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Escape To Cali - Colombia - South America

Cerro de Los Tres Cruces (The Hill of Three Crosses) – Rugged City Hike

Caleños have been hiking to this hill since 1837, when 3 small bamboo crosses were placed at the peak by Christian friars. The idea was that Calí was in the midst of evil, after suffering plagues of smallpox, dengue, leprosy, as well as a general lack of crops and agriculture.The friars went up each and every year to renew the crosses and to quell the evil grip that had been tormenting the city.

100 years later, in 1937, a new project was started to erect 3 permanent crosses atop the hill. Now a recreation spot for most of the year, the hill still brings many faithful Christians during the time of Easter, climbing to the top to show their faith in god.

The more popular hiking route starts in the western neighborhood of Versalles, and any cab driver can take you there. It’s also a pretty simple walk if you are in the neighborhoods of Granada or Vesalles. Be aware on your hike up that there are different routes. Most people end up on a difficult route that takes them up the face of the mountain, which can be very challenging depending on physical abilities as well as time of day, as the heat can be brutal in the early afternoon. No signs are available as to what routes to take to avoid the face climb, and the consensus seems to be to “stay to the left” as you’re climbing.

This is not an “easy” hike. If you are not in decent/good physical health you may suffer quite a bit. The name “hill” is quite deceiving. The ascent is steep, rising 1500 feet over the flat valley of the city. The height is one thing, but even more is the incline.

There is also a bit easier, and less used route, which begins in the neighborhood of Normandia, very close to the Intercontinental and Dann Hotels, as well within walking distance from the neighborhoods of San Antonio and parts of Granada.

The views on the way up (and down) are much better than the actual views at the top. The top is flat and obstructed making it more difficult to see the city. There are juice vendors selling typical local fruit juices, and if you aren’t spent of all of your energy you can exercise with the acrobats on the bars. There’s make shift weights made of concrete, bars to do pull-ups, dips and other exercises, and seating for those who want to relax the legs a bit, and just watch.

ALERT

1. This is not an “easy” hike. If you are not in decent/good physical health you may suffer quite a bit. The name “hill” is quite deceiving. The ascent is steep, rising 1500 feet over the flat valley of the city. The height is one thing, but even more is the incline.

2. Don’t bring any valuables with you if you are hiking in off-peak times. Petty theft has been known to happen. The weekends are “safer” though more crowded. Being in a group or with a guide is always beneficial.

<<English Speaking guided hike to the Tres Cruces>>.

TIPS

1. The easiest route starts in the neighborhood of Normandia Sebastian de Belazar. The accent starts on the North side of the Cali River, across the river from the Dann and Intercontinental Hotels.

2. Early mornings are a great time to hike before the mid-day sun comes out.

3. Wear sunscreen, a hat, and bring water if possible.

**Directions from the Dann Hotel to entrance in Normandia (The “easier” hike)

1. Face the River and then cross the street when traffic permits. (Approx 100 feet)

2. Follow the sidewalk and cross over the river, and follow the sidewalk and turn left onto Avenida 6. Here will start an incline and you will get to a little busy intersection where Ave 6 meets Ave 4. Wait for your chance and cross to the other side of Ave 4.

3. Turn Left on Avenida 4, incline for about 100 feet and then decline until the next street, Calle 1-BO. There is a street sign indicating the road, and the incline is steep.

4. Turn Right on Calle 1-BO and head up for about 1/5 of a mile. On the right side you will see a dirt trail with a green sign stating “Punto Encuentro” or “Meeting Point.”

5. Follow the trail to the right and the accent will start very quickly thereafter, as will the amazing mountain views. Get there around 5pm and watch a magical sunset behind lush Andes mountains…you’re welcome 🙂

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