Cali On a Budget
SightsVisit the Cristo Rey, Admittedly, a giant Jesus statue, not as grand as Rio's Christ the Redeemer, but impressive nonetheless. As it is located on top of a hill overlooking the city, the views are fabulous, and a visit can easily be combined with the nearby Andoke butterfly farm. This huge butterfly farm features over 15 elegant technicolored species. Wander around a series of pretty walking trails while knowledgeable guides explain the life cycles of these wonderful creatures. Another rather unusual sight, is the Gato de Tejada, a famous sculpture of a cat found in a park that pays tribute to famous Colombian artist Hernando Tejada. Local artists got together and sculpted another 15 feline statues in his honor after he passed away just a few years following the realization of his sculpture. Set atop a hill to the west of the historical center lies Iglesia de San Antonio, an impressive 18th-century church that contains a number of unique wood-carved religious artifacts. The church is surrounded by a park in which you will get excellent views of the city. Just down from the church lies Cali's historic center, the funky Barrio San Antonio. Within these charming colonial edifices are trendy cafes, happening bars, and upmarket restaurants, making it a perfect place to eat, drink, and simply discover. You must also stop at Cali's oldest church, the Iglesia de la Merced, a beautiful colonial cathedral on the Plaza Caycedo in the historic district.
ActivitiesA popular activity in Cali is to visit the Zoologico de Cali, a must for families and wildlife enthusiasts alike. Among the exotic animals on these expansive grounds are tigers, huge iguanas, monkeys, and pink Andean flamingos. Cali also has a few museums worth visiting. The Museo de Arte Colonial, in the monastery adjoining the cathedral, displays mainly colonial religious art. The Museo Arqueologico displays pre-Columbian pottery and artifacts from the various indigenous groups of the area. The Museo de Oro exhibits gold items from the Calima culture and the Museo de Arte Moderno La Tertulia displays modern art, sculpture, and photography. Those keen for a trip out of the city should go for a day tour of San Cipriano. Highlights include a ride on a tiny railway timber cart, a visit to an Afro community, tubing down a tranquil river, and the chance to swim under some cascading waterfalls. Or you can head to the Parque Nacional Farallones de Cali, a mountain park with diverse vegetation and wildlife. You can leave for a day excursions or hike to Reserva Natural Hato Viejo where you will find lodging, food, and guides to the park. You should definitely check out the archaeological sites of pre-Columbian civilizations at Parque Arqueologico De Tierradentro and Parque Arqueologico De San Augustin. Both are considered sacred sites and feature ancient monuments, statuary, tombs and burial mounds. Finally, your trip to Cali would not be complete without experiencing the city's most famous activity, salsa. Those who don't like to dance can watch a live performance, though the real action takes place within the city's steamy clubs.
Food and DiningThe cuisine of Valle del Cauca is delicious and varied. In Cali and around the department of Valle del Cauca, traditional dishes include chicken soup, arroz atollado, and tortilla soup. Pandebono, pandeyuca, and a wide variety of sweets are a specialty of Valle del Cauca cooking. Other highlights include chicken soup cooked over a wood fire and lulada, a drink made from pineapples and lulos. You will find good restaurants in the city that serve traditional food as well as high quality international dishes.
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