Loving Cali Colombia

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! Here’s a travelogue of my first day here and why I am loving Cali Colombia.

The Hostel

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.

Getting Out of the Hostel

The taxi to downtown was quick and cheap and I got dropped off at the Modern Art Museum, which wasn’t open until 10am (it was 9:30am) so I went in search of a café. I found a good one thanks to Google Maps!

Downtown Cali

Let me explain downtown Cali first. It’s dominated by the Rio Cali, which has walkways on both sides, and a lot of the tourist sites are there or nearby. This walking route is great with lots of scenery, and compared to Cartagena, the weather here is GORGEOUS! Warm but with little humidity. Heaven after almost two weeks of non-stop sweating.

Cute Cafe in Cali

Cute Cafe Mulato was on a side street and full of locals. I was the only tourist and it was nice and homey. The waitress had a list with everyone’s name on it and what they ordered, that’s how local a joint this was.

Cafe Mulato in Cali Colombia
Cafe Mulato in Cali

A Visit to Church

After Cafè Mulato, I walked up up up to the Iglesia de San Antonio. Even with my ankle, it was worth the walk for the absolutely stunning views!

Walk to San Antonio Cali
Part of the walk up to San Antonio
San Antonio Church loving Cali Colonbia
San Antonio Church

I definitely didn’t plan my day that well, because I kept going up and down, but oh well! Good exercise! And did I mention, very little humidity? 🙂

Cat Statues

Parque El Gato De Tejada: So my next stop had to be the park with the cat statues, literally called the cat park! Yes, Cali has an amazing park with cat statues, all done by different Colombian artists.

Cat street art Cali Colombia
Cat Parque del Gato

The focal point is a pretty popular work called El Gato Del Rio, by painter and sculptor Hernando Tejada and I was lucky enough to get a photo without people in it. Just a dog.

El Gato Del Rio Cali Colombia
El Gato Del Rio

Museums in Cali

After the park, I went a couple of blocks off of the main drag to a couple of museums that are quite close to each other.

Museo Arqueologico La Merced – This has a lot of ancient pottery and artifacts from Southern Colombia in an old church complex. It is small but it costs only $4000 COP and the location was lovely.

Museum in Cali Colombia
Museo arqueologico exhibit

Museo Del Oro – A free museum about gold? Yes please. The place is quite small – there’s a much bigger one in Bogota – but Colombia did use to be a stockpile of the stuff. There was some stunning jewelry in the place too!

Loving Cali Colombia gold museum
Cali Gold Museum exhibit

Shopping in Cali

After seeing the gorgeous jewelery in the museum, I had to do some shopping. The only place mentioned in Lonely Planet was Parque Artesanias which sounded right up my alley: a bunch of artist owned stalls in a park. It was about a 15 minute walk – back uphill! – but a pretty place. 

market loving Cali Colombia
Parque Artesanias Cali

Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite as described as most of the wares ended up being mass produced and uninteresting. I picked up a fridge magnet for my collection – of the Gato de Tejada of course!

Relaxing with a Rooftop Cocktail

I ended all this activity with a cocktail at a lovely rooftop restaurant, El Zaguan de San Antonio. Relaxing with a nice view was a great way to end the day of walking all over Cali.

Lunch Cali
View at Lunch

Solo Travel in Cali

So I think my time in Cali is going to be spent on my own. Good thing I am enjoying myself! I was signed up for a city tour today from 4p-7p which would take me to the places farther afield that I couldn’t easily walk to but I got an email cancellation at 2:30pm, after I was back at the hostel getting ready. Oh well! I kept very busy today and had a good time on my own.

Trying to Extend My Stay

Despite the tour cancellation, I want to extend my stay because I am loving Cali Colombia so much! I spent an hour on the phone with Avianca to try to change my flight home to Monday instead of Sunday because of the festivo (holiday) on Monday. I still don’t know if the flight was changed. Apparently the way Avianca works ( the custom, I was told) is they cancelled my return flight and now I have up to 6 hours to find out if the new was one processed. 

If I don’t receive email confirmation in 6 hours I get to call them again! With pleasure! Yea, so I will definitely remember this experience next time I complain about our modern airline practices. YIKES. It takes travel to remind us how good we have it at home. And just so you know, that call was 2 hours ago and no email yet!

Either way, I am spending another day in Cali and have to find a place to observe some salsa dancing tonight (not sure how much dancing I myself can do with this ankle of mine). It’s been good so far and, as you can see, I have lots of reasons for loving Cali Colombia.

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Author: Mel

Living aboard a sailboat, blogging about the places we visit and the adventures we have. Love hiking, cycling, scuba, animals and adventure.

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