A city full of rhythm
The capital of the Valle del Cauca is a city whose tourist attractions have their own history, active cultural life, and musical rhythms that are famed around the world.
Cali's music, thanks to the city's rich ethnic diversity, ranges from the currulao of the Pacific coast to the city's star: salsa, the contagious, frenetic rhythm that is ingrained in the country's culture.
Cali is known by the rest Colombia as the "Rumba Capital" and by the world as the "Salsa Capital", thanks to its characteristic street parties and dance.
What is there to do in Cali?
As you travel through the city, you can visit the banks of the Cali river and admire the architecture of churches like Ermita and other colonial era buildings that are true national monuments.
Don't forget to visit key destinations like the Zoológico de Cali, the Barrio Granada, and the massive Cristo Rey, a statue similar to Rio de Janeiro's Cristo Redentor, that watches over the city from the Cerro de las Tres Cruces.
Among its many tourist destinations, Cali also has a number of museums: The La Tertulia Museum, the Calima Gold Museum, and the La Merced Archeological Museum are a few of the most well-known.
You can also use your walks around Cali as an opportunity to sample some of the city's traditional cuisine, with Spanish, indigenous, and African roots, giving each plate its own unique flavor. This cultural blend has resulted in delicacies such as arroz atollado (a type of seasoned rice with meat), empanadas vallunas (empanadas made with potatoes and shredded beef), sancocho de gallina (a type of chicken soup), sopa de tortillas (tortilla soup), aborrajado valluno (fritters made with plantains and cheese), tostadas de plátano verde con hogao (green plantain fritters with salsa), chuleta valluna (a type of pork milanese), and tamales (meat, beans, or other fillings wrapped in corn dough and steamed).
Cali's cuisine also includes a great variety of sweets, thanks to the sugar cane that grows in the Valle del Cauca. Some of these sweets include manjar blanco (similar to dulce de leche), cocadas (coconut macaroons), cholado (a fruit-based dessert), and champús, a rich drink made with corn, naranjilla, pineapple, cinammon, and melado syrup.
Of course, one of the best things to do in Cali is party, especially in the Juanchito area, where there are plenty of places to dance and a unique atmosphere that will get you moving your feet.
The Feria de Cali, which is help in December to ring in the new year to the rhythm of salsa, is one of the many undoubtedly unique experiences you can have while visiting the city. This stunning fair unites great artists of this genre who come together in a Superconcert.
The fair also offers cultural and sports events.
Other important celebrations include the Petronio Alvarez Pacific Music Festival, which takes place in August, and the World Salsa Festival.
Activities you won't want to miss out on
If you want to learn to salsa dance, Cali is the place for you. Although it may seem difficult to learn due to the speed and coordination required for each move, in Cali there are many dance academies and schools to help you internalize some of the key steps.
You can also the wealth of nature that surrounds you in Cali by visiting the Hacienda El Paraíso, where Jorge Isaac's María, one of the most memorable love stories of Latin American literature, takes place.
On Sundays, many of the locals travel to rivers like the Pance, where you can cool down and enjoy a quiet day of relaxation.
If you walk upstream, you'll arrive at the Farallones Foundation camp, where you'll find shelter and guides to show you around the park.
- Getting to Cali is very simple, thanks fo the Alfonso Bonilla Aragón International Airport, which has flights to and from Colombia and other countries. If you are traveling from Colombia, you'll find a good number of cheap flights with airlines like Viva Air and Wingo.
- By land, you can use buses or a rental car to cover the 286 miles between Cali and Bogotá.
- The most efficient way to get around within Cali is by using the Integrated Transportation System, known as MIO, which currently has 8 distinct routes that cover most of the city.
- If you're going to use this system, we recommend that you study maps of the city and familiarize yourself with these routes beforehand. That will also help you choose the best lodging for your stay. Remember that Cali has different types of hotels that fit all types of budget.
- You can also use a taxi service. In that case, it's best to call recognized companies or use their mobile applications.
- Lastly, keep in mind that Cali usually has a very warm, humid climate, so it's best if you bring comfortable, light, cool clothes. But don't forget to pack some clothes that will give you the confidence you need to show off your salsa dancing skills during the intense Cali nights.
With these recommendations, you'll be set to enjoy the inescapable charms of Cali. Let yourself go to the wonderful rhythm of salsa in the most welcoming place on Earth. Discover the warm culture of Colombia right here!
Why visit Cali?
"This is a cool statue and plaza/park in a hill. The statue points to the ocean which is said to be Cali´s great opportunity to develop even more as one of Colombia´s top city´s.
They also sell grilled corn with butter which can be a great snack to try while you enjoy the view."
Taking the trip to see this monument is well worth it. The view of the city is simply stunning! You can take a panoramic photo of the city landscape and see the terrain for miles around. There are many friendly guides there willing to help you get the perfect picture and various vendors of local artifacts and food is also available for purchase. If you are in Cali, don't miss seeing this attraction!
I can highly recommend this agency and track, I had a great time. The hike is fairly easy but beautiful, the nature really stunning and we didn't meet another soul! It was very muddy (as is to be expected in the rainy season) and fairly slippery, but really great! Our guide was fun and entertaining!
The parc is a wonder on its own and the waterfall is gorgeous. For the bird watcher is an incomparable experience and for the animal lover....just be patient.
This tour was a wonderful escape to nature from two weeks in the city. Our guide Julian was incredibly informative with a lot of knowledge on the local area and its flora and fauna, as well as being very kind and attentive. The tour itself gives you a bit of everything - a ride on a brujita (motorbike on a railtrack), a hike through a magical forest, jumping and bathing in waterfalls, the chance to float down the river and end with the most delicious Pacific food (the coconut fish soup was out of this world).