We started flying to Colombia’s third largest city fairly recently, and we’re loving it. They know how to enjoy life here, and one good example of that is the music that abounds throughout the city – especially salsa, for which Cali is considered a world capital. Among its cooler more distinctive neighbourhoods is one called San Antonio.
Some of the things that make this one particularly special is its local legends, deep-seated traditions, and even superstitions. For example, don’t be surprised to spot a local tossing a medal on a neighbour’s roof. That’s a St. Benedict medal, meant to drive the neighbour out of the district. You may also notice, as you stroll along, agave plants hung from the fronts of some houses – that’s meant to attract good luck. Maybe the oddest local custom of all – even among young people – is keeping a figure of the neighbourhood’s namesake patron St. Anthony of Padua holding the baby Jesus. Then when, say, they lose something or are looking for a boyfriend or girlfriend, they’ll take the baby away from St. Anthony until they get what they want.
Apart from these peculiarities, San Antonio is also a lively barrio, where there’s always something going on. A good example is the Calle del Arte (“Art Street”), an event celebrated for 20 years now in mid-September, in which artists, musicians, dancers, exhibitions, and a carnival atmosphere flood this part of the historic centre – along with plenty of young locals, of course. And during the rest of the year, the area is also home to the modern Cali Cultural Centre (Carrera 5 No. 6-05), which back when it was new in 1990 won Colombia’s national architecture prize. On offer here is a vibrant schedule of art exhibitions and cultural activities involving things like photography, dance, theatre, music, and cinema. We already told you about street art in Cali 😉 And all absolutely free of charge! Music to your ears?
Cali is definitely an up-and-coming city to visit, and a great place to study. Either way, check it out with discounts from Iberia Joven!
Photo (modified) | Gabinete