28 Things to Do in Cali, Colombia, to Fall in Love With It (2020)

28 Things to Do in Cali, Colombia, to Fall in Love With It (2020)
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What else is there to do in Cali besides salsa dancing?

Cali has no majestic buildings or must-see museums. However, the city has a dancing soul, and it will make your head spin if you decide to get carried away.

You’re not coming to Cali to visit. You come to Cali to experience Cali.

Between two wild evenings, the town and its surroundings still allow many excursions to breathe the fresh mountain air and bathe in one of the many rivers that flow through the valley.

To help you create your itinerary, I have just written an exhaustive list of things to do in Cali. Discover all the possible activities and select the ones that interest you to determine how long you would like to stay there.

Booking links are referring to reliable local agencies. Don’t hesitate to bookmark this page for your trip to Colombia 😉

There is also a list of events for each day of the week at the end of this article. Read it all the way through!

Must read: Our travel guide to visit Cali

Table of contents: Things to do in Cali, Colombia

  1. Activities easy to organize
  2. Our favorite tours and experiences in Cali
  3. What to do around Cali?
  4. Things to do in Cali in the evening?
  5. Our free ebook on Colombia
  6. Avoid the hassles and let us organize your trip

Things to do in the city of Cali, Colombia?

A visit to Cali is not going to be particularly attractive if you do it without a local guide. The city is full of anecdotes and nice little corners to explore. However, you will find it challenging to discover them on your own.

If you just want to wander around for an hour or so, head to the San Antonio neighborhood and stop for ice cream or coffee. Tierradentro’s coffee is a nugget!

There are also a few museums, parks, and pleasant walks to lighten up your day before exploring the city’s salsa bars.

Fun and easy things to do in Cali

No, I won’t mention Cali’s cats. It’s the most boring thing to do in Cali, and yet everyone mentions it in their list of must-does.

1# Attend a salsa show in Cali

Delirio Salsa Show Cali
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Delirio | Credit: FabianOrtiz

Some very good dancers come to dance in the different clubs of Cali. They are beautiful to see. But, if you want to admire an elaborate choreography and colorful costumes, go to a cabaret.

Learn more about Salsa shows (+)

  • Where: Different clubs in the city of Cali
  • Duration: Evening
  • Price: $$
  • Advice: There are only a few events per month. Check out the different Facebook pages. Call to book in advance.
  • More information: Ensalsate (El Peñon) | El Mulato Cabaret (San Fernando) | Delirio (Outside Cali)

2# Learn to dance salsa at a school in Cali

Salsa Pura Cali
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Credit: Salsa Pura

The Caleños (inhabitants of Cali) say that it is easy to dance salsa. All you have to do is “feel the music”. Following their advice, I felt like an octopus sliding on butter. Well, it’s not that simple. Fortunately, many schools give salsa lessons. It’s up to you whether you stay long enough to take a 10-hour package or just a few one-off classes. It’s one of the most famous things to do in Cali.

Learn more about Salsa lessons (+)

  • Where: Salsa Pura (San Antoñio), Son de Luz (Miraflores), Swing Latino (El Alameda)
  • Duration: 1h
  • Price: $
  • Advice: Salsa Pura is a great school for beginners who want to take some classes.
  • More information: Salsa Pura | Son de Luz | Swing Latino

3# Enjoy Cali’s nightlife

La Topa Tolondra Salsa Cali
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If you like to dance, then you may never leave Cali. Around 5 pm, a light breeze blows and “refreshes” the streets of the town, and legs start to shake. This is the best time to have a drink on the terrace and plan your evening. As you will see, the Caleños are always up for a party. Check out the trendy bars of the moment.

Learn more about Cali's nightlife (+)

  • Where: La Topa Tolandra, MalaMaña, Tintindeo, El Rincon de Hebert, Donde Fabio
  • Duration: Evening
  • Price: $
  • Advice: Check out the trendy bars of the moment.
  • More information: we’ve listed the best bars on our “Colombia Insider” map. You can download it for free on Mapstr. There is also a list in our Ebook on Colombia.

4# Visit Cali during the Feria or the Mondial de Salsa

Salsa Show Cali
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Credit: Ben Bowes

Salsa is danced all year round in Cali, but some moments are even more appropriate than others. Feria de Cali is one of the most important festivals in Colombia. It takes place from 26/12 to 31/12. Numerous events and colorful parades take place in different parts of the city. In September, there is the World Salsa Festival. During five days, dancers from all over the world give spectacular performances to the delight of the spectators.

Learn more about these events (+)

5# Admire Cali from El Cristo Rey

Cristo Rey Cali
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A giant statue of Jesus watches over Cali. The monument in itself does not deserve the detour, but the panorama over the city is impressive, especially at night. Numerous pizzerias are established along the path leading to Christ. Enjoy a meal in one of them. It’s an easy thing to do in Cali.

Learn more about the Cristo Rey (+)

  • Where: 20min by taxi from San Antonio
  • Duration: 1h
  • Price: $
  • Advice: Make arrangements with the taxi to take you, be waiting while you enjoy the view, and drive back to town. It’s hard to find a taxi once you get up there—roughly 50,000 COP.

6# Hiking to the 3 cruces in Cali

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Reaching Las 3 Cruces is the most accessible hike to do in Cali. However, it is not a very easy trail. Some sections of the path are quite steep, and there is no shade to escape the heat of the sun. Fortunately, vendors of freshly squeezed orange juice are there to make the experience more enjoyable. Once at the top, you are rewarded with a beautiful view of Cali. It’ s the Sunday morning activity for many Caleños.

Learn more about Las 3 Cruces (+)

  • Where: Departure from Normandia or Santa Monica. Ask the taxi to leave you at the beginning of the Las 3 Cruces trail.
  • Duration: 45 – 60 min to reach the top
  • Price: Free
  • Advice: Take some money to buy some juice and water. Start around 7:30 to avoid the heat. It’s also safer at that time (police presence).
  • More information: Cerro de Las 3 Cruces

7# Andoke, the butterfly paradise in Cali

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Andoke is a foundation that helps to educate new generations to preserve their environment. It is also home to an impressive butterfly house that can be visited with a guide (only in Spanish). Take the time to wander around the park to visit their laboratory and have a bite to eat.

Learn more about Andoke (+)

  • Where: accessible in 20 min by taxi
  • Duration: The tour lasts 2 hours
  • Price: $
  • Advice: There are 3 guided tours per day. Take the opportunity to go to Cristo Rey.
  • More information: Andoke

8# The Tejo, a game of explosion and beer

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When you put it like that, it sounds dangerous. Don’t worry; it’s not. Tejo is a traditional Colombian game that consists of throwing a metal disc (500 – 700 g.) at a clay-covered target. The goal is to hit a metal circle in the center. Paper triangles filled with explosive powder are placed on this circle, and there is a loud detonation when the pebble hits them. The games are free of charge, but you have to consume (traditionally beers). It’s a thing I love to do in Colombia.

Learn more about tejo (+)

  • Where: Cancha De Tejo Los Amigos
  • Duration: 1h
  • Price: $
  • Advice: Go there on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday at the end of the day
  • More information: Playing Tejo in Cali

9# Take a trip to Loma de La Cruz

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Loma de La Cruz is a small craft market in front of the Topa Tolandra. Each merchant has his own small stand with variable opening hours. The best time is around 4 pm. Every Thursday, people gather around 7 pm to dance together.

Learn more about Loma De La Cruz (+)

  • Where: Loma de La Cruz, 15 min walk from San Antonio
  • Advice: Go there on Thursdays around 7 pm
  • More information: Google Map

10# Listening to music in the Parque del Peñon

Musician Cali
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Credit: Jorge Mejia Peralta

El Peñon is a wealthy neighborhood in Cali. Every evening, singers take turns playing music in this small park. It’s charming!

Learn more about it (+)

  • Where: Parque del Peñon, 10 min walk from San Antonio
  • Duration: Few hours
  • Advice: It starts around 5 pm
  • More information: Google Map

11# Have a Cholado in Cali

Cholado Cali
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Credit: Michael Geminder

It’s Cali’s little gourmet touch. A Cholado is a mixture of condensed milk, fresh fruit cut into small pieces, and syrup (or other). Here it is, the ideal solution to fight against the heat of the city. A gourmet and sweet thing to do in Cali.

Learn more about Cholado (+)

  • Where: They’re all over the place, especially around the football stadium… – “Las Canchas Panamericanas”
  • Price: $
  • More information: Google Map

12# Watching airplanes at the Aereo Fenix Museum in Cali

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The Aereo Fenix museum contains many aircraft models from World War II to the present day. You will also find steam locomotives, old cars, and many miniatures.

More about the Aereo Fenix museum (+)

  • Where: The Museo Aereo Fenix is close to the airport. 30 min from San Antonio.
  • Duration: 3h
  • Price: $
  • Advice: There are no guided tours. Try to get in touch with the employees or the manager to get some additional information.
  • More information: Aereo Fenix

13# Caliwood, Colombia’s Hollywood

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Cali and cinema had a love affair that resulted in an explosion of cinematic creativity. A visit to the museum, with the help of an English or Spanish audio-guide, allows you to learn how the film industry began in Colombia. There are many old cameras and projectors here. For movie lovers, this is the museum you must do in Cali.

More about Caliwood museum (+)

  • Where: El Peñon, 20 min walk from San Antonio
  • Duration: 1 – 2h
  • Price: $
  • More information:  Caliwood

14# The Modern Art at the Tertulia Museum

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La Tertulia is a museum of modern art that organizes many temporary exhibitions on artists from all over the world, with a focus on Cali and Colombia. Explanations in Spanish.

More about la Tertulia (+)

  • Where: El Peñon, 15 min walk from San Antonio
  • Duration: 2-3h
  • Price: $
  • Advice: It’s free on Saturday afternoon, and there are some nice animations all around. It is closed on Mondays.
  • More information: Tertulia

15# The history of salsa

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Discover the history of salsa (which is a general term for several types of salsa). The bar/museum has many photos of dancers and artists taken by the owner, Carlos Molina, over 50 years. The pleasant atmosphere and the 33-rpm pieces of vinyl make it perfect.

More about the Salsa Museum (+)

  • Where: Museo de la Salsa, Barrio Obrero. 15 minutes by taxi.
  • Duration: 1 – 2h
  • Price: $
  • Advice: The museum does not open until 2 pm.
  • More information: Museo de la Salsa

Tours and activities to do in Cali

Best things to do in Cali

Between two salsa nights, Cali offers many activities and experiences to make your trip to Colombia unique!

Let’s see the things to do in Cali!

16# A guided tour of Cali

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Niels is a Dutchman who fell in love with Cali in 2010. Follow him on a Free Walking Tour of the city center to admire the different churches built from the 16th century while listening to exciting anecdotes.

More about this Free Walking Tour (+)

  • Where: Meeting at the church la Merced, 10 min walk from San Antonio
  • Duration: 2h
  • Price: Tips
  • Advice: Tours in English
  • More Information: Callejeros

A more personalized experience? Book a private tour

17# Taste Cali’s specialties

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Niels accompanies you in this culinary adventure that will enchant your taste buds. You leave San Antonio to reach the largest market in Cali, the “Galeria Alameda.” Along the way, your guide will tell you different anecdotes about the places you pass through. Once you are in the area around the market, you will be able to taste delicious dishes such as empanadas de chontaduro, ceviche, lulada, or lechona. Finish with a short coffee break to digest and feel the flavor of an exquisite Colombian coffee.

More about this food experience (+)

  • Where: Departure from the hostel El Viajero, in San Antonio.
  • Duration: 3h
  • Price: $
  • Advice: It’s hot, get a cap. English tour.
  • More information: Callejeros

Private Tour: Cooking Pacific specialties with a chef

18# Visit of Cali in salsa

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This Free Walking Tour cleverly mixes “street art”, “street food” and salsa stories. There is a visit to the Museo de la Salsa Jairo Varela. Don’t hesitate to ask all your questions! It’s an easy thing to do in Cali.

More about this Salsa Free Walking Tour (+)

  • Where: Meeting at the Iglesia Ermita, a 15-minute walk from San Antonio.
  • Duration: 2h
  • Price: Pourboire
  • Advice: Tour in English or Spanish. Not on Sundays.
  • More Information: Free tour Cali

Private tour: a local will show you a typical district of Cali

19# Go bird-watching around Cali

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Colombia is a country that bird lovers appreciate. The Valle del Cauca department is a particularly famous area for bird watching. Some local agencies know the best spots to admire them with binoculars, such as La Finca Alejandria or El Descanso. It is at dawn that these colorful feather balls are most active. Be prepared to get up very early!

More about birdwatching in Cali (+)

  • Where: 1h30 – 2h30 outside Cali
  • Duration: Full day
  • Price: $$$$
  • More information: Piculet birding has got an excellent reputation

20# Waterfalls and tubing in San Cipriano

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San Cipriano is a small village hidden in the middle of a green jungle. The inhabitants have built an unusual machine to access it, as the town is entirely isolated. La Brujita is a platform propelled by a motorbike moving on train tracks. Yes, it seems strange. Yes, you have to see it to believe it. Once you arrive in San Cipriano, go to discover the local waterfalls and go down the river on an inflated inner tube. Welcome to the world of tubing! San Cipriano is the most memorable day trip you can do in Cali.

More about this trip to San Cipriano (+)

  • Where: San Cipriano is 2.5 hours from Cali.
  • Duration: 12h
  • Price: $$$
  • Advice: You can go to San Cipriano by yourself and sleep there. The tours will be cheaper if you can join a group (especially on weekends).
  • More information: Video on San Cipriano

We recommend Valley Adventours who organizes it perfectly!

21# Canyoning to explore the rivers

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Travel by jeep to Pance to descend superb waterfalls using ropes, karabiners, and other gear. Canyoning is a sports activity that is becoming more and more popular in Colombia, for our greatest pleasure. You will be able to appreciate the beauty of nature from a new angle while receiving a good dose of adrenaline. The New Order Adventure agency impressed us with its professionalism and good mood! It is an experience to do in Cali!

More about this Canyoning experience (+)

  • Where: Around Cali, it takes an average of 1 hour’s travel time.
  • Duration: 4 – 7h
  • Price: $$
  • Advice: Avoid if you’re afraid of heights and do not swim. Canyoning of different levels are offered.
  • More information: New Order Adventure

We recommend: Colombia insider includes it in his travels

22# Discover the Rio Danubio and the oasis La Sirena

Rio Danubio Cali
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It’s a turquoise blue river that few travelers are aware of (even we haven’t had the time to go there yet). With the help of a local agency, venture into a lush jungle, jump from rock to rock, and enjoy the beauty of the Rio Danubio.

More about this trip to Rio Danubio (+)

  • Where: Natural reserve El Danubio, 2h from Cali
  • Durée: 12 – 15h
  • Price: $$$$
  • Advice: Go during the week because it’s a very popular place on weekends.
  • More information: Vidéo youtube

Book this unique experience now (easy to cancel)!

23# An unforgettable view from Pico Loro

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If you love nature and spectacular views, then Pico Loro is the hike to do in the surroundings of Cali. However, it is not very easy to organize. Departures are only allowed between 6 am and 8 am, and it is mandatory to go there with a guide from the village of Pance. He accompanies you for an ascent from 4 to 6 hours, with some parts of the path very inclined. Once at the top, the 360-degree panorama quickly makes you forget the liters of sweat that have been running down your back. You will be able to admire the whole Valle del Cauca, as well as the Western and Central Cordilleras!

More about the hike Pico De Loro (+)

  • Where: The hike starts from Pance, at 1h30 by car from Cali.
  • Duration: 10 – 12h
  • Price: $$
  • Advice: Good physical fitness is necessary. The best months are January, August, and September. You can also sleep in Pance and find a local guide on site.
  • More information: Video youtube

Book this incredible hike now! (Easy to cancel)

Things to do around Cali, Colombia?

From Cali, it is very easy to travel for a few days to discover other places in Colombia.

Take a trip to the Pacific coast, run through the coffee plantations, learn how to kitesurf, or watch the condors. In short, there are plenty of unforgettable experiences that can be added to your salsa lessons.

Let see the trips you can do outside Cali.

24# Fresh air at Pance

Pance Cali
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Pance is a small town 2 hours from Cali, and the caleños love to go there on weekends. Come here to breathe the fresh air of Las Farallones Park, reach the Pico Loro summit, watch birds, and/or cool off in the river that flows nearby. There is no public transportation in Pance. Choose a hotel close enough to the village if you come by bus.

More about Pance (+)

  • Where: Two hours by bus from Cali. Departure from the terminal.
  • How many days: 3
  • Advice: Avoid going there on weekends
  • Where to stay: We love staying at Casa Batara
  • More information: How to visit Pance

25# Kitesurfing Sessions on Lake Calima

Lago Calima Cali
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Credit: Sabastian Leal

With a strong and constant wind and an area of 70km², Lake Calima is an ideal place to practice kitesurfing and windsurfing. Many small hotels and fincas are close to the public entrada N 5, just past the town of Darien. Kitesurfing schools offer 5-day stays with accommodation, equipment, and 10 hours of lessons.

More about kitesurfing (+)

  • Where: 3h by bus from Cali
  • How many days: 2 – 5 days depending on how much time you spend taking classes
  • More information: Calimakitesurf

26# Explore the beaches of the Pacific barefoot

La Barra Bahia Malaga
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From Cali, it is effortless to reach the Pacific coast. It is also the most economical option to visit this cut-off region of the world. Take a bus to Buenaventura and then a boat to Juanchaco. Get closer to La Barra to enjoy the long beaches as far as the eye can see. It is difficult to find a local agency on the spot, so I advise you to book an establishment that offers its own activities. Don’t miss the humpback whale season from July to September!

More about the Pacific coast (+)

  • Where: La Barra and Ladrilleros, at 5h from Cali
  • How many days: 4
  • Advice: It is a very humid area where it rains regularly, especially in April – May, and October – November. Don’t waste time in Juanchaco. The village is rather dirty and not very interesting.
  • Our travel guide: Discover the best accommodation and activities in La Barra

27# Observe condors in the paramos

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Take a few days to Popayan if you want to discover a beautiful colonial city with white streets and eat the delicious local specialties. Its proximity to “El Purace” is the main advantage of Popayan. This national park can be visited in 1 or 2 days, and allows you to observe condors during magnificent hikes in the paramos (an ecosystem present in only 5 countries of the world).

More about Popayan and the Purace park (+)

28# All about coffee

Buenavista Zona Cafetera
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Since Cali, you’re only a few hours away from the coffee region. It would be a shame not to go! Buenavista is the ideal place to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of a small Colombian village. In the morning, when the sun’s rays warm your face slightly, have your coffee on the terrace and enjoy the view over the valley. The icing on the cake, if the subject of coffee interests you, there is one of the best tours we have tested in Colombia. So, isn’t life beautiful?

More about Buenavista (+)

Things to do in Cali in the evening?

You have to enjoy going out at night to get the most out of Cali. Let yourself be swept away by the frantic rhythms of the salsa. Admire the dancers and, if you are brave enough, invite locals to join you on the dance floor. The authentic and magical atmosphere of the city will not leave you indifferent, especially if you are part of it.

You’ll find something to do in Cali for every night of the week.

We have listed the weekly events for Bogotá, Cartagena, Cali, and Medellín in our free travel guide.

The calendar of events changes regularly. Please check the Facebook/Instagram pages for the latest news.

Things to do in Cali on Monday?

  • Free Salsa lesson at la Topa Tolondra | 7 – 9 pm | Loma de la Cruz
  • Salsa Live music at Balneario Las Brisas | Evening | South of Cali

What to do in Cali on Tuesday?

  • Dance Salsa at the Siboney Club | evening | Alameda

Things to do in Cali on Wednesday?

  • Salsa regulars gather at the bar La Topa Tolondra | Loma de la Cruz

What to do in Cali on Thursday?

  • Indigenous dances at Loma de la Cruz | 7 pm |
  • Salsa regulars meet at the bar Rincon de Heberth | Miraflores
  • Live music at the bar Zaperoco | Granada

Things to do in Cali on Friday?

  • Rock live music at Bourbon St Cali | Granada
  • Live Dj (electro) at the club 10-60 | San Nicolas

What to do in Cali on Saturday?

  • Salsa live music at Donde Fabio | San Nicolas
  • DJs at the club Garden Lounge | Ciudad Jardin

Things to do in Cali on Sunday?

  • Locals dance at the Alameda park | Afternoon
  • Salsa show at the Mulato Cabaret | From 4 pm | San Fernando

So, what activities have you decided to include in your itinerary in Colombia? Don’t hesitate to let us know your feedback!

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Best things to do in Cali
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