With its aroma of sugar cane and salsa, Cali has the perfect climate for consolidating learning and knowledge relations.

Nelson Pretel,



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Tours around Cali

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Historic center
A tour through Cali’s historic center is relatively short, but includes several very interesting sites:
  • La Merced, a church and cloister of the Clarissa sisters, which includes a small archaeological and colonial art museum.
  • the church of San Francisco and its mudéjar style steeple, right in front of the departmental government building.
  • the building of the Secretaría de Cultura y Turismo del Departamento (departmental office for culture and tourism) by famous architect Rogelio Salmoma (formerly, the Fundación para la Educación Superior – FES  occupied the building).
Click on image to enlarge Main church in Cali.

Main church in Cali. /Photo. Flickr user Hectormesa./

Not far from downtown, the church of San Antonio is worth a visit. It was built on a hill with an excellent view of the city in a section of town with a tradition of manufacturing handicrafts. In the evening, it becomes especially lively with good restaurants, bars, and entertainment spots.
Hacienda Cañasgordas
This hacienda is located only twenty minutes from Cali on the road to Jamundí. It has ties with the hacienda in the famous novel by José Eustaquio Rivera, El Alférez Real. It preserves its colonial house and an environment reminiscent of slavery and large plantations.
Paraíso Territory
North of Cali, on the central road, there are many places worth visiting. In the first place, in the jurisdiction of the municipality of El Cerrito, there is the colonial Hacienda El Paraíso that inspired La María, the very famous novel by Jorge Isaacs. It preserves the rural life of the Valle del Cauca of the nineteenth century in a museum-style.
Not far, in the municipality of Anaime, is the Hacienda Piedechinche. It houses the Museo de la Caña, or Sugar Cane Museum, that belongs to one of the largest sugar cane mills in the country. This beautiful museum shows the process of transformation of sugar cane into sugar from the sixteenth century to the present in the midst of colonial buildings and gardens.
Further north, but still close to Cali, is the town of Ginebra, famous for its typical regional food and for the best festival of Andean music in the country: the Mono Núñez Festival.
Click on image to enlarge Lake Calima.

Lake Calima. /Photo. Flickr user chilangoco./

Buga and lago Calima
An hour from Cali, by either of two roads in excellent condition, is Buga, a city that beautifully preserves its original urban layout of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The tour includes notable monuments like the old cathedral, the church of San Francisco, the Palacio Nacional, and a famous pilgrimage site: the Santuario del Señor de los Milagros.
An outing to Buga can be combined with a visit to the Calima Lake, a reservoir located at 1,480 m above sea level on the road that goes from Buga to Buenaventura. The lake offers a splendid landscape and the possibility of practicing water sports. There is a museum devoted to the Calima pre-Columbian culture in Darién, a village at the edge of the lake.
The Salsa Tour
Salsa is closely linked to the cultural development of the Valle del Cauca. Slavery brought with it African rhythms that gradually took hold among mulattoes, mestizos, and whites.
Cali celebrates the World Salsa Championship in August with the participation of over 5,000 dancers from renowned dance schools from Colombia and abroad. In Cali alone, there are over 15 professional salsa dance schools.
Farallones Natural Park
For nature lovers, the department of Valle del Cauca offers Los Farallones Natural Park, a 150,000-hectare reserve of forests, endemic fauna (marsupials, monkeys, bears, eagles, and more than 70 more species of birds), and springs. Its altitude ranges from 200 to 4,100 m above sea level.


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