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Cali in two days

That “Cali is Cali and the rest is hills” is easy to prove as you walk through its tree-lined streets, which sound like salsa and smell of sugar cane while you let yourself be carried away by the breeze coming down from the cliffs. Hey, look, look!

By: Juan José Vallejo

Photos: Juan José Vallejo and Javier A. Pinzón

First Day

06:00 a.m. – Cali river bank

The city wakes up with the singing of 561 species of birds that inhabit its rivers and trees, one of the places where you can see them is the banks of the Cali River, perfect for jogging or walking. Walk from the zoo to the church of La Ermita or vice versa.

Ribera del Río Cali
Cali River

08:00 a.m. – Galería La Alameda

It is a market place that became a gastronomic reference for the variety of fruits that come from the Pacific and the typical cuisine. Recommended: Basilia’s place, an ancestral cook with her fish and seafood broths. A few steps away is another must-try: the rellenas and tamales of Carolina, a place with 75 years of history.

Galería La Alameda
Galería La Alameda

10:00 a.m. – Cali Zoo

It is the fourth largest in Latin America and the most important in Colombia. The tour through its two and a half kilometers of trails surrounded by trees lasts two hours and there you can observe 2,500 animals of the most important species of Colombian fauna, divided by zones and thermal floors. Ideal to visit with the family, it has activities for the little ones, restaurants and hydration along the route and a souvenir shop.

Zoológico de Cali
Cali Zoo

12:00 p.m. – Ringlete Restaurant

The black heritage, the Spanish tradition and the indigenous cultures were mixed in Cali more than in any other region, resulting in the most varied gastronomy in the country. Located in the Granada neighborhood, here you will find the typical food of Valle del Cauca with a touch of modern cuisine. Order the arroz atollado, a derivation of Italian risotto, but with ingredients from the tropics, or the famous sancocho de Ginebra, and refresh yourself with the traditional lulada.

Plato del restaurante Ringlete
Typical dish of the Ringlete restaurant

02:00 p.m. – La Tertulia Museum

With its permanent collection, film library and exhibitions that attract thousands of visitors, it is Cali’s most important cultural center and a benchmark of modern architecture. On weekend afternoons you will find bachata classes in its central plaza.

Museo La Tertulia
Plazoleta del Museo La Tertulia

03:00 p.m. – Caliwood

It is the only museum in Colombia dedicated to cinema. It owes its name to the important film movement in Cali in the 1970s and 1980s with director Luis Ospina and writer Andrés Caicedo, who died at the age of 27 after publishing his novel ¡Que viva la música! Cameras, posters, projectors, films…, everything you want to know about Colombian cinema is there.

Colección de cámaras del museo Caliwood.

07:00 p.m. – La Topa Tolondra

On the famous Fifth Street, which runs through Cali from north to south, La Topa Tolondra is a salsa dance hall and one of Cali’s rumba references. Monday through Thursday, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., there are dance classes and the rumba goes until 1 a.m. Weekends until 3 a.m.

La Topa Tolondra
La Topa Tolondra

05:00 p.m. – Salsa Museum

Located in the traditional Obrero neighborhood. Have a beer and listen to the history of salsa caleña with its protagonists. Admire the gigantic photographic collection of salsa stars that hangs on its walls.

Museo de la Salsa, Cali
Salsa Museum

Second Day

07:00 a.m – Botanical Garden

Located very close to the Zoo, it is the latest novelty in natural environments, since it was opened only a couple of months ago. Walk through fourteen hectares of tropical dry forest and admire more than 190 species of plants and trees in a unique tour. Appreciate the complex from a guadua lookout designed by architect Simón Vélez.

Jardín Botánico de Cali
Cali Botanical Garden

09:00 a.m – Pandebono and coffee

According to the specialized portal Taste Atlas, pandebono is the second best bread in the world; the truth is that any Cali bakery offers it hot with a good coffee. Legend has it that it originated in the hacienda El Bono, others attribute it to an Italian who advertised it as “pan del buono”.

Pandebono y Café

10:00 a.m. – Plazoleta Jairo Varela

Dedicated to the composer Jairo Varela, founder of the group Niche, it has a museum in his memory and an immense trumpet under whose bells the music of the legendary Cali orchestra sounds 24 hours a day. Enter them and dance a little while reading the lyrics of their songs written inside.

Plazoleta Jairo Varela
Plazoleta Jairo Varela

11:00 a.m. – Bulevar de Oriente

Located in the popular Aguablanca district, this place is dedicated to urban graphics with huge murals that turn a linear park more than a kilometer long into an open-air museum. An absolutely “instagrammable” place.

Murales en el Bulevar de Oriente

12:00 p.m. – La Linterna

What was an old lithograph about to close became, thanks to its original designs, a reference dedicated to Cali’s popular culture.

It is an ideal place to buy posters and original gifts.

La Linterna

01:00 p.m. – Platillos Voladores (Flying Saucers)

Located in the Centenario neighborhood, behind the church of the old Berchmans school, this restaurant is a must in thefusion cuisine with the flavors of the Pacific . and local ingredients. Ask for the chontaduro rolls and Baudó soup.

Platillos Voladores

03:00 p.m. – Siloé Route

The famous western hillside neighborhood has six tourist routes that can be traveled on foot or on the MIO cable. It offers spectacular views of the city.

Ruta Siloe

08:00 p.m. – El Mulato Cabaret

Its dancers are world famous for accompanying Jennifer Lopez and Shakira in the Super Bowl final. One hundred percent Salsa caleña in a world-class show. Dare to dance with one of the professional dancers who are sure to invite you to the dance floor.

El Mulato Cabaret

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