Famous for their obsession with salsa, the people of Cali love nothing more than dancing to the rhythm of these infectious beats. But there are also plenty of other things to do in this vibrant Colombian city, with enough to keep travelers busy for several days or more. From cultural heritage to natural retreats, here are the best Cali attractions.
Zoológico de Cali
Widely considered to be the best zoo in Colombia, a trip to the Zoológico de Cali is a must for families and wildlife enthusiasts alike. Among the exotic animals on these expansive grounds are tigers, huge iguanas, monkeys, and pink Andean flamingos.
An undiscovered gem just outside the city, this huge butterfly farm features over 15 elegant technicolored species. A series of pretty walking trails weave through the complex while knowledgeable guides do a bang-up job of explaining the life cycles of these remarkable creatures—from caterpillar to cocoon to butterfly.
Mariposario Andoke, Cali, Valle del Cauca, Colombia, +57 5142989
Admittedly, this giant Jesus statue isn’t as grand as Rio’s Christ the Redeemer, but it’s impressive nonetheless. As it’s perched on top of a hill overlooking the city, the views are superb, and a visit can easily be combined with the nearby Andoke butterfly farm.
Gato de Tejada
A rather unusual attraction, this park pays tribute to famous Colombian artist Hernando Tejada, who created the famous central sculpture of a cat. After tragically passing away just a few years later, local artists got together and sculpted another 15 feline statues in his honor.
Gato De Tejada, Cali, Valle del Cauca, Colombia, +57 2 8879020
Iglesia de San Antonio
Set atop a hill to the west of the historical center lies Iglesia de San Antonio, a quaint 18th-century church that contains a number of unique wood-carved religious artifacts. Most come to enjoy the pleasant surrounding park, however, which affords excellent views of the city.
Iglesia de San Antonio, Carrera 10, Cali, Valle del Cauca, Colombia, +57 317 5236589
Barrio San Antonio
Just down from the church lies Cali’s historic center, the funky Barrio San Antonio. Within these charming colonial edifices are trendy cafés, happening bars, and upmarket restaurants, making it a perfect place to eat, drink, and be merry.
Real-life Narcos locations
Follow in the footsteps of your favorite characters from season three of this hit Netflix series, much of which was filmed on location in Cali. Some recognizable sites include Edificio Coltabaco and Plaza de Caicedo.
Try some local delicacies
Pandebono is a popular cheesy bread snack sold in bakeries, cafés, and street stalls all throughout the city. Then there’s the ubiquitous lulada, a refreshing drink that combines the local lulu fruit, ice, sugar, and water (booze is an optional extra).
Those keen for a trip out of the city should opt for a day tour of San Cipriano. Highlights include a ride on a tiny railway timber cart, a visit to an Afro community, tubing down a tranquil river, and the chance to swim under some cascading waterfalls.
No trip to Cali would be complete without experiencing the city’s number one claim to fame, the seductive sounds of salsa. Those who don’t like to dance can watch a live performance, though the real action takes place within the city’s sweltering clubs. Zaperoco Salsa Bar is pretty hard to beat.
Zaperoco Salsa Bar, Av 5 Norte #16, Cali, Valle del Cauca, Colombia, +57 320 3094567