Cali is famous for its historical places, entertainment and day and night activities. It is also the world’s capital of salsa dancing. Cali is known in Colombia as the capital of fiestas, street partying, dancing, and salsa as Cali's salsa clubs are among the most famous in the entire continent. Among many other things you can experience on your vacations, the people from Cali have developed a playful and hedonistic culture in harmony with the natural surroundings and country life.
Cali is a great place for tourism and leisure. The capital of the department of Valle del Cauca has become a mecca for tourism thanks to the beauty of its women, its historical sites, and a multitude of spots for day and night entertainment. Cali is one of the major economic and industrial centers of the country, and the main urban, economic, industrial, and agrarian city of southwest Colombia.
Cali is also known as the Sport Capital of America and host of many major sports events that take place in Colombia. Among the most important sporting events that have taken place in our city we´ve hosted the VI Pan American Games in 1971. We are also proud to have been the host of many World Championships in different sports. Cali hosted the UCI Track Cycling World Cup for the twelfth time in 2013 and, between July 25 and August 4, 2013 hosted the World Games.
Cali’s weather is wonderful. It has warm, sunny days with temperatures between 19°C (66°F) and 34°C (93°F) that average 26°C (79°F). Its altitude is 1,003 meters (3,290 feet) above sea level.
The trip from the airport to the terminal lasts around 20 minutes and you can do it either by taxi (COP$45,000) or mini-van (COP$4,000). Recommendation: Travel only by certified transport companies, like Expreso Palmira, Expreso Bolivariano or Expreso Brasilia. These companies bring you safety and comfort for you and your luggage and more reliable. You may bargain with other companies, but the trip may be very uncomfortable.
- to/from Bogota : COP$40,000 to $70,000, 12 hours with Expreso Bolivariano, Expreso Palmira, Flota Magdalena or Velotax
- to/from Buenaventura : COP$28.000, 3 hours with Corredor Pacifico
- to/from Medellin : COP$65,000, 9 hours with Empresa Arauca, Expreso Brasilia, Expreso Bolivariano, Expreso Palmira, Flota Magdalena, Expresos Trejos,
- to/from Popayan : COP$12,000, 3 hours or with minibus COP$14,000, 2 hours
- to/from Pasto : COP$40,000, 9 hours (check for safety)
- to/from Armenia : COP$20,000, 3-3½ hours
- to/from Pereira : COP$29,000, 4 hours
- to/from Manizales : COP$30,000, 5 hours
Cali's Alfonso Bonilla Aragón International Airport (CLO IATA) is 16 km 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, Pereira, Pasto and Cartagena. Foreign cities that can be reached by non-stop flights are Miami, Madrid, Panama City, San Salvador, Quito, Guayaquil and Esmeraldas in Ecuador. The airlines with international flights are: Avianca, American Airlines, Copa Airlines, LATAM and TAME. The low-cost airline VivaColombia also serves the city with flights to Medellín and Bogotá.
Taxis are a fast and affordable way to get around the city. Only use official cars and it is strongly recommended to call for one if possible (you may call the local numbers 444 44 44, 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 COP$3,700, during nighttime it's COP$4,600. 14 units equal COP$900. Do not leave your luggage inside the taxi while you are not, it sometimes happens that drivers get off as soon as you are out the taxi and your luggage is still in the trunk. In any case, many of the taxi drivers are nice and gentle people and have some good stories to tell, so hopefully you speak or understand Spanish at a reasonable level. But be sure to pay what they ask because they would call the cops and will not let you get out until you pay the full fare.
- MIO - Masivo Integrado de Occidente: 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 COP$2,000 paid by smart cards which can be purchased at manned bus stops. 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, the local people are very eager to help. A regular trip costs COP$1,500.
- 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-Columbian times.
- Cristo Rey, a statue in the top of a hill, similar to Cristo de Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. Offers a great city view and climbing the mountain is a good exercise. Do not walk alone, it's 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 much 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 dodgy after dusk.
- 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 you can see the city of Cali from the top. Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights many people come to the area to watch performers, story tellers, people selling handy crafts and just chilling out with friends. It is a great place to stay filled with restaurants, hotels and hostels for travellers. Many Europeans and North Americans who teach at the bilingual schools and English institutions in Cali choose to live in this area.
- Estatua de Belalcazar, like its southern neighbor 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 up-scale side of town. The animals generally have lots of space for themselves. Do not miss the Bengal tigers, the butterflies and the birds.
- La Ermita, a Gothic-style church located in the downtown area. It was built in 1678 and then renovated in 1930.
- La Tertulia Museum of modern art with international exhibits and a movie theatre that shows many award-winning art house films, among other foreign language works.
- Plaza de Toros The city's bullfighting arena. Mostly active in December during the "Feria de Cali" festival.
- Culture Cali has many cultural offerings, like the Teatro Municipal Enrique Buenaventura, Centro Cultural Comfandi or the Teatro Jorge Isaacs.
- Nice places: Lake Calima (1½ hour drive from city) nice place to stay for about 30 dollars night also one of the best places for windsurf in South America. The town of Jamundi, about 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.
- Soccer matches: In the Estadio Olimpico Pascual Guerrero is the host place of the local teams of the city, Deportivo Cali and America de Cali. 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, wind blows virtually 365 days a year find information at  or  [dead link].
- Salsa dancing: Cali is one of the most famous or 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, most popular clubs are to be found in the Menga district (north of Cali) and Juanchito (east).
- Motolombia, Ave 6 bis, 26N, #57, ☏ , , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Motolombia is a motorcycle tour and rental business run by Danish motorcycle world traveler Mike Thomsen. Motolombia offers guided tours on ATV in the mountains surrounding Cali and motorcycle tour all over Colombia.
- 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, a supermarket and a department store. A hotel is now under construction. Chimichape also has free wireless internet in the open air where all the cafe bars are located. . Here you will find all mayor Colombian brands such as Calzatodo, Mussi, Velez, Pura+, Mercedes Campuzano, Leonisa, Beybies, Bosi, Nrgyblast and many others.
- Unicentro. The largest mall in town located 10 km south of downtown. It has over 200 stores, 30 restaurants and cafes, a multiplex, casino, office space, a supermarket, a department store, and the largest water fountain in town.
- Palmetto Plaza, Avenida Joaquin Borrero Sinisterra at Carrera 48, ☏ . M-F 08:00-22:00; Sa Su 09:00-22:00. 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.
- Cholados- a delicious mix of shaved ice and exotic fruit with raspberry 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" (fried pork skin) -- 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 - email@example.com
- El Solar (Trattoria Faró), calle 15 Norte # 9 N-62, ☏ . until 01:00. A fun place with outdoor seating, many options in the menu. Live music on weekends. $$.
- Pacífico, Ave 9 N # 12-18 (Granada), ☏ . 12:00-15:00, 18:00-23:00. Well-made seafood, many recipes from the Colombian Pacific. $$.
- Tizones, Ave 6 BN # 28 N - 57 (Corner across from Carvajal headquarters), ☏ . Great meat. Steaks & seafood. $$$.
- Ringlete, Calle 15 A Norte # 9N-31 Granada (in the middle of a narrow street), ☏ . Well done and served local food. Many recipes with plantains. $$.
- El Patio Verde, Cra 9 # 4-53 (San Antonio), ☏ . M-Sa 05:30-23:00. Plantain is king in this restaurant. Local food. $$.
- Faro El Patio, Calle 19 # 105-52 (Ciudad Jardin-South), ☏ . Until 01:00. Large menu, outdoor area. Live tropical bands on Fridays and Saturdays. $$.
- My Thai, Centro Commercial Centenario Local 317, ☏ , . Until 20:30 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, ☏ . Delivery until 21:00. Ready-to-eat Asian buffet. Choose combo with rice, noodles or chop suey as base and add two choices for COP$15,500 or three choices for COP$18,700. Choices include orange chicken, beef teriyaki, mushroom chicken, kung pao chicken, bourbon chicken etc. Delivery COP$2,000. Decent portions. $.
- 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.
- Alterno Bar is more like a crossover type of bar, its pretty good and you can meet a lot of people there.
- Blues Brothers Bar, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. A big and popular bar, with live music on Thursdays. Avenida 6A Norte # 21-40 Barrio Santa Mónica.
- 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 06:00 or till the police shut it down.
- Fanaticos Sports Bar at 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 03:00.
- Forum is a popular club for electronic music with an energetic atmosphere.
- London Tavern is busy only on a Thursday night when there is a live salsa band playing.
- Martyn's Bar is a classic rock bar that has been around since the early 1980s.
- Roosters is a 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. Tu-Su 18:00-02:00.
- Zaperoco is an excellent salsa club just off Avenida Sexta (Av 5N # 16-46, +57 2 661 2040). Salsa, rumba y son. Th-Sa 08:00-16:00.
- 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.
- 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), ☏ . 20:00-02:00. $$.
- Casa Agua Canela, Cra 24A N°2A-55 Miraflores, ☏ (cel), (House). 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.
- 1 Casa Blanca Hostel, Ave. 6bis, Calle 26N, 57, Santa Monica (One block of the famous La Sexta, 4 blocks from Super mall Chipichape), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 07:00, check-out: 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 COP$15,000-20,000. Double bed private from COP$35,000-50,000 and twin bed privates from COP$35,000-55,000 (with possible 3rd bed on sofa bed).
- The Pelican Larry Hostel, Calle 23 Norte #8N-12 Santa Monica Residencial, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. BBQ, WiFi internet, beds 1x2 meters, clean and huge patio with well equipped clean kitchen, double rooms from COP$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 COP$10,000 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), ☏ , , ✉ email@example.com. 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 COP$16,000 and single occupancy from COP$24,000.
- The Green House, Cra. 4C Oeste #2-34, San Antonio, Cali, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-out: 11:00. Lovely hostel in the bohemian San Antonio neighborhood. The owner will make you feel right at home from the moment you step in. Everything is spotlessly clean and there's a kitchen for guest use. Excellent breakfast is available for COP$5,000. Also a good spot to stay if you are into adventure sports, since the owner is into BMX, kiteboarding, paragliding and similar sports and can provide you with lots of info on these activities. Dorm COP$18,000, Single COP$30,000, Double COP$40,000 (all with shared bathroom).
- Cali Plaza Hotel (Cali Plaza Hotel and Apartments), Calle 15 Norte No. 6N-37 (Granada Barrio - Zona Rosa), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 13:00. American-owned hotel with apartments and 24-hour security in the heart of Cali. US$63.
- Casa Santa Monica (Casa Santa Monica), Calle 23N 8N-34 (Santa Monica), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 15:00. A three-house complex with 23 rooms total near by Granada, Chipichape and 20 minutes away from international airport. US$75 US.
- Hotel Astoria Real, Calle 11 No. 5-16, Plaza de Caicedo, ☏ . 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 COP$45,000.
- Hotel Dann Carlton (One block from the Hotel Intercontinental), ☏ . Excellent too.
- Apartahotel Colombia, Calle 31 N # 2Bis -48 (1 block away from The Terminal de Transportes), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 15:00. Internet cafe, Wi-Fi, security surveillance cameras, hot water, restaurant, steam room, elevator, cable TV, room service. COP$55,000.
- 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
- NOW (Boutique Hotel), Avenida 9AN No. 10N-74 (Granada), ☏ . Fancy and modern. The bar by the roofpool has one of the greatest views of town. $$$.
In 2011 there were 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.
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 if you want to come and go 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 iPods or other valuables in public.
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has issued an advisory to travellers to exercise a high degree of caution in Cali because of the threat of terrorist attack and criminal activity.
There is a great high tech hospital in town: Fundación Valle del Lili with many bilingual doctors.
- 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.
- Calima Lake, 1.5-hour drive from Cali, is, due to its year round wind, one of the best wind- & kitesurf spots in Southern America. There are at least 3 windsurf schools around the lake. One of them is Pescao Windsurfing [dead link], run by windsurfing instructor Luis Fernando. They have excellent wind- and kitesurfing gear for rent (prices: windsurf COP$55,000-70,000 for 2 hours; kitesurf COP$60,000 per hour, COP$120,000 per day) and offer courses too (prices: windsurf COP$100,000 for 2 hours; kitesurf 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 hr 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 raspberry 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 fancy eco hotel. Reachable from Cali: Either via Buenaventura (2½ 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 km. They are black, grey and white, can grow up to 18 meters long and weigh up to 40 tons.