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The 11 Best Day Trips From Cali, Colombia


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Romonda Barwick



Welcome to Colombia, a country known for its vibrant culture, breathtaking landscapes, and rich history. While the bustling city of Cali offers a plethora of activities and attractions, exploring the surrounding areas through day trips is a fantastic way to delve deeper into the Colombian experience. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural immersion, Cali serves as the perfect gateway to some of the most remarkable destinations in the country.


From picturesque coffee farms to colonial towns and natural wonders, there is no shortage of incredible day trips to embark on from Cali. In this article, we will highlight the 11 best day trips that will take you on a journey through Colombia’s diverse landscapes and provide memorable experiences.


Each of these day trips offers a unique perspective of Colombian culture, history, and natural beauty. So pack your bags, put on some comfortable shoes, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure from Cali!


Salento, Quindío

Nestled in the heart of the Coffee Triangle, Salento is a charming town known for its colorful architecture, coffee plantations, and lush landscapes. Just a few hours away from Cali, this day trip to Salento is a perfect escape into Colombia’s coffee culture.


Start your day by exploring the town’s vibrant streets lined with traditional colorful houses. Take a leisurely stroll through the main square, Plaza de Bolivar, and soak in the laid-back atmosphere. You can also visit the traditional “Jeep Willys” caravans that are an icon of the region and often used for transportation.


Next, venture into the famed Cocora Valley, home to the towering wax palm trees, Colombia’s national tree, reaching heights of up to 60 meters (200 feet). Hike through the cloud forests and capture stunning views of these unique palm trees against the backdrop of mist-covered mountains. The hike takes approximately 2 hours and is considered moderate in difficulty.


After the hike, indulge in a delicious cup of freshly brewed Colombian coffee at one of the local farms. You can even participate in a coffee tasting session and learn about the coffee-making process. Don’t forget to buy some locally sourced coffee beans to take back home as a souvenir.


If you have more time, pay a visit to one of the surrounding coffee farms to gain a deeper understanding of the coffee production process. Learn about the cultivation, harvesting, and roasting techniques while enjoying the captivating aroma of freshly roasted coffee.


End your day in Salento by exploring the artisanal shops offering locally made crafts and souvenirs. From handmade jewelry to intricate woodwork, you’ll find unique pieces that showcase the talent of local artisans.


Salento, with its picturesque landscapes and vibrant culture, offers a wonderful day trip from Cali. Immerse yourself in the world of Colombian coffee and embrace the beauty of this charming town.


Valle de Cocora

No trip to Colombia would be complete without a visit to the breathtaking Valle de Cocora. Located near the town of Salento, this valley is famous for its stunning landscapes, towering wax palm trees, and picturesque hiking trails. A day trip to Valle de Cocora from Cali promises unforgettable natural beauty and an opportunity to immerse yourself in Colombia’s enchanting cloud forests.


Begin your adventure by embarking on a scenic hike through the Cocora Valley. The main trail takes you through lush green meadows, babbling rivers, and dense forests. As you traverse the paths, you’ll be surrounded by the awe-inspiring sight of towering wax palm trees, some of which reach heights of up to 60 meters (200 feet), making them the tallest palm trees in the world.


Make sure to bring your camera along to capture the mesmerizing beauty of these unique trees against the backdrop of mist-covered mountains. The landscape is truly a photographer’s paradise. You can also spot various species of birds and other wildlife along the way, adding to the magical experience of the hike.


For a more adventurous experience, consider taking the side trail that leads to Acaime Hummingbird Sanctuary. Here, you can delight in the vibrant colors of numerous hummingbirds fluttering about while enjoying a cup of local hot chocolate or coffee.


After exploring the valley, venture further to explore the Cloud Forest Reserve, an area teeming with biodiversity and natural wonders. Take a guided tour or hike along the well-marked trails to discover hidden waterfalls, exotic flora, and fauna unique to the region. The misty atmosphere of the cloud forest adds an otherworldly charm to the experience.


As you make your way back from Valle de Cocora, don’t forget to sample the local cuisine in Salento. From traditional Colombian dishes to international delights, the town’s restaurants and cafes offer a wide range of culinary options to satisfy your taste buds.


A day trip to Valle de Cocora is a must-do for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. Immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of the Colombian landscapes and marvel at the majestic wax palm trees that make this destination truly unforgettable.



Step back in time with a day trip to Popayán, a city renowned for its colonial architecture, rich history, and cultural heritage. Located about 3 hours away from Cali, this charming city offers a glimpse into Colombia’s past and is often referred to as the “White City” due to its plethora of white-washed buildings.


Start your exploration of Popayán by wandering through its historic center, which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Admire the beautifully preserved colonial buildings, churches, and plazas that line the cobblestone streets. Plaza de Caldas is a great starting point, with its impressive cathedral and scenic surroundings.


Continue your journey to the Iglesia de San Francisco, one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. This 16th-century church showcases a blend of architectural styles and is home to a fascinating collection of colonial art. Step inside to marvel at the intricate woodwork and religious artifacts that adorn the interior.


For a deeper understanding of Popayán’s history and culture, visit the Museo de Historia Natural. Housed in a former Dominican convent, this museum showcases a diverse range of exhibits, including archaeological artifacts, religious art, and natural history displays. From pre-Columbian pottery to colonial-era paintings, the museum offers a comprehensive overview of the region’s past.


Indulge in the culinary delights of Popayán by trying its famous local delicacy, the empanadas de pipián. These crispy corn dough pastries filled with a savory peanut sauce are a true taste of traditional Colombian cuisine. Pair them with a cup of hot chocolate or traditional champús, a refreshing corn-based beverage.


If you visit on Holy Week, you’ll have the opportunity to witness one of the most important religious celebrations in Colombia. Popayán is known for its elaborate processions and religious rituals during this time, attracting visitors from all over the world.


As you conclude your day trip, consider taking a leisurely stroll through the Parque Caldas, a picturesque plaza adorned with fountains and gardens. Relax on a bench, soak in the atmosphere, and reflect on the captivating beauty and cultural richness of this historic city.


A day trip to Popayán is a journey through time, where you can immerse yourself in the colonial charm and vibrant history of Colombia. Explore the well-preserved architecture, sample the local cuisine, and experience the cultural heritage that makes this city a true gem.


Silvia Indigenous Market

For a unique and culturally enriching day trip from Cali, head to the vibrant and bustling Silvia Indigenous Market. Located in the Cauca region, this market is a hub of indigenous culture, where you can immerse yourself in the traditions and customs of the local Guambiano community.


The Silvia Indigenous Market takes place every Tuesday and is a vibrant and colorful gathering of indigenous people from various nearby communities. It’s a fascinating opportunity to witness firsthand the rich heritage and craftsmanship of the Guambiano people.


As you wander through the market, you’ll be greeted by rows of stalls offering a wide variety of goods. From handmade textiles and clothing to traditional crafts and artisanal products, the market is a treasure trove for those seeking authentic souvenirs and unique pieces of art.


Be sure to try some of the local culinary specialties available at the market. Sample traditional dishes like “mazamorra” (a corn-based drink), “empanadas” (stuffed pastries), or “chicha” (a fermented corn beverage). These flavorsome treats provide a taste of the indigenous gastronomy and are a perfect way to immerse yourself in the local culture.


Take the opportunity to interact with the Guambiano community members, who are often dressed in their traditional clothing. They are friendly and welcoming, and you’ll have the chance to learn more about their customs and traditions. Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation and ask questions – they are proud of their heritage and happy to share their knowledge with visitors.


In addition to the market, Silvia offers stunning natural landscapes waiting to be explored. Consider taking a short hike to experience the beauty of the surrounding mountains and enjoy panoramic views of the scenic valleys. You can also visit nearby villages and interact with other indigenous communities to gain a deeper understanding of their way of life.


The Silvia Indigenous Market is not only a shopping destination but also an opportunity to support local artisans and preserve the traditions of the Guambiano people. It’s a chance to witness the resilience, creativity, and communal spirit of this vibrant community.


Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of the Guambiano people and discover the beauty of indigenous craftsmanship at the Silvia Indigenous Market. This day trip from Cali promises a unique and enriching experience that will leave you with a deeper appreciation for Colombia’s diverse heritage.


Puracé National Natural Park

For nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, a day trip to Puracé National Natural Park is a must-do when visiting Cali. Located in the southern part of Colombia’s Cauca department, this expansive protected area boasts breathtaking landscapes, diverse wildlife, and fascinating volcanic formations.


Begin your adventure by exploring the park’s extensive network of hiking trails, which cater to varying levels of difficulty. Trek through enchanting cloud forests and discover hidden waterfalls cascading down moss-covered rocks. The park is home to an abundance of flora and fauna, including orchids, spectacled bears, Andean condors, and the elusive Andean puma.


One of the main attractions in Puracé National Park is the Puracé Volcano, an active volcano standing at an impressive height of 4,646 meters (15,243 feet). Hike to the volcano’s summit for a panoramic view of the surrounding landscapes, including views of the impressive crater with its billowing steam and sulfuric gases.


Another highlight of the park is the thermal hot springs located within its boundaries. Take a rejuvenating dip in the warm mineral-rich waters, surrounded by the serenity of the Andean mountains. The hot springs offer a tranquil escape from the outside world and provide a perfect opportunity to relax and unwind amidst nature’s wonders.


While exploring Puracé National Park, keep an eye out for the unique paramo ecosystem. This high-altitude grassland consists of picturesque rolling hills dotted with frailejones, a characteristic plant of the Colombian Andes. The paramo not only adds to the park’s scenic beauty but also plays a crucial role in regulating water resources for the surrounding regions.


As you venture through the park, make sure to pack essentials such as water, snacks, and proper hiking gear. It’s also advisable to visit the park with a knowledgeable guide to ensure your safety and get the most out of your experience.


A day trip to Puracé National Park offers an incredible opportunity to connect with nature and witness the raw beauty of the Colombian Andes. Whether you’re hiking to volcanic peaks, soaking in hot springs, or exploring the unique paramo ecosystem, this park will leave you awe-inspired by its natural wonders.


San Cipriano

If you’re seeking a unique and adventurous day trip from Cali, look no further than San Cipriano. Located in the Valle del Cauca department, this hidden gem is a remote village renowned for its natural wonders and innovative mode of transportation.


To reach San Cipriano, embark on a thrilling journey on a “brujita,” a wooden handcar powered by locals. Hop on these improvised railcars and glide along the old train tracks, passing through lush jungle landscapes and crossing picturesque rivers along the way. It’s a truly exhilarating and one-of-a-kind experience that adds to the charm of visiting San Cipriano.


Once you arrive in the village, you’ll discover a paradise for nature lovers. San Cipriano is surrounded by pristine rainforests, crystal-clear rivers, and cascading waterfalls. The vibrant greenery is teeming with wildlife, and you may spot tropical birds, monkeys, and colorful butterflies during your explorations.


Take a refreshing dip in the San Cipriano River, known for its turquoise waters and natural rock slides. Feel the thrill as you slide down the smooth rock formations and plunge into the invigorating pools below. It’s the perfect way to cool off and enjoy the natural beauty of the surroundings.


For those seeking even more adventure, hike through the dense jungle to reach the stunning San Cipriano Waterfalls. These majestic waterfalls cascade down moss-covered rocks, creating a spectacular sight and providing a peaceful retreat for swimming and relaxation. Keep your eyes open as you hike, as the forests are home to a variety of tropical plants and animals.


While in San Cipriano, don’t miss the opportunity to try the local delicacies. Sample traditional Colombian dishes such as fish stew, grilled plantains, and coconut rice. You can also sip on refreshing beverages made from tropical fruits, adding to the culinary experience of this vibrant village.


As you bid farewell to San Cipriano, you’ll carry with you memories of an extraordinary adventure through dense jungles, thrilling handcar rides, and the captivating beauty of nature. A day trip to San Cipriano offers a unique escape from the city and provides an opportunity to immerse yourself in Colombia’s rich biodiversity and innovative spirit.


Las Gorgonas Natural Park

If you’re a nature enthusiast and love marine life, a day trip to Las Gorgonas Natural Park is a must-do from Cali. Situated off the Pacific coast of Colombia, this protected area boasts stunning landscapes, diverse marine ecosystems, and a plethora of underwater wonders.


Las Gorgonas Natural Park is comprised of several islands, with Isla Gorgona being the largest and most well-known. Once a penal colony, the island is now a designated national park and recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its remote location and limited access have helped preserve its pristine natural environment.


A visit to Las Gorgonas Natural Park offers a unique opportunity to dive or snorkel in the Pacific Ocean’s rich waters. Explore vibrant coral reefs teeming with colorful fish, sea turtles, and other marine creatures. The crystal-clear waters provide excellent visibility, allowing you to fully appreciate the beauty and biodiversity beneath the surface.


For those who prefer to stay above water, take a boat tour around the islands to witness the stunning cliffs, hidden coves, and breathtaking rock formations that adorn the coastline. You may even have the chance to spot dolphins or humpback whales during their migratory seasons.


The park also offers hiking trails that wind through the dense jungle, providing an opportunity to encounter the diverse flora and fauna of the island. Keep an eye out for various bird species, including frigatebirds, pelicans, and colorful toucans. Additionally, some trails lead to scenic viewpoints, offering sweeping panoramas of the surrounding ocean and landscapes.


As you explore Las Gorgonas Natural Park, be sure to follow responsible tourism practices and respect the fragile ecosystems. The park’s conservation efforts play a vital role in protecting the abundant marine life and ensuring its preservation for generations to come.


Make sure to plan your visit in advance, as entry to Las Gorgonas Natural Park is limited and requires prior authorization. You may also need to arrange transportation through a certified tour operator.


A day trip to Las Gorgonas Natural Park is an extraordinary opportunity to immerse yourself in the beauty of Colombia’s Pacific coast and witness the wonders of its marine ecosystems. Whether you’re diving, snorkeling, or simply exploring the stunning landscapes, this natural paradise will leave you in awe of its sheer magnificence.


Villa de Leyva

Step back in time as you embark on a day trip to Villa de Leyva, a picturesque colonial town located just a few hours from Cali. Known for its well-preserved architecture, cobblestone streets, and charming atmosphere, Villa de Leyva offers a glimpse into Colombia’s colonial past.


As you wander through the town’s historic center, you’ll be captivated by the beauty of its colonial-era buildings, many of which are painted in shades of white, adding to the town’s tranquil ambiance. The main square, Plaza Mayor, is one of the largest cobblestone plazas in South America, offering a majestic centerpiece to the town.


Villa de Leyva boasts several notable attractions, one of which is the Casa Museo Antonio Nariño. This museum honors the life and legacy of Antonio Nariño, a key figure in Colombia’s fight for independence. Explore the exhibits to learn about Nariño’s contribution to Colombian history and gain insights into the country’s struggle for freedom.


For history enthusiasts, a visit to the Paleontological Museum is a must. The museum houses an extensive collection of fossils, including the famous Elasmosaurus, a prehistoric marine reptile discovered in the area. Marvel at the ancient remains and delve into the rich paleontological history of the region.


Take a leisurely stroll through the town’s streets, lined with boutique shops and artisanal craft stores. Villa de Leyva is known for its handmade crafts, including pottery, textiles, and jewelry. Support local artisans by purchasing unique souvenirs and handicrafts to bring home.


Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Convento del Santo Ecce Homo, a stunning convent perched on a hill overlooking the town. Explore the maze-like corridors, admire the serene courtyard, and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. The convent’s peaceful atmosphere offers a tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of daily life.


When it comes to gastronomy, Villa de Leyva does not disappoint. Indulge in traditional Colombian dishes at one of the charming restaurants or try the local specialty, “lechona,” a succulent roasted pig stuffed with rice, peas, and spices. Pair your meal with a glass of local wine or traditional aguardiente, a Colombian spirit.


Villa de Leyva’s charm and authenticity make it a beloved destination for both locals and visitors alike. Immerse yourself in the town’s colonial beauty, rich history, and warm hospitality, and you’ll understand why it’s considered one of Colombia’s most enchanting towns.


Nevado del Ruiz

For a day trip filled with awe-inspiring natural beauty and adventurous hiking, head to Nevado del Ruiz. Located in the Andes Mountains, this impressive stratovolcano offers a thrilling experience for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.


Nevado del Ruiz stands at an elevation of 5,321 meters (17,457 feet) and is one of Colombia’s highest peaks. Start your journey by driving to the entrance of Los Nevados National Natural Park, where the volcano is located. From there, embark on a guided hike to explore the majestic landscapes and unique ecosystems that surround this active volcano.


The hike up Nevado del Ruiz provides stunning panoramic views of the surrounding valleys and snow-capped peaks. As you ascend, you’ll pass through diverse ecosystems, including paramo, a high-altitude grassland characterized by unique plant species. Keep an eye out for wildlife such as Andean condors, spectacled bears, and llamas, which are often spotted in the area.


One of the highlights of visiting Nevado del Ruiz is witnessing the Los Termales hot springs. After a challenging hike, you can relax and rejuvenate in the warm mineral-rich waters, surrounded by the breathtaking scenery. Soak in the soothing pools and let the thermal waters melt away any fatigue from the trek.


It’s important to note that due to the volcano’s activity, certain areas may be restricted or inaccessible at times. Therefore, it’s highly recommended to check with local authorities or travel agencies for the most up-to-date information and to ensure your safety during the visit.


Remember to come well-prepared, as hiking at high altitudes can be demanding. Dress in layers to accommodate the changing temperatures, bring adequate water and snacks, and wear sturdy footwear for the challenging terrain. It’s also essential to have a knowledgeable guide who is familiar with the area and can provide information about the volcano’s history and geology.


A day trip to Nevado del Ruiz offers a unique opportunity to witness the power and beauty of nature. From the rugged landscapes to the steam vents and glacial formations, this majestic volcano will leave you in awe of its magnificence. So, lace up your hiking boots and prepare yourself for an unforgettable adventure in the heart of the Andes.



Escape to the charming town of Jardín on a day trip from Cali and discover a hidden gem nestled in the lush mountains of Antioquia. Known for its colorful houses, picturesque plazas, and friendly locals, Jardín offers a delightful escape to a tranquil and beautiful paradise.


Start your exploration of Jardín in the town’s central square, Parque Principal. Admire the vibrant facades of the colonial-style buildings that surround the plaza, decorated in a plethora of colors. Take a moment to relax on one of the benches, soak in the laid-back atmosphere, and observe the locals going about their daily routines.


For a unique experience, take a ride on a traditional “chiva,” a brightly painted, open-air bus. The chiva will take you on a scenic tour of the surrounding countryside, where you can appreciate the beauty of the rolling green hills, coffee plantations, and waterfalls that dot the landscape.


Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Cueva del Esplendor, a spectacular waterfall nestled in a cave. Embark on a short hike through the lush forest to reach this hidden gem and marvel at the cascading waters falling into a natural pool below. The Cueva del Esplendor is a perfect spot for relaxation and tranquility, surrounded by nature’s beauty.


Immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting the town’s vibrant market. From fresh fruits and vegetables to handmade crafts and souvenirs, the market offers a glimpse into the daily life of the locals. Indulge in traditional Colombian snacks and beverages, such as arepas and freshly brewed coffee, as you wander through the stalls.


For a touch of adventure, take a cable car ride to the Cerro Tusa viewpoint. Enjoy a thrilling ascent as you soar above the lush valleys and coffee farms, admiring the breathtaking panoramic views from the top. The Cerro Tusa is an iconic mountain with a distinctive pyramid shape, making it a truly unique and impressive sight.


End your day trip in Jardín by savoring the local gastronomy at one of the town’s cozy restaurants. Delight your taste buds with typical Antioquian dishes such as bandeja paisa, a hearty platter featuring rice, beans, plantains, meat, and more. Pair your meal with a refreshing glass of aguapanela, a traditional Colombian sugarcane drink.


Jardín offers a perfect blend of tranquility, natural beauty, and warm hospitality. A day trip to this enchanting town promises a memorable experience that will leave you wanting to return and explore more of its hidden treasures.


Santa Fe de Antioquia

Travel back in time with a day trip to Santa Fe de Antioquia, a historic colonial town located just a short distance from Cali. Known for its well-preserved architecture, cobblestone streets, and rich cultural heritage, Santa Fe de Antioquia offers a glimpse into Colombia’s colonial past.


As you step into the town’s central square, Parque Libertador, you’ll be transported to another era. Admire the beautifully restored colonial buildings that surround the plaza, such as the stunning Santa Bárbara Cathedral. Take a leisurely stroll along the cobblestone streets, allowing yourself to be enchanted by the town’s architectural charm and tranquil ambiance.


Explore the town’s rich history at the Museo Juan del Corral, housed in a former colonial mansion. The museum showcases a collection of artifacts and exhibits that narrate the story of Santa Fe de Antioquia and its significant role in Colombian history. Gain insights into the town’s transformation from a Spanish settlement to a thriving trading hub.


Visit the iconic Puente de Occidente (Bridge of the West), a magnificent suspension bridge that spans the Cauca River. Designed by Spanish engineer José María Villa, this impressive bridge was considered one of the marvels of engineering during its construction in the 19th century. Take a walk across the bridge and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.


For a touch of tranquility, visit the Parque de los Fundadores, a beautiful park adorned with lush greenery and fountains. Sit back, relax, and soak in the serene atmosphere as you observe the locals enjoying leisurely walks or engaging in friendly conversations.


Indulge in the local flavors of Santa Fe de Antioquia by sampling traditional dishes. Try the mouthwatering lechona, a roasted pig stuffed with rice and spices, or feast on bandeja paisa, a hearty platter consisting of various components including beans, plantains, meat, and avocado. Complete your meal with a refreshing limonada de coco, a coconut-based lemonade that is popular in the region.


Before you leave, be sure to explore the surrounding countryside of Santa Fe de Antioquia. Take a short drive to the Puente de Occidente National Park, where you can hike to waterfalls, go horseback riding, or simply embrace the beauty of the natural landscapes that characterize the region.


Santa Fe de Antioquia’s well-preserved colonial charm, historical significance, and warm hospitality make it a captivating day trip destination from Cali. Immerse yourself in the town’s rich heritage, wander through its picturesque streets, and let the enchantment of Santa Fe de Antioquia transport you to a bygone era.



The region surrounding Cali, Colombia, offers a plethora of fascinating day trip destinations that cater to a range of interests and preferences. Whether you’re seeking adventure, cultural immersion, or natural beauty, these 11 day trips presented above provide a diverse array of experiences that showcase the best of Colombia.


From the charming colonial towns of Salento, Villa de Leyva, and Santa Fe de Antioquia, to the natural wonders of Valle de Cocora, Puracé National Natural Park, and Las Gorgonas Natural Park, each destination offers a unique and captivating experience. Immerse yourself in the lush landscapes of Silvia and San Cipriano, delve into the rich indigenous culture, or explore the awe-inspiring Nevado del Ruiz volcano. And don’t forget to visit the tranquil towns of Popayán and Jardín, where colonial architecture and vibrant plazas await.


Whichever day trip you choose, be prepared to be enthralled by the beauty, history, and warm hospitality of these Colombian destinations. Indulge in local cuisine, interact with friendly locals, and immerse yourself in the unique landscapes and cultural heritage that define each place.


Remember to plan your day trips in advance, ensuring that you have the necessary information, permits, and guidance from local authorities or tour operators. Take into account factors such as weather conditions, difficulty levels, and transportation arrangements to make the most out of your experience and ensure your safety.


So, whether you’re looking for breathtaking natural scenery, colonial charm, cultural immersion, or adrenaline-fueled adventures, the day trips from Cali have it all. Explore the diversity of Colombia, create lasting memories, and discover the hidden gems that make this country truly special.