Our next stop was the famous “Comuna 13” which had the most tumultuous history of the city, which was once known as the most dangerous community due to its huge homicide rates and forced displacement of thousands of residents.
Comuna 13 is an over-populated and poor place situated on the west city hills. Houses are placed on top of the other like in a huge lego puzzle.
This place was the center of paramilitary, guerrilla and gang activity because of its location that provided easy transportation of guns, drugs, and money.
But today this place looks new as if it was reborn from its own ash.
The neighborhood has embraced an era of freedom and hope!
Nowadays residents aren’t afraid to leave their homes and their quality of life has increased.They started to express themselves through art like graffiti, street dance and music. Here I’ve seen the most beautiful graffiti ever. The walls became a canvas to tell its history, making the area more beautiful and bringing optimism and peace.Hip-hop music it is another form of expression. We have seen many people dancing. As a matter of fact, this is the place where almost all the people were dancing and singing.
The city hall started various projects over the years to improve the quality of life here. One such project was the metro cable car system that gave to Comuna 13 easy access to the rest of the city.
I thought that this place will be unsafe, but we had so much fun here around all this people. We really loved this place.
As we walked through the narrow streets, kids were playing soccer, locals were dancing or singing, vendors were selling fruit or different types of street food. We even tried a local delicacy green mango ice cream topped with lime and salt.
We felt comfortable visiting the area.
At some point we played with the children of the neighborhood or talked to them. They were very eager to practice their English.
However, a full transformation of this neighborhood will be slow and gradual. The situation is still tenuous and there’s still work to be done.
I wouldn’t recommend visiting this area by yourself, especially during night time.
Comuna 13 has significantly less violence and crime compared to the past years. However, it doesn’t mean that there are no more gang members and no fights between them.
Maybe it is better to take a local guided tour, most probably they will take you to the best places and you won’t be lost and most probably feel safer.