Cali: Wikis


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Santiago de Cali
—  City  —


Nickname(s): "Branch of Heaven", "Sultana del Valle", "Sports City of Colombia", "Cali es Cali, lo demás es loma", "The Salsa´s capital of the world
Location of the municipality and city of Cali in the Valle del Cauca Department.
Santiago de Cali is located in Colombia
Santiago de Cali
Location in Colombia
Coordinates: 3°25′13.95″N 76°31′20″W / 3.4205417°N 76.52222°W / 3.4205417; -76.52222
Country Colombia
Department Valle del Cauca
Foundation July 25, 1536
Founder Sebastián de Belalcázar
 - Mayor Jorge Ivan Ospina
 - City 4,977.96 km2 (1,922 sq mi)
Elevation 997 m (3,271 ft)
Population (2005)[8]
 - City 2,232,158(ranked 3, dane stadistics)
 Density 4,372/km2 (11,323.4/sq mi)
 Metro 2,232,158
 - Demonym Caleño
Time zone COT (UTC-5)
Area code(s) 2
HDI (2008) 0.80 – high

Santiago de Cali (Spanish pronunciation: [sanˈtjaɣo ðe ˈkali]), simply referred to as Cali, is a city in western Colombia and the capital of the Valle del Cauca Department. With a population of 2,232,158 Cali is the third largest city in the country. It has one of the fastest growing economies and infrastructure in the country because of its geographical location. The city was founded on July 25, 1536 by the Spanish conquistador Sebastián de Belalcázar.



Cali is the shortened form of the official name of the city Santiago de Cali. The first part of the full name honours Saint James the apostle (Santiago in Spanish) whose feast day is celebrated on July 25. The origin of the word "Cali" comes from the local native Indian tribe the "Calima" or "Calimas" descendants of the "Chibcha" tribe. Others believe that the word "Cali" has Quechua origin, and it was brought by the Yanaconas Indians that came from Quito serving Sebastián de Belalcázar. This theory is related to the fact that near Quito there is an indigenous town named Calicali.


Calima's Sculpture

Pre-Columbian era and conquest

Before the arrival of the Spaniards, the current region of Cali was inhabited by many indigenous tribes, mostly speakers of Cariban languages. In the region between the Cauca River and the Western Cordillera, the Gorrones were established between the present day Roldanillo and Cali. The biggest town of the Morrones was sited on the River Pescador near present-day towns of Zarzal and Bugalagrande. Although cannibals, the Morrones traded with the Quimbayas who inhabited the north of the Valle del Cauca.

On his way to Cali, Sebastián de Belalcázar first met the Timbas who ran away before the arrival of the Conqueror's men, leaving behind their towns and gold. After the Timbas, towards the north, the Spaniards entered the territory of the chief Jamundí and his tribe, the Jamundíes, between the rivers Pance and Jamundí. These Indians offered a strong resistance to the invaders, fighting with poisonous darts and arrows against the arquebuses and swords of the Spaniards. After taking Jamundíes' town the Spaniards looted the Indians' gold.

Before taking complete control over the region, the Spaniards had to defeat the chief Petecuy, whose tribe inhabited the area between the river Lilí and the Western Cordillera. Petecuy formed a big army with many tribes and fought the Spaniards on Holy Tuesday of 1536.

The Morrones gave up easily to the Spaniards and were divided in encomiendas. The already "mestizo" nature of the Spaniards made the process of mixing with the Amerindians easy. In fact, Belalcázar himself fathered several children born in the Americas from Indian mothers, as did his men.

Cali was important for Belalcázar because it was beyond the Inca empire. After the capture and execution of the Inca Atahualpa at Cajamarca, Francisco Pizarro had sent Belalcázar to take possession of Guayaquil and Quito on his behalf, but Cali, being beyond the Quechua empire, was claimed by Belalcazar as his own territory. After his death, his descendants maintained possession of much of the land until the war of independence against Spain.

Founding and colonial period

The founder of Cali, Sebastián de Belalcázar, came to the American continent in the third voyage made by Columbus in 1498. In 1532, after serving in Darién and Nicaragua, he joined Francisco Pizarro in the conquest of Perú. In 1534 Belalcázar separated from Pizarro's expedition to find the city of Quito, and later in his search of El Dorado he entered the territory of what is now Colombia, founding the cities of Pasto and Popayán.

On July 25, 1536, Belalcázar founded Santiago de Cali, first established a few miles north of the present location, near what are now the towns of Vijes and Riofrio. Under the orders of Belalcázar, captain Miguel Muñoz moved the city to its present location in 1537, where the chaplain Brother Santos de Añasco celebrated a mass in the place occupied by the Church La Merced today, and Belalcázar designated Pedro de Ayala as the first municipal authority.

During the Colonia (colonial period), Santiago de Cali was part of the gobernación of Popayán, which was part of Quito's Audiencia. Although initially Cali was the capital of Popayán's Gobernación, in 1540 Belalcázar moved this function to Popayán due to better weather.

Until the 18th century most of the territory of what is now Cali was occupied by haciendas (cattle farms and plantations of food, with some sugar cane), and the city was only a small town near the Cali River. In 1793, Cali had 6,548 inhabitants, 1,106 of whom were (African) slaves. The haciendas were the property of the dominant noble class with many slaves dedicated mostly to stockbreeding and raising sugar cane crops. Many of these haciendas became neighborhoods of the present city like Cañaveralejo, Chipichape, Pasoancho, Arroyohondo, Cañasgordas, Limonar, and Meléndez. Cali was strategically positioned for trade, centrally located in relation to the mining regions of Antioquia, Chocó, and Popayán. In the colonial period, the first trail for mules and horses between Cali and the port of Buenaventura was completed.


La Merced.
Municipal Theater
Northern View
Center of Events Valle del Pacifico

On 3 July 1810 Santiago de Cali refused to recognize the Council of Regency of Spain and established its own junta. This local uprising predates the national one in Bogotá by 17 days.[1] The Governor of Popayán, Miguel Tacón y Rosique, organized an army to control the uprising. The people from Cali called for help to the "Junta Suprema" in Bogotá, which sent a contingent under colonel Antonio Baraya to support the independence cause. For mutual defense, Cali also formed, with Anserma, Cartago, Toro, Buga and Caloto, the "Friend Cities of the Cauca Valley", also known as Confederated cities of the Cauca Valley, which declared independence from the Governorate of Popayán on 1 February 1811, although they continued to recognize the absent Ferdinand VII as their head of state. On the 28 March 1811 in the battle of Bajo Palacé the Army of Baraya defeated the royalist army with the help of Atanasio Girardot.[2]

In the following years there were many battles between royalists and local militia. After having been released from captivity by Napoleon, Ferdinand VII sent a large army under the command of the "Pacificador" (Pacifier) Pablo Morillo who restored royalist rule in the area by 1816.

In 1819 after Simón Bolívar defeated the bulk of the royalist army in the Battle of Boyacá, there were new uprisings in the Valle del Cauca and the Criollos took control permanently. In 1822 Bolívar arrived in Cali. The city was an important military outpost and the region contributed many men to the war of independence that liberated the nations in the south.


In the 19th century Santiago de Cali, capital of the Valley of the Cauca River State, was a very quiet community with no more than 20,000 inhabitants. The urban center of the city were in the neighborhoods of Empedrado or Altozano, which were surrounded by La Merced and San Antonio neighborhoods.

The city was surrounded by mango plantations, pastures and communal lands that were transferred from the Spanish Crown to the impoverished class. From the market gardens on these lends the city was supplied in food resources. The economy was based mainly on livestock, sugar cane, beef, panela (jaggery), a sugar derivative, cheese and the gold mines from the Pacific; there was also a small growing industrialization sector of the economy.

Around 1890 a private company, Company of Public Works of Cauca, built the Plaza de mercado (market plaza). This originates the development of a commercial area and from this becomes the transformation of the Plaza Mayor or plaza de Caycedo. In 1921, the market was sold to the Cali municipality, very close to the 9th street, were located the princial station of the tranvia of Cali, this system linked the city with suburban areas.

Recent History

On August 7, 1956, at around 1 a.m., seven Colombian army trucks filled with 42 tons of dynamite exploded near the train station, destroying around eight city blocks.[3][4] A nearby army barracks was instantly destroyed, killing all 500 soldiers. Windows were shattered for miles. More than 1,000 people were killed and several thousand injured.[5]

In the year 1971 Santiago de Cali hosted the Pan American Games, an event which is considered by many as the height of the city's golden age as a model of civic orderliness: after it Cali was named the Sports Capital of Colombia. That same year, the government of Cali inaugurated what is now the third largest building in the Republic of Colombia. "La Torre de Cali", or The Cali Tower, has a hotel, offices and apartment complexes. It stands at 42 floors above the city, making it the 3rd largest building in Colombia and the largest building in Cali.

Geography and climate


Cali is located on the Cauca Valley to the west of the Cauca River and to the east of the Western Mountain Range near the hills known as Farallones de Cali. The city rests approximately 1,000 meters (3,280 ft.) above sea level and its topography is fairly flat. Approximately 100 km west of Cali and over the Western Cordillera, lies the port city of Buenaventura on the Colombian Pacific coast; to the northeast are the industrial town of Yumbo and the city of Palmira, where Cali's international airport, the Alfonso Bonilla Aragón (CLO), is located; the colonial city of Popayán is two hours south by car in the Cauca department.


Santiago de Cali is located in a valley. The city is completely bordered by mountains to the West, Los farallones are the closest to the city. The Eastern part of the city is bordered by the Cauca river, North and South both are extended plains, in the first one you can find the industrial city of Yumbo part of Cali's metropolitan area, to the south you can find Jamundi, also part of the metropolitan area. The city is mainly plain, but there are zones mostly at West that are Mountainous, there are also some elevations practically inside the city; like San Antonio and La loma de la Cruz, both are tourist sites. There are Several rivers that descend from the Western Mountain Range and empty into the Cauca River those rivers pass through the metropolitan area of Cali. In the western part of the city the Aguacatal River flows into the Cali River, which continues on to the Cauca River. In the south the rivers Cañaveralejo, Lilí, and Meléndez flow into the CVC south channel which also empties into the Cauca River. Farther south, the banks of the Pance River are a popular place for recreation and leisure.


Under Koppen's climate classification, Cali features a tropical savanna climate. The local climate is semi-tropical as the Western Mountain Range screens the flow of humidity from the Pacific coast towards the interior of the country. In the afternoons Cali enjoys a fresh cross breeze that originates in the west and blows east. The Western Mountain Range rises from an average of 2,000 meters above sea level in the northern part of the city to approximately 4,000 meters to the south. Because of this variation in altitude, the weather in the northwest portion of the city is drier than in the southwest. The average annual precipitation varies between 900 mm to 1,800 mm depending on the metropolitan zone for a citywide average of approximately 1,000 mm. Cali's average temperature is 24°C (74°F) with an average low temperature of 19°C (66°F) and a high of 30°C (86°F).

Due to its proximity to the equator there are no major seasonal variations. However, locals refer to the dry season as the city's "summer" period and call the rainy season "winter." There are typically two rainy seasons: from April to May and from October to November. Regardless, rain can be expected to fall at any point during the year nourishing the city's permanent green and lush vegetation.

Climate data for Santiago de Cali
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 37
Average high °C (°F) 30
Average low °C (°F) 19.4
Record low °C (°F) 14
Precipitation mm (inches) 48
Source: [6] 2008-09-26


Historic district

Saint Francis' square

Santiago de Cali offers historical areas with cultural variety and other attractions. In downtown Cali, you can find many historical churches like La Merced and La Ermita. Cali contains a well preserved Historical center, the most important zone is La plaza de Caycedo, considered the center of the city, which is a square surrounded by many historical and modern buildings like El edificio Otero, La Catedral and El Palacio de Justicia; This plaza is very close to other touristic places, like The Saint Francis church (in Spanish, Iglesia de San Francisco), the municipal theater and La Merced church. The city is also very rich in monuments, parks, squares and museums. The most emblematic sculptures are Cristo Rey, located upon a mountain range; Sebastian de Belalcazar, founder of the city; and Las tres Cruces, a place of pilgrimage during the days of the Holy Week.

Regular tourism

Ermita church
San Fernando
San Antonio church
Plaza de Cayzedo (Cayzedo Square)

There is a variety of nightclubs and restaurants. In the city you can find whole districts dedicated to tourism, for example Granada, one of the most traditional districts in Cali, full of gourmet restaurants, fashion stores and boutiques. Another spot to visit is along "La sexta" or the 6th street. Many types of nightclubs are there, as are restaurants and hotels. This area is usually called the "zona rosa" or pink zone, and is located in the north very close to Chipichape mall. In the recent years, the restaurant industry has boomed, ranking Cali very close to Bogota in first-class restaurant options.

Main touristic centers:

  • Plaza de Cayzedo: It was a tradition in early Colombian towns to create a 'central' square in honor of the town's hero; which in most cases turned to be El Libertador Simon Bolivar. Cali's hero was Joaquin de Cayzedo y Cuero, a fighter for the republic. In the earlier town's years, everything turned around what in 1813 would be called the Cayzedo Square.
  • Parque del perro: Located in the San Fernando neighborhood, this is one of the most popular areas in the city, full of restaurants and bars. If you want to party or just have a nice dinner, then this is the place for you. The park gets its name because it has a dog monument in the middle of it.
  • Sebastian de Belalcazar's monument: It is the most visited and popular monument in the city, and here you can find regional foods like "Mazorca asada," a roasted corn. The monument is famous due to its pointing finger to a part of the city, while its face is looking to another direction. The position meant to be as the conquistador leading his partners.
  • Cali River: One of the most peaceful zones in the city, the river is located in the west and is surrounded by restaurants, hotels and museums like "La Tertulia," an art museum.
  • Cristo Rey: A religious monument located on a hill that offers the best view of the city. It is 31 m high, from which 5 m belong to the basis.[7][8]
  • San Antonio: It is the most traditional neighborhood of Cali. In the colonial age, it was the extension of the downtown. Although it was split off by 'La calle Quinta' (Fifth street), it conserves its traditional aura which makes a inevitable step on the visit. All the neighborhood is on a hill, and at the top you will find the San Antonio Park, the icing on the cake! Guaranteed.
  • Juanchito: Although many would prefer to keep it away of the list, Juanchito has made fame. This zone of Cali (which actually belongs to another municipality) might have had the largest number of discothèques and clubs of the country. It all started on the sixties, when Salsa began winning caleños hearts. Some did not like the idea of insinuating dances, but for the majority it became a cult. And Juanchito their temple. To get there, caleños must pass a bridge over the Cauca river. A simple action that has been immortalized by the music, Salsa of course.
  • Cali Zoo: Ranked in top 5 of Latin American zoos. It has became most than a place where to show animals, it makes research and has some formations. Its location could not be more wonderful, alongside the Cali river, just where valley and mountains get together.
  • Farallones de Cali: A part of the city seats on hills belonging to the Colombian western chain mountain. Beyond these hills there is a full new world, which is protected by the Colombian government. It is the Farallones de Cali national park. Although Caleños have not yet fully discovered it, in the recent years it has boomed as a touristic destination for a full range of different people; adventurists to escalate, walk, paragliding; naturists for its natural and life environments; or simply for those looking for 'cold' weather minutes away of urban areas.
  • La Ceiba: A large and old Ceiba tree on a street corner at the west of the city.[9]

Just walking could not mean a lot, but calenos love doing it in the late afternoon. After 4PM, when heat goes down, breeze starts. It comes from the neighboring mountains, and refreshes souls and bodies.

It is normal in Cali to think of a shopping mall as a touristic place. Most of them are built like urban boulevards, with open-air walking corridors that look like a 'Main Street' side walk. With large facilities providing full amenities, Caleños love just talking walks in them, enjoying the fact that everything is at their hands. The most traditional malls are Unicentro at south and Chipichape at North; both built in the open-air style. Others of this type are Palmetto Plaza, Jardin Plaza and Cosmocentro. Other malls in Cali are Centenario, Unico and La14. Tens of smaller malls are spread all over the city. Certainly, bargains will not be found on most of these malls. Downtown's 13th, 14th and 15th streets are the bargains' hub of the city. In the 'San Andresito' or 'Pasaje Cali' malls (or any of that kind in the area) you can buy thousands of inexpensive China-made products. Although street-selling is illegal, the practice is widespread in the area in such a massive volume that police is unable to control it. Be aware of peddlers.

Medical Tourism

According to recent Lonely Planet[10] guides of Colombia, Cali has recently become famous for being a prime destination for people seeking cheap cosmetic surgery. Cali's surgeons are famous in Colombia for having shaped some of the country's most beautiful women. There have been no significant reports of problems in this area, but Lonely Planet advises proper research before pursuing such an idea.



International Flights serving Cali

Santiago de Cali is served by Alfonso Bonilla Aragón International Airport (IATA: CLOICAO: SKCL), located in the City of Palmira. It is Colombia's second largest airport in terms of passengers transporting (2,171,551 in 2006) and 4th in cargo. Alfonso Bonilla Aragón is located in a long, narrow valley that runs from north to south, and is surrounded by mountains up to 14,000 feet (4,000 m) high. The airport is connected to the city by a highway known as the "recta a Palmira", that in the last few years has been upgraded to make it a more accessible airport to Cali and the surrounding city centers in the region. The airport has also has been remodeled recently, some of the last significant events in those terms were the inauguration of the VIP room in the National terminal and the installation of a main electronic screen in the center of the check-in area. As for any international airport, you can find different services and facilities :

  • Car rental : AVIS (+572 4860900) and other international companies.
  • Hotel
  • Restaurants, Coffees and bars : Some typical of Cali and Colombia
  • Handicrafts stores
  • Duty Free-Paid
  • Travel Agencies
  • Financial services (Locals) and Currency exchanges
  • Telecommunication services

There is a military airport close to the city's downtown. The Marco Fidel Suarez Military Air Base is located in the east side of the city and belongs to the Colombian Air Force. It is used as one of the main training centers for the country's Fighter pilots.

Public transportation

Masivo Integrado de Occidente(MIO)
BRT Station

The city of Cali offers a variety of ways to move through the city; in March 2009, The Masivo Integrado de Occidente (MIO) began operations. It is planned to be the primary system that connects the city. Taxis and old buses are the secondary way to get around. Taxis are one of the best systems that tourists can use, as they are relatively inexpensive and are the most secure of the two. Non-MIO buses round-out the system and are used primarily by the working class to get around and are the least expensive to use. Buses are secure but not at the same level as taxis. This part of the transport in the city is waiting a needed reorganization of routes.

Masivo Integrado de Occidente (MIO): A massive transit system; M.I.O is based on the transportation model that consist in the use of articulated buses that runs through dedicated bus lanes running down the middle of major thoroughfares. MIO bus stations are locate in the middle of the thoroughfare, and are connected with sidewalks by dedicated pedestrian crossings or bridges. The system layout is 243 kilometers and is distributed in a main trunk, pre-trunk and complementary corridors. The system also integrated the renovation and recuperation of the public space. The MIO system was not only designed for the public transport, but built for public use with extensive new sidewalks, parks, gardens and public squares for the public to enjoy.

List of the Trunk or principal corridors:

  • Calle 5
  • Carrera 15
  • Calles 13 y 15
  • Avenida de las Américas
  • Avenida 3N
  • Carrera 1
  • Transversal 25
  • Carrera 29 y Autopista Oriental
  • Calle 70

More information about El MIO, in the official web site of Metrocali.

Bus Central Station

Cali is served by over 20 coach companies[11] which gather in the Bus Central Station. The Station is centrally located nearby to the old-idle train station, which serves now as Metrocali's headquarters. Depending on the company and the destination, the vehicles range from minibuses to large coaches. Recently, in their last float renovation wave, Colombian coaches operators have opted for Brazil's Marcopolo buses. Informal stops exists for the short destination rides all alongside the way from Central Station to the town of destination. In some cases, is enough for a passenger asking to get off the bus for the bus to stop.

Driving directions

  • Bogota-Cali: Distance between Cali and Bogota is about 440 km[12]. From Bogota you must take route 40 South. This route passes through Melgar, Girardot, Ibague, and Armenia. About 50 km after have passed Armenia, take the Route 25 South for another 120 km. (Takes about 10 hours).
  • Cali-Quito: Distance between Cali and Quito is about 600 km. From Cali you must take Colombian National Route 25 South. This route passes through Popayan, Pasto and Ipiales, which is the border city in the Colombian side. In Tulcan (border city in Ecuador) you start Ecuadorean Route 35 South. You drive about 190 km before reaching Ecuadorean Route 28 West.

Route 25 is the main North-South route in Colombia, so for other destinations further than Medellin or Bogota, you certainly must pass through this cities. With the exception of Buenaventura, for most destinations in the department of Valle del Cauca you must take this route as well.

Panorama of Cali


Banco de Occidente

Cali and the department (province) of Valle del Cauca (Valley of the Cauca River) conform one of the principal commercial centers in Colombia. The city is a national and international point of exchange. Cali has a privileged geographical location due to its proximity to the port-city of Buenaventura which is Colombian main port on the Pacific ocean. The city’s economy is preceded and established mostly by its history reflected in the many sugar plantations on the area, which are part of the legacy of the haciendas(plantations). Industrial development is remarkable for the regional economy; the north part of the city is the most industrialized district. The city of Yumbo, a northern suburb of the metro area, is a major industrial hub for many corporations, such as Colombia's beverage producer Postobón S.A. and Bavaria a SABMiller brewery, among others.

Since 1940, Valle del Cauca's PIB has grown at twice the average rate of the country, according to DANE statistics. In 1997 the regional GDP growth rate slowed, not even reaching 1%. In 1999 countrywide recession affected specially the regional economy, and GDP decreased -4% annually. Since then the economy has behaved erratically.

Economy 2006-2007

Today the city's economy is rising at a faster pace. The construction industry is the perfect example of such a rising as there are many residential developments booming all over the city. Moreover, commercial development is also on the rise; nowadays there are many commercial-centers or "malls" and shopping centers at the construction stage, and most of the ones already built are expanding or remodeling their existing locations.

One of the most important events in Cali is Cali Exposhow, where entrepreneurs in the fashion, cosmetic and health industry can exhibit their products to the public. The importance of this event relies on the vast number of business markets that the event can attract, ranging from aesthetic dentistry, aesthetic surgery, fashion design, shoe design, jewelry design, dermatology, hair specialists, model industry, holistic health, spa products, etc


Crime is a serious problem in Cali. As of 2006, there were 1,540 intentional homicides in the city and 1,726 overall when including the metropolitan area. The rates for the city and metropolitan area were 62 and 63 per 100,000 respectively. Although still high, crime rates, and the homicide rate in particular, are declining.[13][14]


Concejo de Cali (City council)

Cali is governed by a mayor who is elected for a four-year term. Under the mayor, there are several administrative departments and secretaries. Mayor's elections started in 1986, followed by Governors' in 1992. Before these dates, all Colombian regional executive-branch leaders were appointed by the President himself. The first elected mayor was Carlos Holmes Trujillo of the Liberal Party. Unlike other Colombian cities, Cali has not properly adapted to the quite new Mayor's election system. The city has had some unsuccessful stories with some of its elected mayors, two of them being removed of the office. Some argue this is caused by Aguablanca's huge mass population often driven to vote based in small short-termed gifts from populists candidates fully aware of this District needs. There were recorded cases of candidates giving bricks, cement and other stuff to the District's leaders in exchange of shifting votes to their campaigns.

Elected Mayors of Cali
Mayor Started Ended
Carlos Holmes Trujillo García January 1988 January 1990
Germán Villegas Villegas January 1990 January 1992
Rodrigo Guerrero Velasco January 1992 December 1994
Mauricio Guzmán Cuevas January 1995 August 1997
Julio César Martínez Payán August 1997 December 1997
Ricardo H. Cobo Lloreda January 1998 December 2000
John Maro Rodríguez Flórez January 2001 December 2003
Apolinar Salcedo Caicedo January 2004 May 2007
Sabas Ramiro Tafur Reyes May 2007 December 2007
Jorge Iván Ospina Gómez January 2008 December 2011

The City Council is composed by 21 members, elected by citywide circumscription for four year terms. There is no relation between the number of City Counselors and the number of 'comunas' of the city, which is a merely administrative division created to facilitate city's management.

Cali has some decentralized agencies; the most important being :

2007 Elections

The 2007 elections took place on October 28, 2007 to replace Ramiro Reyes as mayor of Santiago de Cali. Jorge Ivan Ospina, Francisco Lloreda, Bruno Diaz, Diego Luis Hurtado and Jorge Portocarrero were running for the Office. Jorge Ivan Ospina (Left wing running as Independent) was elected Mayor for the 2008-2011 term with 49.05% of votes, followed by Francisco Lloreda (Conservative running as Independent) with 39.02%. Mr Lloreda was at his third attempt to become Mayor of the city, being defeated every time.


A large part of the population relies on the public educational system, which is underfunded and in some cases improperly managed. Schools are under municipal or departmental management, the former being the most common. The Municipal Secretary of Education manages a large part of the city's budget, which has brought some politicians to try to control it as their personal organization.

The city is endowed with the most sophisticated and high-quality secondary education institutions and universities in the region. Most universities are located in the south of the city. Among the most prestigious are University of Valle (Public), Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Private), and Universidad ICESI (Private).


University of Valle
  • University of Valle. (Public) It is the largest higher education institution by student population in the southwest of the country, and the third in Colombia, with more than 30,320 students.[15][16]. Its Faculties of Medicine, Engineering, Sciences, and Social Sciences rank as the best of the region. The first three rank at the top in the national level. Unlike every other Colombian public university, Univalle does not have a Law School.
  • Universidad Autonoma de Occidente. (Private) Founded in 1975, this private institution has more than 7,400 students.
  • Pontifica Universidad Javeriana. (Private) Founded in 1970, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Seccional Cali serves as the sectional campus of the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana of Bogota. PUJ is a private higher education institution currently with more than 5,700 students enrolled in its seventeen undergraduate and twenty graduate programs offered by its faculties of engineering, economic and administrative sciences, humanistic and social sciences and health sciences. With over 36,000 printed books spanning a wide array of academic topics, the university's library is one of the biggest in the city. Beginning in 2010 the university will inaugurate its Medicine school bringing its total number of undergraduate degrees to seventeen [17]. Pontificia Universidad Javeriana is one of the most prestigious universities in the city of Cali offering first class education through its accredited and award-winning programs.
  • Universidad ICESI. (Private) Universidad ICESI was founded in 1979 by regional entrepreneurs looking to solve the lack of highly skilled professionals in the areas relevant to their business. It offers undergraduates programs, specializations and masters. It has more than 2,950 students and a library with over 30,000 books. On the 2nd semester of 2009, the university will start its highly anticipated Medicine School, which will use the Valle del Lily Health Center as its training and educational facility.
  • Universidad San Buenaventura (Private)
  • Universidad Libre

La Manzana del Saber

Located in the south of the city, La Manzana del Saber is today the most important educational project in Cali. There is already a Science Museum and a public library, the project is going to build a new museum called "Abrakadabra" and a investigation center. The project is in construction phase, the demolition of a whole block of the city will be undertaken to build the complex.

You can find more information about this project at (Spanish)

Arts and culture

Cultural centers

Cultural center
Cali at night
  • Casa de la cultura Proartes. Since 1871 this house has been a great influence in the culture in cali. The building was restored on 1991 and it contains exhibition saloons, scenarios and a cinema.
  • Centro cultural de Cali. Since 1997 it is considered the cultural center in the city and headquarters of the Municipal secretaries of truism and culture.


  • Museo Arqueológico La Merced
  • Museo Religioso y Colonial de San Francísco
  • Museo del Oro Calima from the Rebublica bank


Feria de Cali (The Cali Fair)

"La Feria de Cali" is the main cultural event in the city. It is a fair that has been celebrated since 1957. The fair is celebrated from December 25 to December 30. The fair is know also as the "Feria de la Caña" (sugar cane fair) and "Feria de la salsa" (Salsa fair). People enjoy many activities like an opening cabalgata (parade of horseback riders), tascas, salsa concerts, bullfights, parades, athletic activities, competitions and cultural exhibitions.

Cali is also known as the "Capital de la Salsa" given the city's infatuation with that type of Afro-Caribbean music. In early July there is the Summer Salsa Festival which lasts for one week. It usually includes concerts by some of the world's great salsa bands as well as dance shows and "melomano" competitions in which salsa connoisseurs try to out do each other by digging deep into the archives of salsa music and related sounds to find and reveal long lost tunes.[19]

Rio Cali race

Cali has two main athletic events, a mid-year half marathon [9] and a December 10k race called Carrera del Río Cali.


At a professional level, Cali hosts just soccer teams. At the amateur level there are Basketball, Baseball, indoor soccer, Volleyball, and other sports. Nationally, Cali's athletes compete with Bogota's and Medellin's in most sport tournaments and championships.

Colombia's sports capital city

Football (soccer) Stadium, Pascual Guerrero
Bullring Cañaveralejo, The Pueblo Arena, and other sports scenarios
Cali 2007 mundial del patinaje.jpg

The city of Santiago de Cali is recognized as the sports capital of Colombia. It is the first Colombian city to have hosted the Pan American Games 1971 Pan Am Games, and because this region has won the National Olympic Games more than any other region in Colombia. The city also counts with one of the most developed sport infrastructures in the country, many sporting events have taken place in the city.

Cali has two soccer stadiums; Estadio Olímpico Pascual Guerrero and Estadio del Deportivo Cali. Estadio Olímpico Pascual Guerrero is currently home of both Deportivo Cali and America de Cali, since Estadio Deportivo Cali is still under construction. Deportivo Cali is the only football (soccer) team owner of a stadium in Colombia since all of the other football stadiums are owned by the government, other important scenario in the city is "El pueblo Arena" is a covered arena center use for all type of events, the main use is basketball.


Cali's infrastructure has permitted it to host several major international sports competitions such as the 1971 Pan American Games, numerous Games of the Pacific, the final phase of the 1982 World basketball championship, the 1999 World’s Roller Hockey Championships, women’s basketball and swimming events, Pan American Speed-Track Cycling Championships, and most recently the World’s Roller Speed Skating Championships.

Football (soccer)

Santiago de Cali is home of Colombia's Deportivo Cali and America de Cali soccer clubs. Many well-known football players were either born in Cali or have played in one of its clubs. Wellington Ortiz, Carlos (El Pibe) Valderrama, Anthony (El Pipa) de Avila, Alex Escobar, Julio Cesar Falcioni, Jorge da Silva, Jorge Bermudez, Giovanny Hernandez, Hugo Rodallega, Mario Yepes, Faryd Mondragon, Adolfo (el tren) Valencia, and Oscar Cordoba are a sample of them.

According to Conmebol, America ranks 2nd and Deportivo Cali 3rd[20] in the Colombian national ranking, which ranks itself 3rd in the Conmebol ranking. America was ranked as the world's 2nd best club in 1996 by the IFFHS (International Federation of Football History & Statistics)[21] and 35th in the All-Time Club World Ranking of the IFFHS [22]. Cali is the Colombian city having hosted the most Colombian first division finals, with 40 matches being played in the stadium. America has won 13 titles, and has been second on 7 occasions. Deportivo Cali has won 8 titles, second in 11 occasions. They have played final against each other three times. In the early 50's, now second-division city's team Boca Juniors lost two finals.

Basketball and Bullfighting

Though there is no current basketball team that calls Santiago de Cali home, basketball is the second-most played sport in the city. Basketball is a preferred sport at the city center location "La Carrera del Cholado". Futbol (soccer) still surpasses basketball in sport popularity. Bullfighting is staged during the Cali Fair which is held in December. It is anticipated by many citizens in Cali, as well as all Colombia. The bullfighting ring is called La Plaza de Toros de Cañaveralejo, located southwest of Cali.

Sister Cities

Other views

Aleko skyscrapercity 1.jpg
Sky view of Southern Cali

Aleko skyscrapercity 5.jpg
View of Northern Cali


  1. ^ Mendoza Neira, Plinio, ed. Cali: La sultana del Valle (Librería Colombiana Camacho Roldán, 1962).
  2. ^ Zawadzky C., Alfonso, Comentario al libro Las Ciudades Confederadas del Valle del Cauca en 1811. Bogota, Editorial Librería Voluntad, S.A., 1943.
  3. ^ [1] Cali, la explosión de 1956: catástrofe histórica
  4. ^ [2] El País - Cali recuerda la explosión del 7 de agosto
  5. ^ [3] This Day in History: Mysterious Explosions in Colombia
  6. ^
  7. ^ Monumento a Cristo Rey en Cali (Absolut Colombia)
  8. ^ Cristo Rey (Alcaldía de Santiago de Cali)
  9. ^ Piden ayuda para ceiba del Oeste (El País, 27/11/2008)
  10. ^ [4]
  11. ^ Bus Station website. List of operating companies (Spanish)
  12. ^ a b Logired website
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Observatorio del Delito Estratega para el control de la violencia urbana" (in Spanish). Universidad del Valle. Retrieved 2006-07-08. 
  15. ^ "Universidad del Valle en cifras - Semestre II, 2008" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2009-03-03. 
  16. ^ "Estudio comparativo de cuatro Universidades Públicas Colombianas" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2009-02-21. 
  17. ^ "Pontificia Universidad Javeriana - Llega Medicina a la Javeriana Cali. Inscripciones abiertas" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2009-11-10. 
  18. ^ [5]Cali's Museums guide
  19. ^ [6] Cali fair Guide
  20. ^ [7]
  21. ^ International Federation of football History and Statistics IFFHS
  22. ^ All-Time Club world Ranking of the IFFHS

External links

(The following links are all in Spanish language)


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Cali [1] is a city in southwestern Colombia, capital of the Valle del Cauca department. It has about 2 million inhabitants and it is a significant industrial and commercial center of activity in Colombia. Being at around 1,000 meters above sea level, it has a warm, but not excessively hot climate.

It's best known for its salsa music.

Get in

By bus

From the Terminal de transportes you have the choice of many different regional, national and domestic destinations.

The trip from the airport to the terminal lasts around 20 minutes and you can do it either by taxi (45,000 COP) or mini-van (4,000 COP). Recommendation: Travel only by certified transport companies, like Expreso Palmira, Bolivariano or Expreso Brasilia. These companies bring you safety and comfort for you and your luggage. You may bargain with other companies, but the trip may be very uncomfortable.

By plane

Cali's International Airport Alfonso Bonilla Aragón [2] is located 16km northeast of the city and can be reached by bus or taxi. Many domestic and some international destinations can be reached. There are flights to and from Medellín, Bogotá, Barranquilla, Ibagué, Pereira, Pasto and Cartagena. Foreign cities that can be reached by non-stop flights are Miami, Madrid, Panama City, Quito, Guayaquil and Esmeraldas in Ecuador. The airlines with international flights are : Avianca, American Airlines, Aerorepublica, Copa, TACA, LAN and TAME.

Get around

By taxi

Taxis are a fast and affordable way to get around the city. Only use official cars and it is strongly recommended to call for one if possible (you may call the local numbers 444 44 44, 555 55 55 and ask for one, your name and destination will be registered in the head office). Make sure the driver starts the meter running. The meters count units, not in the local currency. The minimum fare during daytime is 3,600 COP, during nighttime it's 4,500 COP. 14 units equal 900 COP. Do not leave your luggage inside the taxi while you are not, it sometimes happens that drivers get off as soon as you are out the taxi and your luggage is still in the trunk. In any case, many of the taxi drivers are nice and gentle people and have some good stories to tell, so hopefully you speak or understand Spanish at a reasonable level.

  • MIO - Masivo Integrado de Occidente: Inaugurated in March 2009, this transport system consists of large blue buses running in exclusive lanes with enclosed stations and offers the best option for local transit. All buses are air-conditioned, clean and safe. A one way trip costs 1,500 COP with no discount for bulk purchases. The system continues construction of new lanes with the eventual goal of comprehensive coverage of the metropolitan area. [3]
  • There are 23 urban transport companies to travel around the city. You may ask someone for a route, the local people are very eager to help. A regular trip costs 1,500 COP.
La Ermita church, downtown
La Ermita church, downtown
  • Historic churches, there are many historic Catholic churches that represent different Spanish Colonial architecture of a time gone past. The city is over 450 years old, so architecture is one of the best things to see.
  • Museo del Oro del Banco de la República, Calle 7 No. 4-69. A Museum containing archaeological exhibits of pottery and gold of pre-Columbian cultures which existed in the region. There is also a small art exhibition. The entrance is free and it's open Monday till Saturday.
  • Museo Arqueologico La Merced, located in the downtown, is a Colonial-type church, with an archaeological museum displaying pre-Hispanic exhibits and religious art from ancient cultures which inhabited the region in pre-Colombian times.
  • Cristo Rey, a statue located in the top of a hill, similar to Cristo de Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. Offers a great city view and climbing the mountain is a good exercise. Do not walk alone, it's not a really safe place.
  • Cerro de las Tres Cruces, a hill embellished with three big crosses from which the whole city is visible.
  • Iglesia de San Antonio, colonial-type church at the top of a hill. Another great view of the downtown area.
  • Estatua de Belalcazar, like its southern neighbour Popayan, Cali was founded by the spanish conquistador Sebastian de Belalcazar. There is a statue in Belalcazar's honor in a nice residential area of Cali, where you can look out over the whole city. It's much safer than Cristo Rey.
  • Zoologico de Cali, this is an excellent zoo with many animals from around the world. The premises are very well kept and, surprisingly, it is in an up-scale side of town. The animals generally have lots of space for themselves. Do not miss : the Bengal tigers, the butterflies and the birds. Lonely Planet has called this South America´s best zoo.
  • La Ermita, a Gothic-style church located in the downtown area. It was built in 1678 and then renovated in 1930.
  • La Tertulia Museum of modern art.
  • Plaza de Toros The city's bullfighting arena. Only active in December during the "Feria de Cali" festival.
  • Culture Cali has many cultural offers, like the Teatro Municipal Enrique Buenaventura, Centro Cultural Comfandi or the Teatro Jorge Isaacs.
  • Nice places: Lake Calima (one and a half hour drive from city) nice place to stay for about 30 dollars night also one of the best places for windsurf in south America
  • Soccer Matches: In the Estadio Olimpico Pascual Guerrero is the Host place of the local teams of the city, Deportivo Cali [4] and America de Cali [5]. regularly each Sunday one of them plays a Match for the National Championship. Between the months of May-June and November-December they are in playoffs, so the matches are more exciting. It is recommended that tourists sit on the west side section, "Occidental", of the stadium. Under no circumstances should a tourist sit at the south side of the stadium as this is where the popular barras for both teams are located.
  • Mountain Biking: Excellent tracks there, get information at BTT de Colombia Bike store (yellow pages ask for Julio).
  • Wind or Kite surfing: The best place in south America, wind blows virtually 365 days a year find information at [6].
  • Salsa Dancing: Cali is one of the most famous or popular places for salsa in the world. You can find people dancing in the streets and every single night find a club open for salsa dancing [7]. These clubs have live salsa music, with popular groups as "La Sonora Carrusel".
  • Universidad del Valle [8] - public university of the Valle del Cauca department. Well know for their high level in Health Careers.
  • Universidad Santiago de Cali [9] - one of the most popular Universities
  • Pontificia Universidad Javeriana [10] - Jesuit university
  • Universidad Autonoma de Occidente [11]
  • Universidad ICESI [12]: Traditionally a business school, nowadays hosts many careers from Medical school to history to biomedical engineering.
  • Universidad de San Buenaventura [13]
Souvenir store at Chipichape
Souvenir store at Chipichape
  • Chipichape mall [14]: a big indoor/outdoor shopping center built on an abandoned train station and warehouse north of downtown. It provides nearly everything and especially the possibility to have a drink at various outdoor bars, and to see many calenas. Its the best place to meet other foreigners, immigrants and English speaking natives. Also a great place to buy local handicrafts and souvenirs at Tu Tierra Linda store, 2nd floor. The mall has movie theaters, two food courts, supermarket, a department store and much more. A hotel is now under construction. Chimichape also has free wireless internet in the open air where all the cafe bars are located.
  • Unicentro [15] is the largest mall in town located 10 km south of downtown. It has over 200 stores, 30 restaurants and cafes, a Multiplex, Casino as well as office space, a supermarket and a department store. A new addition opened in October 2008 features the largest water fountain in town.
  • Palmetto Plaza [16] is popular with the young crowd with its many outdoor bars and cafes.
Colorful handbag made with materials crafted by natives
Colorful handbag made with materials crafted by natives
  • Cosmocentro has a large supermarket and a some stores.
  • Jardin Plaza [17] is the newest mall in town with beautiful indoor gardens for a mostly outdoor experience. It has a nice Movie Theater Complex [18]. This mall is just across the street from the high tech hospital Fundacion Valle del Lili [19].
  • Parque Artesanal Loma de la Cruz: A place to buy inexpensive, sometimes cheap, artesanal figures and other stuff. Beware this park is outdoors and can be unsafe at night.
  • Cholados- a delicious mix of shaved ice and exotic fruit with rasberry and sweet condensed milk sauces and a wafer cookie. Often sold from vendors that have stands that display fruit and shaved ice, and best found in Jamundi, about a 15 min drive from the southern neighborhoods of Cali.
  • Pandebono - baked rings of cheese bread which is quite typical of Cali
  • Buñuelos - sweet fried doughnut balls
  • Sancocho de gallina - a very popular chicken soup, best found in a town called Ginebra, about one hour drive from Cali
  • Manjar blanco - a candy made from cooked sugar and milk, similar to dulce de leche (Milk candy)
  • Chontaduro or peach palm fruit - a local delicacy that is sold on the street, topped with salt or honey
  • Mango viche - green unripened mango, which is sold on the street and eaten with salt and lemon juice
  • Guarapo - a deliciously refreshing drink of freshly pressed sugar cane juice (usually the seller has a machine and extracts the juice right in front of you) served with ice and a squirt of lemon juice
  • Grosellas - small sour fruits which are sold on the street in bags and are eaten with salt
  • Arroz atollado - one of Valle del Cauca's most delicious dishes, almost like a risotto with chicken, sausages and potatoes
  • Empanadas - corn pastries filled with meat or chicken and eaten with hot sauce (aji)
  • Champus - very exotic mix of pineapple , "lulo" (see below), corn and a plant called "limoncillo"... just delicious!.
  • Jugo de lulo or lulo juice - the most delicious of all local fruit juices
  • Aborrajados - fried cheese-filled plantains
  • Dulce de Guayaba con queso - a delicious dollop of guava paste on top of a fresh slice of local 'cuajada' cheese
  • Marranitas is a delicious mix of plantain with "chicharrón" (pork`s skin fried)(The best ones are in "El champus de Lola" in San Antonio hill.
  • El Solar (Trattoria Faró), calle 15 Norte # 9 N-62 (+572 653 4628). until 1 AM. A fun place with outdoor seating, many options in the menu. Live music on weekends. $$.  edit
  • Pacífico (Seafood), Ave 9 N # 12-18 (Granada), +572 653 3753, [20]. Noon-3 PM, 6-11 PM. Well made seafood, many recipes from the Colombian pacific. $$.  edit
  • Tizones (Steaks & seafood), Ave 6 BN # 28 N - 57 (Corner across from Carvajal headquarters), +57 2 653 0181. Great meat. $$$.  edit
  • Ringlete (Regional food), Calle 15 A Norte # 9N-31 Granada (in the middle of a narrow street), +57 2 660 1540, [21]. Well done and served local food. Many recipes with plantains. $$.  edit
  • El Patio Verde (Local food), Cra 9 # 4-53 (San Antonio), +57 2 893 6219. M-Sat 5,30-11 PM. Plantain is king in this restaurant. Closed Sundays. $$.  edit
  • Faro El Patio, Calle 19 # 105-52 (Ciudad Jardin-South), +57 2 333 1456. Until 1 AM. Large menu, outdoor area. Live tropical bands on Fridays and Saturdays. $$.  edit
  • Guarapo - the juice of sugar cane which grows in the Cauca river valley.
  • Aguardiente - one of the favorite alcoholic beverage in Colombia, with each region has its preferred brand - the local brand is Aguardiente Blanco del Valle and is sweet and licorice-flavored.
  • Chicha - slightly-alcoholic beverage made of fermented pineapples.

Cali's nightlife is on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. There are some good clubs and bars to go out.

Visit Avenida Sexta Cali's Broadway at day & night. Some bars and dance clubs popular with the working class are located there. Many banks branches are settled here. The avenue is crowded pretty much all day long. Be careful at night, could be unsafe.

  • Cali Plaza Hotel Restaurant & Bar A favorite hang-out for International Tourists, free wi-fi. Calle 15 Norte 6N 33 at Cali Plaza Hotel [22].
  • Alterno Bar is more like a crossover type of bar, its pretty good and you can meet a lot of people there.
  • Blues Brothers Bar is a big and popular bar, live music on Thursdays. Avenida 6A Norte # 21-40 Barrio Santa Mónica. Phone +57 3 661 3412.
  • Casa del Arte is a lively bar and restaurant with a mixed age crowd, mostly gay costumers. Closed Mondays. Phone +57 3 665 2365 Calle 44 #4-31 Norte Cali [23].
  • El Faro is the place to go if you like classic rock/heavy metal. Located in "El Limonar" A "Jirafa" (Lot of beer) is about USD3.
  • Eliptica is an outside bar settled on a hill at the outskirts of Cali. The views are beautiful and this is a good place for an after party. Open till six or till the police shuts it down.
  • Fanaticos Sport's Bar is the IN place @ Palmetto Plaza Shopping center, where college guys and young professionals meet to watch their favourite sports games. Great beer and good prices, open every day until 3AM.
  • Flores Frescas is a renowned cabaret just off Avenida Sexta, with lots of good looking local girls. 15,000 COP entry, beers 5,000 COP a can.
  • Forum is a popular club for electronic music with an energetic atmosphere.
  • London Tavern is busy only on a Thursday night when there is a live salsa band playing.
  • Martyn´s Bar is a classic rock bar that has been around since the early ´80s.
  • Chango is a popular salsa club in the famous Juanchito sector in the other side of the Cauca River. Best salsa party in town.
  • Kukaramakara is a great local club with excellent mix of Latin music and good looking locals. Get a bottle and a table and enjoy [24].
  • Lulu - Electrónica is a popular club for the young in the middle of Granada neighborhood, not far from Avenida 6ta. Calle 16 Norte # 8N-46 [25].
  • Lulu - Latino a fun disco with latin dance music alternating with the 80's. Address: Antigua vía Yumbo just a few meters after -and across - discoteca Praga. Big and safe parking lot. [26]
  • Praga is a popular club which plays mix of all types of music called crossover. Located in the neighbor town of Yumbo not far from Cali.
  • Tin Tin Deo is a very comfortable and almost magic place where people can enjoy the classic salsa music and other Caribbean rhythms.
  • La Matraca (Tango bar and dance), Carrera 11 # 22-80 corner (Barrio Obrero), +57 2 885 7113, [27]. 8 PM - 2 AM. $$.  edit
Hotel Intercontinental Cali
Hotel Intercontinental Cali
  • Casa Agua Canela, Cra 24A N°2A-55 Miraflores, [28]. Beautiful views, a fantastic location in the Miraflores area, and bright, spacious rooms all come standard at Casa Agua Canela, as does friendly staff and good prices. Cook for yourself using the equipped kitchen or ask them to prepare something tasty. If you are looking for a more personal hostel with a relaxing vibe, this is it.  edit
  • Kaffee Erde, Avenida 4Norte #4N-79, +573014000914, [29]. Friendly owners who care about their guests run this great hostel close to bars, restaurants, shopping, and more. They have cheap prices but quality rooms, and offer free organic coffee and salsa lessons to their guests. They can arrange trips and tours, and the owners love to chat and share stories with the guests. A very homey, comfortable atmosphere.  edit
  • Casa Blanca Hostel (Best chill-out for adventures travelers), Ave. 6bis, Calle 26N, 57, Santa Monica (One block of the famous La Sexta, 4 blocks from Super mall Chipichape), (2) 396 38 49, [30]. checkin: 7:00; checkout: 11:00. Run by Danish/Colombian couple (Mike & Diana) Casa Blanca Hostel opened in August 2008 in the safe and convenient location one block of the famous La Sexta avenue. The hostel offers big well equipped self-catering kitchen and dining area. There's a large living room with 42" flat screen, cable TV package and lots of DVD's, reading section and magazines, free WiFi and guest computers, hot water showers, 24 hour reception, laundry service, airport pick-up, mini market, free parking for cars and motorcycles (indoor) and an outdoor patio. Dorms beds range from 15.000 to 20.000 COP. Double bed private from 35.000 to 50.000 COP and twin bed privates from 35.000 to 55.000 COP (with possible 3rd bed on sofa bed). (03°28'09N,076°31'47W) edit
  • The Pelican Larry Hostel, Calle 23 Norte #8N-12 Santa Monica Residencial, 572 396 8659 / 315 770 6770 (), [31]. Award winner best hostel 2008 by Hostelworld, BBQ, WiFi internet, beds 1x2 meters, clean and huge patio, double rooms from 35,000.  edit
  • Iguana Hostel, Avenida 9N No. 22N-46 (Close to Avenida Sexta), (+57) (2) 660 8937 / (+57) 313 768 6024 (), [32]. A welcoming hostel opened in 1998 by Swiss owner Urs Diethelm. Can get pretty full at the weekends due to travelers coming for "the Rumba". Internet, Self-catering kitchen & Cable TV. Dorm beds from 16,000 COP and single occupancy from 24,000 COP.  edit
  • Calidad House, Calle 17N & Avenida 9A No.39, Barrio Granada, [33]. Opened in 1993 by English/Colombian couple (David & Emma), this hostel is a popular hangout for backpackers. Free Internet, kitchen, barbecue, cable TV, 100 DVDs, washing machine, hot water (coming soon), free coffee, free towels, hammocks, 24hr reception, walking distance to South America´s best zoo (Lonely Planet) and to Colombia´s famous outdoor shopping center Chipichape, two minutes walk to Cali´s famous nightlife ¨Avenida Sexta¨ with all its pubs, discotecas & restaurants. Salsa classes, therapeutic massage, and Spanish language lessons all available on premises. Periodically two free tickets (a COP56,000 value) are available in the members section for one of Colombia´s best football teams Deportivo Cali. Dorm bed : 18,000 COP / Private double room : 36,000 COP.  edit
  • Hotel Astoria Real, Calle 11 No. 5-16, Plaza de Caicedo, 883-0140. A historic hotel overlooking Caicedo Square. Most rooms have a balcony. Aging, but affordable and safe. Centrally located. Hot water, cable TV. Single rooms for 45,000 pesos.  edit
  • Hotel Plaza, Carrera 6a No. 10-29, Plaza de Caicedo, 882-2560. A modern hotel centrally located. Hot water, cable TV, carpeted rooms. Single room : 40,000 COP.  edit
  • Cali Charm Bed & Breakfast, Calle 38 Norte # 4N-23, [34]. Located in one of the best parts of Cali, La Flora. Just four blocks from Chipichape mall and five minutes from avenida sexta and Menga Night Life. The Cali Charm House has been remodeled to Western standard and the best part is that it's very affordable.  edit
  • Cali Plaza Hotel, Calle 15 Norte No. 6N-37, (), [35]. An American owned hotel with apartments and 24 hour security in the heart of Cali.  edit
  • Hotel Dann Carlton, (One block from the Hotel Intercontinental). Excellent too.  edit
  • Hotel Four Points by Sheraton, Calle 18N # 4N-08. Member of the Sheraton Hotels. Five-star.  edit
  • Hotel Intercontinental. Excellent place to stay. Five stars. Safe and good location  edit

Stay safe

Keep your eyes open at night or take a taxi.

Walking alone at night at Avenida sexta can be unsafe.

Like any other capital city, don't walk with jewelry or let people around you know you have cash on you. Most places around hotels are safe.

  • Try not to talk on cellphones while walking through streets, that might lure in robbers.
Fundación Clínica Valle del Lili. Interior gardens
Fundación Clínica Valle del Lili. Interior gardens

There is a great high tech hospital in town: Fundación Valle del Lili with many bilingual doctors. [36]

  • The little hamlet of San Cipriano is a good day trip. Most people visit this place only for the ride to it, but it is also possible to stay overnight. Enjoy a swim in the various river beaches, or enjoy a tube ride down the river.
  • Calima Lake
  • City of Buga 1 hour drive. Visit "La Basilica", a major pilgrimage site in Colombia (Ask for Dulces del Valle best place for traditional Dulces). Also, Buga is more tranquil and cleaner than Cali.
  • Parque del Cafe [37]. Approx 3 hr drive from Cali ( approx 2 hrs from Buga, listed above). This is an amusement park, and the Colombian Coffee Museum, complete with the history of Colombian coffee and Juan Valdez. See the theatrical show there that explains the local culture celebrating coffee.
  • City of Jamundi half hour drive (ask for Cholados that Jamundi is famous for-a delicious mix of shaved ice and exotic fruit with rasberry and sweet condensed milk sauces and a wafer cookie. Often sold from vendors that have stands that display fruit and shaved ice. There is a traffic circle roundabout near the city entrance with many Cholado stands)
  • Popayan is about two hours away, and a nice place to stay for a couple of days.
  • Isla Gorgona is a remote Island in the pacific. The whole island is a national park, specially known for scuba diving expeditions because of the great diversity in fauna. There is a brand new fancy ECO hotel opened in 2009 [38]. Reachable from Cali: Either via Buenaventura (2.5 hrs to the west by car) or regional flights available from Cali to Guapi. From any of these towns you need to take a boat to the island.
  • Watch humpback whales: around 1,200 humpback whales are expected to arrive every June - July in the Pacific ocean waters of Isla Gorgona, Sanquianga and Utria National Parks. With the whales come dozens of tourists every year to watch them mating. The whales spend the summer months feeding in polar waters and head to tropical waters in winter for mating and calving, sometimes traveling up to 17,000 kilometers. They are black, grey and white, can grow up to 18 meters long and weigh up to 40 tons. [39]
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

CALI, an inland town of the department of Cauca, Colombia, South America, about 180 m. S.W. of Bogota and 50 m. S.E. of the port of Buenaventura, on the Rio Cali, a small branch of the Cauca. Pop. (1906 estimate) 16,000. Cali stands 3327 ft. above sea-level on the western side of the Cauca valley, one of the healthiest regions of Colombia. The land-locked character of this region greatly restricts the city's trade and development; but it is considered the most important town in the department. It has a bridge across the Cali, and a number of religious and public edifices. A railway from Buenaventura will give Cali and the valley behind it, with which it is connected by over 200 m. of river navigation, a good outlet on the Pacific coast. Coal deposits exist in the immediate vicinity of the town.

<< John Caldwell Calhoun

Calibration >>


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also cali




Proper noun




  1. A city of western Colombia on the Cali River, southwest of Bogotá.
  2. (slang) The state of California in the United States.


See also


  • Anagrams of acil
  • laic

Simple English

Santiago de Cali
File:Flag of Santiago de
File:Escudo de Santiago de
Nickname(s): "The Capital of the Salsa", "The Sultana of Valley", "The Heaven's Branch", "The City of the Seven Rivers", "Cali".
Country Colombia
Department Valle del Cauca
Settled july 25 of 1536
 - Mayor Jorge Ivan Ospina
Population (2006)
 - City 2.068.386
 Metro 2.730.796

Cali (official name, Santiago de Cali) is the capital of Valle del Cauca department in Colombia and the third most poblated city in the country, after Bogotá and Medellín. Like other department's capital's, is home of the Valle del Cauca Governance, Departmental assembly, The Court of Justice, and other's official institutions.

Santiago de Cali was founded in 1536 and although is one of the oldest cities in America, only until the 1930's accelerated its development to become a one of the major economic and industrial centers of the country and the main urban center, cultural, economic, industrial and agriculture of southwestern of Colombia.


Place names

[[File:|200px|thumb|left|Cali from the Cristo Rey Hill]] The city has a compound name in the fashion of almost all Spanish settlements in America. Santiago (one of the most popular names on the continent thanks to the devotion of Santiago de Compostela in Spain), lives up to the Apostle Santiago. Cali was founded 25 July, the day which marks the date of the Apostle Santiago, principal patron of Europe. So given this name to the city. Cali, derived from the word of the Páez language, Caly (Knitting). Like many others placements of the department. Ej: Buga (Large clay pot), Yumbo (Flood, river bank, large river.), Sonso (Frog), Dagua (A type of tree), Petecué (Macaw), Tulua (Orchad), Chipichape (Cooked corn kernels), Yotoco (fans the flame), Quilichao (Flame sheds), Changos (Chisel).


Santiago de Cali is one of the oldest cities in Colombia, and the Americas. Its foundation dates back to 1536 by the conquistador Sebastian de Belalcazar (one of the indigenous genocide of the time), to just three years after the foundation of Cartagena de Indias (1533), two years before the foundation of Santa Fe de Bogotá (1538) and 26 years of the founding of the first Hispanic population on the continent: Santa María la Antigua del Darién ( 1510), missing.

Geografy and Resources


The city is located at coordinates ((coord | 3 | 27 | 00 | N | 76 | 32 | 00 | W)), in the department of Valle del Cauca. Geographically Cali is in the valley of the Cauca River, the second largest in the country. At the height of Cali this valley is 35 km wide and the urban area is on the west side of river. The western part of the city is guarded by the famous Farallones de Cali, which are part of the Cordillera Occidental of the Colombian Andes.

The municipality of Cali bordered to the north with Yumbo and La Cumbre, in the northeast by Palmira and east to Candelaria. To the south is the municipality of Jamundí, rural areas of Buenaventura in the southwest, and Dagua to the northwest.

The city is flat with an average elevation of 1,000 m. Cali is situated besides a focal and strategic point: to the west (approximately 100 km) is connected with the port of Buenaventura on the Pacific coast, and northeastern industrial center that conforms to Yumbo the Metropolitan Area of Cali. The city is a step in addition to the Pan-American Highway and therefore a must from Colombia to the Ecuador.

The main river of the city and the department is the Cauca River, the part of the municipality comes from the mouth of the river Jamundí to the border between Cali and Yumbo. The Cauca is a sinuous on his way through the department of Valle, 40 miles sailed in the municipality, advanced only 26 km south-north after multiple meanders.


The climate is tropical savanna. The Western Cordillera blocks of moist air fronts from the Pacific Ocean although it is notable that the sea breeze comes to town. The Western Cordillera has 2,000 m average altitude in the north of the city and reached the 4,000 m in the south, this makes in the city the southwestern region that is more rainy than Northwest. The average annual precipitation ranges from 900 mm in the drier areas to 1,800 mm in wetter areas, with 1,000 mm average over most of the metropolitan area of Cali. The average temperature is 26 ° C (79 ° F) with a minimum average of 19 ° C (66 ° F) and a maximum average of 34 ° C (93 ° F). Dry seasons are December to March and July to August and the rainy season from April to June.

Climate table of Santiago de Cali
Temperature (°C)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Mín Average 18.7 18.9 19.1 19.1 19.0 18.8 18.2 18.3 18.6 18.7 18.7 18.7
Average 23.9 24.0 24.1 23.8 23.7 23.8 24.0 24.1 23.9 23.3 23.2 23.5
Máx Average 30.0 30.1 30.0 29.4 29.1 29.3 30.1 30.5 29.9 28.9 28.7 29.2
Precipitayion, Solar Shine and relative wetness
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Average precipitation(mm) 48 61 103 123 97 55 28 46 69 115 99 65
Days of Rain 9 10 13 15 15 10 8 8 11 16 14 10
relative wetness (%) 72 72 73 75 76 75 72 70 72 75 76 74
Solar shine (hours/month) 184 157 164 143 144 154 185 183 159 154 151 168
Measured data in:
Aeropuerto Alfonso Bonilla Aragón
Temperature Precipitation Solar Shine
Min Med Max Total Rain Wetness
°C °C °C mm Days  % hours
18.7 23.8 29.6 908 139 73 162

Natural Resourses

File:Rios de
Ríos municipio de Cali.

The location in the Cauca Valley, the climate and terrain, make the city an area of great natural wealth. The confluence of rivers and other water sources make the region a natural output of crops such as sugar cane and animal breeding.

As for minerals, although Valle del Cauca is not a metal region, in the city of Cali there are several coal mines in formations called Guachinte and Ferreira, located in the south and north of the urban area. In the northern part of the urban area, extending to Yumbo is open pit mining for construction materials.



Cali have a great number's of Universities and Knowledge Centers, that make the city one of the principal centers of education in the country.

Universidad del Valle

File:Plazoleta y
Central Bibliotecary Square. Universidad del Valle, University City of Melendez.

The principal university in cali, is the Universidad del Valle (Univalle), University of Valley, Public institution founded in 1945, serves a demand of 29 000 students in undergraduate and graduate (8000 in the regional headquarters), at the headquarters of Cali, 20 800 are undergraduates and 2380 graduate and doctoral programs. It is the leading research and academic center of southwestern Colombia. It has the largest library in the region with 628 569 copies (307 514 books). is among the best national universities and South America.

Other's Universities

Other's Universities in the City: Icesi University, Pontifical Javeriana University, Autonomy University of Western, Saint Buenaventura University, Santiago de Cali University, and many others technical and technological institutes.


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