A favorite pastime of the Caleños is going to the cinema. They love watching movies and because demand is high, the movie theaters in Cali are of very high quality. Every shopping center has a cinema and 3 different companies dominate the market:
Cine Colombia with locations in shopping centers Palmetto, Cosmo Centro, Chipichape, Rio Cauca and Unicentro.
Royal Films located in shopping centers Jardin Plaza, Centenario, Único and Simon Bolivar.
Cinépolis in shopping center El Limonar.
The best and most extravagant cinema is probably the newly remodelled Cine Colombia in Unicentro, which now features 2D, 3D and 4D technology. If 2D is cinema like it has always been and 3D is where you wear the special glasses and every moving object appears “real” and right in front of you, then 4D is the new kid on the block, adding moving chairs, smell, rain, wind and snow to the experience. According to some sources it is supposed to among the best movie theaters in South America. They have invested around 8 million dollars in the makeover which includes 12 new screen, 14 ticket windows and a 1.980 seats. Audience is expected to exceed 800.000 people on an annual basis.
If Unicentro in the south is too far away for you, I like the cinemas in Centenario and Chipichape as well. Cinépolis has VIP rooms where you will watching the movie from a big comfy couch, legs raised and waiters taking your order and delivering your snacks and drinks inside the actual cinema. Pretty sweet.
Please note that I have not been to all of the locations mentioned above.
It’s a little known secret, at least among foreigners here in Cali, that Wednesday is “happy hour” at all the cinemas in town, which translates to a 50% discount on ticket price. That means that you can go to watch a movie for as little as $3.500 pesos (US$1,5) a person in some places. Sure makes for a cheap date 🙂
Normal prices range from $7.000 pesos for normal seats to around $26.000 pesos for the VIP, 3D or 4D experiences. Some of the cinemas offer discounts to people with a loyalty card. Make sure to book in advance or arrive early for the big premieres on blockbuster movies, so you don’t end up on front row, next to the fire extinguisher like I once did.
As a final note, it’s a good a idea to be observant when choosing which movie you are going to watch. If the film you are looking at says “Dobl.” or “Doblado” it means that the movie has been dubbed and Arnold Schwarzenegger will be speaking Spanish. No bueno! Go for the ones saying “Subtítulos en Español” if you want the original language. Have fun!