Towering over the city and easily visible from the neighborhoods of San Antonio, El Penon, and Santa Teresita, Cerro de las Tres Cruces (the three crosses) are the most recognized symbol of Cali after El Gato (The Cat).
The best part about this hike to Cali’s famous three crosses, besides the stunning city views, is that you can make it as challenging or as casual as you want.
The trailhead to Cerro de las Tres Cruces is not well marked, and in fact there are a variety of different starting points, so it is best to ask a local about the best route.
In general, most paths begin near El Gato and the surrounding cat sculpture park. The hike will take you about 3 hours roundtrip and is best completed on a Sunday, when many locals climb the hill for exercise, and petty thieves usually stay away.
After hiking for about 30-45 minutes, you will pass a water station under a tent (fuel up now). From here, you can choose one of 3 different paths, which range from light rock climbing straight up the side of the mountain to a casual path full of switchbacks that snakes around the side.
At the top, rest easy and grab some water, fresh juice or snacks, all sold at the top for very reasonable prices. Don’t miss the last few stairs up to the actual crosses where you will find some impressive bodybuilders at a makeshift gym set atop the mountain. Definitely a sight to see!
If hiking is not your thing, you can also drive to the top of Cerro de las Tres Cruces for about $40,000 (negotiable) roundtrip via taxi.
If you are going to do the hike, don’t forget your sunscreen as the exposed mountainside provides little relief from the hot equatorial sun.
Also, the earlier you start, the less time you spend in the sun at mid-day, so I recommend hitting the trail around 8 AM!