Santiago de Cali is one of the oldest cities in Colombia. It was founded in 1536 by the conquistador Sebastián de Belalcázar. Before the conquest, Cali was inhabited by indean tribes such as the gorrones, timbas and morrones. During the firest days of the XIX century, cali will join the efforts to achieve independency from spain, and rised on July 3rd of 1810, making an alliance with neighbouring cities as was done by the natives in the Cauva Valley to oppose the spaniards decades earlier.Due to its location, which is ideal for the development of commerce, Cali began to transform into one of the biggest cities of the country at the beginning of the XXth century, in part due to the construction of new means of transportation - such as trainways and highways- which connect the city with the Buenaventura port, favoring the exportation industry. Present day Cali is a prosperous city, which is known as the colombian capital of the rumba and salsa due to the great number renowned schools that teach these dances.
Travel tips for Cali
Cali has some dangerous urban areas that, if you are not cautious, you could be a victim of thefts and assaults. The neighborhoods of this category are Siloe, Potrerogrande, Manuela Beltrán, El Vergel and Antonio Nariño. If during your trip you decide to get to know those areas, keep in mind the following tips:-Don't you take valuable items as cameras or jewellery. If you do it, avoid to show them in public.-Leave your money at the hotel safe or avoid taking out big amounts.-Do not take taxis that seem suspicious. It's preferable if you order one through a reliable company.Cali is a charming city, but there are places that you should avoid, as in any other large city. Fortunately, the tourist route is very safe. Visit the tourist attractions that Cali offers you and your travel will be delightful and without complications.
Best time to visit Cali
The best time to visit Cali is december since the dry season starts and it's when the fair (Feria) takes place.
Climate in Cali
The weather in Cali is tropical savannah and warm, with humidity on the air; the minimum temperature is 66 °F (19 °C) and the maximum is 93 °F (34 °C). We recommend to bring light clothes, to stand the heat. From December to March and from July to August in Cali is the dry season.The rainy season is from April to June. You should have an umbrella with you.
Things to do in Cali
Cali is known as "the capital of the rumba and salsa", because of the local's dedication to dancing. Concerning the culture and tourist attractions that you should visit we recommend the Department's Natural Science Museum, the Sports Monument, the River's Birds Monument and the Ecopark Río Pance, where you can practice eco-tourism.
Nightlife in Cali
Location: Calle 9 N° 1528 Hours: 7:00 p.m. - 3:00 a.m. Rate: doesn't say Your evenings and nights will be more cheerful at this bar, where the atmosphere has a decoration between classic and modern, with live music and special offers in meals and drinks. The variety is the best presentation letter, since among many other drinks they have more than 40 kinds of beer.
Location: Calle 66 N° 11 - 61 Hours: 5:00 p.m. - 12:45 a.m. Rates: doesn't say If you are fan of rock classics and you like bohemian bars, Route 66 is the best place for you to spend the evenings in Cali. The drinks and appetizers menu has a large variety and special offers 2x1 are proposed nearly daily.
Location: Calle 15 AN Norte N° 8 - 54 Hours: 9:00 p.m. - 3:00 a.m. Rates: doesn't say The modern experience of music and dance wait for you in the Rain Club, with a large dance floor where everyone dance at the rythym of the latest in electronic, hip-hop, reggaeton and latin pop. If you don't like dancing, this bar and its great diversity of drinks will maintain you very living for the rest of the night.
Location: Av. 5 Nte. N° 16 - 47 Hours: 7:30 p.m. - 3:00 a.m. Rates: doesn't say The best rumba-salsa you live is in Zaperoco, a traditional Cuban bar, with its atmosphere of pictures of the most important legends of salsa. The night rythym is provided by the DJ of salsa Osman Arias.
Where to eat in Cali?
The Market Cali
Location: Av. 8 Norte N° 10-19 Hours: 6:30 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. Rate: aprox. 47700 COP You find in this exclusive restaurant the culinary experience of the region with the best dishes made of fresh and healthy ingredients. Doubtlessly, the favourite of eco-friendly diners, since this restaurant promotes a gastronomic culture in favor of the environment and the species conservation.
Location: Av. 3N N° 7-19 - Centenario Hours: 12:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. Rate: aprox. 58300 COP In Platillos Voladores you will find a variety of flavors, since its menu does not only have the traditional Colombian seasoning, but it also innovates in local gastronomy, fusing the own flavor and the one of other cultures. Another good option for the eco-friend diners. You should taste the lomo ying yang or the rollitos de chontaduro, simply delicious.
Location: Calle 3 Oeste No. 3A - 18, El Peñón Hours: doesn't say Rate: approximately 15000 COP It's the ideal place for vegetarians. Its plates are a healthy delicacy (you won't miss the meat) and the attention -as well as the atmosphere- is one of the best. A modest luxury for the people who wish a light but tasty meal.
Location: Carrera 6 N° 3 - 03, San Antonio Hours: 11:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m. Rate: entre 24100 COP (28 PEN) Are you looking for a great cup of coffee in the best atmosphere? That one is the experience you'll find in Macondo, a coffee restaurant where moments are the most important, with desserts and appetizers on the menu.
The tourist places to see in Cali are:
Mirador Sebastian de Belalcazar
Location: Carrera 3 oeste con Calle 9 oeste Hours: all day Rate: free entrance The monument pay tribute to the Spanish conqueror who founded the city of Cali, Sebastian de Belalcazar, and it's placed on top of the hill of the same name. From this privileged position you can admire all the city's beauty. It's ideal to spend a calm afternoon taking pictures of the landscape.
La Ermita church
Location: esquina de Carrera 1 con calle 14 Hours: 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Rate: doesn't say Originally founded as Ermita de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad del Rio, it was built in 1678. In 1942 the church was restored with a gothic architectural style similar to the Colonia's Cathedral (Germany). Inside there is an altar where the Señor de la Caña rests, a religious image very venerated by the devoted, who attribute to him all type of miracles.
Catedral Metropolitana de Cali
Location: Calle 11 N° 540 Hours: 7:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Rate: doesn't say It's also known as Catedral de San Pedro, and has gone through several renovations from its construction in the 18th century. This neoclassical style temple is considered cultural heritage due to the historic legacy that represents and because inside the images of the Señor Caido and El Sagrario are conserved, having the same age of the Cathedral.
Andoke (Butterflies breeding de Andoke)
Location: Parcelación La Reforma, Km. 6 - vía a Cristo Rey Hours: 10.00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Rate: 12000 COP On top of the mountains that surround the city, at 20 minutes from downtown of Cali is located this inusual and exotic theme park, where you can contemplate birds, water ecosystems and crops, among other natural attractions. The main attraction of this park is its butterflies breeding place, where you can see from very close the metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly, a unique experience that you won't forget.
Ecoparque Río Pance
Location: Vía A, La Vorágine - Pance Km. 13 Hours: all day Rate: free entrance At the height of between 1125 aand 1240 meters above the sea, this forest area with paths is located, full of lora and fauna, just perfect to practice ecotourism. It 's also the main beach of Cali, due to its crystalline waters and its natural fantasy environment.
The things to do in Cali
Location: Lago Calima (at 1400 meters above the sea level) The thrill seekers who love nautical sports will enjoy the winds of Lago Calima (also known as Embalse del Calima), considered the best of America to practice water skiing or sail, kitesurf, windsurf and kayaking.
Birds sighting in the Bosque de Niebla San Antonio
Location: at 20 min. from the city The natural life and all the thick ecology from the region wait for you at this forest area, home of more than 200 birds species, that can be contemplated if you do the proposed routes, as Colombia bird watch or Mapalina.
Typical dishes in Cali
It's a flavorful and succulent plate , prepared with pork, potato and spicy pork sausage.
Sancocho de gallina
This wholesome soup will reinstate all your energies after an exhausting journey. During the cooking, the soup is seasoned with cilantro, and afterwards you add banana, yucca and chicken meat, all of it with white rice, chili pepper and avocado, served in a traditional clay pot.
It's a sweet dessert that will be your delight, after the meals. It's made of cheese and ripe plantain.
The preparation and size differentiate this tamale from the other types. To prepare it, you make a ground corn dough and you add the meat (pork or chicken), potato, carrots and peas. Finally it's all wrapped in a banana leaf and cooked, to be served with corn cake or rice.
How to reach Cali
Cali by train
The railway that connects diverse nearby municipalities is Tren de Occidente that is dedicated just to cargo transportation, not people. The competent authorities have planned a new project of train-tram, but nowadays it’s in process of planning and research, reason why there is no expected date to start operating.
Cali by flight
The direct distance from Bogota to Cali is 190,7 mi (307 km). The International airport Alfonso Bonilla Aragon is located in the municipality of La Esmeralda and provides a diversity of flights. There are direct flights to cities of Colombia as Cartagena, Ipiales, Pasto and Rionegro among others, and to other abroad destinations as Panama, Madrid or Miami. The airlines that operate in this airport are Latam, VivaColombia, Avianca, Tame, Aerogal, CopaAirilines, Satena, among others.
Cali by bus
The distance on the highway from Bogota to Cali is 286,5 mi (461 km), a route that is completed in about 9 hours. There are several bus companies that cover the route and among them stand out Copetran, Flota Magdalena, Expreso Bolivariano, Expreso Brasilia, Coomotor and Empresa de Transportes Calima.
Accomodations in Cali
La Pinta Boogaloo
Location: Carrera 3 oeste N° 11 - 49 Barrio Bella Vista Rates: 19000 COP - 150000 COP This central hostel with a pool and a little garden provides to its guests comfortable rooms that, depending on the rate, have private or shared bathrooms. The installations of the hostel will make you feel as in a little palace for little money. Recommended for back-packers.
Hotel Jardin de Tequendama
Location: Carrera 40 N° 5C - 22 Rates: 78500 COP- 150500 COP At 5 km from downtown, you will have all the services that a traveller needs. Inside the hotel you will have wifi, private car park, plane screen TV in all the rooms, private bathroom, minibar and laundry service. If you wake up on time, after a comforting dream, you wil enjoy a delicious american breakfast, served with the best Colombian coffee.
Casa Franco - Casa de Huéspedes
Location: Calle 15 B N° 106 - 171 Rates: 206483 COP - 337500 COP This modern hotel is located in Ciudad Jardin of Cali, an exclusive neighborhood where you can find the best shops and the most exclusive restaurants. Inside Casa Franco you can get the best of a wonderful terrace, with a panoramic view over the garden and a large pool, modern rooms with beautiful decoration details, air conditioning, private balcony, TV LCD and wifi. At this restaurant you should taste the most delicious breakfast and the most exquisite appetizers. You will also have a great variety of drinks in the bar.
Important dates in Cali
Carnaval de Cali Viejo
December the 28th
The streets of Cali are crowded with troupes, in a parade made once a year to represent and honor the iconic celebrities of the urban history. Queens, people who carry lots of flowers on their back, dancers, floats that follow the route, with a multitude of happy locals.
Feria de Cali (Cali's Fair)
December 25th to 30th
One of the festivals that joins a crowd of visitors since 1957. Ath the fair there are varied activities as the beer street, the rumbas and the chiquiferias. Nevertheless, the opening cavalcade is what attracts the attention of adults and children, since there participate horsemen from several parts of the world. It's considered the best fair of Latin America.
Festival Internacional de Arte de Cali
Every 2 years
This cultural fair is the most important of the city, celebrated every 2 years. This festival joins all the artistic expressions, setting aside the social differences. Dance, plastic arts, music, theatre and literature, among others have an appointment at this crowded festival, where the most talented are rewarded.