Cali offers dance classes, live bands and expert salsa performances every day of the week. Not many Colombian cities can say this.
Tin tin deo’s reputation spans the entire country, attracting the finest movers and burgeoning stars. This diminutive second-floor club, its walls emblazoned with salsa icons, comes alive on weekends.
Go on a Thursday night if you can for a discount entry, and experience a remarkable choreographed dance involving the entire club called salsa choke. Come midnight, you’ll be glad you went.
Legendary Topa Tolondra specializes in pure salsa, live shows, and professional performances. There's no need to go with a partner as local dancers scour the surrounding tables picking up newbies. Get there early, especially on “Cool Mondays”, as it soon fills up.
“Loco (Crazy) Tuesday”, usually held at Mazao in Parque del Perro, gives foreigners and locals the chance to mix over a popular language exchange and dance classes, followed by an after party. To sign up and for more details, check out their Facebook page.
Stepping away from tradition, Delirio fuses world-class dancing with circus acts and various themes.
Two giant tents, located in the northern outskirts, host these monthly performances watched by over 1,000 people. And while tickets are not cheap – at around 180,000COP (US $60) – where else can you witness salsa dancers swinging from trapezes to the beat of Michael Jackson?
Go during the Feria de Cali, the country’s major salsa festival held here in December, for the end-of-the-year extravaganza.
Keen for a night off salsa? Then head to Martyn’s Bar. For over 30 years, this American-style rock-and-roll joint has exuded fun. With license plates, flags, vinyl records and motorbikes dotted around, Martyn’s Bar (Wed-Sat) entertains with blaring classic rock music, live bands, and even singing contests.
Alternatively, Mikasa Bar spins out tunes varying from reggae to electro, rock to indie. Transformed from a house, this diminutive bar still feels like a friend’s wild party as you brush shoulders with the DJ, order drinks over the psychedelic-colored bar, and boogie under palm trees.
Not for the faint-hearted, La Galería Bar is known for its sublime roof terrace, foam parties, and clouds of weed swirling around. Take a look at its salacious décor: Its owner, an artist, specializes in rather graphic sexual paintings, and he isn’t afraid to show off his work.
Just as everything begins to close, Menga, an area in the north, ramps up the party.
Café de Mi Tierra merges salsa, electro, and commercial music to the mixed crowd mingling in the dance area. In its garden, sweating dancers take a breath while groups of friends pass around bottles of rum or aguardiente – a must-try, aniseed-flavored liquor.
Still energized? Head to Lolas, a white-domed club whose crossover beats and piercing lasers excite its beautiful clientele every weekend.
Favela also stays open until 6.00am, thrilling guests with its industrial design, fully equipped with container-style platforms rising above the strobe-illumined dance floor.
Dance in the ‘salsa capital of the world’, attend one of these festivals, explore San Antonio, and see Cali's best monuments.
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