Cali and the South of Colombia: Our highlights and itinerary ideas
Only a few travelers visit Cali and the South of Colombia. It’s a pity because it’s a zone rich in biodiversity and culture!
Cali is considered by many Colombians as the Salsa Capital, with its wild nightlife and fantastic dancers. If you like dancing, you must include this city in your Colombia itinerary. From Cali, you can head to the Pacific coast – it’s the only road to reach this region of Colombia – or explore the mountains around like Pance and The Farallones Park. It’s a world-famous place for bird watching. Don’t forget your binoculars.
Going South, you arrive in the white colonial city of Popayan. Many Colombians come there during the Holy Week. Moreover, Popayan’s history is fascinating. It’s also the departure point to venture in the National Park El Purace to admire Condors and paramos – a unique ecosystem present in Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador. If you like hiking, we recommend you to include in your Colombia itinerary a 2-day trip to the Purace Volcano, which rises to 4600m above sea level. The sceneries are breath-taking!
The South of Colombia is the most exciting region if you want to visit archeological UNESCO sites. Travel to San Agustin to admire giant statues of 3-5 m carved in one single piece of rock or play the Indiana Jones in Tierradentro to uncover deep underground tombs.
Finally, the Tatacoa Desert is a good option for your Colombia tour if you want to observe a starry night with a telescope. Tatacoa Desert is a dry tropical forest and offers magnificent photogenic landscapes.
Examples of activities in Cali and the South that we can add in your Colombia itinerary:
- Learn to dance Salsa in Cali: It’s the cheapest city to take some classes, and you can book them at your convenience.
- Enjoy the nightlife: In Cali, there is always a party. Besides, you must practice at night if you want to improve your Salsa moves! It’s also entertaining to watch out the other dancers.
- Canyoning: Cali is also known as the city of 7 rivers. The topography and the many streams make it perfect for practicing this activity, especially around Popayan and Cali.
- Explore the different archeological sites: San Agustin and Tierradentro are both classified as World Heritage sites by Unesco. San Agustin is well-known for its vast collection of 5-7m stone statues (more than 500) dating back to the Precolombian era. In Tierradentro, visitors can visit 8m deep underground tombs. Moreover, both places offer outstanding viewpoints.
- Head to the Pacific Coast: From Cali, travelers can take a bus to Buenaventura then a 1-h boat to discover this off the beaten path region. It’s an interesting option to think of when creating your Colombia Itinerary.
- Hike in many natural national parks: The South of Colombia is a paradise for mountain lovers. Choose between the Farallones, Pico Loro, Purace, or the Paramos de las Papas! There is something for every taste.
- Explore a Paramo in Colombia: The Parc Purace is an easy way to discover for the first time a Paramo. However, we can also organize a multi-day trek if this is what you want.
- Visit a Colombia Colonial town: Popayan is called the White City, and its historic center is filled with churches, universities, and stories. Besides, the city is famous for its gastromy!
- Rafting: Ideal for creating bonds between friends and family. Go down the Magdalena river on a raft! It’s safe and easy.
- Watch out the stars: As a desert, Tatacoa offers a beautiful show for people who want to admire the stars at night. Go to one of the two observatories and improve your knowledge about the universe. It’s an entertaining experience.
- Wander in the desert: Tatacoa looks like a desert, but it’s not. It’s a small dry tropical forest. Tatacoa is divided into two main sections: Cuzco (red part) and Los Hoyos (grey part). The sceneries are fantastic!