Don’t worry if you only have time for a short visit. The team at Viajala, the flight and hotel metasearch engine, gives the following suggestions to help you plan an unforgettable trip to Cali, Colombia.
Start your visit in the colonial neighborhood of San Antonio, one of the most traditional neighborhoods in Cali, where you can appreciate colonial architecture dating back to the 18th century. Enjoy wandering its streets—full of antique shops, galleries, and restaurants—on foot or by bicycle. Climb to the top of the hill to take in an unbeatable panoramic view, and visit the Baroque-style chapel while there.
Then head towards the famous Gato del Río (River Cat) sculpture made by Hernando Tejada, and enjoy a stroll around the park to check out the various works of art found there. For lunch, satisfy your hunger at restaurants such as El Escudo del Quijote, offering contemporary Colombian cuisine, El Escudo Sandwich Bar, which serves hamburgers and sandwiches, or the famous Hotel Obelisco’s restaurant, which sells traditional empanadas and even luladas, a typical local drink.
Continue walking along the river bank and visit the Boulevard del Río, a pedestrian walkway and tunnel whose construction ended in 2013 and is now considered a cultural hub. If you have time, visit the Jairo Varela museum, dedicated to the rhythm of salsa.
End your tour at La Ermita Church, restored in 1942, which houses the Señor de la Caña (Lord of Sugarcane). Revel in its incredible Gothic architecture and rest for a while to recharge your batteries, because a day in Cali isn’t complete without some salsa dancing.
In the evening, we suggest tasting delicious fare at the Platillos Voladores restaurant, which serves typical Colombian dishes with local ingredients such as chontaduro. Finally, to end a great day, visit typical salsa bars like Zaperoco or those in the Juanchito area.
In the morning, head towards Cerro los Cristales to visit the Cristo Rey Monument. During your climb, you can appreciate Carlos Andrés Gómez’s geoglyph, consisting of figures sculpted with cement and mud in the ravines.
Upon arrival you will see the monument, a 26-meter tall sculpture of Christ standing with open arms. Built by the Society of Jesus, it was inaugurated in 1953 in homage to 50 years of peace after Colombia’s War of a Thousand Days.
After taking a few panoramic photos, you can also visit the chapel and craft stalls.
If you’d like to try local cuisine, taste the marranitas, aborrajados, and fritangas they serve in the restaurant Ringlete. However, another option is Antigua Contemporanea Cafe, which serves international food in a traditional house so well decorated that it transports diners to another era.
In the afternoon you can choose between visiting the Cali Zoo—founded in 1969 and housing more than 250 animals—or touring the sugar cane museum, an open-air space 42 kilometers outside of Cali, where you will learn about the region’s star product as well as Valle del Cauca architecture since the 18th century.
Finally, attend a salsa show to be wowed by local talent. One of the world’s most emblematic shows is undoubtedly Delirio; however, performances are limited, so check the schedule and purchase tickets in advance.
In short, if you are looking for great fun and good food, the World Capital of Salsa is the destination for you. After your short visit, we can bet that you’ll want to see more of Cali and even come back to enjoy traditional events such as the Cali Fair, with its famous Salsódromo and Superconcierto events.
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