Colombia

What to do in Cali?

If you wonder what to do in 2 days in Cali, you no longer need to search. In our 3 months trip around South America, Colombia was our first destination and we have spent 2 days in the salsa capital!

I fell in love with Cali on the very first day;  we stayed around bario San Antonio, a nice and very pretty neighborhood in Cali. I would say that most of hostels are around this area and if you want a hippie cafe or restaurant, you will find loads over here as well.

You may also want to check our post about Cartagena

what-to-do-in-cali
San Antonio neighborhood

First thing to do in Cali is book yourself a free art and salsa tour and also free historic tour, all done by a great company called Free Tours Cali. Paul will guide you around the interest points of Cali and tell you all about it with so much passion. I’m not getting any commission recommending him, it’s totally unbiased recommendation.

If you more into doing stuff on your own, although I do not recommend that, here are the interest points you should look for when in Cali.

Always remember to be safe no matter where you are, it’s not different in Cali; if getting a taxi, it’s better to book it via Easytaxi or Uber and avoid walking alone on empty streets during the night.

Best things to do in Cali

La Ermita Church – A small yet beautiful cathedral in the historic centre of Cali.

what-to-do-in-cali
La Ermita Cathedral

Bario San Antonio – As I said before, bario San Antonio is a cute neighborhood full of nice houses, restaurants and cafes. On the top of the hill, you will find the San Antonio church and have a beautiful view of part of the city and its orange rooftops.

what-to-do-in-cali
San Antonio church

Mercado Alameda – Want to eat like a local?! Here’s the place you are looking for, Mercado Alameda is a little bit more outside of the touristic points of the city, however over there you can feel like a local for real. Hundreds of fresh fruits, vegetables, fishes and you may not be familiar with quite a few of them. Inside the market there’s also a food court, where you can have a huge, delicious Colombian lunch starting from 14,000 COP.

what-to-do-in-cali
Restaurant at Mercado Alameda.

Plaza Jairo Varela – It’s a modern square with a giant trumpet on it, the cool thing is, inside of each part of the monument you can hear different instruments of the so famous “Cali Pachanguero”, the song that became an unofficial anthem to the Calenos (people from Cali).

what-to-do-in-cali
Plaza Jairo Varela

Bario Granada – If you’re looking for a proper night out in Cali, full of salsa music until the sunrise, right next to the plaza Jairo Varela, there’s the Bario Granada, where you can party hard. Zaperoco is one of the most recommended “high end” salsa club in this area; to go there you need to dress up, therefore we haven’t visited.

If partying hard is not your thing, you can stop by one of the most famous salsa bar in Cali, La Topa Tolondra, it’s around 5 minutes away from Granada. There’s also the Punto Bare bar right next to it, where they have live music, but for locals, the place to go dance is the first one.

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La Topa Tolondra -salsa bar

Thinking about visiting San Andres in Colombia? Check our ultimate guide

What to do in 2 days in Cali

Our second day in Cali was atypical, as it was the end of the year and Calenos were celebrating Pacific Day, a street fair with music and food from the Pacific coast. Most activities take place in a square in front of San Francisco Church; it’s a great place to feel like a local. If you not as lucky as us, I would recommend to see cats sculptures scattered around the city. The most famous one is at Gato del Rio.

For the afternoon, if you are looking for a nice view of the city, you should go up to Cristo Rey hill. Do it with HERE WE GO tour agency (not a commissioned recommendation), they are really good and it will feel like you’re going out with a friend.

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Cristo Rey hill

There’s another thing that I would like to do in Cali if we had the time – The 3 Crosses Hill also known as Loma de la Cruz. You have to get on one of the two trails early morning and not come back later then midday, as it can be dangerous. It’s an hour hike, but the view must be astonishing!

This is it for Cali, a short sweet stay which left us wishing for more. Too bad we didn’t have the time.

Hope you enjoyed it and got enough information for your 2 days in Cali.

Don’t forget to check our post about Christmas in Medellin

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