Famous for its salsa dancing clubs, Cali is one of Colombia's great nightlife centers. It's more than that though, with fine churches, gorgeous artworks, and mouthwatering restaurants to explore during the day.
Salsa beats accompany you almost everywhere you go in Cali. Take classes or dive into the bars of Juanchito, and dance until dawn to the most infectious rhythm around.
Before you dance, dine in style at La Cocina, Roset, Platillos Voladores, or El Bochinche - home to some of the best pork dishes you'll ever taste.
Cali is a 500-year-old colonial city, and the Spanish left some stunning churches, including the neoclassical San Pedro Cathedral and La Ermita, an intricate gothic creation in the downtown area.
Cali is a party city, but it really comes alive during the fabulous Feria de Cali in late December, making the city a great New Year's destination.
The waterfalls of Pance and the famous pilgrimage site at Buga are both nearby, and Lake Calima is an excellent spot to try windsurfing or sailing.
Try to avoid the rainy season in September and October. Instead, high season tends to stretch from November through March. If you plan to enjoy some whale watching on the Pacific Coast, July could also be a good (and dry) time to go.
Alfonso Bonilla Aragón Airport (CLO) is around 10 miles north of Cali. From there take a bus to the main bus station in downtown Cali (around COL$3,000, 30 minutes). Expect a taxi to cost about COL$30,000.
From Bogota, take highway 40 through the mountains to Cali. If you are coming from Medellin, take highway 25, then highway 23 at Cartago.
Buses run into Cali's Terminal de Transportes from all over Colombia. Expect to pay about COL$60,000 for the ticket from Bogota with Expreso Bolivariano.
Excellent upscale accommodation options include the Hotel Spiwak, the Four Points Sheraton, and the Cali Marriott Hotel - all downtown options with great amenities.
Centro - the heart of the city is where you'll discover the cathedral, beautiful churches like La Ermita, and great shopping opportunities around Plaza Caicedo.
Juanchito - located to the east of the city center, Juanchito is Cali's salsa district. It's packed with great bars like Zaperoco and La Topa Tolondra.
Ciudad Jardin - Cali's most upmarket neighborhood, Ciudad Jardin is full of green space and excellent restaurants like Mister Wings and Cuuc.
MIO run bus services across Cali. Single tickets cost COL$1,800 and you need to purchase a rechargeable MIO card before traveling.
Taxi fares start with a basic price of COL$4,200, followed by around COL$1,700 per mile.
You can rent a car from companies like Atlantis Renta Car, Elite, and Budget. Rates start at around COL$60,000 per day.
Plaza Caicedo is the main shopping area in the center of town, but much of Cali's commercial life revolves around malls like Centro Comercial Chipichape or Unicentro, which are a little out of town.
Supermarkets in Cali include La Gran Colombia and Makro, and prices should be low. Expect a gallon of milk to cost about COL$10,000.
Superb restaurants in Cali are easy to come by. Some favorites include Platillos Voladores, with its outdoor gardens; Mister Wings, which is a great place for chicken fans; and the seafood specialists Cali Viejo. Meals should come to around COL$40,000 per head.