Cali, Colombia: Now This City’s Got Some Pizazz, Part Two

I returned from Colombia almost one month ago and loved it.  Adored it.  I wrote about Medellintwice, about visiting an amazing coffee finca outside of Manizales, about the thermal hot springs of Santa Rosa, about bland, colonial Popayan and then about Cali, the city of salsa and tight clothing.  Medellin was far and away my favorite, a city that I could live in, but Cali, my last stop, had some spark…some spunk.  And I only wrote Part One.

So here is Part Two.  Bear with me.  I have never written a post weeks after the experience.  I always write the morning after.  Let’s see if my memory fails me.

For the tight clothes, the awesome zoo, and historical buildings of Cali, Colombia, see Part One

After the zoo, we headed back to downtown Cali to check out the higher end neighborhood, the area of posh restaurants and more boutique hotels.

On the way over we passed through a park filled with men and old fashioned typewriters.

Cesar consulted one of the writers but couldn’t understand one word the guy said.  I found out later that these guys will write a poem for you on the spot.  There were about 15 desks and no customers.  Seems like a tough way to make a living.

Across the almost completely dried up river (September is the heart of the dry season in Colombia), is the Granada neighborhood and it’s undergoing quite a resurgence.   There is plenty of construction going on along the tree lined streets.  But there are also lots of shops and great restaurants.  They are even raising money for a Salsa Museum in the area and these great wall paintings were just outside.

We went to check out the boutique hotel in Cali, the NOW Hotel.  (NOW stands for “not only white”…interesting…)  You’ll see it instantly, it’s taller, brighter and 100x more modern then the rest of the city.

Even valet parking.

There were two gentlemen outside wearing Time/Life operator headpieces, looking very offical but they didn’t seem to be doing anything.  They told us the roof top bar was closed until 5pm…but then decided they would open it for us.  Perfecto!

Through the very modern lobby…

And up to the rooftop for the best view and the best breeze that the city has to offer…

After eating at roadside stands and sipping boxed wine in our hostel rooms during the previous two weeks, we were feeling pretty swanky.  Though the beers were the most expensive we’d had in Colombia so far (about $3USD!), this rooftop bar is well worth visiting for the view alone.

Feeling like high rollers, we sought out a more sophisticated place to eat.  Heck, it was my last day in Colombia.  Let’s get crazy!

We found a very chic tapas and wine place…and stayed for the rest of the afternoon.  It’s called Restaurante Carambolo.  If in Granada, Cali, find it.

Many rounds of snacks and wine that I venture to guess did not come from a box.


It was the perfect last day in Colombia.  The next day I took at 4:45am taxi to the Cali airport and I was on my way home (stopping in Panama City, Cancun and then Tulum).

Colombia…I’ll be back.  Of all the places I’ve visited this year, Colombia was far and away my favorite.  And with Spirit Airlines flying to Bogota and Cartagena, there are some AMAZING deals.  Under $350 round-trip right now from NYC to Cartagena.  Wow.  That makes up for what a pain in the ass Spirit is to travel.

And the domestic airlines (LAN, Avianca, Copa, Satena, EasyFly) can get you around Colombia surprisingly cheaply (sometimes cheaper than the bus).

For even more information on the country, check out my post:  Eight Things You Might Not Have Known about Colombia.

And Colombia Tourism board?  I still wait for your call.

Posted in: