Just a few years ago, Comuna 13 was considered the most dangerous area in Medellin. To add fuel to the fire, Medellin was the most dangerous city in the world! However, just like a true redemption story, Comuna 13 has turned itself into the vibrant tourist attraction that it is today. Like a phoenix, the city has risen from the ashes of violence, drugs, and illegal trafficking. Today, the city is known for its vibrancy, its street graffiti, and its street art performance, amongst many other things. With that in mind, here are the top things to do in Comuna 13, Medellin.
What started as an act of rebellion to honour the dead and criticise the state has turned into an outdoor museum of over 800 murals by 300 different artists. The community has a school of art called Casa Kolacho. This intuitive school teaches kids how to paint graffiti, how to break-dance, sing and rap, and how play instruments. Locals proclaim that art expulses the generational involvement with gangs and focuses on something more than conflict. There are free walking tours that start at San Javier Station and feature the city’s great graffiti and what they symbolise. These tours are free, but it is recommended to give a good tip to the tour guides.
Cable Car / Metro Cable
It kind of works a lot like a train station. You have a card that you load cash onto, then tap and go from station to station.
The metro cable improves accessibility and has been a major step in improving the city of Comuna 13. It’s an incredible way to get a bird’s eye view of the sprawling city. Indeed, it’s one of the top things to do in Comuna 13! There are metro cable cars that go so high up the mountain that you break through clouds! Afterwards, it lets you off at Parque Arví, an ecological nature reserve dotted with gorgeous trees! Moreover, there are archaeological sites, nature trails, and markets.
Grab yourself some ‘cremas’ also called ‘helados de fruitas’, a Medellín street food desert. It almost resembles granola sorbet in a cup! Or perhaps a ‘frosty’, a type of flat cake that’s been deep fried and drizzled with frosting on top. Yum! There are tons of street food to choose from. Ranging from different kinds of meats roasted on sticks, pineapple stands and so many dessert carts! No tourist would go hungry here!
Staged behind dancing and singing artists are some of the most spectacular graffiti murals. These murals not only enhance the vibrancy of the performances but also that of the city. From rapping to breakdancing, you should constantly be on the lookout for these artists around every corner. Lyrics by some of these singers proclaim that they exchanged their guns for microphones, their bullets for words. Since this was Pablo Escobar’s region where guerrillas reigned, it’s art like this that keeps sparking social reforms in Comuna 13.
Surprisingly, The Escalator is just as popular with tourists as the metro cable cars. It feels like you’re in a giant mall. However, instead of passing floors of shops, you pass local brick houses. You travel up and up to where you need to be. The higher you travel, the better the view becomes. If you love this article, be sure to read about the Top 3 special things to do in Cocora Valley, Colombia
Comuna 13 spans 3.5 kilometres, and although transformed, it is still important to have a buddy system. The community still has pockets of violence within (like any city). However, this community is a clear example of reformation and sets an example for our communities and our own lives. Redemption is wellness, for the community, for the world and most importantly, for yourself. This was the top things to do in Comuna 13, Medellin. Hope it inspires you!