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Santiago de Cali, renowned as the “Sucursal del Cielo” and the World Capital of Salsa, stands as Colombia’s third most significant city, celebrated for its salsa music, delectable cuisine, and tropical climate. Throughout Cali, towering trees line the streets, providing ample shade and comfort under the radiant sun.

Beyond its rich cultural traditions, Cali is a vibrant city recognized by Tripadvisor as one of Colombia’s most captivating destinations. The capital of the Valle del Cauca department presents an array of activities for visitors to relish during their stay.

Whether you are drawn to its history, culture, natural splendor, or entertainment options, Cali promises an experience suited to all tastes. Here, we unveil a selection of fascinating pursuits that offer many enriching experiences. Prepare yourself to immerse yourself in all that Cali has to offer.

25 Things to do in Cali and Nearby

Although there are many things to do, Medellín Guru wishes to highlight 25 activities that you can enjoy during your visit.

1. The Cali Fair

Born in 1957, this renowned festival stands as the region’s most anticipated event. Held annually in December (from the 25th to the 30th), the “Feria de Cali” transforms the city into a vibrant hub teeming with salsa exhibitions, gastronomic showcases, encounters celebrating Pacific Colombian culture, and lively festivities. Visitors can indulge in popular cuisine, partake in folk parades, and revel in countless salsa dancing celebrations.

Feria de Cali - credits to City Hall of Cali
Feria de Cali - credits to City Hall of Cali

The festivities kick off with the “Salsódromo,” a dazzling parade featuring over 30 cultural groups and approximately 1,200 participants adorned in luminous attire. As the most significant salsa dancers and bands weave their way along Roosevelt Avenue, the streets come alive with the rhythm of a live concert.

2. Cristo Rey

Perched on Cerro Los Cristales in the Andes district, west of Cali, the Christ the King Statue stands at a towering height of 26 meters.  Drawing thousands of visitors, this imposing Catholic icon bears a resemblance to the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Cristo Rey Monument - Credits for Alcaldía de Cali
Cristo Rey Monument - Credits for Alcaldía de Cali

With breathtaking vistas, Cristo Rey allows visitors to view the city from a new perspective, serving as both a religious landmark and a vantage point for those seeking awe-inspiring views.

Landscapes from Cristo Rey Monument - Credits for Alcaldía de Cali
Landscapes from Cristo Rey Monument - Credits for Alcaldía de Cali

3. Cali Zoo

Home to a diverse array of preserved and rescued species, Cali Zoo offers an educational experience showcasing both local fauna and exotic animals. Among the most visited attractions in the city, the zoo provides families and tourists alike with an opportunity to deepen their understanding of biodiversity with the chance to interact with mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians.

Cali Zoo - credits to City Hall of Cali
Cali Zoo - credits to City Hall of Cali

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4. San Antonio Neighborhood

Renowned for its colonial architecture, striking murals, and charming cafes visitors with its historic charm. A visit to the San Antonio chapel atop the neighborhood’s hill is a must, offering panoramic views that will inspire any landscape photographer.

San Antonio - credits to Henry Millán
San Antonio - credits to Henry Millán

5. La Ermita church

Located in Cali’s historic center, it serves as a focal point for Catholics to express their faith. Recognized as a local heritage site for its neo-Gothic architecture and stained-glass windows, this early 20th-century edifice beckons devout worshippers and curious visitors alike to marvel at its grandeur.

Iglesia La Ermita in Cali
Iglesia La Ermita in Cali
Ermita Church in Cali
Ermita Church in Cali

6. Monument to Solidarity

This piece symbolizes the love for the homeland and the unity of the people of Cali. It was generously donated by the Ibero-American Association of Chambers of Commerce and opened on March 24, 1995. The artistic creation, valued at 300 million pesos at the time, includes water features and lighting systems.

Monument to Solidarity
Monument to Solidarity

7. Sebastian de Belalcazar Monument

Dedicated to Cali’s founder, this statue, unveiled in June 1937, stands as a testament to the city’s history and Spanish heritage. The monument is situated in the San Fernando neighborhood and offers panoramic city views, providing an ideal backdrop for memorable photographs.

Belálcazar Monument - credits to City Hall of Cali
Belálcazar Monument - credits to City Hall of Cali

8. Pascual Guerrero Stadium

Home to the América de Cali soccer team, one of Colombia’s premier football clubs, Pascual Guerrero Stadium boasts a capacity of 40,000 spectators. It hosts a variety of events, including concerts and festivals. Additionally, the stadium serves as a venue for rugby and athletics competitions.

Pascual Guerrero Stadium
Pascual Guerrero Stadium

9. Dog park

Located in the San Fernando neighborhood, the first Dog’s Park in Cali offers a perfect blend of recreational options, including numerous restaurants and bars. Dominating the park’s landscape is a statue of Teddy the Dog, attracting visitors throughout the day and bustling with activity on weekends.

The first Dog's Park in Cali - Credits to Alcaldía de Cali
The first Dog's Park in Cali - Credits to Alcaldía de Cali

10. River boulevard

A picturesque pedestrian thoroughfare tracing the Cali River, this place offers scenic views of the river and glimpses of urban life. Whether strolling, jogging, or simply unwinding, visitors can admire local street art and other attractions along this charming promenade.

River Boulevard - credits to City Hall of Cali
River Boulevard - credits to City Hall of Cali

11. Tejada River Cat

The iconic “Gato del Río de Tejada” stands as Cali’s most beloved feline figure. Crafted by renowned painter and sculptor Hernando Tejada, this imposing 3-ton sculpture, with its striking eyes and prominent mustache, embodies the cultural identity of the Caleños. A visit to Cali would be incomplete without paying homage to this emblematic artwork, prominently displayed along the River Boulevard.

Tejada River Cat
Tejada River Cat

12. The Girlfriends of Tejada River Cat

In homage to the revered “Tejada River Cat,” local artists have contributed their own feline creations to adorn the River Boulevard. Dubbed “Las Novias del Gato de Tejada,” these sculptures pay tribute to the enigmatic charm of the original masterpiece.

Girlfriends of Tejada Cat
Girlfriends of Tejada Cat
Girlfriends Rivera Cat
Girlfriends Rivera Cat

13. Jairo Varela Square

Named in honor of the iconic salsa artist and founder of the Niche Group, Jairo Varela Square stands as a testament to Varela’s enduring legacy in Colombian music. Visitors can partake in cultural and musical events while marveling at the poignant tribute—a towering trumpet symbolizing Varela’s profound influence on salsa music and the cultural heritage of the Pacific region.

Jairo Varela Square - credits to City Hall of Cali
Jairo Varela Square - credits to City Hall of Cali

14. Stroll Amid Cali's Majestic Trees

Embark on a leisurely stroll through Cali’s verdant streets, adorned with towering trees that provide respite from the city’s warm temperatures. Immerse yourself in the tranquil ambiance and admire the natural beauty that abounds in this vibrant metropolis.

Majestic Trees - credits to City Hall of Cali
Majestic Trees - credits to City Hall of Cali

15. Indulge in Culinary Delights

Savor the diverse flavors of Cali’s cuisine, which reflect the region’s rich cultural heritage. From traditional dishes influenced by the Pacific coast to delicacies such as champús, aborrajado, and pandebono, Cali offers a tantalizing gastronomic journey for every palate.

Traditional Food in Cali

Fruits in Cali

16. La Merced Church

Step back in time as you explore this historic building, frequented by devout worshippers and curious travelers alike. Admire the colonial-era architecture and marvel at the array of religious artworks housed within this architectural gem.

La Merced church - credits to City Hall of Cali
La Merced church - credits to City Hall of Cali

17. Birdwatching at Charco Azul Wetland

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse yourself in a natural beauty scenario. Embark on a birdwatching adventure and marvel at the diverse avian species that call this ecological sanctuary home.

Charco Azul - Credits to Alcaldía de Cali
Charco Azul - Credits to Alcaldía de Cali
Birds in Charco Azul - credits to City Hall of Cali
Birds in Charco Azul - credits to City Hall of Cali

To be safe and protected while touring these wonderful places, we recommend you to have a medical insurance that will ensure coverage in any eventuality during your stay at Cali and anywhere else in Colombia.

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18. Salsa Museum

An initiative by the Alma Solidaria Foundation where you will be immersed in the vibrant history of salsa music. Explore interactive exhibits showcasing the evolution of this iconic musical genre, from its roots in Colombian culture to its global influence.

Salsa Museum - credits to City Hall of Cali
Salsa Museum - credits to City Hall of Cali
Salsa music lovers in Cali
Salsa music lovers in Cali

19. Cayzedo Square

Experience the vibrant energy of Cali’s city center in a bustling hub of cultural activities and local gatherings. Browse artisanal crafts, enjoy live performances, and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of this lively plaza.

20. Explore La Tertulia Museum

Located in the picturesque San Antonio neighborhood, La Tertulia offers a captivating journey through contemporary art from Colombia and beyond. Marvel at the diverse array of artworks on display, showcasing the talent and creativity of local and international artists.

Tertulia Museum - credits to City Hall of Cali
Tertulia Museum - credits to City Hall of Cali

21. Enrique Buenaventura Municipal Teather

Immerse yourself in the vibrant arts scene of Cali at the Enrique Buenaventura Municipal Theater. From theatrical performances to live concerts and dance shows, this cultural landmark offers diverse entertainment options for visitors to enjoy.

Enrique Buenaventura - credits to City Hall of Cali
Enrique Buenaventura - credits to City Hall of Cali

22. Discover Shotgun Street

Wander through “Calle de la Escopeta,” a vibrant thoroughfare adorned with colorful facades, captivating murals, and eclectic art galleries. Immerse yourself in the local art scene and discover hidden gems tucked away in this dynamic neighborhood.

Shotgun Street - credits to City Hall of Cali
Shotgun Street - credits to City Hall of Cali
Shotgun Street - credits to City Hall of Cali
Shotgun Street - credits to City Hall of Cali

23. San Francisco Religious Complex

Erected between the 18th and 19th centuries in the city’s heart, it comprises the San Joaquín convent, the Immaculada Chapel, the Mudéjar Tower, the San Francisco Church, and a museum of religious art.

San Francisco Complex
San Francisco Complex

24. Carpa Delirio y Paseo de la Aurora

Embark on a magical journey at Carpa Delirio y Paseo de la Aurora, located at the Pacific Valley Events Center. Immerse yourself in a spectacular circus performance celebrating the region’s vibrant culture of salsa music. Engage with national and international artists, learn about traditional customs, and revel in the infectious energy of this cultural extravaganza.

Carpa Delirio in Cali
Carpa Delirio in Cali

25. Buga

Venture beyond Cali and discover the historic city officially known as Guadalajara de Buga. Pay homage to the Basílica of The Lord of Miracles, a revered sanctuary drawing thousands of pilgrims and tourists annually. Explore the charming streets of the historic center, sample local cuisine, and immerse yourself in this enchanting destination’s rich culture and traditions.

Is Cali Safe?

Cali is generally safe, but like any other city, it’s essential to take precautions to ensure your safety. Petty theft, such as pickpocketing and bag snatching, can occur in crowded areas, so it’s advisable to keep your valuables secure and avoid displaying them in public. It’s also good to stay alert and aware of your surroundings, particularly when traveling at night or in less well-lit areas.

As with any travel destination, it’s essential to do your research and exercise caution, but overall, Cali is a vibrant and welcoming city with much to offer visitors. To be more cautious and take care of yourself and your family, download our Colombian Emergency Directory.

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The Bottom Line: 25 Top Things to Do in Cali and Nearby - Top Tourist Attractions

Cali, renowned as the “Sucursal del Cielo” and the World Capital of Salsa, beckons travelers with a plethora of natural, cultural, architectural, historical, and gastronomic delights. From awe-inspiring landmarks to vibrant cultural hubs, the city offers an array of experiences for solo adventurers, families, and friends alike. Don’t hesitate—embark on an unforgettable journey to Cali on your next trip.

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