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Escape To Cali - Colombia - South America

She is Cali, Colombia. The Queen City, the Branch of Heaven, the Capital of Salsa.

- 7 reasons to visit Cali

Imagine a city that is only 50 miles from the Pacific Ocean, yet sits 1,000 meters (3,000 feet) above sea level. Tropical and hot by day, relieved by a rolling mountain breeze every afternoon, with cool  nights and mornings to accompany.

A city in which over 200 species of birds call home. Parrots, Parakeets, Goldfinches and exotic Hummingbirds, among others, can be seen on a daily basis within the city.

This green rolling mountains on her west side push up and beyond the clouds, over 4,000 meters (13,000 feet) high, birthing seven rivers that flow through its borders, and home to some 300 species of birds, many endemic or near endemic. Dozens of other rivers are birthed in these mountains which then flow west, towards the tropical Pacific Coast.

She is Cali, Colombia. The Queen City, the Branch of Heaven, the Capital of Salsa.

Capital city to the state with the richest soil in Colombia, she is flush in exotic fruits and vegetables, arriving from all directions, most within 50 miles of her borders. Few cities boast such accessibility to these nutrient rich fruits, often found nowhere else on Earth.

In this city the people are playful and known for their helpfulness and sincerity. Here an everyday conversation is a musical flow of sounds and laughs, and despite their laid back nature, like the mountains that give them life, they are charged with energy.

In this city music is rich. It’s home to the largest musical festival on the Pacific Side of South America and is home to an internationally renown dance and music show.

She is Cali, Colombia. The Queen City, the Branch of Heaven, the Capital of Salsa.

Here you can find anything you want and more. People from all over Colombia call Cali home, and the Afro-Colombian culture from the Pacific Coast holds a particularly special place in the city, especially when it comes to food, fruit and juices.

Cali is a a destination for the true world traveler. Someone looking for adventure and unpackaged experiences. Here you won’t find a lot of luxury resort options or areas where food is overpriced for tourists.

7 reasons to visit Cali, Colombia

The list below are just some of the best reasons we believe that Cali is the best kept secret in South America:
  1. Learning Salsa. No where else in the world can you find better salsa instructors or better venues to strut your new found moves. Dancing is part of the social fabric here. A few simple steps can elevate your travel experience to a whole new level, allowing you to truly feel the Caleño lifestyle.
  2. The people. Nothing bad to say about Rolos (people from Bogota) or Paisas (people from Medellin), but they are known to be more reserved and less outgoing than Caleños (people from Cali). The laid back nature is visible in Cali lifestyle, an extension of the weather, music and abundance of rich resources.
  3. Nature. Cali boasts 7 rivers that flow within it’s borders, most born in the rich Andes mountains, directly to the west. There’s a hike that rises 1,500 feet just outside of downtown and near many popular tourist attractions. There are also several recreational areas in all directions of the city, within 20 minutes to 1 hour from the middle of Cali. Rivers, mountains, swamps, lakes, and cloud forests, all waiting to be explored. Though Bogota does offer beautiful options around the area, good luck getting in and out of the city. Traffic in Bogota is pretty thick and makes it more challenging than the much smaller, and less congested Cali.
  4. The Food. Due to its mix of cultures, all which have brought their regional dishes to Cali, the best variety of Gastronomy in Colombia is here. Exotic fruits blast the taste buds with a rainbow of flavors, and famed fruits like Borojo and Chontaduro can be found in abundance.
  5. Birding. The best birdwatching trails and areas have long been in the Western Andes, from Cali to the Pacific Coast and El Chocó. Within the city limits, 200 species can be seen. Outside of the city and the variety grows, and as many as 300 species have been identified within 50 miles of Cali.
  6. The price. Cali is a bit cheaper than Medellin, and significantly cheaper than Bogota or the pricey Cartagena. Food is very reasonably priced and hostels, hotels and apartments are more affordable than any of the three major destinations. In addition you can still stay in cool colonial neighborhoods for a great price and near everything that the city has to offer. But for how long??
  7. Learning Spanish. Cali is a great city to learn Spanish. It’s affordable and immersion is easily possible. You won’t find vendors yelling their English lines on you, like in Cartagena. Nor will you see signs written in English, even in neighborhoods that get lots of tourist traffic currently. This full immersion is key in learning a language and Cali offers a great chance to get on the ground level and get your feet wet. Well actually, your tounge, but you know what we mean.

Come to Cali, because you want to feel the culture. Come because you want to dance and be free. Come to Cali to see how nature forms the culture of the city. Come to Cali to immerse yourself in one of the most enjoyable Spanish dialects in Latin America.

Cali is the only place in Colombia that hasn’t been invaded by tourists, and though many do come, it’s often their last stop on the way to Ecuador, having been seduced by Bogota, Medellin, and the Caribbean Coast of Colombia. This makes perfect sense as all of these areas are beautiful, and places that we’ve been to and would highly recommend.

At the same time, we feel that Cali offers something unique, and we hope that you take the path less chosen and come to see the magic for yourself.

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