rather surreal experience, well worth the visit if you are in Medellín at that time!!
Alumbrado Medellín 2009 video
A typical breakfast in Medellín consists of baked corn arepas which is a flat unsweetened corn pancake topped with butter and fresh white cheese, coffee or hot chocolate. This is also typical in Bogota. Another favourite of mine is Refajo which is a mix of beer and a soft drink called Colombiana. It's very refreshing especially after a day's sight seeing.