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 over 20 photos of the Medellín 2019 Christmas lights (Alumbrados 2019) in Medellín.
This year is different than last year with the primary Christmas lights at two locations in 2019. So, in 2019 there are two epicenters of the Christmas lights in Medellín in 2019.
The primary lights display has traditional Christmas lights inside the Parque Norte amusement park. This is the same location as last year.
The second major location of lights for Christmas this year is at Parques del Río, along the river. The Parques del Rio location is a more modern lights display.
I went on the first night this year on November 29 and took over 250 photos with over 20 of the best found in this article. We previously provided a very popular guide to the 2019 Medellín Christmas lights. And in this article, we now provide photos from the Alumbrados 2019 Christmas lights.
2019 Medellín Christmas Lights (Alumbrados 2019)
This year is the 52nd anniversary of Medellín’s Christmas Lights. The name this year is “EPM lighting, traditions that illuminate Christmas” (in Spanish: “Alumbrados EPM, tradiciones que iluminan la Navidad”).
The Medellín Christmas lights display in 2019 includes:
- 27 million LED lights, which is up from 26 million LED lights last year.
- 32,000 hand-woven figures, which is down from 35,000 hand-woven figures last year.
A team made up of about 200 people, including artisans, welders, designers, architects, assemblers and engineers, works permanently to get ready for the annual Medellín lights display for Christmas.
The main location of the 2019 Christmas lights is at Parque Norte, which has three giant wise men (9 meters high each) at the entrance. In addition, throughout the park are Christmas images of the Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, the Infant Jesus, and many others. Also, there is a paisa touch with native animals and replicas of traditional Antioquia houses.
The lights display at the second location at Parques del Río is much smaller and has much less to see than at Parque Norte. There are only two main things to see at Parques del Río, a large Christmas tree and lights installed in the water for a short section of the Medellín river.
This is the first time there have been lights at the river for several years. The Christmas lights in the past were major lights displays along and over the river in Medellín, with the last one in 2014. So, for four years there hasn’t been Christmas lights at the Medellín river.
History of the Medellín Christmas Lights
The first public Christmas lighting in Medellín reportedly happened in 1851 at Plaza Mayor, which is currently the location of Medellín’s large convention center.
The modern annual Christmas lights display in Medellín began in 1955, when EPM was consolidated as a public utilities company. Starting that year, part of the city was adorned with a modest special lights display for Christmas that was jointly funded by EPM, the local government and the press.
By 1967, EPM started to manage Medellín’s Christmas event each year. In addition, the company became responsible for the design, installation and funding of the light display.
Over the years, the annual Christmas lights were broadened in scope. So, they are now considered one of the biggest tourist attractions in Medellin. Tourists come from around the world to Medellín to see Alumbrados Navideños.
Furthermore, the number of lights installed in Medellín for Christmas has been growing over the past several years until 2018:
- 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
- 2019 – 27 million lights
Most noteworthy, in December 2012, National Geographic included Medellín in its list as one of the 10 best places in the world to see holiday Christmas lights. So, the Alumbrados Navideños Christmas Lights display in Medellín is considered world-class.
Photos of Alumbrados 2019
Here are several photos of the Medellín Christmas lights – Alumbrados 2019 – taken on the first night in Parque Norte and Parques del Río.
Medellín’s Utility EPM Created the Medellín Christmas Lights
The Medellín lights display for Christmas each year is designed, created and sponsored by Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM), the local utility company for the city.
Especially relevant, EPM generates much of its power from hydroelectric sources. However, EPM started tightening its belt last year and in 2019 compared to previous years with fewer Christmas lights in the city. In 2017, there were 37 million lights.
The financial situation of the city of Medellín, due to problems at the Hidroituango hydroelectric project, which led EPM to implement a savings plan.
In addition, EPM provides the following video for the 2019 Alumbrados on Twitter.
Los #AlumbradosEPM se distribuirán así: 1) El Parque Norte será un gran pesebre típico tradicional; 2) En la Av. La Playa se recorrerán momentos claves de la Navidad paisa; 3) En los principales parques de las comunas y corregimientos habrán chivas cargadas de elementos navideños pic.twitter.com/sHK0gSojcc
— EPM estamos ahí (@EPMestamosahi) October 17, 2019
Food and Drinks Available at Alumbrados 2019
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.
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.
At the Parques del Río location there are much fewer food choices than at Parque Norte. There mainly are just a few restaurants.
Other Places to See the 2019 Medellín Christmas Lights
Besides the main lights display inside the Parque Norte amusement park and Parques del Río, you will be able to see Christmas lights in many places throughout the Aburrá Valley metro area.
You can also find Christmas lights this year in several locations, including:
- Carrera 70 (Avenida Libertadores de América)
- Avenida Las Palmas
- Avenida La Playa
- Along the Ayacucho tram line
Also, there will be 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.
In addition, Christmas lights can be seen in the main parks in other municipalities in the metro area including Parque Envigado, Parque Sabaneta and Parque Bello.
Furthermore, the December holiday season and Christmas lights display are 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 2019 Medellín Christmas Lights (Alumbrados 2019)
The primary Medellín Christmas lights display this year is inside Parque Norte. Admission to Parque Norte in the evening to see the Christmas lights display located in the amusement park is free.
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”.
The secondary lights display location for Christmas this year is at Parques Del Río. The easiest way to get to this park is via the Medellín metro. To get there take the A line of the metro to the Exposiciones station.
Exit the metro station to the west and it’s about a 15-minute walk west to the park but we don’t recommend walking at night. You can take a minimum fare taxi (5,600 pesos) from the metro station.
In addition, any taxi or Uber driver in Medellín will know where Parques Del Río is located.
The Bottom Line: Alumbrados 2019 – Medellín’s Christmas Lights
Alumbrados 2019 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.
The Christmas lights in Medellín are in two locations this year. The Parque Norte location is much larger with many more Christmas lights and more food options than at Parques del Río.
The Parques del Río location was impressive but still a disappointment for me after seeing the massive Christmas lights for miles along the river many times in the past, like the following photos from 2012 and 2014.
In 2019, at Parques del Río there is mainly a large Christmas tree and a small section of the river by the park that has lights that change color to see. The other small light displays on the sides of the river in my opinion weren’t very impressive.
So, if you only have time to see one of the two primary Christmas lights locations in Medellín, we highly recommend the larger Parque del Norte location.
Also, the Christmas lights display is extremely popular with families. So, you will see many families with children at both primary locations for the 2019 Christmas lights in Medellín.
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