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Santiago de Cali

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Travel Guide South America Colombia Santiago de Cali

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Introduction

Cali centrum

Cali centrum

© All Rights Reserved Raf-Ellen

Santiago de Cali, called Cali for short, is the third largest cities in Colombia, a great place to visit and was founded by Sebastián de Belalcázar in 1536. It is also a major industrial and commercial center in Colombia and is one of the fastest growing economic centers in Colombia. This city has many amazing sights to see such as colonial architecture, churches and modern buildings.

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History

Before the arrival of the Spanish many different native groups inhabited that areas. They built small towns and mined gold. Sebastián de Belalcázar arrived in the Americas in 1498 with Columbus on his third trip to the New World. In 1532 after serving with Darien and Nicaragua Belalcázar joined up with Francisco Pizzaro on his conquest of the Inca Empire in Peru. In 1534 Belalcázar separated from Pizarro to found the city of Quito and then on a search for El Dorado, the lost city of gold, he set off into Colombia. After battling the different tribes in the area he founded the city of Santiago De Cali on July 25, 1536.

The Belalcázar family controlled most of the commerce in the city until independence. Although the city was pretty small for most of the 17th and 18th century, even though the city was located on a strategic position connecting different economic centers. The city was a center of support for independence and was the spot for many bloody battles. In the 20th Cali started to grow into the powerhouse it is today and it 1971 the city hosted the Pan American Games.

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Sights and Activities

La Plaza De Caycedo

La Plaza De Caycedo considered the city centre. This is a large square with many historical and modern buildings located around its edges. The plaza is also near many other famous sights.

  • El Edificio Otero
  • La Catedral
  • El Palacio de Justicia
  • El Teatro Jorge Isaacs

Museums and Galleries

  • Casa de la cultura Proartes is a mansion that has influenced the arts in the city since 1871. The building was restored in 1991 and has many exhibitions areas, scenarios and a cinema.
  • Centro cultural de Cali was built in 1997 and is the cultural center in the city and headquarters for the offices of tourism and culture.
  • Museo Arqueológico La Merced is the local archeological museum and it has several pre-Colombian ceramics from southwest Colombia in its collection.
  • Museo Religioso y Colonial de San Francísco is a religious art museum with a Franciscan emphasis.
  • La Tertulia is a local art museum. This modern building, located close to the Cali River, was designed by Manuel Lago.

Other Sights and Activities

  • La Merced Church
  • La Ermita Church
  • Iglesia de San Francisco (Saint Francis Church)
  • La Colina de San Antonio and the San Antonio Church
  • El Gato de Tejada is located close to the Cali River.
  • The Cali Zoo is one of the nicest Zoos in the counrty.
  • Parque Del Perro is a great area located in the San Fernando neighborhood and has many great restaurants and bars.
  • Football (Soccer) is extremely popular in Cali. There are two different football stadiums, the Estadio Olímpico Pascual Guerrero, which is the main stadium and Estadio Deportivo Cali, which is under construction. When the second stadium opens both teams will have their own stadium to call home. Basketball is also extremely popular in Cali although there is no city team at the current time.
  • Bullfighting is held every year during the Cali Fair and is very popular with the locals
  • Cali River is a nice green area in the city with many restaurants, hotel and museums located on its banks.
  • Parks, Squares and Monuments are scattered across the city. These are great places to visit and experience local culture. One of the most famous is Cristo Rey, which is a 42-metre-high religious statue located on top of a mountain.

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Events and Festivals

  • La Feria de Cali (Cali Fair) is the largest festival held in Cali every year. This annual festival is held from December 25th to December 30th and is fun. The fair is also known as the sugar cane fair and the salsa fair. The main activities include horse parades, tascas, salsa concerts, bullfights, parades, sports competitions and cultural shows.
  • Summer Salsa Festival is held every year for one week in early July. The festival usually has concerts by the world's most popular salsa groups and dance competitions.
  • The Festival Petronio Alvarez is a popular festival dedicated to the rythms from the Pacific Coast of Colombia.
  • Rio Cali Race is two different sports events. The first is a mid-year marathon and the second is a December 10-kilometre-long race called the Carrera Del Rio Cali.

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Weather

The city is located in a valley with 2,000-metre high mountains to the north and 4,000-metre high mountains to the south, which allows the city to have a fresh cross breeze that comes from the west. This gives Cali a semi-tropical climate with variation depending on altitude in the city, with less rain fall in the higher areas. The city has a temperature range of 19 °C to 30 °C depending on the rainy season. Due to being so close to the equator the city has very little seasonal variations. Locals tend to call the dry season summer and the rainy season winter. There are two rainy seasons the first one from April to May and the second one October to November, although rain can be expected year round.

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Getting There

By Plane

Alfonso Bonilla Aragón International Airport (CLO) also known as the Palmaseca International Airport is the second largest airport in Colombia. This airport has regular service to many cities in Central and South America plus a few cities in North America and Europe. The easiest way to get to and from the airport is by taxi.

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Getting Around

By Public Transport

There is an extensive bus network around the city that is easy to use. There is also an articulated bus network, the MIO (Masivo Integrado de Occidente) with stations distributed from North to South and integrated routes.

By Bike

There are not many bike paths, but cycling is popular and safe in the southern part of the city. Different people gather in the Ciudad Jardín area and ride their bikes to either La Buitrera or Jamundí on Tuesday & Wednesday nights and on Sunday mornings.

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Eat

  • El Teatro Mágico del Sabor creative food restaurant located in San Antonio.
  • Fritanga J&J perfect place for trying typical snacks: empanadas, rellenas, bofe. Located in San Antonio.
  • El Zaguán de San Antonio local cuisine including the famous Sancocho de Gallina, Arrroz Atollado, Champús.
  • Fausto Mar sea food from the Pacific. Located in La Luna area.

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Sleep

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Café TostakyCarrera 10 1-76 Barrio San AntonioGuesthouse83
Calidad HouseCalle 17N No. 9AN -39 Barrio GranadaHostel-
Casa Agua CanelaCarrera 24 A # 2 A - 55, Barrio MirafloresGuesthouse91
Casa Blanca HostelAvenida 6 bis, Calle 26n, Santa Monica ResidencialHostel86
Hostal Santa RitaAvenida 3 Oeste No. 7-131Hostel92
The Pelican Larry HostelCalle 23 Norte#8n-12 Santa Monica ResidencialHostel85

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafes are easy to find in any city or town. Expect rates to run about $1,250-2,500 (around $US 0.50-1.00) per hour, depending on how much competition there is (i.e., cheap in Bogotá, expensive in the middle of nowhere). Quality of connections varies enormous and tends to better in populated places and tourist areas. Wifi is getting more and more popular in some hotels, restaurants and bars, but don't count on it and be careful regarding your privacy.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to Colombia is: 57. To make an international call from Colombia, the code is: 005.

Using your own phone and SIM card is expensive so if you are planning to do quite a few calls, buy a phone or just a SIM card. It's simple enough to get a SIM card and even an unlocked phone at the international airport in Bogotá, although there is, of course, a price hike. They're not hard to find in any city either, just ask your hotel or hostel staff where to go. Topping up is also easy, and can be done pretty much on any street corner. The carriers you'll most likely see are Claro, Tigo, and Movistar. Claro is the most expensive (by a little bit), but has the widest coverage in the country, if you expect to get off the beaten path.

Post

4-72 is the unusual name of Colombia's postal service. They have post offices throughout the country, which are open usually from 9:00am to 5:00pm Monday to Friday and sometimes on Saturday mornings as well. That doesn't apply to all offices though, only the larger ones in the big cities. But for example along the Caribbean coast, offices tend to close between noon and 2:00pm. But even at the ones that are officially open all day long, it might be difficult to get anything done during those hours. For domestic services, sending letters and postcards is mostly reliable but takes days, for international services don't hold your breath. Eventually, a postcard or letter might arrive in the country of destination but it's almost not worth it. For parcels, you are better off using companies like FedEx, TNT, DHL or UPS.

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This is version 19. Last edited at 8:12 on Jun 10, 14 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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