Take a Street Art Tour of Bogota!
I had no idea when I visited Bogota that it was such a street art mecca: walking down Calle 26 gave me a taste of the vibrant murals I was about to encounter all over the city. La Candelaria is particularly renowned for its street art ~ but the truth is: you’ll find beautiful graffiti all over the city, including in some “secret” spots, which I’ll share with you below. As you “Take a Street Art Tour of Bogota” here ~ know that you can simply wander the city by yourself, or take a more structured tour with local guides, who are able to share the history & meaning behind much of the art…
GWTW Tip: Though La Candelaria is very popular for its famous graffiti ~ make sure to walk here in the daytime only; nighttime is notoriously dangerous.
La Candelaria District
Grafitti Tour (Parque de Los Periodistas)
Avenida Calle 26
Beautiful Graffiti Around Bogota…
All the images below were encountered while walking from the NH Bogota Urban 26 Hotel over to La Candelaria; & most were lined right along busy Avenida Calle 26. Many look as though they were painted by the same artist; the color palette is very similar. I found it especially fascinating that so many of these images are of strong, powerful women: an interesting juxtaposition with Latin culture, which is known for its machismo.
A Brief History of Bogota’s Street Art
They say that great art is often borne of tragedy: & that is the case for much of Bogota’s street art, as well as other cities such as Medellin. In 2011, a talented young artist named Diego Felipe Beccera was killed by overzealous Colombian police while creating his signature “Felix the Cat” mural in Bogota. The police claimed he was an armed robber, but the facts quickly bore out that he was simply an artist, working under the cover of night (graffiti was illegal at the time). Outcry over his death, along with condemnation from the international community, brought protests to the streets of Bogota, which ended up creating a vast change in the way graffiti was viewed throughout Colombia.
Gustavo Petro, who was then-mayor of Bogota, issued a decree that decriminalized graffiti work in the city ~ with the agreement that certain monuments & buildings would remain free from it. The graffiti came to symbolize a form of cultural & artistic expression, which, for a country so besieged by violence through the years, became a significant outlet: particularly for the country’s youth.
Street Art in La Candelaria District
The most popular area in Bogota for street art is by far La Candelaria ~ which is located by many of the city’s most popular museums & restaurants. Again, walk this area in the daytime: avoid walking here at night, especially if you’re alone. The art in this area is particularly outstanding, as you can see below…
Who Offers Graffiti Tours in Bogota?
- Bogota Graffiti Tours is one of the originals ~ they offer daily tours in English at 10AM, staring from Parque de los Periodistas. The tour is free, but bring cash for a tip.
- The Capital Street Art Tour by Destino Bogota is a little more expensive, but they also pick you up from your hotel & transport you to several of the city’s most exciting street art spots ~ not just La Candelaria.
- For a longer tour that will get you some exercise: check out Bogota Bike Tour’s “Graffiti Tour,” which takes you on a 4-5 hour expedition around the city. If you’re traveling solo ~ this is a great way to meet people.
- For a more solo tour: check out Colombian Buddy. You can hire a private guide for the day to take you on any adventure you want, including a graffiti tour of the city…
This little boy’s face makes me smile…
GWTW Tip: Another amazing place to visit just outside of Bogota is the famous Salt Cathedral in Zipaquira. Read this article to find out more about it…
Where I Stayed in Bogota
In case you’re wondering where I stayed in Bogota, here’s a quick list: 1) Morrison Hotel 114 (modern, quiet room & in-house restaurant), 2) Hotel Le Manoir Bogota (darling boutique hotel in a nice, quiet location), & 3) NH Bogota Urban 26 Royal (HUGE room, but noisy location). The bonus for all these hotels is they have on-site restaurants & room service ~ which is great for solo travelers who don’t want to eat out every meal. I felt entirely safe in all three places ~ but preferred the first two.
Ultimate Guide to Street Art in Bogota
Colombia is a country I truly fell in love with: & consequently have written much about. For a guide to hiking the Cocora Valley, read this article. If the beach is more your style, read about gorgeous San Andres Island or ever-popular Cartagena. Or finally, read about my favorite city in Colombia…stunning Guatape.
Read Next: Solo Female Travel in Colombia