Day 1 in Cali
Welcome to Cali, the Salsa Capital Of the World! Upon arrival at the airport, you will go through customs and immigration. Should you opt to purchase a transfer to your hotel; a representative will be waiting for you as you exit immigration. Arrive at your hotel, check in and do not give in to jet lag! There is so much for you to see and do!
We recommend you get acquainted with the city and take a stroll around the compact city center by the Plaza Caicedo, which is the main square set in the heart of Cali. This historical square is home to the Grand National Palace, the Metropolitan Cathedral and numerous buildings, restaurants, and cafes. Enjoy lunch while soaking in the bustling atmosphere, then check out some of the attractions in the area.
Wander around the beautiful parks in the city such as the Simon Bolivar Park with the Cali River running through it, this is a pleasant area to explore in the afternoon and enjoy a `cholado`, the city`s famous slushy fruit juice drink with condensed milk and shaved coconut, be sure to try this delicious cool treat!
The Iglesia de La Ermita Church sits just outside the park, a spectacular sight with its Gothic style architecture, the church is the image on many postcards of Cali. Check out the 19th-century church with its marble altar, musical clock, and vibrantly stained glass windows.
Visit one of the many museums that Cali has to offer, we recommend La Tertulia Museum of Modern Art by the Cali River displaying modern art, sculptures, photography and paintings from local and international artists. There are over 1,300 pieces of art on display at the museum, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful pieces of architecture in the city. Movie nights are held at the `La Cinemateca` during the week showcasing independent films.
Hike up to the bohemian barrio (neighborhood) of San Antonio, set on top of a hill with spectacular views over the city. San Antonio boasts cobblestoned streets with old buildings filled by many art galleries and shops, you will also find the largest selection of cafes and restaurants on the streets of San Antonio. Wander around the town and pick up some Colombian art, pottery and antiques are some other great items to take home. Admire the historic San Antonio Church set in the heart of the neighborhood built in the 17th century and is the oldest church in the city. Enjoy the breathtaking views offered from here.
As evening time approaches, make your way down to the Cali River for a stroll to see the famous `El Gato del Rio` or River Cat, a large bronze statue of a cat created by Hernando Tejada, a famous Colombian Artist. The cat is said to represent the city`s nocturnal (salsa dancing) nature.
Make your way to the city center for some delicious Colombian cuisine, there is an abundance of restaurants and cafes to choose from in the city of Cali. There are plenty of swanky rooftop terraces, bustling bars, buzzing clubs, and salsa dancing to be enjoyed in the city after dark.
Day 2 in Cali
Start your day with a trip to a local bakery, pick up a fresh cup of Colombian coffee and some fresh pastries including chocolate croissants, cinnamon rolls and the local breakfast staple of Pandebono, which is basically bread and cheese.
Head over to the organic farmer`s market in Cali on the intersection of Calle 11 and Carrera 57, one of the best places in the city to shop for food straight from the farm. Browse the market filled with vibrant fruits and vegetables and other delicious goodies.
Take a hike up to `Cerro de las Tres Cruces` (Hilltop of the Three Crosses) set in the mountains west of Cali reaching 1,465 meters above sea level, where a trio of giant crosses overlook the city providing awesome views. Another attraction found close by is the spectacular 69-foot ornate statue of Cristo Rey which sits high up in the mountains looking down over the city.
After an active morning hike, grab some delicious local cuisine, try some famous empanadas or arepas found throughout the city. Plaza Cayzedo in the heart of the city is a great location to find some of the most delicious street food.
The Cali Zoo or Andoke Butterfly Farm are some great options for your afternoon. The Cali Zoo is large and considered to be the best in Colombia spread over 25 acres and home to around 1,200 animals with 80% of the animals being native to Colombia.
Andoke is a large butterfly farm and family run center with ecological trails where native animals and wildlife live an over 15 species of butterflies can be seen in the greenhouse area.
The beautiful Botanical Gardens of Cali are another great option, explore the vibrant gardens that cover 30 acres of tropical forest land, boasting the best display of Valle del Cauca flora in the city.
Make your way to the Cali Tower, the tallest building found in the city, have some cocktails at the outdoor terrace which stands 608 feet high and provides spectacular panoramic views over the city.
For dinner head to the Parque del Perro barrio, a great bar, club, and dining district where people gather to have drinks and dinner and to hang out with friends. There are plenty of establishments to choose from that surround the park and offer outdoor seating and a great ambiance.
Cali is the Salsa Capital of the World, you can`t come to the city without checking out the famous and fabulous Salsa clubs. Juanchito is the salsero neighborhood just outside of the city center and home to a wide variety of bars and clubs. You can simply check out the clubs and witness the locals in action or you can take Salsa lessons at different salsa schools, whatever you choose to enjoy the seductive sounds of salsa as you dance the night away.
Additional Days in Cali
If you are able to spend additional days in Cali and you are a futbol, football, soccer fan, be sure to check out a professional game at Cali`s Stadium and watch either America or Deportivo Cali play.
Visit the massive Los Farallones de Cali National Nature Park situated in the lush verdant Valley of Cauca and surrounded by the West Andes Mountains. The mountains have a high biodiversity with varying temperatures and the main draw here is hiking and camping with an abundance of wildlife.
Cali is the host of many festivals throughout the year including La Feria de Cali which is the main cultural event celebrated from December 25th to the 30th and filled with concerts, parades, competitions, and other activities.
The Petronio Alvarez Festival is an Afro-Colombian and Pacific culture and music celebration held every year in August. There is music, food, drink, and fun to be had at this festival, it was named after Petronio Alvarez the musician who was born in Buenaventura.
Your Last Day in Cali
Depart from your hotel to the airport for your return flight home. We recommend that you purchase a private transfer to the airport if so the representative will meet you at your hotel with plenty of time to get you to the airport for your flight out.