The weekend flew by and now I am sad to leave Cali. I know I’ve only been here 3 days, but I preferred Cali to Cartagena in many ways.
The weather is much easier to deal with! More temperate and way less humidity
Easier to get around: considering Cali is bigger with 2.5 million people to Cartagena’s 900,000, I can only guess this is because I stayed in a more convenient location to all the attractions as a tourist as compared to living in the barrio in Cartagena. I don’t think that’s totally it though
The sights are in residential neighborhoods: In Cartagena, you only go to one area as a tourist, The Old City and adjacent Boca Grande. In Cali, sights were spread out a little bit more, and were in areas where people live so it felt like I was seeing “the real Cali” while also sightseeing
Cheaper: apparently Cartagena is the most expensive Colombian city, and while still cheap to a Torontonian like me, I still noticed that Cali was even more affordable
Cleaner and prettier: Aside from the ocean and the old city, Cartagena is not that pretty. And there is trash everywhere. The Rio Cali doesn’t smell so great, but the streets and paths were very tidy and well kept.
Last night I did what they do in Cali: Salsa! A guy from the hostel, Tattoo (not his real name), took a few of us there to meet some friends of his and to dance! Tattoo is Brazilian but has been living in the hostel for a few months so he knows a lot of people in the city.
After the cancelled tour and troubles with Avianca, I’ll admit I was feeling a little down yesterday evening. I didn’t want to spend my Saturday night in Cali alone, so I did what I came to a hostel to do: went downstairs and grabbed a beer and started talking to people in the lobby. Within 10 minutes, my plans for the night were set: Petronio Music Fest with about 10 20-somethings from all over the globe who were visiting for the festival itself.
Yes, I got lucky and came to Cali during an amazing free festival called The Petronio Álvarez Afro-Colombian festival. It is held in a large sports complex across town and includes free live music and a huge food tent and today is the last night. So you see how good my timing is!?
UPDATE: MORE PHOTOS ADDED AS OF AUGUST 15 early AM
I did so much on my 5 hour self-guided tour of Cali, that I didn’t get to include the street art I saw in my previous post.
I didn’t know very much about the street art in Cali until I walked around and saw it for myself. I now know, from this article, that it’s a growing movement here. I am a big fan of street art in general and am fortunate to live in a great neighborhood for it in Toronto (plug for my other blog!), so it was fun to take some photos of the work here.
So I got to Cali late last night – too late for me to go out, I was beat – and woke up early today to see the town. From my searches online and with my trusty Lonely Planet guidebook, I found a lot of good things to see and do!
I started with a taxi from my hostel, Pelican Larry. I have a private room and access to a shared bathroom, which is all I need. Clean and with hot water! My room has a fan which had the dual purpose of keeping me cool and drowning out outside noise.