Where to Stay in Cali – A Guide to the Capital of Salsa
Cali is one of the most important cities in Colombia and the Valle del Cauca department’s capital. This great city is located in the Andes mountains and is famous for its Carnival celebrations, its joyful atmosphere, and one of the cradles of salsa music. In this post, we will discover the best areas to stay in Cali, Colombia.
Cali’s founding dates back to July 25, 1536, which makes it one of the oldest European settlements in the Americas.
Cali’s main tourist attractions include the Ermita church, Los Gatos park, Cayzedo square, Calima Gold Museum, La Merced museum, and the San Francisco church. All these places of interest are located in the Historic Quarter. See accommodation in Cali’s Historic Quarter.
Not far away lies the lively neighborhood of San Antonio. Its colorful houses, numerous bars and hostels, and interesting displays of urban art make it one of the city’s favorite areas among foreign tourists. Neighboring El Peñón is home to the La Tertulia Museum, the Caliwood Museum, and the Sebastián De Belalcázar viewpoint. See accommodation in San Antonio & El Peñón.
Other unmissable attractions in Cali include hilltop Cristo Rey viewpoint, Tres Cruces mountain, and Parque del Perro.
Due to its geographical position, Cali has a warm summer tropical climate. Cali temperatures are high all year round (19-30ºC), and the rainy seasons go from March to May and from September to November. The best time to visit Cali is during the dry months (December to February and June to August).
To get to Cali by air, the city is home to the Aeropuerto Internacional Alfonso Bonilla Aragón. Located 20 kilometers northeast of the city, this airport is the fourth busiest in Colombia. It has air connections between Cali and every corner of Colombia and international flights to various destinations in Ecuador, Venezuela, Panama, the United States, and Spain, among others.
Cali also has excellent long-distance bus connections to destinations throughout the country (including Bogotá, Neiva, Pasto, Buenaventura, Ibagué, and Medellín) and routes to the nearby border with Ecuador. See long-distance bus routes, schedules & rates.
The best area to stay in Cali is San Antonio. This lively neighborhood is full of cafes, bars, and restaurants of all kinds. It also has an international vibe thanks to its many accommodations ranging from backpacker hostels to luxury hotels. See accommodation in San Antonio & El Peñón.
Keep on reading to learn more about the best areas to stay in Cali, Colombia.
The Best Areas to Stay in Cali, Colombia
1. El Peñón, San Antonio & San Cayetano
El Peñón, San Antonio and San Cayetano are three small historic neighborhoods located west of downtown Cali.
This area of the upper middle class is considered one of the best neighborhoods for nightlife in the city.
The west of Cali stands out as one of the most attractive areas in town.
El Peñón, San Antonio & San Cayetano are among the city’s favorite areas to stay, party, and shop.
This area is home to small parks, excellent restaurants, some bars.
It also enjoys a central location and very walkable distances.
San Antonio & San Cayetano mix historic charm with modern infrastructure and lots of small local and international hotel chains.
Some of the attractions of this area include the Museum of Contemporary Art La Tertulia, the quaint church of San Antonio, and the hilltop San Antonio park, with its open-air theater and its views over the city.
El Peñón, San Antonio, and San Cayetano are well-connected through the MIO system with the rest of the city.
Accommodation in this area
Hotel Puerta de San Antonio
Located 200 meters from San Antonio Park, this hotel has a restaurant that serves Mediterranean dishes, a bar and a hot tub with sauna and steam bath.
Tostaky is located in Cali and features a terrace, a shared lounge and a bar. The property is approximately 1 km from Saint Peter’s Cathedral and 1.2 km from Jorge Isaacs Theater. Free WiFi access is available.
Hotel Intercontinental Cali
Hotel Intercontinental 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.
2. San Fernando & Parque del Perro
A little further south of San Cayetano lies the famous San Fernando and Parque del Perro (Dog’s Park), one of Cali’s gastronomic and nightlife areas.
Around the Dog’s Park are some of the busiest bars and restaurants in the city, frequented mainly by college students, which gives a young and bohemian vibe to the area.
Like San Antonio and El Peñón, San Fernando and its surroundings are safe areas to stay in Cali.
Along nearby Calle 5, one of the north-south thoroughfares of the city, you’ll find several MIO stops.
San Fernando is an area of small and cheap hotels, with some boutique options.
This is one of the best areas to stay in Cali thanks to its cheap accommodation and its wide gastronomic offer.
Accommodation in this area
Hotel Parque del Perro
Hotel Parque del Perro is located in Cali, 700 meters from the Pan-American Park, and features a garden. The establishment is close to the Perro Park, the library and the Jorge Garcés Borrero artisan park.
Miguel´s House Cali Apartamento
Miguel’s House Cali is 1.1 km from Pan-American Park and offers free WiFi. Some units have a balcony and/or patio.
Hotel Torre del Viento
Located in the historic area of San Fernando, full of shops and restaurants, this property is located south of Cali. It offers rooms with free Wi-Fi, a swimming pool and table tennis.
3. Versalles, Granada & Juanambú (North Cali)
The neighborhoods of Versailles, Granada & amp; Juanambú are located north of the Cali River, in the northwestern end of the city.
It is a residential and commercial area, popular among Cali’s upper and upper-middle classes.
Versailles, the area, located further north, is full of office and residential highrises.
Granada offers a wide variety of luxury restaurants, bars, and hotels.
This area is also one of the best gastronomic districts of Cali.
To the south and west of Granada lie Centenario and Juanambú, two of the most pleasant residential neighborhoods.
These areas are somewhat lacking in attractions but are located a short walking distance from more happening places.
Versailles, Granada, and Juanambú are considered safe areas to stay in Cali, but it is advisable to use the taxi at night.
These neighborhoods are connected through the MIO system.
Accommodation in this area
Travelers Suites Juanambú
Travelers Apartasuites Juanambú is a 10-minute drive from the Valle del Pacífico events center and offers free Wi-Fi and a hot tub.
Hotel Granada Real
Located in the Granada district of Cali, this hotel offers comfortable rooms with free Wi-Fi. It serves an American breakfast daily and is a 10-minute walk from Versailles Park.
Four Points Sheraton Cali
Four Points is a modern hotel located in the north of Cali, 19 km from Alfonso Bonilla Airport. It offers 2 restaurants and free Wi-Fi throughout.
4. Cali’s Historic Center
Cali’s historic center is the birthplace of the city, and there are some of the most representative monuments of the capital of Valle del Cauca.
Cali was founded in 1536 and developed around what is now Templo de la Merced.
Much of the city’s colonial architecture has been demolished over time, being replaced by mixed-use buildings. However, some of the squares and corners of the Historic Center still retain part of the flavor of the Cali of yesteryear.
Some of the attractions of this historic neighborhood include the La Ermita Church, the Ortíz Bridge, the Poets Park, the Coltabaco Building, the San Pedro Cathedral, the National Palace, or the Enrique Buenaventura Municipal Theater.
As expected in many Latin American cities, the downtown area is a busy commercial place during the day. Still, it is not advisable to walk through its streets at night, particularly in dark or solitary places.
The western part of this area, near San Antonio, hosts most of the quality accommodation in the historic center.
Accommodation in this area
Casa Vintage Centenario
Casa Vintage Centenario is located in Cali, 90 meters from San Pedro Cathedral and 300 meters from Jorge Isaacs Theater. It offers accommodation with free Wi-Fi, a flat-screen TV and a kitchen.
Hotel Farallones Cali
Hotel Farallones Cali is conveniently located in the center of Cali, 300 meters from Caicedo Square and 10 minutes’ drive from the Olympic Stadium. It offers free Wi-Fi and rooms with a private bathroom.
Hotel Faranda Cali Collection
Offering a fitness center and terrace, Hotel Faranda Cali Collection is located in Cali, 400 meters from Saint Peter’s Cathedral. The property has a restaurant and a bar. There is free Wi-Fi.
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