Day 376 | Colombia | Medellin | Comuna 13

This morning we headed out to Comuna 13, with our friend Geert off the boat (as he had also just arrived into Medellin), to do the graffiti tour of the area.

Comuna 13, back in the day, was one of the most violent neighbourhoods in Medellin. After Pablo Escobar was killed, there was many gang wars over drug territories, and there were many murders occurring in this neighbourhood alone. From my basic understanding of ‘Operation Orion‘ the Colombian Government/Police eventually got sick of it all and in 2002, opened a can of whoop-ass and over a couple of days descended on the neighbourhood to end the gang control, make a lot of arrests and put an end to all the violence. Of course, there was a lot of controversy over the siege as there were a lot of civilians harmed (read: killed or wounded) in the process.

Between then & now, the neighbourhood had slowly transformed. Now, there are some escalators that assist residents getting up to their houses as they are all built on the side of a hill, and second there has been a whole heap of street art put up throughout the neighbourhood. Some is just pretty, and others make comment on the transformation of the neighbourhood and the previous violence.


Street art


This one is commenting on the white flags the residents raised during the siege to get the violence to stop given innocent people were being hurt



Just one of the neighbourhood escalators


The grey in this represents the past how they were controlled and the moving to colour and improvement


Our guide Laura lives in the neighbourhood and featured in the advertisements for the escalators






Looking out over Comuna 13



Random slide in the middle of the neighbourhood



The coolest escalator riding dog


After the tour was over, our guide Laura was heading to a local place to grab a quick bite to eat before her next tour, so most of the tour followed her to get in on the local action. We had what is pretty much the ‘typical’ meal in Colombia, starting with pasta soup and followed up by the plate of the day, we had chicken, rice, salad and an arepa on the side and a glass of juice.

We then headed back to our hostel for the afternoon to chill out before heading to the grocery store to grab a couple of things to make ourselves up a big pasta for dinner utilising a heap of the fresh herbs that they were growing on the roof of our hostel (oh how I miss cooking properly and with fresh herbs!!). We asked Geert to join us for dinner as he is now staying at the same hostel as us.


Hostel dinner party – don’t worry it’s wine not tea in our coffee mugs 😉

And still, our day wasn’t over!! We had made plans to meet Nini at 10pm at a bar not far down the road which was having a ladies night. Basically ladies got in for free, guys had to pay around $18 AUD, and then it was free drinks all night. By free drinks they meant small bottles Aguardiente liquor and Budwieser beers. Basically a set up for a crazy night, seeing us get home around 2am.


Nini & I


Local spirit of death Aguardiente


Feeling chipper


Aguardiente craziness


One thought on “Day 376 | Colombia | Medellin | Comuna 13

  1. Awesome, loved this story and the pics
    I’ve just finished watching Narcos, the TV series about Pablo Escobar. Cool series you will have to watch x


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