JUANCHITO IS THE PLACE TO GO...
JUANCHITO IS THE PLACE TO GO IF YOU LOVE TO DANCE...YOU CAN TAKE A TOUR OF THE CITY AND IT'S DISCO'S IN A 'CHIVA'. IT WAS THE MOST FUN I HAVE EVER HAD. THE PEOPLE. I WAS THERE FOR ALMOST 3 MONTHS AND THOSE PEOPLE JUST WELCOMED ME WITH OPEN ARMS AND TREATED MY LIKE ROALTY.
Feria de Cali - Premier Salsa Event
Feria de Cali (Cali fair) is the main cultural event in the city, Colombian premier salsa event with some of the best national and international salsa orchestras. It runs from Christmas to New Year, December 25th to December 30th, and it has been celebrated since 1957. For one week people enjoy many activities, parties and parades. The festival is home to a multitude of salsa concerts and shows, the fair also includes a number of other activities such as cabalgada (horseback riders parade), bullfighting (which I find unpleasant so I avoided it, sports competitions, salsa contests, cultural exhibitions and beauty pageant to select Señorita Cali.
It has been a long time since I wanted to visit this this famous festival. I finally made it to Cali and attended the 51 Feria de Cali (in December 2008). The inauguration took place on a big stadium and it was free (though it took us almost two hours to get in). The festival started with parades of salsa schools and the festival officially opened with a firework, followed by concerts of three top Colombian (La Gran Banda Caleña, El Grupo Niche and Guayacan Orquesta) and one Cuban orchestra (Los Van Van). The inauguration event was spectacular: excellent music and great party atmosphere! People were dancing, singing, drinking and having fun. When we were leaving I could not believe that all together it took seven hours. Time has just flown away.
more pics in the travelogue and home page album
presentation of salsa world champions
Though the real highlight of the festival for me was the concert of Yuri Buenaventura in Teatro Jorge Isaacs (the ticket was 35.000 COP). This was certainly the biggest surprise and one of the best concerts I've ever seen. I'm so grateful that Andres and Natalie, a Colombian/German couple, my dear new friends and companions during the whole festival, told me about him. A very convenient ambience of the beautiful Teatro Jorge Isaacs and a superb performance of Yuri Buenaventura!!
parque nacional del cafe
When I was told the park was about 3 hours away from Cali and that we would drive there... I wasn't excited about it! Apparently the roads were safe theses days but still...
On our way there, a group of military stopped us to check our ID's. After reading terrifying stories on the military and Colombian backroads I got really nervous but made sure I spoke no spanish and let my friends do the talking.
Actually, that stop proved to be helpful and nice... We continued... drove pass the mango grove giving shade to cofee plants... lovely!
In the end, the park is a great place to spend a fun day with friends!
You have all sorts of rides, attractions, food stands, and safe walks to do in an absolutely beautiful place! The landscapes and views you'll get are gorgeous!
The teleferico gives you a nice overview of the park and the coffee plantations!!!!!!
Daily flights from Bogota to Armenia + a 15 min bus ride to the park from Armenia for 1000 pesos
Or, a bus for 13 000 pesos running every half hour from or to Cali (the company's called expresso trejos or expresso Palmira)
Iglesia de la Merced
Iglesia de la Merced is Cali's oldest, dating back to the mid 1500s, and with its white-washed exterior and Spanish colonial style, it is not only its most traditional looking but also its loveliest. The simple exterior belies a stunning heavily gilded baroque altar topped by its namesake Virgen de las Mercedes.
It is nicely lit in the evening which makes for atmospheric photos
Cali's main square is Plaza Caycedo and while lacking the charm of many other big city squares, it does exude quite a bit of affluence compared to the rest of town. The park that is its centerpiece is nice enough but what sets it apart is the grandiose buildings that line it. Oddly enough, we did not really discover it until our last day as we'd spent more time at the square on which Iglesia de San Francisco is located. Plaza Caycedo is a more upscale area but perhaps a bit less interesting overall.