CALI (Colombia)CALI (Colombia) (Santiago de) Cali (approx. 2 million inhabitants) is the most important city in south-western Colombia. The climate is dry and tropical, the daytime temperature 20°C – 30°C and it cools down at night. The town is situated in the valley of the Cauco River at an altitude of about 1,000 metres between two mountain ranges. Cali is the centre of government, an industrial city, the world capital of salsa music and known for international sporting events. The opening of the Panama Canal in 1914 and the construction of a railway line in 1915 improved export opportunities for sugar and coffee via the Pacific.
In the centre is the Gothic Iglesia de la Ermita. At Plaza de Caicedo, a square with tall palm trees, stands Catedral Metropolitana, surrounded by historic and modern buildings. Underground, there is a cemetery and a closed tunnel where gold treasures were supposedly hidden; now unfortunately it is part of the sewage system. Museo La Tertulia is home to modern art; Museo Arqueológico La Merced showcases archaeology and religious art. The city centre has been renovated, and the riverside promenade was opened in 2013. The promenade can be followed in two directions from the letters CALI near the Tertulia Museum.
San Antonio is Cali’s most traditional district and a favourite among tourists for its laid-back atmosphere, many hotels and restaurants. Capilla de San Antonio is located on top of a hill with a park and a viewpoint. There are many street musicians. Tourists can take salsa classes and Spanish courses. A well-known salsa band from Cali is Grupo Niche. Cali has a zoo (Zoológico) covering 11 hectares, and a botanical garden. The most famous shopping mall is Chipichape, north of the centre, near a former railway station.
Nature reserves include Parque Farallones and Ecoparque Rio Pance. The village of San Cipriano is located in a nature reserve with swimming ponds and small rivers.
Isla Gorgona was a prison island in the Pacific, now a nature reserve. The beach is stunning and is also great for snorkelling and diving.
Some specialities: Cholado: mixed fruit with ice, condensed milk and possibly alcohol. Chontaduro: palm fruit with salt or honey; guarapo: sugarcane juice with lime; jugo de lulo (or naranjillo) is juice from a fruit from the mountainous region.