As the undisputed salsa capital of the universe, there is no shortage of happening venues to get your groove on in Calí. Some are known for their seasoned salseros who dominate the floor, while others are much more welcoming of clumsy gringos eager to try out their skills. Either way, there’s a happening salsa fiesta for everyone in Calí just about any night of the week.
La Topa Tolondra
Business is booming every night except Sunday in this popular club, which has recently been renovated to accommodate a huge number of punters. Perfect for tourists who feel a little uncertain about their skills, La Topa Tolondra offers salsa classes on Mondays, a live band on Thursdays, and various other action-packed events throughout the week. Situated in the touristic San Antonio neighborhood, it’s within easy walking distance of most hostels and is known for its inclusive vibe.
La Topa Tolondra, Cl. 5 #13–27, Cali, Valle del Cauca, Colombia, +57 323 597 2646
Tin Tin Deo
Another great option for the enthusiastic extranjero (foreigner), this gringo-friendly club usually starts out with some beginner lessons around 8 p.m. to warm up the crowd. Once the punters start to roll in, complete strangers choose a dance partner and the real action begins. Best of all, people of all skill levels are welcome to boogie the night away in this fun-filled establishment.
With epic live music on Thursdays and a legendary local salsa DJ spinning Friday and Saturday nights, Zaperoco is the most happening place to go for old-school salsa in the city. Some of Cali’s best dancers pack out the floor, which can be a little intimidating at first. Nevertheless, newbies are still welcome to get in on the action.
Balneario Las Brisas
Famous for its Monday night shenanigans, this renowned weekly event known as Lunes de Brisas is without a doubt the biggest party of the night. The action takes place in a huge open-air recreational estate on the very southern edge of the city, but it’s worth the drive for the exuberant crowd and top-notch live music on an otherwise quiet evening.
Rincon de Hebert
Another old-time favorite, this small though happening salsa bar located in a shopping precinct pulls in a crowd for its superb live salsa bands and relaxed, friendly vibe. Most punters hang out in the outdoor alfresco area between their favorite songs, meaning it’s a great place to strike up a conversation and meet new people as well.
An oldy but a goodie, this well-established salsa bar has been packing out its dance floor for over 35 years with an old-school pachanga sound. A number of tourists can be found mingling with the friendly local crowd, just be sure to dress your best because they don’t accept any scruffy backpacker attire. Looking for somewhere to go on a Tuesday? Siboney is notorious for putting on the best party in the city.
One of the more happening clubs in Calí, this loud and crowded venue is open every night except Sunday, although weekends are definitely the busiest. Expect a state-of-the-art sound and lights display to accompany expert live bands who pump out contemporary salsa plus other genres to an ecstatic crowd. It’s best to rock up with a partner as single males are sometimes denied entry at the door.