Cali – Colombia
I only made one visit to Cali, Colombia. I really need to go back soon and get to know the city a little more. But I must admit that I did not get a good feel for Cali. This might have been some preconceived ideas from speaking to other people. I was told it has a lot of crime and I probably would not like Cali. But I would like to be fair and give it a chance and get my own opinion. I do not know enough about Cali to say I hate it or love it.
I stayed in a part of town called “Primero de Mayo”. Pretty good neighborhood. They had a nice assortment of restaurants within walking distance from the hotel. They was also an area with nightclubs about 4 blocks from the hotel. I never really felt unsafe. I walked around pretty late at night to check out a few places for a drink.
We also took an hour trip outside of the city to do some horseback riding at a place call Pesebrera la Jamundi. That was a lot of fun. The only problem is that the person who took us to the farm kind of forget to tell us all the important details about the 2 hours horse ride. There were about 15 people in the group in addition to the 4 tour guides. They took us through a pretty good size river and had the horses walk through the water. At one point they stopped and threw water from the river on us. Problem is that I had my Nikon camera. I also had my sneaker which got totally wet. The horses went stomach deep in the river which means we got totally wet to my shirt. Fortunately my friend has a backpack and we were able to put our camera away during this part of the ride. It was definitely a lot of fun but we did not plan on being totally wet.
I have not been on a horse for about 20 years and my horse was a little jumpy. Therefore, it got a little dicey a few times but you just have to take control of the animal and let them know you are in charge. It took me about 15 minutes to figure this one out.
I like the fact that Cali has a nice mixture of the races, and everyone seems to get along fine. Salsa is big in Cali. You must visit the part of the city call San Antonio and hit some of the salsa clubs on a Friday and Saturday night. I had a great time. They dance salsa all night until the morning. Even though I am not that great I learned fast and had a great time. I noticed that the salsa bars had a mixture of Black, White and Mulatto and everyone just danced and enjoyed themselves. It was not like Medellin or Bogota. In my opinion in those cities I see a lot less mixture of the races. I have visited Medellin many times and I have never seen the White Colombians mixing with the Blacks or Mullato like I do in Cali.
One night we got a nice group together and went downtown for dinner to a nice restaurant in an area call Granada. Lot of nice restaurants in Granada.
Downtown Cali: You must also take a visit to the downtown area in Cali. The typical crowded downtown packed with cars and people. The good thing I liked about downtown Cali was the assortment of fruits for sale. The prices were so cheap that I had to purchase some fruits. There is a fruit call anon which is very sweet. It is called sugar apple in the US or sweet sop in the Islands. I have always love this fruit. I could eat them all day. I could not believe how cheap the fruits were. When I am in Florida and I see them for sale at the store or swap shop they are usually so expensive I just do not purchase them at all. In Cali we got free samples and I was able to purchase 8 or 9 fruits for about $2.00. I gorged myself for a few days.
I saw these giant bean looking fruits but I am still not sure what they are. If someone can identify them please let me know. I assume you shell them out of the pods and cook them. Have no idea how they taste.
Park San Antonio: One day we went for a walk to the big park on the top of the hill call Parque San Antonio. The walk from the main strip is a challenge. You have to walk up these narrow streets through an older part of town. It was a steep climb requiring a few stops to rest. It must be the age thing (lol). But it was worth the trip. A pretty good size part which was pretty crowded on a Sunday afternoon. There were people selling hand made trinkets, food, etc. At the top of the hill there is a large church. I notice a big seller we the ladies selling roasted corn. Looked pretty tasty. The park has a great view of the City. Worth a trip if you visit Cali.