MotoDreamer´s Introduction to Cali, Colombia. The South American Vibrant Salsa Capital of the World and Adventure Motorcycle Riding Heaven.
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Every bad-ass Adventure Motorcycle Touring Warrior who has explored Colombia will have heard of Santiago de Cali. The Salsa Capital of South America.
After 15 years of calling Cali home for both Mike and Diana, Co-Founders of MotoDreamer in Colombia.
Now it’s your opportunity to visit and explore this vibrant “Jewel in the Crown” South American City for yourself.
Santiago de Cali, or ‘Cali’ for short, is the largest city in southwest Colombia.
Indeed, you will find it nestled against forested mountains in an eternally warm valley. Located between the Pacific coast and Colombia’s western Andean region.
Not exactly on the ‘Gringo Trail.’ The foreign visitors who do make it to Cali are usually doing so for one of three reasons:
- They’re stopping over while traveling overland through South America via Ecuador.
- They’re taking advantage of the city’s reputation as a medical tourism hub. (Acurious subject, but one best saved for another kind of blog.) Or most likely:
- They’ve come to Cali to DANCE.
Cali is known throughout Colombia and by lovers of Latin dance. Its regarded as the world’s unofficial salsa capital. And indeed that´s true!
The passion for salsa is utterly ingrained in the city’s identity. The yearly calendar of events all culminated in the Feria de Cali. A marathon six-day festival of dance that´s held every December.
But come to Cali at any time of year, and the sounds of salsa are inescapable. Its tropical rhythms run in every Caleño’s blood.
A Medellin native once told me,
“In Medellin, they dance salsa to try and impress partners. In Cali, they dance salsa for the love of salsa.”
Lured by world-renowned dance schools and an endless array of salsa-dedicated nightclubs and bars. Salsa fans flock to Cali to immerse themselves in the distinctively athletic Cali style.
But I suck at dancing! Why else should I visit Cali?
Editor´s note for this article titled: MotoDreamer´s introduction to Cali Colombia. I suspect both myself and Mike are useless at Salsa, and Diana will be an expert.
If you’re not so sure salsa’s your thing, a visit to Cali might just change your mind. Given the infectious exuberance and overwhelmingly welcoming attitude of the Cali scene.
But, if you prefer your hips straddling the saddle of a motorcycle rather than grinding against a dance partner. Then MotoDreamer´s Introduction to Cali Colombia should definitely be on your travel radar.
Cali is the best city in Colombia for adventure motorcycle riding.
It’s no coincidence that Colombia’s best-known and independent adventure motorcycle touring company, i.e, MotoDreamer, is based in Cali.
Cali’s location is precisely what makes it the perfect springboard to adventure riding heaven.
Consider this. Cali is one of the few places in the world where you can hit the Pacific Coast within two hours.
From there, you circle back a little. Then make your way through the Andes, and touch the edge of the Amazon rainforest. Afterward, you ride right back to your starting point – all in a single week!
Editor´s second note on this article titled: MotoDreamer´s Introduction to Cali Colombia. Now it’s Mike and my time to sing and dance!
This part of Colombia is one of the most diverse motorcycling destinations in Latin America.
But it’s not just the rough and tumbles rural roads that make southwestern Colombia ideal for two-wheeled escapades. Cali is the closest major city to the Zona Cafetera. The country’s most famous coffee-producing region.
Three hours north of Cali. This evergreen dominion promises spectacular paved mountain roads. We are incorporating coffee plantation tours and the chance to stay in luxurious haciendas.
Equally important, head straight south from Cali, and in two hours, you’ll reach Popayan. This city is considered one of the most beautiful colonial cities in Colombia. From Popayan, a 136km ride to the World Heritage-listed San Agustin Archaeological Park.
Thus, taking you through a scenic stretch of winding gravel. Then, through the volcanic landscapes of Purace National Park.
Furthermore, if you’re drawn to remote, off-road adventure riding, departing from Cali, smooth, bitumen highways can quickly become a distant memory.
In a few days, you can cross the mighty Magdalena River and traverse the majestic Tatacoa Desert. You can even join MotolDreamer’s guided, all-terrain expedition to the legendary Caño Cristales or the ‘River of the Gods.’ It’s also the only overland tour of its kind.
From volcanoes and canyons to jungles, deserts, coffee farms. To colonial cities, the regions surrounding Cali have it all.
Since Cali is a fairly compact city. Uniquely, it rarely takes long to get out of the traffic and straight to the good bits. Compare this to Bogota. Where congestion regularly stretches for hours outside the city. To say nothing of Cartagena. Whose numbingly straight highways are a far cry from those famously twisty Andean dream roads.
So, if you’re planning on adventure motorcycle touring in Colombia. And are keen to ride the best roads the country has to offer, consider beginning your adventure in Cali.
Furthermore, bring your dancing shoes along with your riding boots. You might even end up a hip-swiveling salsa convert on the side!
Editor´s Final Note for this article titled: MotoDreamer´s Introduction to Cali Colombia has to be. Mike and I don´t have any dancing shoes, just big boots!
Written by: Fiona Davies (extreme pillion rider and adventure travel writer.)
Edited for SEO optimization by Mike Bowley at www.mikedbowley.com
These days Cali is known as the third city, with Medellin second and Bogota first. But we decided to add Popayan to the mix as it was originally the third city before Cali grew.
Why should I visit Popayán? Cartagena has everything and more. In contrast, I have never heard of Popayán! – Colombia’s 480 Year Old Colonial ‘White City.’
MotoDreamer’s spotlight on Bogotá will most likely commence for you when you arrive in this South American city. What can you expect to discover?
Six Reasons to Fall in Love with Medellin, Colombia. Here you will discover the people, the landscape, the nightlife, the weather, the vibe, the arts, and culture.