This post will look at Comuna 13, a neighbourhood in Medellin. Up until recently, this neighbourhood was considered the most dangerous area in the entire city.
A notorious hotspot for gang violence throughout the 1980s and early ’90s, Comuna 13 was then described as being the most violent community in all of Latin America.
Known for a staggering number of homicides and routinely displacing residents, Comuna 13 was an ‘off limits’ destination for travellers.
In 2002, the Colombian government decided to directly challenge the local drug cartels who controlled this neighbourhood. They sent in 1000 troops in an attempt to clean up the area. This controversial decision left 9 civilians dead and hundreds wounded, while emergency crews were unable to enter the area.
Outraged, citizens took to street art as a form of protest directed at the government.
Although controversial, this operation eventually achieved its desired effects as violence in Comuna 13 dramatically decreased.
In 2011, a new project introducing outdoor escalators to the community was completed. Like the metro cable station I talked about in Trece de Noviembre, Medellin, Colombia , this project was designed to provide greater access to the area.
Now, there are 6 escalators quickly transporting people to the top of Comuna 13.
Without a doubt, this community is becoming more of a tourist hotspot in Medellin and there are armed police throughout the neighbourhood to accentuate the appearance of safety.
Once you’ve taken the 6 elevators, you’re able to look out onto the valley from a nice vantage point!
Definitely an awesome neighbourhood to check out, Comuna 13 is a prime example of how the city of Medellin is transforming as a whole.
Considered to be the most dangerous city in the WORLD in the late 1980s, Medellin has done a fantastic job rehabilitating its image.
A neighbourhood people wouldn’t have considered visiting just 5-10 years ago is now on many tourists’ ‘bucket lists’ when travelling to Medellin!
While the escalators seemed a little gimmicky to me (apparently they do reduce walking time from 40 to 6 minutes), they undoubtedly provide this neighbourhood with a unique attraction, incentivising tourists to visit!
- To get to Comuna 13, simply take a metro to the San Javier metro station. From there you can take a bus saying ‘escalas electricas’ for $2000 pesos or walk about 20 minutes. It’s very easy.