6 EPIC Things To Do in Cali, Colombia

Among all the amazing things that Colombia has, it is also home to the Salsa Capital of the World: Cali. Located in the Pacific region, 1000 meters above sea level, and internationally recognized because of this famous music genre, Cali is a wonderful and top destination in Colombia as well as the only major city located in the Pacific.

It might not be the first choice like Bogotá or Medellín, but if you want to experience the best dancing and partying as if there was no tomorrow, as well as some great gastronomy and weather, Cali is a go go to not be missed!

Before we start, learning some Spanish will definitely be helpful when visiting Cali because locals don't speak much English. A great option for Spanish classes online is Whee Institute. They are an online school that researches ways for students to learn very fast but have fun at the same time.

They believe in the power of groups, where everyone learns from each student's questions, realizations, and mistakes. It's a collaborative way of learning, but with teaching, an expert involved bringing out the best of each student. So, you will learn with Spanish games and fun activities, as education should be!

Close out the year Cali-styleClose out the year Cali-style

Here are some of the best things to do in Cali. In no particular order, we have chosen these things because they are unique experiences that are worth a try.

1. Go salsa dancing

Music unites people and salsa couldn't be a better example. Cali is the birthplace of salsa and is absolutely the best thing you can experience in the city; we guarantee it will be a night to remember! There are tons of places where you can go salsa dancing in Cali, some better than others, of course, but all with the passion and feeling of a festive and happy music running through their walls.

Places such as La Topa Tolondra, Zaperoco or Juanchito, are highly recommended. Remember that salsa is culture itself, and to be part of it is also participating and knowing about Colombia's identity and customs and traditions. Don't let go of the opportunity to enjoy a nice time of salsa in Cali, it will surely be a once in a lifetime experience!

2. Walk along Río Cali and visit the Cat Park

Located at the north of the city, Río Cali is the city's main body of water. Along its banks, you can find pedestrian areas, biking lanes, places to relax and enjoy an ice cream or a cold drink on a sunny day, and some cool art and statues. You can also see some public buildings along the river bank, like the mayor’s office and administrative headquarters with free areas to walk on and beautiful gardens.

In other words, it's a great opportunity to sightsee Cali while having a nice walk. In addition, you will also find a very unique place, the Cat Park, which was built as a tribute to the Colombian artist Hernando Tejada who, in fact, created the huge cat sculpture that's located in the park.

3. Experience the Feria de Cali (Cali Fair) and Festival Petronio Alvárez

These are two of the best and most unique festivals in Colombia. The Feria de Cali is held every late december between Christmas and New Years and it's basically a weeklong celebration of salsa, music and dance; so, if you are keen of these types of events, be prepared to enjoy on the streets, party with strangers and have the time of your life!

On the other hand, the Petronio Alvarez is an amazing festival that celebrates the best of the Afro-Latino culture and music, accompanied with great food and other fun activities. It's held every August and it’s basically like a local, small version of a Glastonbury. If you are the type of person that enjoys these events, they are totally worth a try as they are both unique experiences that you'll never forget.

4. Enjoy some local cuisine in Galería Alameda

One of the key features of Colombia is the amazing food we have the pleasure to enjoy, and Cali is no exception. With a wonderful cuisine, especially sweets, as it's close to a lot of big sugar cane crops, the city enjoys a vibrat gastronomic culture quite different from other major cities, but as good and as interesting.

Typical local dishes like cholado (mixed fruit with condensed milk or syrup), lulada (refreshing drink made with the lulo fruit), pandebono (cheesy bread snack), or aborrajado (fried plantain with cheese inside), are a mandatory try in Cali. One of the places where you can try all these and much more, is the Galería Alameda, a unique market where you can find almost anything and for a very good price!

5. Take a weekend or day trip to Río Pance

Pance is one of the most popular rivers in Colombia and it's also located in a zone that's considered a national park. It's just about 20 minutes away of Cali to, and you can either drive or take a bus to enjoy the clear waters, bathe or paddle, do some hiking trails (like Pico de Loro), have a nice sancocho (typical soup filled with many things) by the shore, and even do some bird and wildlife watching.

The Pance EcoPark also has a man-made lake, restrooms and exercise parks. Another good thing is you can go with your friends or family, as it's really a place for all ages and likes. So yes, Pance is definitely a popular hangout for both locals and tourists in Cali as it constitutes a nice escape from the city's hustle and heat.

6. Visit Plaza de Cayzedo

The main square of the city and a place worth visiting for the ones that are interested in history. All the city tours pretty much start here as it's considered the primary landmark of Cali. The plaza, located at the heart of the city where the Cathedral of San Pedro and all the government buildings and monuments are, is filled with palm trees, great street food to try and all kinds of street vendors.

Cayzedo has a neoclassical architecture and was initially built in the colonial times when it was used as a market; now, it's also a park and a great setting for cultural events that congregate all kinds of people. This is the main reason why the Plaza Cayzedo is considered a combination of old and new: a showcase of modern Cali as well as the old.

Now you have six more amazing reasons to come to the Salsa capital of the World. It's truly a magnificent destination for those who dare to give it a chance. So, next time you're in the country of magical realism, pay Cali a nice and worth visit! We guarantee it would be a fun ride!

Kalyan Panja