The hike up to “Las Tres Cruces” (The Three Crosses) has become a Sunday morning tradition for hundreds of caleños and many foreigners who’ve relocated to Cali.
Climbers usually begin early (before 9 a.m.) to beat out the hot sun, starting their climb in either the Normania or Santa Monica neighbourhood. The easiest way to get there is by taxi, saying, “Déjeme en el punto donde se empieza a subir el cerro de la tres cruces.”
Besides seeing Cali’s emblematic crosses up close, you’ll be rewarded with beautiful views of the city below on a clear day. There are fresh fruit juices and protein shakes for sale at the top, and a mini gym with cement weights for the hardcore fitness buffs.
So how long does it take to reach the top? It depends.
Some people actually run up the mountain, while others take it easy, stopping for breaks along the way – it all depends on one’s level of fitness and ambition. There are also a few routes to the top, some of which are more direct than others. For the average adult the climb up should take about an hour (longer on the way down).
On popular climb days there are police stationed at various points along the way. People climb throughout the week but Saturday and Sunday mornings are the most popular times to go. If you attempt the climb in the afternoon, you may find yourself alone on the trail and that isn’t recommended.
Semana Santa (Easter week) is the busiest time of year because las tres cruces becomes a site of pilgrimage. Unless the climb has a greater significance for you, you may want to avoid the congestion during that time.