This year I was lucky to see Cali Fair, the cultural festival about salsa, music and tradition that opens every year on 25th December and lasts for 6 days in Cali, the sugar cane capital of Colombia.
Why go? If you like parties, dancing and hanging out with locals just to have a good time.
What’s the best thing to do?
For me, the best thing was the Superconcierto on the third day of the fair. It’s really amazing. You get different seating / standing options at the Pascual Guerrero Stadium, so tickets can be as affordable as COP 77.000, up to COP 500.000 or even millions for a table to sit front in front of the stage being served like a king. It’s really worth it. I paid COP 190.000 to see 9 different musicians in one night! Tickets are sold in 5 stages before the show, the earlier the cheaper, so you can really get good bargains. I only cared about seeing Daddy Yankee, Gente de Zona (cuban rap / reggaetón), Grupo Niche (salsa), Maluma (reggaetón), Silvestre Dangond (vallenato), but it’s still amazing value! ‘Officially’ the show opens at 6pm. Although the first show really started at 7.45pm, you’ll still need to get there as early as 6pm, if not 5pm, to fight for some good seats, since seats are not allocated. Load up on some red bull beforehand and be ready to spend the night at the stadium – the show finishes at 5/6am, true Cali party style. Drinks are not allowed in so drink up with some of the street vendors around the stadium before you get in.
The third day is the old car parade (COP 40.000). I didn’t go in the end even though I got tickets, because it poured that day and I guess I wasn’t interested in cars enough to make the effort. Could be cool for car lovers..
The fourth day is the carnival day. Good chance to see the diversity of Afro, cultural and ethnic influence in Cali and Colombia.
If you’re a salsa fan who likes to watch salsa show, Salsa Paraíso, which goes on almost every night, might be your thing.
Everyone kept telling me to go to Delirio, a supposedly ‘amazing’ salsa circus hybrid show, which costs about COP 200.000. You’ll also need to buy tickets early. Start checking for tix two months before.
And then there’s also a tradition of the famous horse-riding parade, which unfortunately has picked up a bit of a bad reputation and has left bad taste in many’s mouths due to animal cruelty and abuse..
If you know about any other events/activities that I’ve missed, let us know!