Colombiafrank’s 2023 Cali Travel Guide

Salsa dancers Cali Colombia

Last updated on January 17th, 2023 at 10:55 am

Dear reader,

My name is Frank and I run a travel agency in Bogota, Colombia. Have fun while reading!

At the end of this guide you will find a list of many other helpful Colombia travel guides.

The main attractions in Cali

Below are the best places to visit in Cali.

Ermita Church

The Ermita Church is located on the river, right after the boulevard and the pedestrian zone. There used to be a church in the same place, but it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1925. The current building was built in 1942. The church follows the neo-Gothic style and is an absolute eye-catcher.

Cat Park (Parque del Gato)

The artistic installations by sculptor Hernando Tejada found their place along the Cali River in the center of Cali. The installations were inaugurated in 1996 and have delighted all visitors ever since. The various cats fit perfectly into the environment.

Cali Zoo

The Cali Zoo ranks as the best zoo in the country.

Market Gallery alameda

The market in the gallery Alameda is more like a whole district, which consists of different shops and markets. Depending on the day and time, a local gridlock is included.

The market in Cali is definitely a bit wilder than the one in Bogota. With the proximity to the Pacific, the freshest fish and seafood can also be found here. By the way, this is delivered on Monday or Tuesday.

A visit is definitely worth it and you should also bring your hunger with you, because you can eat something everywhere.

Museums in Cali

Salsa Museum

Salsa was not always ubiquitous in Cali and only came to Cali in the mid-20th century. The whole story can definitely be found at the Salsa Museum in Cali.

Museum of Modern Art La Tertulia

The Museum of Modern Art regularly shows current exhibitions.

Caliwood

The Caliwood Museum shows the film history of Colombia and abroad and has a variety of historical cameras and players. Tours are in Spanish.

San Antonio

The district of San Antonio is the most touristy district of Cali and foreigners will certainly stay there or very close by. Many homes in San Antonio have a classic 2-story architecture. Further up the hill in the district you will find a park and a small church.

The neighborhood is full of accommodation, restaurants, cafes and much more. I recommend exploring San Antonio on foot.

Three crosses

You can see the three crosses very well, especially at night, because they are illuminated. It is best to go early in the morning as the temperature in Cali can get very high. The view of the city from up there is superb.

The path is partly washed out, partly easy climbing is announced.

Christo Rey statue

This will be renovated until February 2023 and will then be open to visitors again.

Jairo Valera square and the giant trumpet

Very close to the boulevard and the Ermita church you can find the giant trumpet. Jairo Valera was one of the great salsa masters. Below the trumpet are lyrics by the band Salsa Niche.

Plaza de Cayzedo

The square, which is lined with palm trees, is located in the center of Cali. You should go by during the day, in the evening the area is a bit spooky.

River Boulevard

The project started in 2011 and the boulevard and pedestrian zone stretches around one kilometer along the center of Cali. The boulevard is a popular meeting place, especially in the afternoon and evening.

Things to do in Cali

Salsa schools in Cali

There are a myriad of salsa schools in Cali. When I first visited Cali in 2011, a taxi driver told me that a man without dancing skills would never get married in this city.

Salsa came to Cali in the 1950’s and has spread like wildfire ever since. Today, Cali is considered the salsa capital of the world. When visiting the city, I definitely recommend taking a salsa course and later applying the knowledge you have learned in a corresponding club.

I recommend the Salsa Pura school in San Antonio. I stayed with the guys in 2011 and since I own my travel agency in Bogota I send clients to them as well. By the way, Didier taught me more dancing in one week than I’ve learned accumulated over the years.

The best salsa clubs in Cali

Depending on the day of the week, a different club is popular.

La Topa Tolondra

https://www.facebook.com/Latopabar/

Calle 5 #13-27

Open Monday to Saturday, best days Monday and Wednesday

MalaMaña

Carrera 4 #9-59

https://www.facebook.com/malamanasalsabar/

Open Wednesday to Saturday, best day Friday

El Rincon de Hebert

Carrera 24 #5-32

https://www.facebook.com/elrincondeheberth/

Best day Thursday

Sabaki night

Best day Sunday. Open Tuesday to Sunday.

Salsa, Bachata, Kizomba, Zouk

Zaperoko

Avenida 5 Norte # 16-46

https://www.facebook.com/zaperocobar/

Best days Friday and Saturday

Dance shows in Cali

The following shows are all full-length and the best in town. Match dates vary and it is a good idea to plan a visit before you leave for Colombia.

Delirio

https://delirio.com.co/

Ensalsate

https://ensalsate.co/en/

El Mulato Cabaret

https://elmulatocabaret.com/

Playing golf in Cali

In Cali in the city there is Club Campestre Farallones and the Club Campestre de Cali with excellent 18-hole golf courses.

Bird Watching in Cali

Cali is probably the best city in Colombia for bird watching. With an altitude of 1,000 meters above sea level and close proximity to the Pacific Ocean, a significant number of birds can already be found in the city.

https://youtu.be/Bpp2cOXbIi8

Introduction Cali

Santiago de Cali is Colombia’s third largest city with around 2.5 million inhabitants. The city sits at an altitude of around 1,000 meters above sea level, resulting in a warm hot climate. Due to its proximity to Buenaventura, the most important port city on the Colombian Pacific, the city also benefits from international trade.

Guided tours in Cali

Guided tours in Cali

There is at least one tour in Cali where you can spontaneously join. It is best to clarify the details online, as this can always change at short notice.

Sights outside of Cali

San Cipriano

San Cipriano can be reached from Cali in 3 hours. If you want to relax in idyllic nature by the river, this is the place. Also, the local fellows are very interesting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8s6pOYDqsVQ&t=142s

Buga

One of the cultural assets of Colombia. The city is around 90 minutes from Cali.

Things to do outside of Cali

Golf

Outside of Cali, about 90 minutes away, you will find the Lake House Resort Country Club with an 18-hole golf course.

As a specialist in golf trips to Colombia , we will be happy to organize your trip to Colombia. Contact us today.

Kite surfing

with Cabo de la Vela in La Guajira , Lago Calima is not only one of the best kite surfing spots in Colombia. The climate is constant throughout the year and there are around 300 windy days per year. Around the lake you will find various kite surfing schools and from Cali you can reach the lake in 2 hours.

Farrallones de Cali Pico de Loro

This mountain belongs to the national park system of Colombia. In good weather you can enjoy a fantastic view. You have to register in advance and also hire a local guide.

Whale watching

Buenaventura is a 90-minute drive from Cali. From there you can travel to numerous locations on the Pacific coast or book a whale watching tour right there.

Bird watching

The most famous spot for bird watching around Cali is kilometer 18.

https://youtu.be/VNxecxibj98

Accommodations in Cali

Cali now also has a good number of hotels for travelers. There are also enough hostels. Here I would like to recommend the Casa Níspero. The hotel is located in the district of San Antonio, in the heart of the tourist offer in Cali.

Nightlife in Cali

Cali’s best clubs

La Pergola

https://lapergola.co/

Carrera 2 #13-42

La Pergola was voted one of the top 100 clubs in the world.

Espacio 1060

https://www.facebook.com/espacio1060/

Carrera 10 #10-60

Cultural agenda

Events in Cali:

Feria de Cali

https://feriadecali.com.co/

25th – 30th December every year

Festival mundial de salsa

https://mundialdesalsa.com/

Every year in October

Colombia bird fair

https://colombiabirdfair.com/

Every year in February

Best time to go to Cali

There is no best time to travel to Cali. Depending on the planned activities, however, one should note the rainy season. However, due to its proximity to the Pacific, it also occasionally rains during the dry season.

Airport

Cali has an international airport and is directly connected to the main national and some international destinations.

What I like and dislike about Cali

Cali is my secret love because this is where I learned to dance salsa. The people here are great and very friendly and the food is delicious.

However, Cali also has a dark side and is always at the top of the crime stats. As a tourist, however, I have never noticed anything about it.

Colombia Travel Guides

Below you will find the finest selection of travel guides around Colombia. Feel free to check them out.

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