A Traveler’s Guide to Cali, Colombia
Cali, Colombia is a fun, and lively travel destination for Spanish learners!
The “salsa capital of the world” features impressive tourist attractions worth visiting. It’s a tourist-friendly city that offers endless opportunities for you to take your Spanish skills to the next level through practice.
Keep reading for an enchanting and informative traveler’s guide to Cali, Colombia!
Overview of Cali, Colombia
Cali is the capital of Valle del Cauca, a southwestern region of Colombia. Cali has a rich history and culture, and it offers sightseeing and unique experiences for travelers.
The city has a mix of indigenous and European influences. Cali, Colombia was founded in 1536 by Spanish conquistador Sebastián de Belálcazar and became independent from Spain in 1811.
Cali experienced a huge growth and development in the twentieth century. The population doubled in size and it became the second largest city of Colombia following Bogota.
Cali once made headlines in 2013 after hosting the World Games in 2013. The city is known for its hustle and bustle. It’s a productive place that attracts travelers to its cultural landmarks, warm culture, and remarkable rhythms.
Visiting Cali, Colombia for Spanish Immersion
Colombia’s official language is Spanish, which makes Cali an ideal destination for you to test your language skills.
The climate is warm and tropical, the gastronomy is remarkable, and the Caleños are free spirited and friendly. The friendly people in Cali make you feel right at home.
Whether you’re into cultural travel, archaeology, festivals, or nature, Cali has something for everybody. Let’s take a look at the best things Cali offers Spanish learners like you!
What to Do in Cali, Colombia
Check out this list for ideas of X fun activities to partake in on your trip to Cali!
1. Go Salsa Dancing
Cali is packed with salsa clubs. You’ll hear this upbeat music everywhere in Cali. Pros are open to dancing with beginners and teaching the spicy moves and rhythms of Cali, Colombia. The suburb of Juanchito is known for salsa parties that go on all night.
The annual Feria de Cali (Cali Festival) has salsa parades to join. It takes place over Christmas and New Year’s. If you still can’t get enough salsa, visit Cali’s salsa circus, Delirio (Delirium).
See also: Discover the magic of Colombia’s Most Important December Festival: La Feria de Cali.
2. Try the Local Food
The local food of Cali, Colombia is colorful, visually bewitching, and delicious. The city has many local specialties you’ll want to try. Venturing to street stalls, bakeries, and cafes is a wonderful opportunity to practice Spanish.
Cali is known for its sweet delights. Order a cholado, which is mixed fruit with crushed ice and condensed milk. For a savory treat, pandebono is a scrumptious cheesy bread snack.
3. Visit the Churches of Cali
The churches of Cali have astonishing architecture. Well-preserved colonial chapels and neo-Gothic churches like La Ermita are worth exploring.
The Iglesia de San Antonio (Church of Saint Anthony)i s on a hilltop and famous for its collection of carved wood saints.
4. Discover the Nature Surroundings
Cali has mountains, nature parks, and forests around it. The Río Pance on the south of the city is a great place to bathe. It has nature trails where you can enjoy birdwatching and wildlife sightings.
La Voragine, a small village outside Cali, offers incredible views, majestic waterfalls, and hiking spots. The Nature Reserve of San Cipriano is also another wonderful experience to enjoy from Cali. There’s river tubing, cascadas (waterfalls), and you can immerse yourself in the joyful Afro local culture.
5. Walk to El Cristo Rey
The grand statue of El Cristo Rey of Cali, Colombia stands at 26 meters tall and is a symbol of the city. Visiting this majestic monument will bring you close to panoramic views and will be a fantastic exercise.
Make sure to buy a jugo de lulo (lulo juice) on the way up from the local vendors and street stalls.
6. Discover Cali’s Zoo and Museums
El zoologico de Cali (Cali Zoo) and the many museums in the city are a must. The Cali zoo is one of the best in South America with excellent exhibits of a wide variety of healthy animals. The Cali river runs through the zoo, and it’s embellished with native lush flora.
The museums in Cali also have an outstanding reputation. The Museo La Tertulia has an unbeatable collection of modern art. The Museo Aereo Félix has transportation exhibits with life-size airplanes, cars, trains, tractors, and more.
Finally, visit the Museo de la Caña de Azúcar (sugar cane museum) dedicated to Cali’s most important crop. The museum offers tours where they showcase the sugar cane process and sits on a picturesque historic garden site in the country.
Things to Consider Before Visiting Cali, Colombia
Cali’s Alfonso Bonilla Aragón International Airport has direct international flights to several countries and domestic flights to cities in Colombia on low-cost airlines. The city is accessible by bus or car from Bogota.
Entering Colombia only requires certain countries to present a visa. These are processed at Colombian embassies and consulates. Be sure to check out the visa requirements before embarking on your trip.
Cali is a safe destination for travelers. Of course, it’s important to be aware of common street scams and pickpocketing. Don’t wander off to unknown areas for tourists. Plan ahead to make the most of your visit.
If you plan to visit Cali in the near future, to enter Colombia, you need to present proof of complete Covid-19 vaccination. If you’re unvaccinated or it’s been less than 14 days since your last shot, you’ll need to present a negative PCR test no more than 72 hours old.
Get more useful tips for your trip in this Guide to Colombia’s Food, Culture, and More!
Let Your Trip To Cali, Colombia Flow Smoothly
Experiencing the enchantment of Cali, Colombia allows you to gain more understanding of diversity and culture—and practice your Spanish. When you explore new places and engage in scenarios that require you to speak Spanish, your confidence improves.
To allow your trip to Cali to flow smoothly, sign up for a free class with our certified teachers from Guatemala. They’ll equip you with essential vocabulary for making the most of sightseeing, ordering food, shopping, and asking for directions.
Speaking Spanish is sure to vastly improve your travel experiences and take your communication skills to the next level. Choose from our tailored learning programs and prepare for the trip of a lifetime.
Join one of the 40,000 classes that we teach each month and you can experience results like these
“My Son, Heath, is taking the classes. He’s been with Luisa the entire time and we absolutely love her. She is always patient and is a great teacher. Heath’s dad speaks Spanish so they get to have little conversations.”
– William R, Parent of 3
“It’s great being able to interact with native speaking people and having a conversation with them not just doing all the work on paper. It’s also an amazing opportunity to speak with native Spanish-speaking people without having to travel to a native Spanish-speaking country.”
“Getting to know wonderful teachers who care about me and my growth in language and education. Evelyn Gomez and Erick Cacao are two of the most extraordinary people I have ever met, and talking with them in Spanish at the beginning of classes is always so fulfilling and greatly contributes to my happiness, joy, and wellbeing.”
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