Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What To See And Do In Cali, Colombia

I received a couple of emails inquiring about Cali so I figured I would come up with a list of suggestions, I hope it will be of use to anyone wanting to visit the city.

Cristo Rey and Tres Cruces - Both are located high up on a hill, not the same hill though. Both are like on opposite ends of each other. It is possible to take a taxi up to Cristo Rey but I am not sure about the three crosses because the one time I visited the site I hiked up the hill on foot. Makes for a very good work out for sure! the view you get of the city from both places is amazing. 

Photo courtesy of Google
Sebastian de Belalcazar - This statue was built in honor of Belalcazar who founded Cali. Here you can also get good views of the city and you can get a taxi to take you to the statue. I visited during night time and there were a lot of people around, there was actually a show going on right in front of the statue.

Photo courtesy of Google
Parque El Gato de Tejada - There is a big bronze cat sculpture by a Colombian artist Hernando Tejada, that sits in front of the park. It was part of a beautification plan by the city and after Tejado's death there were other cat sculptures made by other artists and installed at this small park. Don't expect to be awestruck at this place as it is very small and there isn't much around but the cat has become one of those emblematic symbols in Cali so it's cool to check it out and enjoy the chill and quiet surroundings.

This is the famous bronze statue of the cat. You will find it in a lot of souvenirs from Cali.

Photo courtesy of Google
Recreational Parks - I forgot the name of this park but I used to love going here. Early in the morning you will find people working out and its very lively, in the evening at around 7 pm it gets even livelier and it's fun. Recreational parks are definitely worth checking out in Cali, trust me.

Cali Zoo - If you are an animal lover why not check out the zoo? it is considered the best in South America so if you are ever in the city, stop by and see for yourself.

Tours - If you want an introduction to Cali and the local culture you can check out these guys Colombia Walking Tours. They offer different kinds of tours to suit your interest and you will get to know what the city has to offer.

Artesanal Shopping - Check out Loma de La Cruz if you want to buy some souvenirs or just walk around the surroundings which happen to be pretty with a laid back vibe.

Social Events - If you wish to meet other people, both local and foreigners check out YEAH! Cool Cultural Exchange every Monday at a club called La Topa Tolondra. They have a language exchange event that starts at 6 pm and ends at 9 pm. After 9 it's party time until 1 am. You can practice your salsa moves during this time and enjoy some good music.

On Thursday nights there is another language exchange event by the same organizers of Yeah! cool cultural exchange. This one is called CubaleƱo and it is held at a club called Brisas, they have the language exchange between 6 pm and 9 pm then between 9 and 10 they have free salsa lessons and afterwards the dance floor is open to anyone wanting to try out their moves. The music is awesome!

The People - As I have mentioned before, it's the inhabitants of this city that make it a cool place to visit even though the city itself isn't exactly a tourist hotspot. I met some cool friends that I am still in touch with and will continue keeping in touch with.

Introducing my favorite couple in Colombia, my dear friend Angelica and her ever sweet boyfriend Bruno.

Edna who happens to be Angelica's cousin and a very good dancer. I am glad I met these two ladies and learned a lot from them. We continue to keep in touch.

That's it folks, I will always have memories of Cali and I am grateful to all those who made my stay in the city worthwhile, that includes my ex roommate and her family who took me in as one of their own. I got back to Quito today and it sure feels good being back in my room and seeing familiar faces.

Random Thoughts of The Day:

The airport in Cali is situated about 30 to 45 minutes away from the main part of the city. Taking a taxi can set you back about $30 but there is a cheaper option. At the airport you can take a bus for $2 or $3 that will drop you to the main bus terminal in Cali and from the terminal you can take a taxi which shouldn't be expensive. Overall it will cost you about $10 or less. These buses are not like your regular public buses, they specialize in picking and dropping people off at the airport. Ask at the airport if you are not sure about the buses and they should be able to direct you. Going to the airport from the city you can take a taxi to the main bus terminal and from there, once again take the airport bus which will drop you off.

Same thing applies in Quito. The airport is situated far from the main part of the city so it is cheaper to take an airport bus that will drop you at Mariscal Sucre which used to be the international airport in the city before it's relocation. From Mariscal Sucre you can take a taxi to your final destination. The buses are very comfortable and have Wi-Fi. The cost is $8.

The airport in Cali is small and very easy to navigate. Might I add their immigration is the easiest I have ever dealt with?

I got the biggest and warmest hug from my host when I got to the house and it made me feel like I had arrived home. I am not looking forward to the farewell hug after my stay here is done.

Guess who else treated me to a big and warm welcome hug? the Dominican, the sweet guy came straight from work just to see me and welcome me back, dude works until 11 pm! I was flattered.

I developed a good rapport with the owners of the hostel I stayed at in Cali. I ended up having very long conversations with the wife who is super sweet, sucks that I had to say goodbye but we exchanged contacts and if I ever end up in this city I know where I will be staying.

There was a shop near the hostel and the guy who works there was always friendly and full of energy. Every time I went to his shop he would greet me with Que tal preciosa or hola mi reina and when saying goodbye he would always refer to me as hermosa or linda. It was all innocent and as I have mentioned, that's just how people in Cali talk. I will miss that.

I am beginning to believe that every cloud has a silver lining.

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