Santiago de Cali, Colombia, is the capital of the Valle del Cauca department and is better known as ‘Cali’. This city is a cultural hotspot, and today is world famous for salsa and sports, after hosting the Pan American Games. Located southwest of Bogota, the city was founded by Sebastián de Belalcázar in 1536 and is now Colombia’s 3rd largest city. The mirador named after de Belalcázar is claimed by a statue of the conquistador who looks over the city with a finger pointing towards the valley. This spot offers panoramic views over the city, the neighbouring hill is where you will also find the towering Cristo Rey.
Cali is famous for its festivals. You should visit in December during the Feria de Cali, when the city hosts free concerts and parades. As Cali is considered as the music and dance capital of the country, the Festival Mundial de Salsa in September, the Petronio Alvaraz at the end of August, and the Mono Nuñez festival of Andean Music in June are some of the biggest events in the calendar, during which there is a wonderful vibe across the city.
Caleños have a multicultural Afro-Colombian heritage, but they are drawn together by their love of salsa. Cali’s outskirts have mountainous landscapes which are great for hiking. Cali is also famous for its cheap cosmetic surgery, although this is not advised!