Cali Travel Guide

Cali’s cheerful nature is manifested in salsa, a Caribbean rhythm that is danced here among the sugarcane in its own unique way.

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All the info to prepare your trip to Cali. How to get in, maps, activities to do,...
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Cali is a city in southwestern Colombia, capital of the Valle del Cauca department. It has about 2 million inhabitants and is a significant industrial and commercial center of activity in Colombia. Being at around 1,000 meters above sea level it tends to have a warm midday and afternoon with nice Pacific Ocean breezes while nights are cool.
It’s best known for its salsa music.

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By bus

From the Terminal de transportes you have choices of many different regional, national and domestic destinations.

The trip from the airport to the terminal lasts around 20 minutes and you can do it either by taxi (45,000 COP) or mini-van (4,000 COP). Recommendation: Travel only by certified transport companies, like Expreso Palmira, Bolivariano or Expreso Brasilia. These companies bring you safety and comfort for you and your luggage. You may bargain with other companies, but the trip may be very uncomfortable.

By plane

Cali’s International Airport Alfonso Bonilla Aragón is located 16km northeast of the city and can be reached by bus or taxi. Many domestic and some international destinations can be reached. There are flights to and from Medellín, Bogotá, Barranquilla, Ibagué, Pasto and Cartagena.

Foreign cities that can be reached by non-stop flights are Lima, Miami, Madrid, Amsterdam, Panama City, San Salvador, Quito, Guayaquil and Esmeraldas in Ecuador. The airlines with international flights are: Avianca, American Airlines, Copa, KLM, LAN and TAME. Avianca has VIP lounges in both terminals, domestic and international. The international VIP lounge can be accessed paying cash, located after migration and security, up one level.

The low-cost airline VivaColombia also serves the city with flights to Medellín, Bogotá and Cartagena.

Iberia will start flights from Madrid starting July 2015.

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By taxi

Taxis are a fast and affordable way to get around the city. Only use official cars and its strongly recommended to call for one if possible (you may call the local numbers 444 44 44 (this service also has android app : search “taxis libres cali” in Androoid Market), 555 55 55, or 660 60 60 and ask for one, your name and destination will be registered in the head office). Make sure the driver starts the meter running. The meters count units, not in the local currency. The minimum fare during daytime is 4,200 COP, after 20:00, on sundays and holidays it’s 5,300 COP. Every unit is 84 COP and is marked every 80 meters or 50 seconds of waiting. Do not leave your luggage inside the taxi while you are not around as sometimes drivers drive off as soon as you are out the taxi with your luggage still in the trunk. In any case, many of the taxi drivers are nice and gentle people and have some good stories to tell, which makes for a far more rewarding experience if you speak or understand Spanish at a reasonable level. Be sure to pay what they ask because they will call the cops and not let you out until receiving the full fare.

By bus

  • MIO – Masivo Integrado de Occidente: Inaugurated in March 2009, this transport system consists of large blue buses running in exclusive lanes with enclosed stations and offers the best option for local transit. All buses are air-conditioned, clean and safe. A one way trip costs 1,700 COP with no discount for bulk purchases. The system continues construction of new lanes with the eventual goal of comprehensive coverage of the metropolitan area.
  • There are 23 urban transport companies to travel around the city. You may ask someone for a route as the local people are very eager to help. A regular trip costs 1,700 COP.

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  • Historic churches, there are many historic Catholic churches that represent different Spanish Colonial architecture of a time gone past. The city is over 450 years old, so architecture is one of the best things to see.
  • Museo del Oro del Banco de la República, Calle 7 No. 4-69. A Museum containing archaeological exhibits of pottery and gold of pre-Columbian cultures which existed in the region. There is also a small art exhibition. The entrance is free and it’s open Monday till Saturday.
  • Museo Arqueologico La Merced, located in the downtown, is a Colonial-type church, with an archaeological museum displaying pre-Hispanic exhibits and religious art from ancient cultures which inhabited the region in pre-Colombian times.
  • Cristo Rey, a statue located in the top of a hill, similar to Cristo de Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil offers a great city view. Climbing the mountain is great exercise. Make sure you’re not alone as its not a really safe place.
  • Cerro de las Tres Cruces, a hill embellished with three big crosses from which the whole city is visible makes an excellent morning hike, however, do so only on Sundays as there is generally a lot of military presence these days due to high number of hikers.
  • Iglesia de San Antonio, colonial-type church at the top of a hill. Another great view of the downtown area. Be careful as this area can be risky after sunset.
  • Barrio de San Antonio, the Iglesia de San Antonio is located at the heart of this area. This place is popular because of its colonial architecture and it is located on top of a hill meaning that it is cooler up there and enables a view of the city of Cali from the top. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights many people come to the area to watch performers, story tellers, people selling handicrafts and just chilling out with friends. It is a great place to stay and is filled with restaurants, hotels and hostels for travelers. Many Europeans and North Americans who teach at the bilingual schools and English institution’s in Cali choose to live in this area.
  • Estatua de Belalcazar, like its southern neighbour Popayan, Cali was founded by the Spanish conquistador Sebastian de Belalcazar. There is a statue in Belalcazar’s honor in a nice residential area of Cali, where you can look out over the whole city. It’s much safer than Cristo Rey.
  • Statue: El gato del rio is a famous statue of a giant cat that, along with the statue of Belalcazar, the Three Crosses, and Jesus, has become a symbol for the city. It is situated across the Cali River from the barrio of El Peñon.
  • Zoologico de Cali, this is an excellent zoo with many animals from around the world. The premises are very well kept and, surprisingly, it is in an upscale side of town. The animals generally have lots of space for themselves. Do not miss the Bengal tigers, the butterflies and the birds. Lonely Planet has called this South America´s best zoo.
  • La Ermita, a Gothic-style church located in the downtown area. It was built in 1678 and then renovated in 1930.
  • La Tertulia A museum of modern art with international exhibits and a movie theater that shows many award-winning, artistic, house films among other foreign language works.
  • Culture Cali has many cultural offerings, like the Teatro Municipal Enrique Buenaventura, Centro Cultural Comfandi or the Teatro Jorge Isaacs.
  • Nice places: Pance (Is a town 25 minutes from the city) is a nice place to stay for about 20 dollars a night; also one of the best places for hiking, trekking and birdwatching in South America.
  • Nice places: Calima Lake (A 1.5 hour drive from the city) is a nice place to stay for about 30 dollars a night; also one of the best places for windsurfing in South America. The town of Jamundi, about a half hour south of the city also has nice weekend homes for rent and some decent mountain hikes for those up for some time in the country.
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  • Soccer Matches: In the Estadio Olimpico Pascual Guerrero is the Host place of the local teams of the city, Deportivo Cali [5] and America de Cali. regularly each Sunday one of them plays a Match for the National Championship. Between the months of May-June and November-December they are in playoffs, so the matches are more exciting. It is recommended that tourists sit on the west side section, “Occidental”, of the stadium. Under no circumstances should a tourist sit at the south side of the stadium as this is where the popular barras for both teams are located.
  • Mountain Biking: Excellent tracks there, get information at BTT de Colombia Bike store (yellow pages ask for Julio).
  • Wind or Kite surfing: The best place in South America with winds blowing virtually 365 days a year.
  • Salsa Dancing: Cali is one of the most famous and popular places for salsa in the world. You can find people dancing in the streets and every single night find a club open for salsa dancing. While salsa can be heard pretty much anywhere and at any time of the day the most popular clubs are to be found in the Menga district (North of Cali) and Juanchito (East).
  • Motolombia, Calle 27N #6N-52, ☎ +57(2)3929172. Motolombia is a motorcycle tour and rental business run by Danish motorcycle world traveler Mike Thomsen. Motolombia offers guided tours and motorcycle rentals all over Colombia and South America. email: – +57(2)3929172 / +57 314 652 39 76 / 314 652 51 97
  • Pance (Pueblo Pance), Out of Cali, ☎ 3176643004. 1. Pance is an small town near Cali, is a nice place to visit, watterfalls, rivers, where you can practice hiking trails, birdwatching, camping, there are some hostels, restaurants etc.
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  • Universidad del Valle – public university of the Valle del Cauca department. Well know for their high levels in Engineering, Sciences and Health Careers.
  • Universidad Santiago de Cali- one of the most popular Universities.
  • Pontificia Universidad Javeriana – Jesuit university
  • Universidad Autonoma de Occidente
  • Universidad ICESI: Traditionally a business school, nowadays hosts many careers from Medical school to history to biomedical engineering.
  • Universidad de San Buenaventura
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  • Chipichape mall: a big indoor/outdoor shopping center built on an abandoned train station and warehouse north of downtown. It provides nearly everything and especially the possibility to have a drink at various outdoor bars, and to see many calenas. Its the best place to meet other foreigners, immigrants and English speaking natives. Also a great place to buy local handicrafts and souvenirs at Tu Tierra Linda store, 2nd floor. The mall has movie theaters, two food courts, supermarket, a department store and much more. A hotel is now under construction. Chimichape also has free wireless internet in the open air where all the cafe bars are located.
  • Unicentro is the largest mall in town located 10 km south of downtown. It has over 200 stores, 30 restaurants and cafes, a Multiplex, Casino as well as office space, a supermarket and a department store. A new addition opened in October 2008 features the largest water fountain in town.
  • Palmetto Plaza is popular with the young crowd with its many outdoor bars and cafes.
  • Cosmocentro has a large supermarket and a some stores.
  • Jardin Plaza is the newest mall in town with beautiful indoor gardens for a mostly outdoor experience. It has a nice Movie Theater Complex. This mall is just across the street from the high tech hospital Fundacion Valle del Lili.
  • Parque Artesanal Loma de la Cruz: A place to buy inexpensive, sometimes cheap, artesanal figures and other stuff. Beware this park is outdoors and can be unsafe at night.
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  • Cholados – a delicious mix of shaved ice and exotic fruit with rasberry and sweet condensed milk sauces and a wafer cookie. Often sold from vendors that have stands that display fruit and shaved ice, and best found in Jamundi, about a 15 min drive from the southern neighborhoods of Cali.
  • Pandebono – baked rings of cheese bread which is quite typical of Cali
  • Buñuelos – sweet fried doughnut balls
  • Sancocho de gallina – a very popular chicken soup, best found in a town called Ginebra, about one hour drive from Cali
  • Manjar blanco – a candy made from cooked sugar and milk, similar to dulce de leche (Milk candy)
  • Chontaduro or peach palm fruit – a local delicacy that is sold on the street, topped with salt or honey
  • Mango viche – green unripened mango, which is sold on the street and eaten with salt and lemon juice
  • Guarapo – a deliciously refreshing drink of freshly pressed sugar cane juice (usually the seller has a machine and extracts the juice right in front of you) served with ice and a squirt of lemon juice
  • Grosellas – small sour fruits which are sold on the street in bags and are eaten with salt
  • Arroz atollado – one of Valle del Cauca’s most delicious dishes, almost like a risotto with chicken, sausages and potatoes
  • Empanadas – corn pastries filled with meat or chicken and eaten with hot sauce (aji)
  • Champus – very exotic mix of pineapple , “lulo” (see below), corn and a plant called “limoncillo”… just delicious!.
  • Jugo de lulo or lulo juice – the most delicious of all local fruit juices
  • Aborrajados – fried cheese-filled plantains
  • Dulce de Guayaba con queso – a delicious dollop of guava paste on top of a fresh slice of local ‘cuajada’ cheese
  • Marranitas is a delicious mix of plantain with “chicharrón” (pork`s skin fried)(The best ones are in “El champus de Lola” in San Antonio hill.


  • Cali Plaza Hotel Restaurant A favorite hang-out for International Tourists, FREE Wi-Fi. Calle 15 Norte No. 6N-37 – Granada Barrio – Zona Rosa – 57 2 668 2611 – “”
  • El Solar (Trattoria Faró), calle 15 Norte # 9 N-62 (+572 653 4628). until 1 AM. A fun place with outdoor seating, many options in the menu. Live music on weekends. $$.
  • Pacífico (Seafood), Ave 9 N # 12-18 (Granada), ☎ +572 653 3753, [22]. Noon-3 PM, 6-11 PM. Well made seafood, many recipes from the Colombian pacific. $$.
  • Tizones (Steaks & seafood), Ave 6 BN # 28 N – 57 (Corner across from Carvajal headquarters), ☎ +57 2 653 0181. Great meat. $$$.
  • Ringlete (Regional food), Calle 15 A Norte # 9N-31 Granada (in the middle of a narrow street), ☎ +57 2 660 1540, [23]. Well done and served local food. Many recipes with plantains. $$.
  • El Patio Verde (Local food), Cra 9 # 4-53 (San Antonio), ☎ +57 2 893 6219. M-Sat 5,30-11 PM. Plantain is king in this restaurant. Closed Sundays. $$.
  • Faro El Patio, Calle 19 # 105-52 (Ciudad Jardin-South), ☎ +57 2 333 1456. Until 1 AM. Large menu, outdoor area. Live tropical bands on Fridays and Saturdays. $$.


  • My Thai, Centro Commercial Centenario Local 317, ☎ +57 2 659 9193 or 317 853 6321. until 20h30 for delivery. Sushi, thai curries (green, red, yellow) with chicken, beef, pork and calamari for COP$ 11,500, Salmon al vino (big fillet with stirfried veg and rice) COP$ 16,500 and various other stir fries etc. Delivery nearby COP$ 3,500. $-$$.
  • Sr. Wok, Unicentro, Jardin Plaza, Chipechape, Centenario Plaza, ☎ +57 2 690 7500. Delivery until 9PM. Ready to eat oriental buffet. Choose combo with rice, noodles or chop suey as base and add two choices for COP$ 10,700 or three choices for COP$ 13,600. Choices include orange chicken, beef teriyaki, mushroom chicken, kung pao chicken, bourbon chicken etc. Delivery COP$ 2,000. Decent portions. $.
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Local Drinks

  • Guarapo – the juice of sugar cane which grows in the Cauca river valley.
  • Aguardiente – one of the favorite alcoholic beverage in Colombia, with each region has its preferred brand – the local brand is Aguardiente Blanco del Valle and is sweet and licorice-flavored.
  • Chicha – slightly-alcoholic beverage made of fermented pineapples.

Cali’s nightlife is on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. There are some good clubs and bars to go out. Visit Avenida Sexta Cali’s Broadway at day & night. Some bars and dance clubs popular with the working class are located there. Many banks branches are settled here. The avenue is crowded pretty much all day long. Be careful at night, could be unsafe.


  • Baco Bar a great and quaint bar on the north end of Cali that transports you back in time. The drinks are a great price , the staff and owners are warm and welcoming. The bar was once a family home and many years ago was transformed into this little gem of the valley. Located at Calle 5 # 13-23.
  • Cali Plaza Hotel Restaurant & Bar A favorite hang-out for International Tourists, FREE Wi-Fi. Calle 15 Norte No. 6N-37 – Granada Barrio – Zona Rosa – 57 2 668 2611 – “”
  • Alterno Bar is more like a crossover type of bar, its pretty good and you can meet a lot of people.
  • Casa del Arte is a lively bar and restaurant with a mixed age crowd, mostly gay costumers. Closed Mondays. Phone +57 3 665 2365 Calle 44 #4-31 Norte Cali.
  • El Faro is the place to go if you like classic rock/heavy metal. Located in “El Limonar” A “Jirafa” (Lot of beer) is about USD3.
  • Eliptica is an outside bar settled on a hill at the outskirts of Cali. The views are beautiful and this is a good place for an after party. Open till six or till the police shuts it down.
  • Fanaticos Sport’s Bar is the IN place @ Palmetto Plaza Shopping center, where college guys and young professionals meet to watch their favourite sports games. Great beer and good prices, open every day until 3AM.
  • Forum is a popular club for electronic music with an energetic atmosphere.
  • London Tavern
  • Martyn´s Bar is a classic rock bar that has been around since the early ´80s.
  • Roosters is a brand new Rock Bar/Pub with own Micro Brewery, imported beer and drinks, live rock music and major sports games on big screen – European run. Ave 6 Bis, 26N, #21. Open Tuesday to Saturday until 18:00-02:00

Dance Clubs

  • Zaperoco is an excellent salsa club just off Avenida Sexta ( Av 5N # 16-46 || Tel: 661 2040). Salsa, rumba y son.
  • Chango is a popular salsa club in the famous Juanchito sector in the other side of the Cauca River. Best salsa party in town.
  • Kukaramakara is a great local club with excellent mix of Latin music and good looking locals. Get a bottle and a table and enjoy.
  • Lulu – Electrónica is a popular gay club for the young in the middle of Granada neighborhood, not far from Avenida 6ta. Calle 16 Norte # 8N-46.
  • Lulu – Latino a fun disco with latin dance music alternating with the 80’s. Address: Antigua vía Yumbo just a few meters after -and across – discoteca Praga. Big and safe parking lot.
  • Praga is a popular club which plays mix of all types of music called crossover. Located in the neighbor town of Yumbo not far from Cali.
  • Tin Tin Deo is a very comfortable and almost magic place where people can enjoy the classic salsa music and other Caribbean rhythms.
  • La Matraca (Tango bar and dance), Carrera 11 # 22-80 corner (Barrio Obrero), ☎ +57 2 885 7113. 8 PM – 2 AM. $$.
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  • La Pinta Boogaloo, Carrera 3 Oeste 11-49 (Bellavista), ☎ +57.311.743.5197. checkin: 3:00 p.m.; checkout: 12:00 p.m.. La Pinta Boogaloo is the newest member of La Pinta hostels, offering a great place to stay in Cali, the capital of salsa. With a wide variety of spaces and accommodation options, La Pinta Boogaloo is the best way to discover the city, or simply take a day off by the pool or in its outdoors bar. Its facilities also include: free Wi-Fi, public computer, a hammock area, a salsa dancing room (with private lessons if you wish), wide open gardens, and even a home cinema. They also offer a wide variety of accommodation, from dorms, to private rooms with private bathrooms and the feeling of being in a country house while being right in the middle of the city. Dorms: 10 beds-COP 16,000 / 8 beds-COP 20,000 / 4 beds female only: 35,000 // Privates shared bathroom: 1 person-COP 40,000 / 2 persons-COP 30,000 / 3 persons-COP 25,000 // Privates private bathroom: 1 person-COP 60,000 / 2 persons-COP 45,000 / 3 persons-COP 30,000 / 4 persons-COP 30,000.
  • Casa Agua Canela, Cra 24A N°2A-55 Miraflores, ☎ cel: (57) 311 325 0578 / House: (57-2) 5 56 83 82. Beautiful views over Cali from the lovely balcony if you stay on the top floor, a good location in the Miraflores area, and bright, clean, spacious rooms all come standard at Casa Agua Canela, as does friendly staff and good prices. You can cook for yourself using the equipped kitchen or ask them to prepare something tasty. Spacious, peaceful hostel with a relaxing vibe and not too many people around. You could always sleep outside on the communal balcony as there’s a single bed there on the top floor if you stay up there. Big supermarket and cash point a short walk away as well as plenty of pastry shops. starting from COP 90,000.
  • Jovita’s Hostel & School of Salsa. Carrera 5 # 4-56. (57)(2)8938342. 3176406813 – – – Offers free salsa and yoga classes (with the five times world salsa champions Son de Luz and the professional instruction of Ishka Yoga). And it has more services for free: Hot Water, Gym, Games, Internet, TV with Home Theater and guided tours to the salsa night life. Dormitory: COP $17,000. Private rooms from COP $25,ooo. The hostel is a huge house with very comfortable spaces, 2 gardens, hammocks, library, and mini bar. Staff is always willing to share the great Caleño heart and show the guests the salsa bars and the Caleño-salsa culture, the permanent and unique cultural events as well as other outdoor activities in beautiful natural settings.
  • Kaffee Erde, Avenida 4Norte #4N-79, ☎ +573014000914. Friendly owners who care about their guests run this great hostel close to bars, restaurants, shopping, and more. They have cheap prices but quality rooms, and offer free organic coffee and salsa lessons to their guests. They can arrange trips and tours, and the owners love to chat and share stories with the guests. A very homey, comfortable atmosphere.
  • Casa Blanca Hostel, Ave. 6bis, Calle 26N, 57, Santa Monica (One block of the famous La Sexta, 4 blocks from Super mall Chipichape), ☎ (2) 396 38 49 ( checkin: 7:00; checkout: 11:00. Run by Danish/Colombian couple (Mike & Diana) Casa Blanca Hostel opened in August 2008 in the safe and convenient location one block of the famous La Sexta avenue. The hostel offers big well equipped self-catering kitchen and dining area. There’s a large living room with 42″ flat screen, cable TV package and lots of DVD’s, reading section and magazines, free WiFi and guest computers, hot water showers, 24 hour reception, laundry service, airport pick-up, mini market, free parking for cars and motorcycles (indoor) and an outdoor patio. Dorms beds range from 15.000 to 20.000 COP. Double bed private from 35.000 to 50.000 COP and twin bed privates from 35.000 to 55.000 COP (with possible 3rd bed on sofa bed).
  • The Pelican Larry Hostel, Calle 23 Norte #8N-12 Santa Monica Residencial, ☎ 572 396 8659 / 315 770 6770 ( Award winner, best hostel in 2008 by Hostelworld, BBQ, WiFi internet, beds 1×2 meters, clean and huge patio with well equipped clean kitchen, double rooms from 35,000. Located in what is considered to be a safe area. Two big supermarkets 10 minutes walk away. Decent gym just around the block for 10,000 pesos per use. Very nice and accommodating staff. Massive shopping centre 15/20 minutes walk away called Chipichape if you’re into that. Nice American/British rock bar a few blocks away if you want a break from the salsa. If not you’re in walking distance from Tiendas (bar type shop things) playing salsa music or you can take a taxi or decent walk to streets with lots of clubs.
  • Iguana Hostel, Avenida 9N No. 22N-46 (Close to Avenida Sexta), ☎ (+57) (2) 660 8937 / (+57) 313 768 6024 ( A welcoming hostel opened in 1998 by Swiss owner Urs Diethelm. Can get pretty full at the weekends due to travelers coming for “the Rumba”. Internet, Self-catering kitchen & Cable TV. Dorm beds from 18,000 COP and single occupancy from 45,000 COP.
  • Calidad House, Calle 17N & Avenida 9A No.39, Barrio Granada. Opened in 1993 by English/Colombian couple (David & Emma), this hostel is a popular hangout for backpackers. Free Internet, kitchen, barbecue, cable TV, 100 DVDs, washing machine, hot water (coming soon), free coffee, free towels, hammocks, 24hr reception, walking distance to South America´s best zoo (Lonely Planet) and to Colombia´s famous outdoor shopping center Chipichape, two minutes walk to Cali´s famous nightlife ¨Avenida Sexta¨ with all its pubs, discotecas & restaurants. Salsa classes, therapeutic massage, and Spanish language lessons all available on premises. Periodically two free tickets (a COP56,000 value) are available in the members section for one of Colombia´s best football teams Deportivo Cali. Dorm bed : 19,000 COP / Private double room : 36,000 COP.
  • La Fonda Pance, Main road to Pance 200 meters before the Topacio road, ☎ 3176643004 ( If you don´t want to spend your night in the city, nature can be a good option 25 minutes away from Cali


  • Cali Plaza Hotel (Cali Plaza Hotel and Apartments), Calle 15 Norte No. 6N-37 (Granada Barrio – Zona Rosa), ☎ 57 2 668 2611 ( checkin: 2:00 pm; checkout: 1:00 pm. American owned hotel with apartments and 24 hour security in the heart of Cali. $63 US.
  • Cali Rent Apartments (Cali Rent Apartments), Calle 21N#9N- 50, Cali, Colombia (Santa Monica), ( Offers apartment for daily, weekly or monthly rent in Granada and Santa Monica near Chipichape mall. These are great alternatives to renting a room in a hotel and are usually cheaper and more private. ~$65 US.
  • Casa Santa Monica (Casa Santa Monica), Calle 23N 8N-34 (Santa Monica), ☎ 57 2 6685180 (, fax: 57 2 6686135). checkin: 3:00 pm; checkout: 3:00 pm. A three houses complex with 23 rooms total near by Granada, Chipichape and 20 minutes away from international airport. $75 US.
  • Cali Flats (Cali Flats), Ave 6 bis, 26N, #57 (Santa Monica), ☎ 396 38 49 (, fax: 668 99 86). checkin: 1:00 pm; checkout: 1:00 pm. Fully furnished apartments in nice 10 floor building. Internet access, Cable TV, fully equipped kitchen, dining area, bath with hot water, 24 hour reception, secure parking basement, access to Gym, Turkish bath and Sauna on 10th floor $50 US.
  • Hotel Astoria Real, Calle 11 No. 5-16, Plaza de Caicedo, ☎ 883-0140. A historic hotel overlooking Caicedo Square. Most rooms have a balcony. Aging, but affordable and safe. Centrally located. Hot water, cable TV. Single rooms for 45,000 pesos.
  • Cali Charm Bed & Breakfast, Calle 38 Norte # 4N-23. Located in one of the best parts of Cali, La Flora. Just four blocks from Chipichape mall and five minutes from avenida sexta and Menga Night Life. The Cali Charm House has been remodeled to Western standard and the best part is that it’s very affordable.
  • Hotel Dann Carlton, (One block from the Hotel Intercontinental). Excellent too.
  • Hotel Plaza, Carrera 6a No. 10-29, Plaza de Caicedo, ☎ 882-2560. A modern hotel centrally located. Hot water, cable TV, carpeted rooms. Single room : 40,000 COP.
  • Apartahotel Colombia, Calle 31 N # 2Bis -48 (1 block away from The Terminal de Transportes), ☎ 011572-6608081 ( checkin: 3PM; checkout: 3PM. Internet cafe, Wi-Fi, security surveillance cameras, hot water, restaurant, steam room, elevator, cable TV, room service. 55,000 COP.
  • Cali Apartment, Chipichape Mall Area. Offers two fully furnished bedrooms and complimentary WIFI internet + Cable TV. They also give you a local mobile phone (that you can put cr on) which is very handy. Rates start at $450/week with discounts for longer stays.


  • Hotel Spiwak. A pioneer in the new generation of luxury hotels in Colombia: 20 minutes from the airport, built inside the Chipichape Mall, 226 suites, 11 rooms for corporate or social events and weddings; 20 thousand square meters with the exquisiteness of a great boutique hotel.
  • Hotel Four Points by Sheraton, Calle 18N # 4N-08. Member of the Sheraton Hotels. Five-star.
  • Hotel Intercontinental. Excellent place to stay. Five stars. Safe and good location
  • Cali Plaza Hotel (Cali Plaza Hotel and Apartments), Calle 15 Norte No. 6N-37 (Granada Barrio – Zona Rosa), ☎ 57 2 668 2611 ( checkin: 2:00 pm; checkout: 1:00 pm. An American owned hotel with apartments and 24 hour security. $63 US.
  • Hotel Astoria Real, Calle 11 No. 5-16, Plaza de Caicedo, ☎ 883-0140. A historic hotel overlooking Caicedo Square. Most rooms have a balcony. Aging, but affordable and safe. Centrally located. Hot water, cable TV, Wi-Fi. Single rooms for 45,000 pesos.
  • Hotel Plaza, Carrera 6a No. 10-29, Plaza de Caicedo, ☎ 882-2560. A modern hotel centrally located. Hot water, cable TV, carpeted rooms. Single room : 40,000 COP.
  • NOW (Boutique Hotel), Avenida 9AN No. 10N-74 (Granada), ☎ +57 2 488 9797. Fancy and modern. The bar by the roofpool has one of the greatest views of town. $$$.
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In 2011 there have been a number of murders and car bombs related to the ongoing mafia war between drug cartels in the city. Shopping centers all over the city have been scenes of shoot outs between rivaling mafia factions. It is advised to avoid shopping centers with poor security, although some of the biggest and most well guarded malls in Cali have been scenes of murders too.

Besides these isolated cases, this year the city started to experience a strengthening in its security compared to previous years; as a result, in 2008 the homicide rate in Cali was 66 per 100,000 inhabitants, in 2010 the rate was 80 per 100,000 inhabitants, and in 2011 this rate was reduced to 77 per 100,000 inhabitants. In 2011 the number of stolen cars dropped 21% with 323 fewer cases, burglaries were also reduced 17%, with 152 fewer cases.

The city has increased its security by installing around 254 cameras. This system allows coverage of 30% of all the city, and its estimated that for 2013 the number of cameras is going to increase to 500.

As of 2011 the guerrilla movement FARC-EP has urban militias in the city and surroundings. Extreme caution is advised due to the risk of explosions, gunfire and kidnappings. U.S. citizens have been targets of kidnappings.

In November 2010 the U.S. State Department issued a travel warning regarding Cali, warning of a surge in crime, general insecurity and kidnappings.

Cali is considered more dangerous than most other major cities in Colombia; therefore, keep your eyes open at day and night. Try to take a taxi at night.

Avoid backstreet in the downtown (El Centro) and Sucre neighborhoods. This area is especially dangerous. Walking alone at night at Avenida Sexta can be unsafe.

As in most other cities, it is unwise to walk with jewelry or let people around you know you have cash on you. Most places around hotels are safe.

Try not to talk on cellphones while walking through streets; that might lure in robbers. Also do not use MP3 players or other valuables in public.

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There is a great high tech hospital in town: Fundación Valle del Lili with many bilingual doctors.

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Get out

  • Pance Is a great place to visit, waterfalls hiking trails, birdwatching…
  • The little hamlet of San Cipriano is a good day trip. Most people visit this place only for the ride to it, but it is also possible to stay overnight. Enjoy a swim in the various river beaches, or enjoy a tube ride down the river.
  • Lake Calima (see Lake Calima’s Tourist Guide), 1,5 hour drive from Cali, is, due to it’s year round wind, one of the best wind- & kite surf spots in Southern America. There are at least 3 windsurf schools around the lake. One of them is Pescao Windsurfing, run by windsurfing instructor Luis Fernando. They have excellent wind- and kite surfing gear for rent (prices: windsurf COP 55.000 – 70.000 for 2 hours; kite surf COP 60.000 per hour, COP 120.000 per day) and offer courses too (prices: windsurf COP 100.000 for 2 hours; kite surf COP 100.000 per hour). Overnight stay at the school costs COP 20.000 per night. To get to Pescao, take a bus from Buga or Cali to Darién, and ask the busdriver to drop you off at the school.
  • City of Buga 1 hour drive. Visit “La Basilica”, a major pilgrimage site in Colombia (Ask for Dulces del Valle best place for traditional Dulces). Also, Buga is more tranquil and cleaner than Cali.
  • Parque del Cafe. Approx 3 hr drive from Cali ( approx 2 hrs from Buga, listed above). This is an amusement park, and the Colombian Coffee Museum, complete with the history of Colombian coffee and Juan Valdez. See the theatrical show there that explains the local culture celebrating coffee.
  • City of Jamundi half hour drive (ask for Cholados that Jamundi is famous for-a delicious mix of shaved ice and exotic fruit with rasberry and sweet condensed milk sauces and a wafer cookie. Often sold from vendors that have stands that display fruit and shaved ice. There is a traffic circle roundabout near the city entrance with many Cholado stands)
  • Popayan is about three hours away, and a nice place to stay for a couple of days.
  • Isla Gorgona is a remote Island in the pacific. The whole island is a national park, specially known for scuba diving expeditions because of the great diversity in fauna. There is a brand new fancy ECO hotel opened in 2009. Reachable from Cali: Either via Buenaventura (2.5 hrs to the west by car) or regional flights available from Cali to Guapi. From any of these towns you need to take a boat to the island.
  • Watch humpback whales: around 1,200 humpback whales are expected to arrive every June – July in the Pacific ocean waters of Isla Gorgona, Sanquianga and Utria National Parks. With the whales come dozens of tourists every year to watch them mating. The whales spend the summer months feeding in polar waters and head to tropical waters in winter for mating and calving, sometimes traveling up to 17,000 kilometers. They are black, grey and white, can grow up to 18 meters long and weigh up to 40 tons.

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Cali nicest cheerful nature is manifested in salsa, a Caribbean rhythm that is danced here among the sugarcane in its own unique way. In this city, nicknamed “Branch of Heaven,” the peaks of Cristo Rey, the hill of the Three Crosses, and the hills of San Antonio jut upwards from the plains that make up most of Valle del Cauca.

Travel and tourism in Cali. How to get in, maps, activities to do, where to eat and sleep. Download the Free Cali Travel Guide.

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Michel Piccaya


As a freelance travel photographer, Michel Piccaya has been on the road worldwide for more than 20 years, exploring the most incredible itineraries. He’s currently based in Brussels however never stays at home for a long time !

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