"Enjoy a private half-day tour and see how a slum that was once forgotten is now reconnected to Medellín thanks to innovative urban developments. Visit Comuna 13, the electric escalators, San Javier Library Park, and more."
Put on comfortable shoes and enjoy a memorable tour in an area that was once considered the most dangerous neighborhood of Colombia. Learn about its crude history from a local street artist and about its road to recovery, becoming a humble but lively neighborhood with beautiful street art and boiling with social innovation. Our expert guide will share his broad knowledge with you, point out important places of changes and tell you about what made Medellín the world’s ‘Most Innovative City of the Year in 2013.
Our tour starts at your hotel from where you will meet our guide. We’ll take a taxi to the closest Metro station and then ride the Metro to San Javier station, the gate to Comuna 13. Boarding the Metrocable, once developed as an alternative form of public transportation for local residents, we will get to see San Javier from above. While floating up the hill and enjoying the view, we’ll learn about how much easier it became for locals to get to work and how much time they can save nowadays because of the Metrocable.
Back at the main station, we’ll hop on a bus that takes us near the electric escalators that were built in 2011. They replaced 530 concrete steps and reduced the time for getting up the 384m (1,260ft.) immensely. Thanks to this, the complicated social dynamics of what once was another slum gradually turned into a brighter panorama.
Before using the escalators, to immerse ourselves in the slum, we will meet a street artist that was born and brought up there. He has been one of the leaders of the artistic movement in the area and has an insider perspective of the transformation of his neighborhood. He will show you, through his own murals, key aspects of the history and actuality. At some point of the ascent, we will make a small detour and visit a tiny modest museum made by a local initiative that has some pictures of the way the Comuna was before and during Orion operation. A violent event that defined the course of this area.
The electric escalator will take us up to a platform from where we get another stunning view of Medellín. Taking a closer look, we will notice amazing street art everywhere: colorfully painted roofs and drawings on the walls, from professionals as well as from children.
While we climb up the narrow streets a bit further to have a look at the side streets, we may get a chance to talk to some other locals on the street and get a glimpse into their day-to-day lives. At some point, our local artist will take out some sprays and give you the tips for creating your own tag that you will leave on a wall of the comuna, together with the tags of other visitors.
Next, we will visit a small coffee shop right at the heart of the Comuna. It is an initiative of a group of local entrepreneurs (our local artist makes part of it), who want to make visitors not only to climb the escalators up and down but also stay and hang out at their neighborhood for a while. Here we will have some delicious Colombian coffee and say goodbye to the local artist.
As we walk our way back down the electric escalators and head to our final destination, the library of San Javier, we will see how Comuna 13 became a remarkably good neighborhood for children, inspiring them to be creative in arts and sports and encourage them to study. The San Javier Library Park is known as a place that brings families together to partake in literary, cultural and musical activities.
After our visit to the library, we will walk you back to the metro station where you can go back to your hotel, or our guide can help you sort out a safe transport back to your hotel or to your next stop of the day.
Taking this tour you will support two local initiatives that rely on tourism to survive. We can arrange private transportation from and to your hotel for an additional cost. The local street artist doesn’t speak English, our guide will serve as translator. If you have an academic trip or a larger group, please contact us! There are some interesting additions.
Changes on the tour may occur due to external factors. These changes will be notified to you with anticipation.
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