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I recently took a trip to Cali, Colombia and was blown away by the city’s vibrant charm and rich culture. Known as the Salsa Capital of the world, Cali boasts a lively music and dance scene that is sure to get your feet moving. But there’s so much more to this city than just its salsa. From its beautiful colonial architecture to its delicious cuisine, Cali has something to offer everyone. So if you’re looking for a unique and exciting travel destination, I highly recommend adding Cali to your list.
The History of Cali, Colombia
Cali was founded back in July 1536 by Sebastián de Benalcázar. However, the city didn’t economically develop until about the 1950s due to its location in the country. It is now the third largest city in Colombia, following Bogotá and Medellín. Cali is an abbreviation of the city’s official name Santiago de Cali.
To the rest of Colombia, Cali is known as the “Rumba Capital,” but you’ll find the rest of the world knows it as the “Salsa Capital.” Salsa dancing and street parties are the norms here, and the city attracts diverse residents from within the country and worldwide. While digital nomads often flock to Medellín, they have also started relocating here due to the welcoming atmosphere and cost of living.
Safety When Traveling to Cali, Colombia
Cali is often known as one of the more dangerous cities in the country, but you’ll find that it’s perfectly safe to travel here if you keep your wits about you. The good news is that crime rates have decreased here over recent years, and more tourists now come here year after year. If you are traveling alone, you’ll want to make sure you are aware of the risk of petty crime, such as bag snatchers and pickpockets. Make sure you don’t carry your smartphone in your hand or wear an expensive camera or jewelry. Using common sense and trying to stay in a group at night will help to keep you safe when traveling here. The city attracts a diverse range of visitors, so most people feel comfortable walking around the streets of Cali.
Things to Do in Cali, Colombia
There’s no shortage of things to do in the daytime in Cali, Colombia. While the nightlife is the main thing you’ll want to plan your adventures around, take the day to walk along the Rio Cali and visit the Cat Park nearby. Capilla La Ermita is a stunning church that you won’t be able to miss during your walk around the city. The architecture is unique, and you can also explore it inside.
Barrio San Antonio is one neighborhood we recommend visiting, and it’s perfect for a leisurely stroll. You can enjoy eating at one of the local cafés and exploring the beautiful buildings and theaters the area is so well known for. Walk up the hill to Iglesia San Antonio, where you’ll enjoy some amazing views over Cali and the valley below. Of course, you can’t miss trying authentic Colombian food here. We highly recommend eating a cholado, a mix of fruit covered in condensed milk.
Nightlife in Cali, Colombia
Cali has a reputation for having the best nightlife in Colombia. You shouldn’t be surprised to find nightclubs open until 7 am, playing a wide range of music. A huge reason for the nightlife scene here is the love of salsa dancing, with many salsa clubs and lessons on offer. Going out in Cali is typically cheaper than in Bogotá and Medellín, so it’s an excellent place for anyone traveling on a budget. Listening to live music is another popular way to spend a night here, and you’ll find bars and clubs to suit everyone’s tastes and budget. Some of the best bars and clubs in the city include La Topa Tolondra, Zaperoco Salsa Bar, and Lolas. Also, plan a night at Delirio, the city’s famous salsa circus.
As you can see, we highly recommend visiting on your next trip to Colombia. There’s a lot to see and do during the daytime and night, and you’ll find no shortage of salsa dancing classes and clubs to immerse you in this popular part of Colombian culture. Like anywhere in Colombia, always keep safety in mind when traveling alone. While crime has decreased here in recent years, following essential travel safety advice will keep you safe. We hope you have a fantastic time in Cali and enjoy visiting this exciting city.