Santiago de Cali is the capital city of the department of Valle del Cauca located in southwestern Colombia. The city enjoys a year round spring like climate and is known for its friendly and openly hospitable inhabitants. Salsa music echoes through Cali’s streets and for this reason it is known as the “capital of salsa”. The third largest in Colombia behind Bogotá and Medellín, Cali’s major industry revolves around sugar production and cattle ranching making it an important industrial and commercial hub.

It was founded by Sebastián de Belalcázar on July 25 1536, and was a pivotal city during the colonial era of the sugarcane and cotton industries.

Cali’s name can be broken down into two, the “Santiago” comes from the saint and “Cali” has several possible interpretations possibly coming from the local indigenous Quechua dialect used by the Yanacona tribe brought up here from Ecuador by the Spaniard Sebastián de Belalcázar.

Today Cali remains important due to its coffee and vineyard agricultures. It is also geographically important as the city which links the major port of Buenaventura to the rest of the country. The pacific port of Buenaventura is the largest port on Colombia’s west coast and the point from which most exports leave the country to destinations all over the world.