The Atlanta Voice staff reporter Isaiah Singleton (center). Photos by Isaiah Singleton/The Atlanta Voice

Touching down to a beautiful city with vibrant murals on every corner, fresh and flavorful food, amazing live music, stunning fashion, and scenery from a long morning of travel felt like a dream come true. 

That dream is Cali, Colombia.  

For some background, 20 Black entrepreneurs along with officials from The Russell Innovative Center for Entrepreneurs (RICE), the Atlanta Mayor’s Office, and the Atlanta Black Chambers, journeyed to South America to embark on the first ever trade mission connecting Afro-American entrepreneurs from Atlanta with Afro-Colombian businesses and leaders. 

The Atlanta Voice was invited on the trip to get an inside look at the trade mission, to explore the beauty of Colombia, and more.  

Cali, Colombia: The Experience of a Lifetime 

First off, this was my first time traveling outside the country post-pandemic and leading up to this trip, I was extremely nervous. However, once I landed in Cali, it instantly felt like home.  

The weather wasn’t as hot as I imagined but it was humid. After the second day, I got used to it.  

Some of my favorite moments from the trip were meeting some of the most amazing people in Cali, flying on a private plane to go to Colombia’s Ambassador Luis Gilberto Murillo’s hometown Choćo, whale watching, salsa dancing at the “El Mulato Cabaret”, the food and exploring the streets of Cali. We also flew to Quibdó and Nuquí, which were both breathtaking moments.  

Also, I know I mentioned food, but I need to emphasize how good and fresh the food was in Cali. First off, I have never eaten so much food in my life, however, now that I’m back home, I miss those empanadas and Lulada, which is a traditional Colombian beverage made from a fruit called Lulo (some say it tastes like a mixture of kiwi, citrus, and pineapple) from Cali, in the Valle Del Cauca Department of Colombia. AMAZING!! 

I’m a big foodie and also very allergic to shellfish, so navigating through it was challenging, but the dishes I did eat were phenomenal. I did not want to go back to eating American food after my experience. My favorite meals were from the “Platillos Voladores” restaurant where I ordered the Guava Chicken, which were chicken rolls with ricotta cheese and guava jam in blue cheese sauce served with yellow potato purée. Another place I enjoyed was for dinner at the “Hacienda del Bosque” restaurant, and not only was the food amazing, but the atmosphere was stunning and a perfect way to end the night. 

Although I was sent to Cali on an assignment, this turned into a personal journey for me. I will hold all of the memories I made close to my heart for years to come.  

Thank you to The Atlanta Voice, RICE, and ProColombia for giving me an opportunity to experience such a beautiful city and country.  

Muchas gracias Cali, Colombia, ¡volveré!