Cali City Guide
OVERVIEW: A large city in southwestern Colombia. Known for salsa dancing, beautiful women, crime and c-c-c-cocaine! A major industrial and commercial hub of the country. It is one of the fastest growing economies in Colombia, and both Colombians and expats are moving in to try and get a piece of the action.
WEATHER: Tropical savanna (19-31 °C). Rainy season March-May and October-November.
SAFETY: So-so. Cali has a reputation for being a bit dangerous and, like Medellin, certain neighbourhoods can feel more than a bit dodgy. Don't dress like a high-roller and take cabs at night.
MUST DO: Sex, drugs and salsa! Cali is the best city in the country for all three.
RENT AN APARTMENT IN CALI: $400.00. Property prices have risen in recent years, but $400.00 will get you an apartment in Cali
HOSTEL DORM BED/NIGHT $12.00
NIGHTLIFE IN CALI: 8.75/10
There are too many bars and clubs in Cali, and I mean that in the best possible way. Many are salsa-based, so know a few steps before you arrive. Trust me. In Cali, this may be more important than knowing Spanish. There are other styles of bars as well, ranging from rock to reggaeton, but I guarantee that every night you go out at some point you will be required to dance salsa. Stick to Avenida 6. There is a sickening number of bars and clubs on this one street alone (again, I mean that in the best possible way).
BOTTLE OF BEER: $1.75
CHANCE OF HOOKING-UP IN CALI: 8.25/10
Your best chance of hooking-up in Colombia is in Cali. Well, Cali or Pereira...it's a toss-up. There are only three challenges you will face:
1) Language barrier. If you don't know at least basic Spanish, you won't be able to talk to many people.
2) Can't dance. Shit is important here. Take about ten hours of your time to learn beginner salsa steps.
3) Logistics. Logistics are tricky in this city. Many of the after hours bars from which you are most likely to take someone home are located on the outskirts or even outside of the city. I advise you to stay near a major landmark in a nice area of town. Somewhere taxi drivers will know how to get to, and somewhere girls will know how to get home from (e.g. Barrio Granada).
***If you want to meet girls in Colombia the easy way and set up dates before you arrive in the country, I highly recommend checking out Colombian Cupid.
ARE GIRLS HOT IN CALI?: 7.75/10.
Stunning women in Cali. Darker than Medellin, but not as dark as Cartagena, if I must racially generalize. Absolutely rocking bodies with cute faces are by no means out of the ordinary. Girls here are way more approachable than in Medellin, and aren't quite as likely to be suspicious of your motives as a foreigner in Colombia (i.e. pay for play). If you like Morenas and aren't afraid to get up onto the dance floor, allot yourself a healthy amount of time for Cali. Enjoy it before the gringos living in Medellin realize that their adopted city is now stale.
If you want to meet women in Colombia, you will need to speak some Spanish. The Pickup Spanish Program is the only course of its kind, designed specifically to teach you Spanish for meeting Latinas in Latin America.
GROCERIES: Milk (1L)= $1.20 Loaf of Bread= $1.50 Eggs= $2.00 Water (1.5L)= $1.20 Cigarettes= $2.00
JOB OPPORTUNITIES: You should be able to get an English teaching job here without much difficulty.
NOTES: Cali is the place to be in Colombia right now. The girls are on fire and the city is modern and expanding economically. It is still dangerous, and gang warfare has even seen a rise in recent years, but if you're smart you won't get into trouble. And the silver lining is that crime scares tourists away, especially Americans. Enjoy the fruits of this city while you can; I have a feeling that it won't stay this good for long.
OVERALL RATING: 8.5/10
*More city guides from Colombia here!