If Bogota, Medellin and Cartagena are part of the Colombian must-see cities, Cali is less often mentioned, and that’s a shame!
Discover with us 5 must-see experiences in Cali.
1/ The Alameda market
If you seek authenticity and typical places, don’t miss this photogenic and particularly charming indoor market: the Alameda.
Located in the center of Cali, it is divided into several blocks (fruits and vegetables, meat and fish, handicrafts and of course, restaurants). We particularly appreciate its cleanliness and organization.
Our recommendation: taste traditional dishes of the Pacific cuisine: sancocho de pescado (fish soup), arroz con coco (coconut rice), patacón (plantain fritters), fried fish, cazuela de mariscos (seafood casserole) and many more.
Address: Carrera 26#8-37, Cali, Valle de Cauca – Open from 5am à 17pm
Take advantage of your visit to the capital of salsa to discover the electrifying nightlife of Cali.
The most iconic: La Topa Tolondra. Celia Cruz, Ruben Blades and Hector Lavoe are represented as apostles of the Last Supper of Leonardo da Vinci… salsa style. The tables are arranged around the huge dance floor where everyone is enjoying a good dance.
The most underground: Mala Maña. This intimate bar is located in the basement of a building of the carrera 4 of the center of Cali. The tables are as usual distributed along the walls, leaving the central space available for the dancers.
Other bars with local atmosphere:
El Rincon de Hébert: outdoors, varies the musical genres.
La Caldera del Diablo: not far from the giant Topa on Avenida Quinta, a smaller space where the caleños come to indulge in their favorite activity: dancing salsa until the end of the night.
Tintindeo: Another emblematic place of the city where you can practice your repique and other dance moves.
3/ Walking in San Antonio
Take a walk in this timeless neighborhood and discover its colonial style inspired white houses. Its small baroque church seems to dominate the city and offers a beautiful panorama of Cali. If you feel like having a snack, try one of the local products that can be bought in the park, among which a famous sweet snack in Colombia: the oblea.
Looking for a good place to have brunch, lunch or coffee? Don’t miss out on: Tierradentro, Arepas Cuadradas, La Cocina, El Pargo Rojo…
4/ La Linterna
You’ve probably already seen these colorful posters on Cali’s street and other Colombian walls: did you know you can visit the artisanal printing shop La Linterna?
This leading print shop of Cali in the twentieth century saw its production decline with the arrival of the new century and almost went bankrupt in 2016. It is thanks to a group of artists and cultural actors with the idea of putting art at the center of production that the place experiences a revival in 2017.
The workshop is now open to the public: you can buy posters but also discover its five printers that come from Germany, the United States and France.
Address: Cra. 5 #2-70, Cali, Valle del Cauca – Open from Monday to Saturday from 9am to 6pm.
5/ Annual events: Feria de Cali and Petronio
Let yourself be seduced by the festive Cali, a joyful and lively city always full of resources when it comes to partying!
We warmly recommend these two annual events:
Celebrated in August, more than 600,000 people gather each year for this major event that honors the music, culture and traditions of the Pacific, strongly represented in the city (Cali is the second city in Latin America with the largest Afro population).
The festival lasts 6 days and brings together nearly 200 exhibitors (ancestral drinks, traditional cuisine, crafts etc.).
- Feria de Cali
The first edition of this annual festival dates back to 1957. Formerly called Feria de la Caña (sugar cane fair), it is the unmissable event for more than a thousand dancers who come to show their art to the public.
Celebrated between December 25 and 30, the Feria de Cali puts salsa in the spotlight since the 1980s: it largely participated to give Cali its famous surname: the capital of salsa.
What to drink?
- A lulada, typical lulo juice of the region, tasty and refreshing.
- Why not taste the viche and its derivatives? This artisanal alcohol made from sugar cane is the pride of the region.
What to eat? A cazuela de mariscos at the Alameda market for lunch.
Where to go out? At the Topa Tolandra or the Mala Maña to dance salsa.
What to visit? The Mariposario, a butterfly house that aims to educate the public and fight for the preservation of the environment. (Address: Parcelación La Reforma, Km 6, Via a Cristo Rey, Cali, Valle del Cauca – Open everyday from 10am to 4pm)
Where to take beautiful pictures? At the Alameda market, in the historic center or from the Cristo Rey, which dominates the city.
When to go there? Cali can be visited all year round, but if you have the opportunity to discover it in August during the Petronio or the last days of December during the Feria, it’s even better! Remember to book in advance.
Where to go next? Cali is located 3 hours from Salento and Popayan.
Need help organizing your stay? Our local experts will be happy to assist you in preparing your trip, please contact us.