Cali is a big city and one in South America so there are precautions that need to be taken but probably not more so than in similar cities of its size, especially on its continent. We spent two nights there and had no problems whatsoever. It was about the sixth week of a two month trip to Colombia which had gone without incident aside from a druggie getting a bit too close our second day in Bogota. We learned not to let anyone get that close after that.
We walked just about everywhere but heeded warnings about areas not to explore. We took cabs when it looked like the safest and smartest option. We always kept our wits about us, watched in all directions. We didn't carry a lot of money around and never flashed any of it when on the street. We do have nice cameras but tried to be careful when we pulled them out and carried them in unobtrusive bags rather than big "camera" bags. But my guess is the thing that kept us out of trouble the most is we were not out much past dark. We had dinner, and maybe one drink and back to our room we would go. We may have missed out on some late night fun but we got lots of great photos in the morning when the light was best. This might have been the case in Cali photo-wise but it still worked for when it came to not having any problems.
The name Rio Cali conjures up something beautiful in my mind and its setting in town, running right through the scenic Centenario is stunning but you will notice something when crossing it from any bridge, and that is its smell. It seems all of the city's sewage is dumped into it in raw form, such is the stench of the mighty Rio Cali.
I know, everybody says Colombia is dangerous.
Maybe it is, maybe it isn't, I have no idea.
All I can say is that you will not feel that way when you are there, at all.
You should use the typical precautions however.
While visiting beautiful Colombia, remember to use taxis with marking on them. A lot of the locals know that you are a tourist or from another country...Unfortunately there are a percentage that will take advantage of this and attempt to hustle you. A lot of these people will ask if you need a taxi and then take you to a location where you did not want to go...then they will demand money or threaten to leave you at that location. Remember to carry very little cash on your person and only a copy of your passport...leave the original in your hotel room or where you are staying.
When traveling in Cali, you are safer and better off getting a taxi off the street, or having the hotel you are staying at , call you a taxi than letting a bar or restaurant call one for you. It's been know in Cali to have a drunk or non-spanish speaking person ask the local bar to call for a cab. What they do is call a friend who has a taxi and they end up robbing you. Usually it's not the driver but another car of friends who pretend to be robbing the driver but end up taking you to an atm and making you w/d all funds avaliable.
I have never had a problem with a taxi off the street or if it's late out, i usually just pay a little bit more and take the hotel taxis. Be careful.
This pictures shows the church after the earthquake in 1983. The earthquake occured one morning during the Easter week, when many people were at church. Almost all of Popayan's churches collapsed, and many people were killed. See below under 'Cultural Tips' for the picture of the reconstructed church.