A Gringo’s Guide to Calima Lake: Jet Skis, Stunning Views, and Local House Hostel
Calima Lake, or Lago Calima, is a popular weekend destination for the residents of Cali, Colombia. When I heard about the interesting water sports in the area, I knew I had to check it out.
So I got on Airbnb and started searching. And searching. Nothing I found had too many reviews. There wasn't much available, especially if you wanted something with a few reviews and Wi-Fi.
I wasn't sure what to do. So I headed over to Instagram to see if the lake was really worth a trip. Then I stumbled on Local House Hostel in Lago Calima.
Normally, I'm not a fan of hostels. I stay in furnished apartments 95% of the time I'm on the road. I just don't like not having privacy.
But I only planned to stay at Lago Calima for a day or two. And Local House looked really cool. With modern amenities like hot water, W-Fi, and a solid looking breakfast included – I decided to check it out and booked.
Plus, the place offered a sweet pool overlooking the lake and the local knowledge of where to go and what to do while at Calima Lake.
Calima Lake 101
Alright, so let's dive in and talk about Lago Calima. First, you need to get there. This will require a bus or a car. For most travelers, the bus will be the best option. You can get to Calima Lake from Cali, Buga, and Buenaventura.
If you're in Cali, just head to the bus terminal and ask around. Depending on the time of the day, the bus will leave from the first or third floor. It just depends on the time of day. The bus takes around an hour and 45 minutes each way.
Make sure you show up early, especially on the weekends. There aren't many spots on this bus and it gets packed quick. Furthermore, you'll definitely want to show up early for the bus coming back to Cali. If you try to head back on the last bus of the day, things can get pretty hectic and you may get stuck in Calima.
Where to Stay in Lago Calima
If you're coming to Calima Lake, then I highly recommend staying at Local House Hostel – as previously discussed.
Unless you're coming in a big group and renting a Finca on Airbnb, which would be fantastic, this hostel will be your best option. The place features an amazing pool, jacuzzi, solid breakfast, decent Wi-Fi, and great house dogs to play with.
The location is up in the hills of Lago Calima, and seems to be an old Finca turned into a hostel. For short stays at the lake, Local House is the ideal option.
Things to Do in Lago Calima
Ideally, Lago Calima is a great place to unwind after living the city life in Cali. You'll find stunning views and a variety of water sports and eco-tourism. Here are a few great things to do here:
- Ride Jet Skis: You can rent jet skis here for dirt cheap. I think it was $16 for thirty minutes where I went. Due to the wind, the lake here offers solid waves, which makes cruising around on a jet ski quite fun. Just make sure you get the fastest model they have, as some of the older jet skis don't go too fast.
- Kite Surfing: Lago Calima is a Colombian weekend hang out spot for wealthy Calenos. Gringos only recently found out about the place due to kite surfing. I didn't partake, but you'll see people practicing all around the lake. Lessons and rentals are cheap here. Just talk to the manager of Local House Hostel and he'll hook it up.
- Mountain Biking: If you're looking to get away from the water, there are some impressive mountain biking trails here. Just click here and get in touch with this rental and tour company.
- Relax and Unwind: Overall, the best thing to do in Lago Calima is relax and unwind. Enjoy a dip in the lake, relax by the pool, take in some sweeping views, and sleep in.
A Gringo's Guide to Calima Lake
If you're in Cali and looking to enjoy some nature and unwind, take the bus to Calima. Stay at Local House Hostel, ride some jet skis, enjoy the views and relax. You'll be happy you did.