Santiago de Cali
Cali is the undisputed South American capital of salsa. Situated in the warm Valle de Cauca, Santiago de Cali enjoys a temperate, warm but not overbearingly hot climate. The people are friendly without being intrusive and the salsa is everywhere.
Cali is Colombia’s third largest city and continues to grow, it is flanked to one side by El Cerro de las Cruces, a ridge with three crucifixes that overlooks the city. On an opposing hill stands Cristo de Rey, a giant statue of Jesus.
Cali is best known for its rumba, its animal-like salsa nightlife and once a year between 25th and 30th December, Cali’s passion for salsa culminates in the Feria de Cali. A world famous salsa festival where dancer and bands from all over the world descend on Cali for the ultimate salsa party.
Cali is also known locally as la sucursal del cielo, literally a branch of heaven on earth. Whether it is true or not, you have to decide for yourself. But after a drunken night out in Cali you may well indeed feel like you are in heaven.
On the other side of the Río Cauca is Juanchito, a neighbourhood with 24 hour licensing permissions. Juanchito is full of bars and the epicentre of Cali’s salsa scene, some of the best salsa bands in the world can be found performing there.
Aside from partying hard, Cali is an important city in Colombia because if its industry. Yumbo is an industrial zone that is home to many of Colombia’s largest industrials including Postobón, the makers of Pepsi and Colombian favourites Postobón Manzana, a fizzy pink apple drink and La Colombiana, a patriotic grenadine flavoured drink, both of which are consumed in large quantities throughout Colombia.
We can organise beautiful hotels in Cali, for example in the San Antonio neighbourhood, this is Cali Vieja, the historical part of Cali. Or perhaps you want to learn salsa, we can organise the most professional and original salsa teachers from the city for you. Or a visit San Cipriano, a unique village in the jungle which is only accessible via motorbike powered trolleys that run along a disused train track.
Both sugar cane haciendas close to Cali, Piedechinche & Paraíso are well conserved and fascinating day trips to learn about the history of sugar cane production. Or pay a visit to the Indian market of Silvia between Cali and Popayán home of the Guambiano Indians, one of the most authentic Indian tribes surviving in Colombia.
Nature lovers will enjoy a visit to the Fallarones nature park, a beautiful park in the mountainous region around Cali. Alternatively a visit to Lago Calima, a lake best known for its water-sports but also an excellent location for horse-riding in the picture postcard surroundings.