Cali, or Santiago de Cali, is the capital of the department of Valle del Cauca in Colombia and is located in the south-west of the country.
Cali is the third most populated city in Colombia, after Bogota and Medellin, and one of the most important economic and industrial centers of the South American country.
Among the main attractions to see in Cali, highlights include the picturesque neighborhood of San Antonio, the walk along the Cali River, Caycedo Square, the archaeological museum and the Cristo Rey statue.
Its cultural importance and geographical position (Cali is halfway between Bogota and Quito), as well as its historical attractions and nightlife, have made Cali one of the most visited tourist destinations in Colombia.
Therefore, Cali is almost a mandatory stop for backpackers who travel through South America, lovers of salsa, and business travelers.
Despite being 3280 feet (1000 meter) above sea level, being a city near the equator, the climate of Cali is filled with high temperatures that can exceed 86ºF (30ºC) during most of of the year. The rainy season runs from March to May, and from September to November.
Santiago de Cali has the Alfonso Bonilla Aragón International Airport, located in the City of Palmira. It is the third most important airport in the country, and a connection center for the national airline of Colombia, Avianca.
In terms of transport, the city of Cali is connected through MIO, a system of rapid transit buses that is similar to Bogota’s Transmilenio. Taxis, mobile application vehicles, and city buses are another way to get around the city.
Safety is one of the main factors to consider when looking for the best areas to stay in Cali. Although crime levels have decreased in the city compared to a few years ago, Cali is considered one of the most dangerous cities in Colombia.
For your peace of mind, in each area, we have added a section entitled “Is this a safe area to stay in Cali?” with safety recommendations adapted to each neighborhood.
As for the best areas to stay in Cali, we highlight the recommend San Antonio, the most atmospheric neighborhood in the city, and the northern area, the safest area to stay. See accommodation in San Antonio) | See hotels in North Cali).
San Antonio is located in the western area of Cali, on the hills, and is, next to the Old Town, one of the oldest areas of the city.
The steep streets of this neighborhood are full of large colonial and republican mansions, shops, small restaurants, boutique hotels, and backpacker hostels.
San Antonio also has several options for nightlife, salsa bars, and clubs.
The neighborhood is built around the hill of San Antonio, on top of which there is a small church dating from the eighteenth century and excellent views of Cali.
To the north of this area, next to the Cali River, is the El Peñón neighborhood, a residential, commercial and cultural area whose most outstanding attraction is the La Tertulia museum, a space dedicated to contemporary art that also hosts numerous events.
Not far away, on top of a hill, is the statue of Sebastián De Belalcázar, founder of the city. From here, you can also appreciate beautiful views of the city and the river.
These neighborhoods are the best area to stay in Cali for lovers of culture, nightlife, and colonial architecture.
Is it a safe area to stay in Cali? El Peñón is a modern, developed and safe area during the day and night. San Antonio has a large police presence and is very safe during the day, but caution is advised in its streets after sunset.
Hotel Colina de San Antonio offers accommodation in Cali, 1.7 km from Jorge Isaacs Theater, and features free WiFi and a garden. The property is about 1.9 km from La Ermita Church and near Artisan de la Cruz Park. The hotel is 2.6 km from Pan-American Park and 2.7 km from St. Peter’s Cathedral.
Moonshine Hostel is located in Cali and offers a garden. The property has a terrace and a shared lounge. The property is 1.5 km from Jorge Isaacs Theater and 1.7 km from La Ermita Church.
Hotel Puerta de San Antonio is located 200 meters from San Antonio Park, it houses a restaurant serving Mediterranean dishes, a bar and a hot tub with sauna and steam bath.
Hotel Intercontinental Cali offers beautiful rooms decorated in golden and peach tones and with free Wi-Fi. It is located in downtown Cali, 12 km from Alfonso Bonilla Aragón Airport. The property has a swimming pool and gym.
The area north of the Cali River and the Old Town includes some of the most exclusive neighborhoods in the city such as Centenario, Granada or Versalles.
This district house residential complexes, office towers, shopping and leisure areas, medical centers and a multitude of hotels of all categories, although luxury accommodation tends to be the norm.
North Cali stands out for its impressive variety of restaurants of all kinds, bars, and clubs, particularly in the Granada neighborhood.
One of its most outstanding attractions is the Cali Tower, with its 46 floors and 183 meters that make it the tallest skyscraper in the city. The tower also houses a luxury hotel with spectacular views of the city.
Other attractions in the area include Simón Bolívar Park and Versailles Park.
The North is a good place to stay in Cali as it has a variety of hotels, and is close enough to the Downtown area to go on foot.
Is it a safe area to stay in Cali? North Cali is a fairly safe area, but as it is also a great leisure center, it is recommended to be extra careful, especially at night.
Azor Hotel is located in Cali and features an outdoor pool and restaurant. Includes a daily breakfast buffet and free Wi-Fi. The rooms have cable TV, air conditioning and a minibar.
Hotel Six Avenue is located in Cali. It has a regional restaurant, an outdoor hot tub and free Wi-Fi. The property is 1 km from downtown Cali and 2 km from Chipichape Shopping Center.
Four Points Sheraton Cali is a modern hotel located in the north of Cali, 19 km from Alfonso Bonilla Airport. It offers 2 restaurants and free WiFi in all its facilities.
San Fernando is a neighborhood located about 3 km southeast of Downtown Cali, in the Comuna (district) 19 of the city.
This part of Cali began to develop in the 1940s as a residential area of the upper classes.
For this reason, it is common to see old mansions of different styles in its tree-lined streets.
Currently, this area hosts one of the most important nightlife centers in Cali, the Parque del Perro (Dog Park). It is a commercial and leisure area with many restaurants, cafes, bars and nightclubs that have gained notoriety in recent years among the young people of the city.
The Comuna 19 is connected to the rest of the city through the MIO system, which runs along 5th street.
Among the attractions of this area are the Museum of Natural Sciences, the Jorge Garcés Borrero Library and the Center for Science.
Is it a safe area to stay in Cali? The streets of the Comuna 19 are generally quiet and safe. Although the Dog Park has a high police presence, caution is advised in its surroundings late at night.
Hotel San Fernando Real is located in Cali and offers an outdoor pool, as well as spa facilities. There is also a movie theater, a garden with chess and free Wi-Fi. The San Fernando Mio bus station is a 5-minute walk away.
Oasis Cali Hostel is located in Cali, 1.3 km from Pan-American Park and 3.4 km from St. Peter’s Cathedral, and it features free WiFi. The property is 3.4 km from Jorge Isaacs Theater and 3.6 km from La Ermita Church. The hostel has a hot tub and a 24-hour reception.
Cali’s Old Town is, as expected, the oldest area of the city.
It was here, in the area where the church of La Merced now stands, where Cali was born in the 16th century.
The center of Cali is currently an amalgam of different architectural styles, although its colonial spirit is still present in several corners.
This area hosts most of the historical and cultural monuments of the city.
The most important area is around the Plaza de Cayzedo, considered the heart of the city. This square is surrounded by many historic and modern buildings such as the Otero building, the cathedral, and the Palace of Justice.
Other monuments in the Old Town or Downtown Cali include the church of San Francisco, the municipal theater, and the church of La Merced.
Is it a safe area to stay in Cali? The Old Town is not the safest area to stay in Cali. While there should be no major problems during the day, if basic safety precautions are taken, at night, it is better to not walk on any of its streets.
Hotel Mudejar has an elegant decoration and is located in Cali, just 1 km from downtown and the financial area. It offers an American breakfast every day, free private parking and rooms with free Wi-Fi.
South Cali presents a succession of low-rise neighborhoods, wooded areas and wide avenues.
It is an area of marked suburban character, with many houses with gardens.
In addition, it is the Cali university area, with large centers such as the Universidad del Valle, the Universidad Autónoma De Occidente, the Universidad Antonio Nariño or the Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia.
At the southern end of Cali, you can also find the Ciudad Jardín neighborhood, the most luxurious residential development in Cali, full of mansions of some of the richest personalities in Colombia.
The south of the city also hosts the Jardín Plaza Shopping Center, an immense outdoor mall with an ecological concept.
The neighborhoods at the southern end of Cali are quite separated from the city center, so traveling to tourist attractions usually takes a long time.
Is it a safe area to stay in Cali? South Cali is the most exclusive area of the city, which is a double-edged sword. Although it is developed and quiet, because its inhabitants are usually members of high society, sometimes, it can be the target of criminals. Use a taxi at all times during the night.
NH Cali Royal is located in Cali, Colombia, next to Holguines Trade Center, and offers 24-hour reception, business center, free WiFi and free parking. It has an outdoor pool and spa.
Hotel MS Ciudad Jardin Plus is located in Cali, Colombia, next to Holguines Trade Center, and offers 24-hour reception, business center, free WiFi and free parking. It has an outdoor pool and spa.
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