Unless you’re at the beach, in a water park or at the gym, it’s pretty rare to see Colombians dress informal in shorts, tank-tops, sweatshirts and flip flops. They usually don’t even leave their house without showering, making their hair look great, shaving or putting make-up on. Looking good in public is very important to Colombians, and because most Colombians care a lot about their physical appearance, naturally there’s a very high demand for services that enhance the way you look, including manicures and pedicures.
It’s no secret that women love being treated like princesses, and Cali has many places that offer whatever you need. “Las Caleñas” are well known for getting their nails done almost every week, and for that there are two reasons. One is the weather: Women normally wear sandals, so it is almost an obligation to have beautiful feet. Secondly, to have someone pamper your fingers and toes is kind of a luxury, but in Cali it’s a very affordable kind of luxury. Without this being an area where I have a lot of expertise, I’m pretty sure that you can pay as much as US$100 for a manicure OR pedicure in most other parts of the world. In Cali, you’ll be paying no more than $20.000 pesos – less than US$10 for having your nails cleaned, polished and decorated on BOTH your hands and feet – and it usually includes a little foot massages as well. It makes it affordable for everybody – even the ones earning minimum wage here.
In Europe and North America I’m pretty sure this is a subject, that would interest only women. But in Cali, you’ll also see men going for manicures and pedicures all the time – some even having their nails painted with a clear coat.
Where to go
You can get your nails done in most “peluquerías” (hairdressing salons), and my impression is that most places are pretty good at it too. My girlfriends favorite places include the chains Il Eclat and El Arte Frances. Il Eclat is a small chain with 4 locations. At $10.000 pesos for both manicure and pedicure they are cheap, and there is no need to book in advance. El Arte Frances is the “biggest” chain in town with 7 location scattered over the city. Make sure to spot the one is closer to you, and make a appointment in advance because they are always full. No matter if you choose one of the above places or go elsewhere, I’d highly recommend that you avoid going on Saturdays, as the places get packed!
Don’t forget to tip! For such a treat at such a low price, a $2000 peso tip won’t break your bank.