where to stay in cali colombia

Where to stay in Cali Colombia: Best Areas and Hotels

If you’re wondering where to stay in Cali, or where is the best area to stay in Cali, you’re in the right place. In this article, I will give an insight into the best places to stay in Cali for first-time visitors, couples, families, backpackers, all budget travelers; read on as I show you the best of Cali.

Santiago de Cali, also known by tourists as simply Cali, is the most populated city in Colombia. The oldest area of Cali is where you will find the San Pedro Cathedral Houses and the paintings of the Quito School.

Close to this is the 19th century San Francisco Religious Complex. It is here in the La Mercer Chapel that the first Mass was held in 1536.

Cali is the second largest city in Colombia and the only one which is on the Pacific Coast.

Of additional interest is that Cali is the only city in Colombia to have hosted the Pan American Games. The ninth event of the World Games was held here in 1992, with the Track Cycling World Championships held there in 2014.

Cali also played host to the World Youth Championships in Athletics in 2015 and is going to be the first to host the Junior Pan American Games in 2021. 

Where to Stay in Cali: Tips & Info

Take care of your belongings. As with most tourist areas, crime will rear its head.

Be aware of your surroundings. Just keeping your eyes open will often prevent an opportunistic thief.

Do your research. Once you have decided what you are looking for in a holiday, then choose a place that will deliver what you want.

Book cars and hotels early. As with most tourist venues, they tend to be fully booked in high season so book early unless you can go at another time.

For hiking, check out Tres Cruces, while for salsa lessons you should head for Grenada. 

Where to stay in Cali Colombia – 5 Best Area and neighborhood in Cali

So, Where is the best area to stay in Cali? In this section, we’ll help you to explore the 5 best areas to stay in Cali are El Penon, Centro, San Fernando, Sant Antonio and San Cayetano; Versalles, Granada and Juanambu.

Where to Stay in Cali Colombia map

Where to Stay in Cali Colombia map
Where to Stay in Cali Colombia map

To see more detail on where to stay in Cali Map, go to Google Map.

1. El Peñón, Where to Stay in Cali for Nightlife

El Peñon best place to stay near Cali
El Peñon @Tim Regan

While El Peñón area does not have as many tourist attractions as others, it ranks as one of the best places to stay and enjoy the lavishness of the city. This is a bastion for richer guests and is also the home of the more affluent locals.

Because of this, the area is far safer than in other areas. You will constantly see watchmen on duty throughout the neighborhood.

If nightlife is what you enjoy then this area will be just what you want as it offers a very vibrant nightlife. The bars and restaurants tend to be classier and you may meet some of the city’s richer citizens. 

While you may find some budget hotels here, most of the hotels are more expensive and far more luxurious than the average in other areas.


  • You enjoy upmarket cuisine
  • Art galleries appeal to you
  • You like to stay in luxury hotels 

Where to Stay in El Peñon

  • Hotel El Peñon. Hotel El Peñon is located in El Peñon neighbourhood, only 100 m away from the financial area and the centre of the city. The area offers a wide range of restaurants, bars, offices and business centres. Breakfast and WiFi are included. Rooms at Hotel El Peñon are spacious and feature air conditioning, satellite TV and minibar. A private bathroom with a shower is included.
  • Hotel Obelisco. Featuring a swimming pool, Hotel Obelisco offers rooms with private balconies, free WiFi and TVs. Breakfast is provided. Pascual Guerrero Stadium is a 15-minute drive away. A buffet breakfast is served daily. There is a restaurant offering a wide variety of dishes, and drinks from the bar can be enjoyed on the terrace.
  • Hotel Intercontinental Cali. Hotel Intercontinental offers pleasant gold and peach rooms with free WiFi in downtown Cali, 12 km from Alfonso Bonilla Aragón Airport. Facilities include a pool and health club. The floodlit rooms at Intercontinental Cali have wood floors. All are equipped with air conditioning, cable TV and have queen-size beds.

2. Centro – Caicedo Square, Where to Stay in Cali for Shopping

Staying in Centro Cali
Centro Cali @Kimmel

You will find Centro – Caicedo square area right in the center of the city. It is also one of the most historically important areas. The area is a hub of bustling activity where you can do your daily shopping and eating in the same place.

Many people enjoy this area because of the stunning architecture rather than for the nightlife. The area is also considered to be one of the most densely populated places in the city.

One place not to miss is the Caicedo Square which is named after a hero who fought for the battle of independence for the country. This area is lush with floral parks and palm trees.

Because the area is right in the middle of the city it makes things simple when you travel to other areas in Cali.


  • You prefer mid-range hotels
  • You want a base to travel to other areas
  • You like shopping and dining at your fingertips

Where to Stay in Centro – Caicedo Square

  • Alko Hotel Casa Nispero. Alko Hotel Casa Nispero is a 5 star hotel, located in Cali, 1.4 km from Jorge Isaacs Theater, Alko Hotel Casa Nispero provides accommodation with a restaurant, free private parking, an outdoor swimming pool and a fitness centre. Phenomenal stay in San Antonio, Cali. Brand new hotels go above and beyond to ensure you have the best experience in Cali. 
  • La Vaina Hostel Cali La Vaina Hostel Cali has an outdoor swimming pool, bar, a shared lounge and garden in Cali. Boasting a tour desk, this property also provides guests with a terrace. The accommodation features a 24-hour front desk, airport transfers, a shared kitchen and free WiFi throughout the property. Popular points of interest near La Vaina Hostel Cali include Jorge Isaacs Theater, La Ermita Church and The Poet’s Park

3. San Fernando – Parque del Perro, Where to Stay in Cali for Hottest Nightlife

Parque del Perro Cali
Parque del Perro @yonolatengo

If a hectic nightlife is your ‘thing’ then San Fernando will be ideal for you. You’ll find the hottest nightlife right here.

Busy bars, innovative restaurants, and salsa dancing make this area very attractive for people who enjoy music and dancing.

The restaurants often hire young upcoming chefs so you can expect to find adventurous dishes as well as local delicacies.

Make sure that you visit the Parque del Perro which means the ‘Park of the Dog.’ It is a popular place for families to gather and is one of the most pleasant parks in the area.

Transport wise, if you head for Street Five you will find the central public bus lines.


  • You are looking for cute hostels and boutique hotels
  • Nightlife is what you want on holiday
  • Unusual cuisine makes your day

Where to Stay in San Fernando

  • Hotel San Fernando Real. Hotel San Fernando Real has chic rooms equipped with air conditioning, mini-bars and flat-screen TVs. Some rooms feature spa baths and very large sun terraces. An outdoor swimming pool and spa facilities can be enjoyed in Cali. There is an on-site cinema room and a charming chess garden. Wi-Fi is free and San Fernando Mio bus station is a 5-minute walk.
  • Hotel Casa Vallecaucana. Hotel Casa Vallecaucana offers accommodations with a shared lounge, free private parking, a garden and a terrace. Among the facilities at this property are a concierge service and valet parking, along with free WiFi throughout the property.

4. Sant Antonio and San Cayetano, Where to Stay in Cali for Walking

where to stay in Cali Sant Antonio
Sant Antonio @young shanahan

San Caetano and San Antonio is the cultural center of Cali. You can see how creative the residents are while still feeling safe on your vacation.

You will find some traditional colonial buildings in this area, but you will also find creative murals and interesting graffiti on the walls. This area is classed as ‘middle class.’

Most of the restaurants and bars are easy to access by foot so very little need to drive a car to get anywhere here.

Generally, this is a quieter area so there is not that much noise at night, it is the local cuisine that draws people here.

Accommodation ranges from international hotels of the luxury standard to cheap and cheerful bohemian places, with prices to suit all budgets.


  • You want a traditional vacation
  • You like cultural events and buildings
  • You enjoy walking instead of driving

Where to Stay Near Sant Antonio and San Cayetano

  • Magic Garden House. Magic Garden House is set in Cali and has a garden and free WiFi. Offering a terrace, the property is located within 0.8 mi of Jorge Isaacs Theater. La Ermita Church is a 17-minute walk away and Pan-American Park is 1.1 mi from the guest house. Cycling is among the activities that guests can enjoy near Magic Garden House.
  • Hostal Ruta Sur. Comfortable rooms with regional décor can be enjoyed in Cali, a 5-minute walk from the Gold Museum and historical district. Free WiFi and local calls are included. Hostal Rutal Sur offers 10 rooms with a private bathroom in a house decorated with plants, colorful tapestries and hammocks.
  • Moonshine Boutique Hostel The location is excellent,stores nearby and good places to eat any time of the day, clean and comfortable. Incredibly spacious rooms with a killer rooftop patio for taking in the surrounding city. Sandra was an amazing host and was very understanding of our limited Spanish and communicated with us effectively.

5. Versalles, Granada and Juanambú, Where to Stay in Cali for Fine Dining

Versalles, Grenada, and Juanambú are very close to each other and can be found at the northern end of the city.

All three of them are considered to be the most entertaining places in the city with a high concentration of bars, restaurants, and luxury hotels.

Even though they are so entertaining, they do not seem to attract as many tourists as the other parts of Cali. They are in fact, safer and more pedestrian-friendly, with a cultured nightlife scene.

The restaurants tend to be more up-market and elegant, while the bars are more laid back.

The area houses some delightful boutiques where you can see the designs of innovative fashion designers.

Grenada tends to be a little more expensive as far as hotels go although the area is a great place to set up base camp and travel elsewhere in the country.


  • You plan to travel to other parts of the country
  • You enjoy scouring interesting boutiques
  • Upmarket restaurants suit you

Where to Stay near Granada 

  • Cali Marriott Hotel. The modern Cali Marriott Hotel is located in Granada, Cali´s newest entertainment district, where you will find restaurants, bars and boutiques just steps away from the hotel´s lobby. The hotel offers a Spa, a Finnish sauna, a fitness room, 3 restaurants, an ample terrace and a bar that overlooks the outdoor pool.
  • Castellón de Juanambú. Castellón de Juanambú offers free Wi-Fi and a spa bath. All accommodation is air conditioned and includes a seating area and kitchen. Each spacious apartment at Castellón de Juanambú offers a balcony and modern furnishings. A cleaning service is included.
  • Now Hotel. Contemporary, luxurious accommodations and a terrace with a swimming pool and a bar offering city views is provided by this design hotel. Now is located in the center of Cali´s Zona Rosa.

Is Cali safe for tourists?

As with any other town, petty theft happens. Some times of the year are worse than others but be aware that crime relies on the opportunity. The best way to deter crime is to be aware of your surroundings and your belongings.

Cali is generally thought to be safe for tourists although basic safety precautions, particularly at night are essential.

Is Cali Colombia worth visiting?

Absolutely! Provided you take reasonable safety precautions it is safe for backpackers as well as females who are traveling alone.

So long as you are sensible in whom you choose to associate with, you will be fine.

What are the best places to stay in Cali Colombia?

Without a doubt, the best neighborhoods are el Peñón, San Cayetano, San Antonio, San Fernando, Granada, Juanambú, and Versalles. If you stick to any of these areas, you will have an enjoyable stay.

The historic area is El Peñón, San Antonio, and San Cayetano, and they are also considered upper middle class and the best for a vibrant nightlife.

There are several good museums in these areas, excellent bars, and superb restaurants, in fact, these are the three main reasons why they are the best places to stay in Cali.

How to get around Cali?

The best way is to hire a car. This way you can plan your days as you wish.

If you do not want to do this then there is a very good bus service. This is called MIO and is the public bus network. This way you will be able to see the entire city very cheaply.

The third way is to take taxis. They are cheap and safe to use. You can download the app and order a metered taxi from anywhere you, please.

How to stay safe in Cali Colombia?

  • There are several things that make you stand out as a target:
  • Don’t wear your flashy jewelry. Keep your belongings close to you. The most common things which are stolen are cellphones, cameras, and jewelry.
  • Be careful even in upmarket areas. Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Take extra care on the bus service as pickpockets target tourists here.
  • Don’t be tempted to take drugs and stay away from illegal activities. 
  • If you must use ATM’s then use them in malls and grocery stores.
  • Don’t walk alone at night. Even safe areas have nasty people in them. If you are coming back at night, call a taxi.
  • Leave your passport in your hotel. It is a good idea to carry a copy of your passport and another form of ID such as a driver’s license. Leave the originals in the hotel.

Where is the safest place to stay in Cali, Colombia?

Probably the safest place to stay in Cali is El Peñón. It is situated quite close to the river and you will always find plenty of policemen patrolling the area at night. This keeps it a safe place to walk along the river and stop at a café for a bite to eat.


If you plan a vacation in Cali, Colombia, and take some ‘common sense’ precautions, you can be sure that you have an enjoyable and relaxing holiday wherever you go.

Cali is a diverse city with plenty to do, whether you enjoy a noisy nightlife scene or exploring small boutiques and cafes.

The cuisine of Cali will impress you because it is so wide and different. No matter what your taste in food, you will find something to suit you.

There is no reason, with a little preparation, why you should not have a wonderful holiday in Cali, Colombia. 

About Author

I'm Linda Smith. I'm passionate about traveling and I'm here to share with you all my travel experiences and tips. I hope all these things will make your travel easier.

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