Beauty & Tradition at the Flower Festival Parade – Medellin, Colombia

This post is part 1 of 5 in the series Flower Fair in Medellin

The birthplace of narco terrorist Pablo Escobar is also the birthplace of grown men who make huge, elaborate flower arrangements and carry them on their backs. It’s a legacy that’s celebrated with beauty and tradition during the annual Feria de las Flores (Flower Festival) in Medellin, Colombia. The main event is the Desfile de las Flores (Flower Parade) during which massive floral arrangements are carted through the streets of Medellin by young and old alike.

Silleta Monumental Silletero

Silleteros who carry flower arrangements in the Flower Parade in Medellin are required to wear traditional clothing including the carriel bag which is made from patent leather and cow hide.

Flower Festival Medellin by the numbers

The Flower Festival numbers are staggering:157 events over 10 days including 400 activities (fireworks, food, traditional singing competitions, open-air concerts and more) enjoyed by more than 700,000 people.

Winner Emblematico silleta Ganador absoluto de desfile de Silleteros

Spoiler alert! This 3D flower arrangement that even had moving parts took home top honors in the emblematic category and took grand prize honors as well.

Medellin Flower Parade

Beauty everywhere at the annual Flower Parade in Medellin, Colombia.

The central event of the Flower Festival in Medellin is the Flower Parade which includes 500 men, women and children (called silleteros) carrying enormous and elaborate flower arrangements on wooden contraptions (called silletas) on their backs. More than 600,000 individual flowers are used to create the arrangements, some weighing as much as 220 pounds (100 kilos). Twelve event judges ultimate hand out awards for top examples in various categories.

The ugly origins of the Flower Festival

In Colonial times the wooden silletas were used by slaves to carry wealthy men and women up and down the mountains that rise around Medellin and throughout the district of Antioquia. In a post-slavery world, a woman named Maria La Larga used her silleta to carry children and that inspired farmers to imagine the silleta as a way to get their produce–including flowers–to market.

Desfile de Silleteros carriel

The tradition of being a silletero is usually passed on from generation to generation.

Today, Colombia ranks just behind Holland in global flower production with the rural Santa Elena area of Medellin as a central hub. The first Flower Festival was held in 1957 to honor and encourage farmers in the region. It spanned just five days and the Flower Parade attracted just 40 silleteros.

Samuel Sanchez ganador silleta Infantil

Spoiler alert again! Seven year old Samuel Sanchez came out on top in the children’s category. You’ll see more of his adorable face and amazing flower arrangement below.

On the eve of the 57th annual Flower Festival 2014, held August 1-10 in Medellin, we present our top moments from the massive Flower Parade from last year’s celebration where we joined the masses lining the parade route to see just what you can do with 600,000 flowers.

The spectacular Flower Parade of silleteros  in Medellin

Silleta Emblematico Medellin flower parade

An entry in the emblematic category depicting part of the skyline and the famous metro system of the city of Medellin.

Emblematico silleta

A silletero puts some finishing touches on his entry in the emblematic category.

Judging Tradicional Silletas

Judges inspecting entries in the traditional category before the start of the Flower Festival Flower Parade in Medellin.

Finalistas Silletas Monumental

A lineup of the finalists in the monumental category during the Flower Parade in Medellin. Click to see full-size image.

Finalistas Silletas Tradicional

A lineup of the finalists in the traditional category during the Flower Parade in Medellin. Click to see full-size image.

Finalistas Ganador absoluto de desfile de Silleteros

From left to right: The winners in the traditional, monumental and emblematic categories face off for the overall grand prize.

Mauricio Londoño Ganador absoluto de desfile de Silleteros

Mauricio Londoño (on his knee) gets rushed by family as he’s named overall winner of the Flower Parade in Medellin.

Check out our video, below, to see more of the serious and emotional judging and awards process.

Silletera Traditional Silleta

A girl carries her entry in the traditional category.

Silletero Silleta Monumental

Another proud silletero.

Silletero Silleta Tradicional

This guy made it look easy to carry his entry in the traditional category.

Silletas Tradicional

A pre-parade lineup of entries in the traditional category.

Silletera Medellin Flower Parade

A traditionally dressed silletera gathers her strength before shouldering her entry in the monumental category.

 

Carrying a Heavy Silleta Monumental

This elaborate depiction of a silletero carrying the Medellin skyline on his back (left)  took second place in the emblematic category. Boy scouts were on hand during the Flower Parade to assist silleteros with particularly heavy loads like this one.

Carrying a Heavy Silletas

Boy scouts were on hand during the Flower Parade to assist silleteros with particularly heavy loads like these.

Samuel Sanchez Atehortua ganador silleta Infantil

Seven year old Samuel Sanchez charmed the crowd and the judges, taking home top honors in the children’s category.

Childrens-silleta-infantil

Another entry in the children’s category.

Traditional silletas Medellin Flower Parade

Entries in the traditional category during the Flower Parade.

Feria de las Flores Medellin Colombia

Thousands of people line the Flower Parade route and give it a real party atmosphere.

Medellin Flower Fair, Flower Parade

Silleteros carrying traditional flower arrangements during the Flower Parade in Medellin.

Colorful flowers Monumental silleta

It’s a sea of flowers–more than 600,000 of them–during the Flower Parade in Medellin.

Desfile de Silleteros tradicional

More entries in the traditional category.

Watch a sea of flowers move slowly through the streets in our video, below, from the Flower Festival Flower Parade in Medellin, Colombia.

Music Medellin Flower Parade

No parade is complete without music.

Traditional Dancing Flower Parade Medellin

Traditional dancing is also a featured part of the Flower Festival Flower Parade in Medellin.

Traditional Dancers Flower Parade Medellin

Dancers and musicians finding some shade to rest in before the start of Medellin’s famous Flower Parade.

Our video, below, gives you a glimpse of performances by traditional dance troops and musical groups which are also featured in the Flower Parade. It’s really too bad Colombians don’t like to celebrate…

These days the Flower Festival is about more than just flowers. Other top events include the controversial Cabalgata Horse Parade which was cancelled this year (see if you agree with that decision) and a charmingly provincial Classic Car Parade (we hope you like Elvis impersonators and Jeeps). We also take you behind the scenes in Santa Elena where local artisans grow and arrange the flowers and backstage as proud chiva bus owners dress up their vehicles.

Flower Festival Medellin travel tips

Every year the Flower Festival in Medellin brings in thousands of tourists and hotels fill up fast. During last year’s Flower Festival we managed to get a room at 61 Prado Guesthouse and we highly recommend it to any traveler who likes spotlessly clean and comfortable rooms at reasonable rates (US$35 for a private double room with bathroom) in a homey environment just a few blocks from Medellin’s famous metro system. Here’s a primer for the 2014 Flower Festival including parade routes and more in English.

 

Read more about travel in Colombia

 

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Controversy Cancels the Flower Festival Horse Parade – Medellin, Colombia

This post is part 2 of 5 in the series Flower Fair in Medellin

Flowers may be king of the annual Feria de las Flores Flower Festival in Medellin, Colombia but for many Colombians horses are their main passion. This explains why the Cabalgata de la Feria Horse Parade nearly eclipses the event’s marquis Flower Parade. But the popular Horse Parade is not without controversy, as we saw first hand.

Medellin Flower Festival Cabalgata Horse carriage

Horse-drawn carriages–this one delightfully color-coordinated–were at the head of the controversial Flower Festival Horse Parade in Medellin.

children Medellin horse parade cabalgata

Riders of all ages take part in the Horse Parade, a controversial but popular feature of the Flower Festival in Medellin, Colombia.

High-tailing it to the horse parade

We were so excited to see the famous Flower Festival Horse Parade that we drove as quickly as Colombia’s pretty crappy roads would allow in order to reach Medellin in time for the event. The fact that protesting farmers had shut down the “highway” into Medellin didn’t help matters, but we finally arrived around 10 pm the night before the parade.

Aguila beer girls Medellin horse parade

It’s not a party in Latin America until the beer girls arrive. Here, Eric hangs out with some Aguila girls as the Cabalgata de la Feria Horse Parade passes by.

The Horse Parade took place on the Autopista four-lane highway which goes through Medellin. More than 7,000 horses filled the street waiting for the start of the event. There were fancy horses and plain horses. Colombian Paso Finos (aka Colombian Criollos) dominated but we spotted a few Quarterhorses too. There were even some mules and donkeys in the mix for good measure.

Medellin Flower Fair Cabalgata Horse parade

We’re not sure who’s better looking, the horses or the riders.

Horses and riders came from all over the district of Antioquia (of which Medellin is the very, very proud capital). Many of the riders were dressed in Colombian cowboy finery. One must-have accessory was aguardiente, the beloved distilled sugar cane hooch, which was being drunk straight from the bottle or from more traditional botas (leather flasks in the shape of a boot) despite the fact that after years of increasing debauchery and dangerous riding the Horse Parade was supposed to be booze-free.

Spanish horseman Medellin Flower Festival Cabalgata Horse parade

One of the most elegant parade participants.

Medellin Flower Festival horse parade cabalgata

This patriotic rider put a Colombian flag on his horse.

Controversy and cruelty at the Flower Festival Horse Parade

Aguardiente is not the only source of controversy about the Flower Fair Horse Parade. Opponents argue that the event constitutes animal cruelty with horses traveling long distances by truck and trailer to reach Medellin then spending all day standing and prancing on pavement under the hot sun often ridden by inexperienced (and increasingly drunk) people who’ve simply rented a horse in order to be seen in the parade.

Medellin Flower Fair Mules cabalgata

Even the donkeys and mules that took part in the Flower Festival Horse Parade looked elegant.

We saw veterinarians on foot throughout the parade route and they were not shy about pulling horses and riders aside if they felt the animal was in danger, in some cases making the rider dismount and taking exhausted or freaked out horses out of the parade route.

Medellin ladies horse parade cabalgata

Though the Horse Parade was supposed to be alcohol-free most of the riders we saw were drinking beer or aguardiente right from the saddle.

Despite the presence of vets, we also saw many very spooked horse (the Colombian Paso Fino breed is naturally high-strung as it is), plenty of inexperienced riders kicking and yanking on horses needlessly and even drunk riders trying have fist fights from the saddle. One very, very frightened horse somehow ended up inside a large water trough put out by the vets so horses could stay hydrated. Not good.

Then there are the allegations that sales of tickets to enter special viewing areas for the event have been infiltrated by organized crime…

Medellin horse parade cabalgata

A good example of the natural fast-paced, high-stepping gait of the Colombian Paso Fino.

Feria de las Flores Cabalgata Horse parade

Just a few of the 7,000 horses and riders that took part in the Horse Parade during the Flower Festival in Medellin, Colombia.

Cancelling the cabalgata

In light of those sorts of issues and a “lack of support from the city government”  (which seem unlikely since the Horse Parade is a revenue generator with each rider paying a hefty entry fee), the horse parade was cancelled for the 2014 Flower Festival marking the first time in 28 years that the event will not be held.

Medellin Flower Fair horse parade cabalgata

Just a few of the 7,000 horses and riders that took part in the Horse Parade during the Flower Festival in Medellin, Colombia.

An unofficial cabalgata was organized outside the city. Honestly, after what we saw during the Horse Parade in 2013 we think it was a good decision to cancel the event, even after taking into account the popularity of the cabalgata and understanding the deeply rooted love that Antioquenos have for their horse back heritage.

MedellinFeria de las Flores Cabalgata Horse parade start crowds

Horses, riders and spectators jam the Autopista in Medellin at the start of the Horse Parade.

The pageantry and pride of the Horse Parade has been overshadowed by bravado and bad behavior. We hope organizers can get the cabalgata back to its roots and back on track so that Colombia’s amazing horses, horsemen and horsewomen can show their stuff safely and sanely in future Flower Festivals.

Medellin Flower Fair horse parade cabalgata

Another good example of the naturally exaggerated gait of the Colombian Paso Fino.

Fancy prancing from the Flower Festival Horse Parade

Here are more of our shots from the 2013 Flower Festival Horse Parade in Medellin. Don’t miss our video in which you can see some of the natural fancy prancing gait of those Colombian Paso Finos.

Medellin Flower Fair horse parade cabalgata

Just some of the 7,000 horses and riders that took part in the controversial Horse Parade in Medellin before it was cancelled this year.

Medellin Flower Festival Cabalgata Horse parade

Just some of the 7,000 horses and riders that took part in the controversial Horse Parade in Medellin before it was cancelled this year.

Medellin Flower Festival Cabalgata Horse parade

Just some of the 7,000 horses and riders that took part in the controversial Horse Parade in Medellin before it was cancelled this year.

Medellin Feria de las Flores Cabalgata Horse parade

Just some of the 7,000 horses and riders that took part in the controversial Horse Parade in Medellin before it was cancelled this year.

Medellin horse parade cabalgata pimp my ride boom box

We loved this guy’s custom saddle bags built to hold speakers which he was blaring music from as he took part in the Cabalgata Horse Parade in Medellin.

Enter the madness, marvel at the high-stepping horses and try to stay out of the way in our video from the Flower Festival Horse Parade, below.

Medellin Flower Festival horse parade cabalgata

Just some of the 7,000 horses and riders that took part in the controversial Horse Parade in Medellin before it was cancelled this year.

Feria de las Flores Cabalgata Horse parade

Just some of the 7,000 horses and riders that took part in the controversial Horse Parade in Medellin before it was cancelled this year.

Medellin women horse parade cabalgata

The end.

Do you think the Flower Festival Horse Parade should have been cancelled this year? Let us know your opinion in the comments section below.

Flower Festival Medellin travel tips

Every year the Flower Festival in Medellin brings in thousands of tourists and hotels fill up fast. During last year’s Flower Festival we managed to get a room at 61 Prado Guesthouse and we highly recommend it to any traveler who likes spotlessly clean and comfortable rooms at reasonable rates (US$35 for a private double room with bathroom) in a homey environment just a few blocks from Medellin’s famous metro system. Here’s a great primer for the 2014 Flower Festival including parade routes and more in English.

Read more about travel in Colombia

 

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Flower Festival Classic Car Parade – Medellin, Colombia

This post is part 3 of 5 in the series Flower Fair in Medellin

Yeah, yeah the Feria de las Flores (Flower Festival) in Medellin, Colombia was started in 1957 to recognize and encourage the area’s agricultural pursuits. But times change and today one of the highlights of the annual 10 day Flower Festival is the Desfile de Autos Clasicos y Antiguos Classic Car Parade. It’s no Concours d’Elegance, but you will see beloved makes and models from Ford to Porsche to Datsun, you’ll hear horns that play La Cucaracha (which we totally want for our truck) and you’ll see some pretty good Elvis impersonators, like the one below cavorting with Marilyn and some escapees from Laugh In.

Medellin Classic Car Parade - Elvis

Elvis cavorts with Marilyn and some escapees from Laugh In during the Flower Festival Classic Car Parade in Medellin, Colombia.

Flower Festival Classic Car Parade

The first stages of the Flower Festival Classic Car Parade are dominated by vehicles plastered in logos and ads for the sponsoring companies and military vehicles. Yawn. After about an hour of that, vehicles that could generously be called classic and a handful that would qualify as truly antique started rolling by.

Vehicles came from all over Colombia (mostly from Bogotá) and all over South America. Costumed participants generally fell into four categories which often had nothing to do with the birth date of the vehicle they were in: The ’60s/’70s, Great Gatsby or Elvis.

Here are some of our favorite scenes from the Flower Festival Classic Car Parade in Medellin.

Flower Festival Classic Car Parade: Best of the 1950s roadsters

Medellin car parade - 1950s sports cars Medellin car parade - 1950s sports cars

Flower Festival Classic Car Parade: Best of the 1960s

Medellin car parade - 1962 Corvette 60s-composite

Flower Festival Classic Car Parade: Best of the mini cars

Medellin Desfile de Autos Clasicos y Antiguos - 1953 Morris Minor Medellin Desfile de Autos Clasicos y Antiguos - mini cars

 Flower Festival Classic Car Parade: Best of the 1950s

Medellin Desfile de Autos Clasicos y Antiguos - 1953 Opel Medellin Classic Car Parade

 Flower Festival Classic Car Parade: Best of the Chevy Bel Airs

Medellin Classic Car Parade - Chevy Bel Air Medellin Desfile de Autos Clasicos y Antiguos - Chevy Bel Air

Flower Festival Classic Car Parade: Best of the true antiques

Medellin Classic Car Parade - oldies

Flower Festival Classic Car Parade: Best of the 1970s

Medellin Desfile de Autos Clasicos y Antiguos - 1970 Citroen 2CV Medellin Classic Car Parade - 19702 cars

Flower Festival Classic Car Parade: Best of the original SUVs

Medellin Classic Car Parade - 1954 Willys CJ3B Jeep

Medellin Classic Car Parade - Jeeps

Flower Festival Classic Car Parade: Best of the trucks

Medellin Classic Car Parade - 1969 VW Pickup Medellin Classic Car Parade -= Pickup Trucks

By the way, whose bright idea was it to slap a big, square parade sticker on everyone’s door? When the Classic Car Parade was over we watched one poor owner trying to get the damn thing off, damaging his vehicle in the process.

priest on a scooter - Medellin Desfile de Autos Clasicos y Antiguos

It was neither classic nor a car but the “Pope” on a scooter was a big hit in the Flower Festival Classic Car Parade in Medellin.

Flower Festival Medellin travel tips

Every year the Flower Festival in Medellin brings in thousands of tourists and hotels fill up fast. During last year’s Flower Festival we managed to get a room at 61 Prado Guesthouse and we highly recommend it to any traveler who likes spotlessly clean and comfortable rooms at reasonable rates (US$35 for a private double room with bathroom) in a homey environment just a few blocks from Medellin’s famous metro system. Here’s a great primer for the 2014 Flower Festival including parade routes and more in English.

Want to see a 7,000 horse power parade? Check out our post, photos and video from the Flower Festival Cabalgata Horse Parade which included 7,000 horses and riders.

 

Read more about travel in Colombia

 

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The Amazing Artisans Behind the Flower Festival – Medellin, Colombia

This post is part 4 of 5 in the series Flower Fair in Medellin

More than 600,000 flowers are used to create the spectacle that is the Flower Parade, a highlight of the annual Feria de las Flores Flower Festival in Medellin, Colombia. And that’s just for one parade! The total number of flowers used to craft elaborate displays, public art works and more during this beloved annual event is probably closer to 1.5 million, and those flowers don’t drop from the sky and arrange themselves. Nope. A small army of growers and artisans are responsible for the blooming beauty and we visited a few of them in the hectic and exciting lead up to the Flower Festival.

Carriel igantes de las flores - feria de las flores medellin

More than 600,000 flowers are used to make elaborate arrangements carried in the annual Flower Parade in Medellin, Colombia and many thousands more are used to make displays, like this enormous traditional carriel bag, which pop up around the city.

Flowers rule in Colombia

Colombia ranks second behind Holland in global flower exports and the sprawling, sparsely populated mountain town of Santa Elena is part of that industry. Though technically within the sprawling city limits of Medellin, Santa Elena is worlds away with its provincial vibe, agricultural core and country atmosphere.

Fruits and vegetables are also grown in this fertile environment, but flowers rule. We were told that the arrangements that are carried by paraders, called silleteros, in the Flower Parade must contain a minimum of 15 different varieties of flowers. This helps explain the diversity you can see being grown in Santa Elena.

The silleta arrangements themselves are also created in Santa Elena. There are three main categories of arrangements: Traditional arrangements resemble super-sized flower arrangements, Monumental arrangements are created by covering enormous circles with flowers and Emblematic arrangements are like portable US style parade floats portraying three-dimensional scenes, sometimes with moving parts.

The fourth category pays the bills and many artisans in Santa Elena make arrangements which depict corporate logos. We watched a man put the finishing touches on an arrangement for Antioqueno Aguardiente, the region’s beloved fermented sugar cane booze.

Making silletas in Santa Elena - Silleta Emblematico Aguardiente Antioqueno

We watched an artisan in Santa Elena put the finishing touches on a corporate arrangement portraying the logo of Antioqueno Aguardiente, the region’s beloved fermented sugar cane booze…

Medellin Flower festival Silleta Emblematico Aguardiente Antioqueno

…then we saw a silletero carry the finished product in the Flower Parade.

Growing and arranging flowers for local sale and for the annual Flower Festival is such an important part of Santa Elena’s existence that the town square has a huge statue commemorating floral work.

Silletero statue Santa Elena Medellin

This statue in the petite main plaza of Santa Elena honors flower growers, arrangers and silleteros.

Jesus the silletero Santa Elena church

During the annual Flower Festival, even Jesus becomes a silletero in Santa Elena.

Meeting the most charismatic flower farmer in Colombia

Directions to Don Aristedes’ Finca Chagualo (named for a common type of tree in the Santa Elena region) go like this: “Turn right at the second phone booth then turn left at the big cedar tree.” The two-wheel-drive vehicle we were in (not our truck) couldn’t get up the steep and rocky final driveway to the finca so we walked the last bit past a large mora  (blackberry) field (we stole a few). This turned out to be the best way to approach the finca because we rose slowly up the steep hill with ample time to take in the expanding view and quickening breeze.

And then there was Don Aristedes, regal in his traditional silletero garb: black pants, white shirt, Panama hat, cloth shoes like espadrilles and the gorgeous carriel bag made from black patent leather, cowhide and colored thread.

Don Aristides Finca Chagualo Santa Elena

Don Aristedes in front of his finca (and the Colombia tourism poster with his face on it) in Santa Elena in full silletero garb.

Don Aristides carriel

The traditional carriel bag is as essential to a silletero as the flower arrangement he’s carrying.

Don Aristedes’ rustically stylish and meticulously kept home is modest as is his flower farm but his personal pride, however, was palpable as he showed us around.

He has participated in 47 Flower Parades, once with a broken leg injured when a large milk jug fell on it. He’s never won an award and he says that’s not his goal. He does it for the tradition and his main job is to grow flowers year round in plastic-covered greenhouses on his property.

Don Aristides flowers Santa Elena

Don Aristedes in one of the greenhouses on his property where he grows flowers year round, not just for the annual Flower Festival.

One small room in Don Aristedes’ home has been turned into a museum of Flower Festival history and traditions. His greatest pride and joy is a decades old artesenal silleta made from fine wood that’s been hand rubbed and rounded into a piece of art. It’s not at all like the silletas which are mass produced today out of cheap plywood and pine, which Don Aristedes called garbage which a sniff.

Silletero Don Aristides silleta

Tradition is paramount to Don Aristedes and here he carries his beloved silleta, a rare example of true crafstmanship and top materials in a world where they are now mostly cobbled together using flimsy, cheap wood.

Don Aristedes says silleteros have a responsibility to represent the proud face of the Antioquia region (of which Medellin is the capital) to the world. He is so good at it that his photograph appears on a Colombian tourism campaign poster and he has traveled around the world representing Colombia.

Don-Aristides-flower-finca

Seven families work for Don Aristedes on his flower farm. Here, a worker sorts fresh flowers for sale.

If you want to visit Santa Elena and meet Don Aristedes for yourself, contact Medellin City Services and book their half day (US$100) or full day (US$175) tour to the region. Both tours include a visit to Don Aristdes’ finca, a souvenir key chain, a regional beverage, a bilingual guide and pickup and return to Medellin in a comfortable vehicle. The full day tour also includes a traditional lunch in Santa Elena and a visit to the town’s silletero museum.

Frog Rana Gigantes de las flores Feria de las flores medellin

This enormous flower-covered frog appeared in Medellin during the 2014 Flower Festival.

Jaguar Gigantes de las flores Feria de las flores medellin

A technicolor leopard, decorated entirely in flowers, was part of the city displays during the 2014 Flower Festival in Medellin.

Drogonfly Gigantes de las flores Feria de las flores medellin

This flower-covered dragonfly dwarfed the people who came to see it in Medellin during the annual Flower Festival.

Flower Festival Medellin travel tips

Every year the Flower Festival in Medellin brings in thousands of tourists and hotels fill up fast. During last year’s Flower Festival we managed to get a room at 61 Prado Guesthouse and we highly recommend it to any traveler who likes spotlessly clean and comfortable rooms at reasonable rates (US$35 for a private double room with bathroom) in a homey environment just a few blocks from Medellin’s famous metro system. Here’s a great primer for the 2014 Flower Festival including parade routes and more in English.

Read more about travel in Colombia

 

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Photo Essay: Chiva Buses Get Festive for the Flower Festival in Medellin, Colombia

This post is part 5 of 5 in the series Flower Fair in Medellin

Festive buses, called chivas, are a staple in Medellin, Colombia and in the entire Antioquia region. They were introduced in the early 1900s when a bus chasis was imported from the US and modified to carry agricultural products as well as people. The first basic models were quickly livened up with bright colors and even given nicknames from their drivers. Today, chivas are an artistic point of pride used as everyday transportation and available for hire as chauffeured party buses.

As if the chivas that roam the streets of Medellin, Colombia aren’t festive enough, during the annual Feria de las Flores Flower Festival, held in the city every August, owners kick it up a notch by adding flowers galore. Here’s what it looked like as drivers put the finishing touches on their chivas before they are paraded through the streets of Medellin in 2014.

Chiva Chivas and flowers Medellin Colombia Decorating a chiva Medellin Flower Fair Chivas y Flores Chivas y Flores Medellin Colombia Colombia Chivas flower fair Chivas y Flores parade Medellin flower fair Chivas y Flores parade Chivas in Medellin Chiva Colombian bus Desfile de Chivas y Flores Medellin Desfile de Chivas y Flores  la Feria de las Flores Medellin

Flower Festival Medellin travel tips

Every year the Flower Festival in Medellin brings in thousands of tourists and hotels fill up fast. During last year’s Flower Festival we managed to get a room at 61 Prado Guesthouse and we highly recommend it to any traveler who likes spotlessly clean and comfortable rooms at reasonable rates (US$35 for a private double room with bathroom) in a homey environment just a few blocks from Medellin’s famous metro system. Here’s a great primer for the 2014 Flower Festival including parade routes and more in English.

 

Read more about travel in Colombia

 

Support us on Patreon


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