For my first week in Bogotá I had planned on going to the Museo del Oro, several art galleries and two of the walking tours including the graffiti tour. As it happened real life kicked in and one thing led to another and I didn’t get my gentle introduction to Bogotá that I had planned. Instead the weeks passed as I wanted to have a good day to take photos and waiting for a good day in Bogotá in 2019 is impossible as the default is a strong sun but a sky blanketed in clouds.
But one Monday after having my contract extended and failing miserably at a final interview the week before I decided to take a break from job hunting and to tick off a few things on my list. It was a grey start and had rained in the morning but Angela had insisted I should go and the weather would change. I’m staying up in Créditos and it’s a good hour journey on the bus. I nearly didn’t go but luckily I pushed myself and I was rewarded with one of the most spectacular afternoons I’d seen in weeks.
I’m a big fan of walking tours in South America. Most decent sized towns have one and it’s a really good way to meet people, get to know the city and learn some history. It’s not exactly safe in Bogotá to walk around with your camera out so I also used it as a safe way to take photographs. Safety in numbers etc.
There are several tours and I opted for Bogotá Grafiti Tour, apparently the original, and Ana our guide, who is a street artist herself, was really knowledgeable telling us everything from the human cost of cocaine smuggling in Colombia to politics and the background of the artists. I’d really recommend and the group support a range of local projects and artists but I’ll let them explain when you take the tour. The whole tour was conducted in English, I guess if you are reading this then A Spanish tour will not be your preference, but I don’t know if there is one.
It starts everyday at 10am and 2pm in Parque de Los Periodis which is fairly central in downtown. You don’t need to book but you can via their website if you want. Based on my experience with the weather I’d aim for the afternoon and actually speaking to a couple of others on the tour it’s worth combining with one of the city tours in the morning-I’m yet to make it on one but I’ll confirm when I do. But first here are a few pieces of street art I found closer to home.
I arrived in the park and realised I’d been here before on my first 2019 hiking excursion in Bogotá. We passed it on the way up to Cerro de Monserrate, which I didn’t write about as the hike took place in a cloud. But you can see the church pictures below. I took advantage of the blue and snapped some photos.
The group was really large, possibly one of the largest tour groups I’ve been on. I think everyone noticed the weather and decided to take advantage. I’ve found smaller groups of 8-15 better as it tends to be easier to meet people. In the larger groups for some reason people seem reluctant to break away from those they know and talk.
You spend a decent amount of time in the plaza at the beginning of the tour.
Then it’s on to the grafiti and due to the size of the group and the small calles in the centre meant we blocked the pavement many times.
I’m a big fan of this skeleton picture.
I also like to capture the buildings when I can without getting people in the photos. This was a challenge today due to being in a huge city and a large tour group.
One of the things this tour focussed on is the styles of grafiti, where they came from, what they represent and how they are made. It’s quite interesting to learn.
Sadly the dinosaur was not on the tour but I got as close as I dared.
A few blocks further we came across an interesting street with some huge works of art. Each one has its own story. The below is of an indigenous women from the north.
And this one is in reference to a boy in Mexico who lives in a part autonomous state defending his community.
We later came across a dragon and I couldn’t quite get the light right.
This is one of my favourite art works and it’s pained by a female artist who wanted to bring attention to the sexist abuse female artists experience when working.
The tour ends at a park a few minutes walk from the centre, but don’t worry they walk you back. It’s interesting how they talk about how grafiti has changed the park for the better and made it safe again-a similar story in Medellin. After they take you to their shop and cafe where they try to sell you extras. I sadly had to tun as I was late to meet Angela so we could buy a WiFi extender-real life beckoned but know if you buy anything it’s supporting local causes and artists.