On a warm day in Cali, there’s nothing better than jumping into a refreshing cold swimming pool. If your hotel or house does not have a pool and you’re not a member of one of Cali’s exclusive clubs like Club Campestre or Club Colombia, do not despair. Cali has a bunch of cool options where you can play and get cooled down at the same time. Some of them are located a little bit outside the city, but with taxis or public transportation, arriving shouldn’t be that hard. If you prefer to have it all quiet and private, I’d recommend that you go during the week as most places get pretty packed on the weekends.
Is a recreational and vacation center is located behind Cristo Rey, further up the mountain, close to the statue of “La Virgen”, about 30 minutes from Cali. They have many different swimming pools, playgrounds for kids, tennis courts, soccer fields, restaurants and a nice hiking path around the facilities. It’s a beautiful and well-maintained place with a great view, and because of it’s location on the mountain it is also a little cooler than Cali.
It’s owned by Comfenalco, an organization that gives members access to recreational activities, give subsidies to medicine and kids, offer training courses etc. But don’t worry, the park is open to everybody and the entrance is very cheap even for non-members at $1.400 (UD$0.75) for kids and $6.600 (US$3) for adults.
Arriving by taxi will probably cost you around $20-30.000 pesos but Comfenalco has their own bus that cost $7.700 pesos for a return ticket or $5.500 for one-way. The park is open every day, but the bus service is only on weekends and national holidays. It leaves from Carrera 9 between Calle 5 and 6 between 8:00 a.m. & noon and returns between 3:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Is another place owned by Comfenalco, located between barrio San Antonio and barrio Cristales, right next to Los Cristales Open Air Theater. It’s the smallest of the bunch but still have about 7 different pools and some water slides. Although not possessing all the amenities of the other parks, it’s still a great place to bring kids and chill for a few hours. It’s open every day and the entrance is dirt cheap around $4.000 pesos (less than US$2). Members get a 30% discount.
Is the biggest of them all – a 156.000 m2 water and amusement park with a daily capacity of 20.000 people, located near the airforce in the northern part of Cali. Lots of different pools, lots of water slides and lots of mechanical amusements. To be fair, I’ve not been there yet, but I know it is a local favorite for its location, amount of activities and prices. The entrance is $12.000 pesos (US$5) for adults and about half that for kids. Opening hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. from Tuesday to Sunday. They also open on Mondays if it’s a national holiday.
For residents, they also offer swimming lessons and soccer training camps for kids. Check out their website linked above or Facebook for more details.
This is an awesome water park and my favorite of them all. In my opinion, they have the best facilities, activities, and food. The only drawback is that it’s also about 45-60 minute drive from Cali in the village of Rozo near the airport. But for that reason, it makes for a perfect day trip and a good excuse to get out of the city. Their facilities also make it a great place to host a birthday, wedding or the likes.
It is a pretty big park with a wave pool, lots of water slides, steam baths, trampolines, saunas, hot tubs, pools for kids, pools for tubing, paintball, soccer, dance floor, many different restaurants, a poolside bar serving piña coladas and many more things that I am probably forgetting.
If you don’t have your own car and don’t want to splurge on a taxi, Cali’s bus terminal have 2 different companies offering transportation to Rozo, leaving every 8-15 minutes from early morning to late night for about $3.500 pesos. I’ve never gone by public transportation but try asking the bus driver if he passes the park on the way. If so, I’m sure he’d be happy to drop you off. If not, a local taxi will get you there for cheap once you’re in Rozo.
The park is open from Thursday to Sunday and national holidays. Tardes Caleñas is the most exclusive of the places mentioned and the entrance does cost slightly more at around $24.000 pesos for adults and half that for kids. To me, it’s well worth it. This is a place that turns men into little boys again.
Are located smack in the middle of the city and even though it’s not really a place to go and play, it is a great place to go for swimming lessons, dive board lessons, water polo and to watch competitions in water sports. Most things are offered as a membership, but if you plan on spending some time in Cali, it may very well be worth a visit. This is also where legendary Caleño high diver Orlando Duque learned his skills. Check it out.
The places above are just the ones that I have been to personally. But just the other day, I stumbled upon a government entity called the Corporación Para La Recreación Popular that lists all of the 27 public water parks that Cali has to offer. Check it out right here!
I’ll be adding more places to the list as I find them – if you know of any places, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.