One event that Medellín is really famous for is the annual Medellín Christmas lights display that is known as Los Alumbrados or Alumbrados Navideños. In this article, we have many photos of Alumbrados 2018 in Medellín.

Unfortunately, for the fourth year in a row the major Christmas lights display in Medellín isn’t along the typical route along the river with lights strung across the river.

The majority of the Alumbrados 2018 lights display in Medellín this year are located in Carabobo Norte. The primary Christmas lights display this year is inside the Parque Norte amusement park. This is the same location as last year.

You can see the Medellín Christmas lights every night from November 30 until January 7 from 6 pm until midnight each night, with the exception of the lights in Parque Norte that will be on until 11 pm.

I went on the first night this year on November 30 and took many photos found in this article. We previously provided a very popular guide to the Medellín Christmas lights. And in this article, we now provide photos from the Alumbrados 2018 Christmas lights.

Entrance to Parque Norte for Alumbrados 2018 - "Colombia Mega Diversa"

Entrance to Parque Norte for Alumbrados 2018 – “Colombia Mega Diversa”

2018 Medellín Christmas Lights (Alumbrados 2018)

This year is the 51st anniversary of Medellín’s Christmas Lights. The theme this year is “Colombia, magical paradise of light at Christmas” (in Spanish: “Colombia, paraíso mágico de luz en Navidad”). This concept is tied to the natural wealth of Colombia.

Colombia has 59 protected areas and five of these areas are spotlighted as part the Christmas lights display in Parque Norte. Note that all five national parks in Colombia being spotlighted are currently closed to the public:

  1. Parque Nacional Natural Orquídeas– located to the west of the Western Cordillera in the Andean Region and includes four ecosystems: tropical rainforest, sub-Andean forest, Andean forest and paramo. This park has over 200 species of orchids, the Colombian national flower.
  2. Parque Nacional Natural Serranía de los Churumbelos– located in a mountainous area of the Churubelos (Central and Eastern cordilleras) with ecosystems including tropical humid forest, sub-Andean humid forest, Andean humid forest and azonal moors.
  3. Santuario de Flora y Fauna Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta– the Grand Marsh of Santa Marta, which includes ecosystems of mangrove, marshes, rivers and swampy areas.
  4. Parque National Natural Selva de Florencia– located in the Department of Caldas and considered one of the rainiest areas of Colombia. So, it exhibits the greatest diversity of endemic amphibians in the country.
  5. Parque Nacional Natural Sumapaz– covers approximately 43 percent of the largest paramo complex in the world, the Cruz Verde – Sumapaz complex.
Bird with a flower Christmas lights inside Parque Norte

Bird with a flower Christmas lights inside Parque Norte

Comparing Alumbrados 2018 with Last Year

The Medellín Christmas lights display this year is a reduction compared to last year and includes:

  • 26 million LED lights, which is down from 37 million LED lights last year
  • 35,000 hand-woven figures, which is down from 50,000 hand-woven figures last year.
  • 11 tons of metalized paper, which is up from 5 tons last year.

The number of Christmas lights installed in Medellín has been growing over the past several years until this year:

  • 2006 – 12.5 million lights
  • 2008 – 14.5 million lights
  • 2013 – 27 million lights
  • 2014 – 30 million lights
  • 2015 – 31 million lights
  • 2016 – 31 million lights
  • 2017 – 37 million lights
  • 2018 – 26 million lights

Photos of Alumbrados 2018

Here are several photos of the Medellín Christmas lights – Alumbrados 2018 – taken on the first night in Parque Norte.

You will see many families with kids

You will see many families with kids

One of several fish Christmas lights displays

One of several fish Christmas lights displays

One of several flower Christmas lights displays

One of several flower Christmas lights displays

A large gator you can walk through

A large gator you can walk through

Walking inside the gator

Walking inside the gator

An anteater Christmas lights display

An anteater Christmas lights display

A large Christmas ball

A large Christmas ball

Christmas lights on the lake at Parque Norte

Christmas lights on the lake at Parque Norte

There was even a free concert outside Parque Norte on the first night of Alumbrados 2018

There was even a free concert outside Parque Norte on the first night of Alumbrados 2018

One of the diversity displays - Colombia is # 3 in palms with 289 species

One of the diversity displays – Colombia is # 3 in palms with 289 species

The Mega Diversity of Colombia

Several of the 2018 Christmas lights displays in Parque Norte show the diversity of Colombia. Colombia is the second most bio-diverse country in the world, after Brazil. Colombia has a diversity ranging from snow-capped mountains to beaches, thick jungles to vast plains, small pueblos to bustling cities.

So, Colombia is blessed with many species. It’s the # 1 country for birds (1,921 species) and orchids (4,270 species). And it’s the # 2 country for amphibians (803 species) and freshwater fish (1,435 species).

Also, Colombia is the # 3 country for reptiles (537 species) and palms (289 species).

Medellín’s Utility EPM Created the Medellín Christmas Lights

The Medellín Christmas lights display each year is designed, created and sponsored by Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM), the local utility company for the city of Medellín. Note that EPM generates much of its power from hydroelectric sources.

However, EPM is tightening its belt this year compared to last year with fewer lights in the city. The financial situation of the city of Medellín, due to problems at the Hidroituango hydroelectric project, resulted in EPM implementing a savings plan this year.

Booths outside Parque Norte along Carrera 53 selling food and drinks

Booths outside Parque Norte along Carrera 53 selling food and drinks

Food Available at the Primary Alumbrados 2018

Outside Parque Norte along Carrera 53 you will see a long row of booths set up that are selling food and drinks and some crafts.

Furthermore, you can find many types of food here including traditional Colombian dishes, pizza, hotdogs, cotton candy as well as many different Colombian street food options.

Stands inside Parque Norte selling food and drinks

Stands inside Parque Norte selling food and drinks

In addition, inside Parque Norte, besides the normal restaurants, you will find many stands set up selling food and drinks along the route around the lake in the amusement park.

Christmas lights in Parque Sabaneta in Sabaneta

Christmas lights in Parque Sabaneta in Sabaneta

Other Places to See the 2018 Medellín Christmas Lights

Besides the main lights display inside the Parque Norte amusement park, you can see Christmas lights in many places throughout the Aburrá Valley metro area.

You can also find Christmas lights this year on Carrera 70 (Avenida Libertadores de América), Las Palmas and La Playa avenues. In addition, you can find lights along the Ayacucho tram line, at Parque de los Pies Descalzos and the EPM building.

Also, there are lights at the main parks of the 16 comunas in Medellín such as Parque Poblado and the first Laureles park. Each year there are also Christmas lights at Pueblito Paisa.

Iglesia de Santa Ana in Parque Sabaneta during Christmas 2018

Iglesia de Santa Ana in Parque Sabaneta during Christmas 2018

Christmas lights can also be seen in the main parks in other municipalities in the metro area including Parque Envigado, Parque Sabaneta and Parque Bello.

2018 Christmas lights in Parque Sabaneta

2018 Christmas lights in Parque Sabaneta

Furthermore, the December holiday season and Christmas lights display is very important for the economy in Medellín. The many tourists visiting Medellín during the holiday season help the hospitality and commerce sectors in the city.

Each year up to 4 million people see the Alumbrados Navideños display in the city. And last year an estimated 90,000 tourists visited Medellín to see the world-class Medellín Christmas lights.

How to Get to the Main 2018 Medellín Christmas Lights (Alumbrados 2018)

The Mayor of Medellín provided the above video last year showing the route for the primary Alumbrados lights display, which is a similar for this year.

The primary Medellín Christmas lights display this year is inside Parque Norte. The lights this year are only in Parque Norte. And there are no lights around Parque Explora like last year.

Location of Parque Norte where the primary Medellín Christmas lights display is found

Admission to Parque Norte in the evening to see the Christmas light display located in the amusement park is free. But if you want to use the park attractions you must buy an entrance ticket.

Universidad Metro Station

Universidad Metro Station

The best way to get to the primary Christmas lights display is to take the Medellín metro Line A to the Universidad metro station. Fortunately, Parque Explora and Parque Norte are located very close to this this station.

Also, there isn’t much parking at Parque Norte. It has only about 300 parking spaces for cars and 50 spaces for motorcycles. So, we recommend not driving.

Any taxi or Uber driver will also be able to bring you to the primary Medellín Christmas lights display. Just tell the driver: “El Alumbrado, Parque Norte, por favor”.

Large Christmas tree west of Universidad metro station

Large Christmas tree west of Universidad metro station

The Bottom Line: Alumbrados 2018 – Medellín’s Christmas Lights

Alumbrados 2018 is a must-see thing to do if you are in Medellín in December or early January.

And if you are looking for a reason to visit Medellín, the world-class Alumbrados Christmas lights in Medellín are considered by many to be a very good reason.

Even though the Christmas lights aren’t along the river again this year, they are still impressive and worth seeing. In addition, I think the theme this year about the mega-diversity of Colombia is more interesting than the theme last year.

Also, the Christmas lights display is extremely popular with families. So, you will see many children with their families along the route.

Sign up for the Free Medellin Guru Newsletter – You can see all of the previous Medellin Guru weekly email newsletters and sign up here.