Chosen as “South America’s Leading Culture Destination” at the World Travel Awards, the city is ideal for taking your first steps in Colombia

Who has not ever thought of traveling to South America, a destination that has countries that have spectacular natural, historical and cultural wonders? The truth is that this land has multiple attractions for the traveler, although it is so extensive that it is difficult to choose what to visit. Perhaps the best way to get to know its essence is to start with the city of Cali, since it has been named “South American Culture Leading Destination” in the last two editions of the World Travel Awards, the leading authority that recognizes and rewards excellence in travel and tourism, which is why it is also known as “the Oscars of tourism”.

Music, museums, nature…

With the nickname of “Branch of the sky”, Cali is a city full of music, gastronomy, museums and nature. To this we must add that it is one of the oldest cities in Colombiaand the American continent, so its history is one more reason to visit it. World capital of salsa and a place full of flavors, nuances and vitality, Cali surprises with everything it offers, among which the 26-meter-high sculpture of a Christ the Redeemer located in the Cerro de los Cristales stands out, an enclave that invites to enjoy a marvelous panoramic view of the city from its privileged position, and reveals, through its perspective, the transformation of the capital of Valle del Cauca, which, conservative and calm in the middle of the 20th century, is now, in the 21st century, the third largest city in Colombia with nearly three million inhabitants in its metropolitan area.

Other emblematic places that must be visited are the La Tertulia Museum, which with its sixty years of history is currently a benchmark for plastic arts in the country; the monumental figure “El gato del Río”, a famous work by the artist Hernando Tejada that embellishes one of the most characteristic places in the city, the banks of the Cali River; the Rio Pance ecopark, a symbol for the population of Cali; the Church of the Hermitage, of great architectural value due to its beautiful Gothic style; the Calima Gold Museum, which exhibits a collection of goldsmith, ceramic, stone, bone and shell pieces, all belonging to the pre-Hispanic cultures Ilama, Yotoco and Sonso; and, of course, among these and many more unmissable places, the Barrio de San Antonio, which is characterized by its colonial architecture houses with windows and wooden balconies painted in colors, most with an art deco design from the 1930s. In this neighborhood you will find a wide variety of cafes, bars and restaurants serving typical food, as well as of varied hostels that make accommodation something memorable. In its streets you can enjoy the shows of storytellers and narrators who delight you with interesting stories.

View of a gothic church

View of a gothic church PHOTO: Dreamstime Photography

The surroundings of Cali offer dream places

Locals and tourists agree that this city falls in love with those who visit it. The warm climate that reigns throughout the year and the kindness of its people add incalculable value to the experience of visiting this very special travel destination that offers much to do: discover the places mentioned, make tourist routes through unique and unforgettable streets, even religious itineraries for the most believers. But if you also want to rest from the hustle and bustle, there are nearby enclaves where you can spend the day and enjoy a different atmosphere, such as Dapa, a small and typical district of the municipality of Yumbo where the people of Cali usually go for the wonderful views that offers the city and the surrounding mountains,

If what you want is a total change of climate and cool temperatures, Kilometer 18, located at the highest point of the highway that connects Cali with the Port of Buenaventura, is a natural paradise of exotic vegetation and fauna.

San Cipriano is another nearby place that captivates with its magnificence, its waterfalls, trails and pools of crystal-clear water, the experience of traveling in its characteristic “brujitas” — a form of transportation invented in this region that basically consists of motorcycles to which the locals have adapted planks and wheels so that they roll along the railway and be able to circulate on it—, and going deep into the jungle is enough to leave memories in anyone who visits this place.

Finally, as one more reason to decide to travel to this corner of Colombia, apart from those already mentioned in this article, we must mention the Cali Fair, for its cultural importance as an event of international stature and for its proximity in these dates. It is one of the most important festivals in Colombia and one of the best music festivals in the American continent. It is important to emphasize that this year, thanks to the progressive control of COVID-19, the Cali Fair is once again in person and will be held from December 25 to 30, offering an exciting immersion in the flavor of Cali with its atmosphere and activities.

Thus, we can say that Cali and its surroundings overflow with history, nature, architecture, gastronomy, art, music and, most importantly, the joy that its inhabitants bring. All this together makes traveling to this land of South America a pleasantly unforgettable experience.

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