Colombia is increasing its popularity as a travel destination, due to the wide range of cultural and natural diversity that the country has to offer, and the southwest city of Cali is a perfect example of the mix of influences that capture visitors’ attention.
Colombia was ranked as the second-most recommended travel destination of 2010 by the New York Times readers’ recommendation poll, and the famous U.S. newspaper soon-after highlighted Cali as one of the best travel destinations within the South American country.
Cali is already well-known as the country’s third largest city and salsa capital, with Juanchito recognized as one of the hottest places in which to dance the night away and Tin Tin Deo, Zaperoco and La Fuente recommended by the New York Times. However, the city known as the “subsidiary of heaven” and located in the southwest Valle del Cauca department also has much more to offer, with an increasingly recognized food scene, museum culture, and a number of festivals.
Students from the Cali culinary school Cocinarte recently presented a “Gastronomical Museum” exhibit with a goal to make Cali the second best gastronomical destination in the country (after Bogota). This is just one example of the culinary movement in the city, where travellers will find a variety of food and smells to delight the senses in small restaurants located in the city’s Grenada sector, reported colombia.travel.
Cali’s traditional cuisine encompasses a fusion of Spanish, Quechua, Antioquian and African influences, with some of the most well-known being tortilla soup, sancocho de gallina (chicken stew) and toasted green plantain with hogao (a stir-fry of onions and tomatoes), as well as a number of tasty desserts inspired by the nearby presence of sugarcane plantations.
Among the museums that the city has to offer are the modern art museum La Tertulia, archaeological museum La Merced and, for something a little more off the beaten track, the country’s first humor museum, the Museo del Carajo, according to the city government’s culture and tourism website.
La Tertulia offers a display of the work of more than 300 national and international artists, a cinema room, an open air theater and graphic arts workshops. La Merced provides a ceramics display that shows the development of prehispanic culture in the southwest of Colombia. Meanwhile, the Museo del Carajo displays around 800 pieces that parody different moments in human history, with the sole objective of entertaining its audience.
Finally, the city has a variety of festivals, the most famous of which is the Cali Fair, taking place annually from December 25-30, which is a culmination of some of the city’s best cultural specialties, including horseback riding, parades, bullfights, salsa orchestras, numerous concerts, dances, and delicious cuisine.
Whether your taste is finding the best rumba — party — at which to spend the night, delving into the cultural and historical riches of the city, having a delightful gastronomical experience or simply walking and taking in the architectural surroundings, Cali has something to offer every visitor.