Cali is a city in the south of Colombia and the capital of the Valle del Cauca. Things to do in Cali Colombia;
- San Antonio old town (and view of the city)
- Salsotecas – Cali is the home of salsa
- El Gato del Rio
- Ermita Church
- Cali Zoo
- Chipichape Shopping Mall
- Cali Tower
- Cristo Rey
- Day Trip to Parque Del Cafe
Firstly, Cali is a spread out city therefore you must use public transport to get around. Hotels in Cali Colombia are good value and many tourist choose to stay in San Antonio.
How to Travel around Cali
Getting around Cali is very easy, there is a system called Masivo Integrado de Occidente, or MIO. This is a bus system which has a separate lane to the cars and only stops at specially built stations that you need a ticket to get in. There are lots of taxis in Cali, normally the drivers are listening to salsa music whilst driving around the city. It’s easy to get a taxi, they are all metered and the driver will nearly always put on the meter without being prompted.
San Antonio Old Town
To familiarize yourself with Cali I would recommend a visit to San Antonio, the Cristo Rey and the Cali Tower. All these places offer great views of the city. San Antonio is a historic neighborhood of Cali with Spanish colonial buildings and lots of good value restaurants / bars. It’s probably the best value area to stay in Cali.
Salsotecas – Cali is the home of Salsa
Cali is the Colombian city most famous for salsa dancing. If you want to learn salsa dancing, Cali is the place to learn. Even as a novice watching on in any of the famous salsa bars of Cali, you’ll be able to appreciate that Cali’s salsa dancers are the best! Lastly, In San Antonio there’s a hostel called El Viajero Hostel which offers free salsa dancing lessons everyday.
El Gato del Rio
Something rather strange you’ll come across in the city is Parque de los gatos (El gato del rio). These are large sculptures of cats designed and made by local artist, Hernando Tejada. If you have some time to kill or you’re a cat enthusiast then this place is worth a visit.
An Instagram worthy Gothic Church is not what you’d expect to see in Colombia! The Ermita church challenges Seville Cathedral for its beauty. An interesting fact about the Ermita church is that is has a musical clock which was manufactured in Amsterdam.
Cali is home to the best zoo in Colombia and it’s in the city, so normally a short ride away. My favorite animal is the sloth and there are a couple in this zoo. The sloths take a bit of finding though. For this reason you’ll probably need to ask someone and even then, they take a bit of finding!
Chipichape Shopping Mall
Other places worth visiting in Cali are the historic center and also the Chipichape shopping mall. I would recommend the restaurant Leños y Carbon in the mall. If you enjoy steak, you’ll love this restaurant. Additionally, be sure to check out the Juan Valdez coffee shop. As a matter of fact, even if you’re not a coffee drinker, you’ll appreciate a Juan Valdez coffee! I recommend the Nevado de Arequipe, it’s not good for you but it’s delicious!
The tallest building in Cali is the 183 meter tall Cali Tower. It is possible to ascend for wonderful views of the city. Finally, if you wish to sleep in this iconic Cali landmark, you can book a night in the Torre de Cali Plaza Hotel.
If you have no plans to go to Rio, Brazil to see Christ the Redeemer, there’s also one in Cali! In my opinion, the Cali version is much better as there are not thousands of tourists visiting it with you. As a matter of fact you might have the Cristo Rey of Cali all to yourself!
Day Trip to Parque del Cafe
It’s possible for you to go on a day trip from Cali to Parque del cafe in Armenia. This is a coffee plantation and also a theme park so it makes a great day trip. The coffee plantation is sponsored by Juan Valdez. You’ll learn how coffee is grown and every process along the way to being served in Juan Valdez.
How to get from Cali to Bogota by Bus
Bus from Cali to Bogotá, 10 hours, 57,000 pesos
There are many different bus companies serving Bogotá from the terminal de transportes in Cali. The journey takes around 10 hours through the mountains. I would recommend a Bolivariano service which are quite regular from Cali. There are a few other good bus services leaving from Cali, it’s a popular route. You should pay around 57,000 pesos for the service, this is negotiable.
Bogotá to Cartagena