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Cali would make a great setting for a soap opera — the steamy city is famed for its hot weather, gorgeous women and late night salsa parties that rage 'til dawn. Drug cartels and violence, which made the city infamous in the 1980s, are a thing of the past and Cali is today once of the safest cities in the country. Love of life has become a major priority, so while Medellín and Bogotá compete for economic and cultural superiority, Cali is happy to just kick back and have fun. For evidence, just head to the suburb of Juanchito any night of the week to watch how seriously the locals take their salsa. Languorous daytime activities ...

Cali would make a great setting for a soap opera — the steamy city is famed for its hot weather, gorgeous women and late night salsa parties that rage 'til dawn. Drug cartels and violence, which made the city infamous in the 1980s, are a thing of the past and Cali is today once of the safest cities in the country. Love of life has become a major priority, so while Medellín and Bogotá compete for economic and cultural superiority, Cali is happy to just kick back and have fun. For evidence, just head to the suburb of Juanchito any night of the week to watch how seriously the locals take their salsa. Languorous daytime activities include slow walks in old neighborhoods and long meals in cafés and restaurants. Cali is not the most beautiful city in Colombia though it does have its share of museums, a handful of 18th century churches, and an excellent zoo. With some extra time, its possible to make some great day and overnight trips from Cali to places like Popayán and the haciendas El Paraíso and Piedechinche.

Michael Kohn
About the Expert

Michael Kohn is the author of Lonely Planet guides to Israel & the Palestinian Territories, South Africa, Tibet, Central Asia, Mongolia, and Sri Lanka.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Cali is the second largest city in the country behind Bogotá. As the only major Colombian city with access to the Pacific coast it is the principal urban, cultural, and economic city in western Colombia.
  • Language: Spanish
  • Currency: Colombian Peso
  • Research: Wikitravel | Cali
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Year round