Explore Medellín’s San Javier neighborhood with a bilingual guide and local street artist. Once considered a slum, “Comuna 13” is now a paradigm of social innovation and world-famous street art!
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On this spectacular Comuna 13 walking tour, visit the San Javier neighborhood of Medellín, and experience how community-based organization, determined entrepreneurs and artists, and a whole lot of love have transformed the once-infamous slum into a paradigm of social innovation.
Your Comuna 13 walking tour will begin with hotel pick-up and transfer via metro to San Javier Station, the gateway to Comuna 13. From there, you’ll hop aboard the metro cable cars, that soar high above the city and provide a spectacular birds-eye-view of Medellín.
As you ride and enjoy the view, your guide will introduce you to the history and purpose of the metro cable cars, and how they’ve transformed the city’s public transportation. You’ll get off from atop Comuna 13’s towering hillside, and head to the city’s highly advanced outdoor escalator system, which replaced nearly 550 concrete steps in 2011, drastically changing residents’ 1,260 foot (385 meter) daily ascent and descent.
Here, you’ll have the opportunity to “dive deep” into Comuna 13, and meet an influential local artist (born and raised in Comuna 13) who has played a central role in the neighborhood’s social innovation projects. Through his murals, the artist will introduce you to the history of Comuna 13, current affairs, and successful efforts to transform the comuna for the better.
From there, visit a small community-run museum that details the history of San Javier (Comuna 13) before, during, and after the 1999 “Operation Orion” paramilitary siege that devastated the community, injured hundreds, and left thousands wondering how to move forward.
Continue onward for a look at San Javier’s vibrant urban art, painted by community members ranging from professional muralists, to young school children. The street art demonstrates the comuna’s unwavering spirit.
You’ll have the opportunity to watch your artist guide “tag” a designated wall with a small piece of art, and give you advice on how to design your art to add to the wall of the Comuna 13.
Your Comuna 13 walking tour will continue at a small coffee shop in the heart of San Javier, where you’ll enjoy a complementary coffee and snack. Designed by a group of local entrepreneurs and community activists, the shop was built to encourage visitors to invest in the neighborhood, and to create a space where passers-by can meet, relax, and enjoy Comuna 13. Here, we will enjoy a delicious cup of Colombian coffee and say goodbye to the local artist.
Finally, walk to your last destination — the San Javier Park Library. Here, discover how Comuna 13 has become a hub of creative arts, literacy initiatives, and cultural events across the city. From there, walk a short distance to the subway station where your guide will help you find safe transport back to your hotel, or wherever you choose to continue your day.
Tour will travel using public transportation. Private transportation from your hotel can be arranged at an additional cost.
The local artist does not speak English, so your guide will serve as a translator.
If you are coming on an academic trip or with a large group, please contact us at email@example.com for fascinating additions available to large group tours.
After you book your experience, you will receive a confirmation email from us confirming that your payment went through. You will then be connected directly to the tour operator, in case you have any further questions. We are also happy to answer any questions about the tour, or travel in general in your country of destination.