Social Urbanism in Medellin, Colombia Inspires Walking Tour in Notorious 'Comuna 13' District

​​​The Comuna 13 walking tour provides travelers with a unique opportunity to explore this vibrant community and witness the miraculous transformation of one of the region's most troubled neighborhoods known as 'barrios' in Colombia.

The Comuna 13 barrio was considered one of the most violent communities in Medellin's history. The tour was developed to showcase the miraculous transformation of Comuna 13 through innovative and aggressive social and urban planning by the local government and private investors. The success of Comuna 13’s ambitious makeover can serve as an inspiration and model for troubled and neglected communities around the world.

It's a way of giving back to this thriving community for welcoming foreign travelers interested in exploring another side of Medellin, a side many guests on the tour consider the "real Medellin."

Juan Manuel Uribe

Bilingual/Travel Guide

Over the last decade, Medellin has seen an increase in foreign travelers, after years of tourists avoiding Colombia altogether while traveling through South America. Only two decades ago, the city was labeled the ‘murder capital of the world’ under the rule of drug lord Pablo Escobar, one of the most ruthless and wealthiest drug traffickers in history. In an unprecedented move, the Colombian government committed several thousand members of the police, military and elite special forces to stopping Escobar’s reign of terror. On December 3, 1993, Escobar was gunned down on a rooftop as he attempted to flee his hideout. As a result, his death ended this violent chapter in Colombia’s history. The popular Narcos TV series on Netflix depicting life in Medellin under Pablo Escobar has actually inspired new travelers to visit Medellin. Many are completely surprised by what they discover upon their arrival in Colombia.

Medellin transformed itself from being the murder capital of the world to being awarded the most innovative city in the world in 2012 according to the Urban Land Institute and The Wall Street Journal. Medellin's astonishing accomplishments was the result of hard work and commitment from the local government, city leaders, private investors and the local residents who wanted to prove that change is possible when governments invest and are committed to improving neglected communities.

To take part in the daily walking tour, guests must book reservations 24 hours in advance. The 4-hour walking tour begins at 10am with a ride on the metro to the cable cars in the San Javier district. On the ride up the cable cars, travelers will witness some of the poorest communities throughout the city of Medellin. Following the cable car ride, guests will hike up to the exterior electric escalators, the longest in the world, developed as an alternative form of public transportation for local residents of Comuna 13. Travelers will enjoy stops in local shops, discover exotic fruits and enjoy handmade ice-cream en route to the tour's final destination. At the top of Comuna 13, guests will be exposed to the gorgeous panoramic views of the city from the observation deck. Comuna 13 Tours' focus is to establish a bond between visitors and local residents in a unique, social environment. It is this social activity that was foreign to many of the community’s residents, who were surprised to discover that tourists would be interested in exploring their hillside barrio. The revitalization of Comuna 13 provides guests with the opportunity to experience a part of the world not typically considered a tourist destination, particularly to those people who still have a negative image of Colombia.

The walking tour in the Comuna 13 district was developed for foreign tourists traveling through Colombia. The biggest surprise for tour operators was the response they received from many local residents who were curious to learn more about the infamous barrio, which had long been blocked out from the rest of the city. It even encouraged a few residents to sign up for the tour. As the walking tour grows, the tour company and guests on the tour help contribute to the local economy. It’s a way of giving back to this thriving community for welcoming foreign travelers interested in exploring another side of Medellin, a side many guests on the tour consider the "real Medellin." The Comuna 13 walking tour was developed to provide guests with a unique cultural experience and many have stated that visiting the community was their best experience while traveling through Colombia.

Comuna 13 Walking Tour in Medellin, Colombia
Tour Reservations:

Source: Medellin Traveler Group


Categories: Tourism, Travel Guides, Destinations

Tags: Colombia, Comuna 13, Graffiti Tour, Medellin, Pablo Escobar, Social Urbanism, Walking Tour

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