Cali is one of Colombia’s most important cities. Thanks to its fabulous weather and the wide variety of activities on offer, it’s also one of the best places to get to know a little more about Colombian culture. Here we offer some top tips for what to do in Cali at the weekend.
9 – 12m
Christ the Redeemer
Climbing up to see the Christ the Redeemer statue is one of the must-do plans in Cali. The trip can be taken by car or you can walk and, as you travel, you’ll enjoy the work of artist Carlos Andrés Gómez who carefully carved some of the surrounding red earth ravines to reflect human figures in different situations. When you reach the top of the hill, where the sculpture of Christ the Redeemer stands, you can look out across the southern part of the Cauca Valley and enjoy a refreshing lulada, one of the region’s typical drinks.
12 - 2pm
Try typical food from the region
Cali’s traditional dishes represent the very best of Colombian cuisine. There are several areas in the city filled with restaurants where you can enjoy marranitas (plantain balls stuffed with pork) an aborrajado (battered plantain stuffed with cheese) or a delicious chuleta valluna (breaded pork). The first, and most traditional, of these eating areas is Granada, a predominantly pedestrian zone with restaurants offering international food and local favorites.
2 – 4pm
La Ermita Church
This church is one of the symbols of Cali. Its gothic architecture attracts a lot of attention and is the reason why hundreds of tourists visit it every day. The temple is home to antique images of the Virgin de los Dolores, San Roque, San José, San Francisco Javier, La Magdalena, San Antonio, Ecce Homo and, of course, Christ of the Reed or Christ of the River. As you leave, try a traditional raspao. This delicious frozen treat is the ideal refreshment as you wander the famous River Boulevard in the afternoon heat, on the banks of the Cali River in the city’s historic center.
4pm – 7pm.
The Dog Park
The city’s Dog Park lies close to the Pascual Guerrero Olympic stadium, in the San Fernando neighborhood. Locals consider it a gastronomy hot spot and one of the stars of the city’s tourism scene. Besides its great variety of restaurants, the Dog Park is surrounded by several warehouses that are home to independent designers and small bars, where Cali’s nightlife comes alive.
Those who like to party go to El Peñon and La 66 in Cali where there are bars and discos to suit a wide range of musical tastes. Enjoy a drink and chat with friends or spend the night dancing Cali’s star rhythm: salsa.
9am – midday
Go to the zoo
The perfect plan if you’re visiting the city as a family. The Cali Zoo is considered one of the most complete in Latin America and has become one of the city’s top tourism destinations. It’s home to animals such as lions, llamas, pumas, deer, ostriches, bears, zebras and reptiles, among many others. The zoo offers an unforgettable experience for all the family. Small children enjoy recreational activities throughout the vacation season and guided tours all year round. The zoo opens from 9am to 4.30pm.
Midday to 3pm
San Antonio neighborhood
San Antonio is one of Cali’s most traditional neighborhoods. It has become increasingly popular as a tourism destination in recent years because it showcases some of the best of the city’s cuisine alongside important and fascinating architecture. It’s home to plenty of craft stores too, so there’s no excuse to return home without a precious reminder of your trip. Linger a while in San Antonio and you’ll be looked after by the locals who may invite you to eat el algo, which in this case means a light meal or snack.
3 – 6pm
The cat has a park too
The Cat Park sits on one of the banks of the Cali River and it’s a must-see site in Cali thanks to almost 25 cat-shaped statues that were taken over by high-profile plastic artists, including Lucy Tejada and Maripaz Jaramillo. The statues are known as “the cat’s girlfriends” – a reference to a sculpture donated by the Colombian artist Hernando Tejada. The Cat Park has become the ideal place to spend a relaxing afternoon and enjoy a tasty ice-cream or dessert.
These are some of the must-see spots that will make your weekend in Cali unforgettable. This city has attractions for all the family and that’s what makes it such a great place to spend to relax and unwind.