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Holidays and Festivals

Cali’s (and one of Colombia’s) biggest festival is, without a doubt, Feria de Cali, which takes place every December 25-30. It has been a yearly event since 1957, a time when work ceases and partying persists. This event is the city’s version of Carnaval; nights are alive with salsa concerts, horse races and exhibitions. Days are packed with bullfights, beauty and fashion pageants, parades, food festivals, sports events and city-wide street festivities. Music is integral to the event, with national and international acts performing.

In late August, the Petronio Alverez festival takes place, which is the country’s largest Afro-Colombian festival. This five-day festival features food and music from the Pacific coast. Ajazzgo, a large jazz festival attracting hosts of international jazz artists, happens in early September. Late September is the time for the Festival Mundial de Salsa, when all the Cali salsa teams compete in several different categories for the crown of the Valle. Free salsa classes and conferences also take place during the day. Another worthwhile event is the Festival Internacional de Cine de Cali. Only a few years old, this international film festival is held in early November.

To close the year on December 31, there is always a huge concert on the hill in Plaza San Antonio, where song and dance is the center of the New Year’s party.

Although there are Easter processions in Cali, they are not particularly notable. You are better off heading a couple of hours away to Popayán. Prices generally increase in Cali around and during Semana Santa—when all Colombians travel—and during the famous Feria de Cali.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Cali: Getting Around, When to Go, Safety, Highlights and Getting To and Away.

By Richard McColl
With over five years travelling and working in Latin America, Richard feels most at home here in the big Continent. From the former Scottish...
08 Feb 2012

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