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There are hundreds of different walking tours you can take in Colombia, from standard historical walking tours in big cities to slightly more focused and niche tours. With walking tours focusing on such interesting and diverse topics as coffee, graffiti, architecture, and Colombia’s history of violence, here are some of the best alternative walking tours to take in Colombia.
Colombia’s most popular and enduring alternative walking tour has been packing in the visitors and receiving rave reviews for years now, thanks to its excellent mix of art, culture, history, and politics, all relayed by knowledgeable and fun guides. The tour takes in street-art throughout the La Candelaria neighbourhood in Bogota, and you won’t just learn about graffiti but how the murals and tags you will see relate to Colombian culture and the modern political situation.
The best city coffee tour in Colombia, the Specialty Coffee Shop Tour by Flavors of Bogota operates in Bogota, Medellin, and now Cartagena, but it’s the Bogota version that remains the biggest and best, thanks mainly to the incredible diversity of unique independent cafes in the city. The tour usually takes in around three different cafes, where the baristas and coffee experts will explain everything that goes into making the perfect cup of Colombian coffee. This is definitely the tour to take if you have a passion for coffee and you’re visiting Colombia.
Another alternative tour which has picked up more than its fair share of good reviews over the past few years, the Comuna 13 walking tour in Medellin takes in a neighbourhood that was once not only one of the most dangerous in Medellin, but perhaps in the world. The neighbourhood has been transformed thanks to Medellin’s social urbanism public policies, and tours of Comuna 13 focus on the pioneering architectural and transport infrastructure that so transformed much of the city.
Billed as “the anti-cliches” walking tour, the Heroes Tour makes a concerted effort to move away from the sad tendency to glamourise figures like Pablo Escobar at the expense of real Colombian heroes who have fought for social justice and peace. Featuring detailed explanations of the sad realities of the Escobar years, as well as the origins of the FARC and the Colombian conflict, this is definitely the tour for anyone with an appetite for learning more about Colombia’s turbulent history.
A walking tour through Cartagena’s busiest and craziest food market, where thousands of local merchants come each day to ply their wares, a Bazurto Market Tour can be an overwhelming experience, but one that is worth having in Cartagena in order to experience the realities of the city and get an authentic experience away from the Old City bubble. Sample some of the freshest seafood you will ever have and meet local people going about their day-to-day lives in a tour that is about as alternative as it gets in Cartagena.
Known as “The Bogota Foodie” for his passion for local Colombian cuisine, Loon Lio is an expat in Colombia who offers great walking tours around Paloquemao food market, where he introduces his clients to an overwhelming world of flavours, sights, sounds and smells, and, above all, great food! If you have a passion for good food but aren’t too sure about navigating your way around the labyrinth that is Paloquemao, then check out this tour.
An up-and-coming tour operator with a focus on offering an alternative vision of Bogota than the standard walking tours, Bogota Chirriada offer a diverse portfolio of walking tours including, but not limited to, tours of food markets, visits to tejo bars, and off-the-beaten-track, rarely visited neighbourhoods.