Santiago de Cali, commonly known as "Cali", was founded on 25 July 1536 by the Spanish conquistador Sebastián de Belalcázar. It has been named by renowned salsa singers and dancers "The World Capital of Salsa" with reference to the different schools of the genre and for its annual fair held in late-December. Due to its proximity to the equator Cali has a tropical savanna climate with minor seasonal variations. There are typically two rainy seasons: from March to May and from October to November. However, rain can be expected at any time of the year.
Santiago de Cali offers historical and cultural areas with many local attractions. In downtown Cali there are many historic churches such as La Merced and La Ermita. Cali contains a well-preserved historical center. The most important zone is La Plaza de Cayzedo, located in the center of the city, a square surrounded by many historical and modern buildings such as El Edificio Otero, La Catedral and El Palacio de Justicia. This plaza is close to other tourist places, such as the Iglesia de San Francisco, the municipal theater and La Merced church. The city is also rich in monuments, parks, squares and museums.
Other places of interest include:
Parque del Perro: Located in the San Fernando neighborhood, this is one of the most popular areas in the city. It is home to many restaurants and bars.
Calle 66: Home to many nightclubs, the best social events, best bars, the best rumba.
Menga: Located north of Santiago de Cali, it is one of the best showcases of the rumba in the city with the most upscale clubs.
Sebastian de Belalcazar's monument: It is the most visited and popular monument in the city located in the hills overlooking the city.
Cali River: One of the most peaceful zones in the city, the river is surrounded by restaurants, hotels and museums like "La Tertulia", an art museum.
Cristo Rey: A religious monument located on a hill that offers the best view of the city.
San Antonio: The most traditional neighborhood of Cali.
Cali Botanical Garden/ Jardín Botánico de Cali: Founded by Jorge Enrique Orejuela.
Orquideorama Enrique Perez Arbelaer: This lovely, wooded park is the site of the large orchid show hosted each fall by Asociacion Vallecaucana de Orquideologia.It is also a good place for birdwatching.
There is a wide variety of nightclubs and restaurants throughout the city. The Granada district is one of the most traditional districts in Cali, full of gourmet restaurants, fashion stores and boutiques. Another spot to visit is along "La Sexta" (6th Avenue) and Menga which has risen to be the most popular area for nightclubs. In recent years the restaurant business has grown to be on the level of Bogotá in upscale restaurant options.